Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV


Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Update July 2018

Thailand News
World News
World Sports
Arts - Entertainment - Lifestyles
Book Review
Health & Wellbeing
Odds & Ends
Science & Nature
Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Arts - Entertainment - Film Review World

July 21, 2018 - July 27, 2018

Film Review: In ‘Skyscraper,’ the Rock towers over action tropes

This image shows Dwayne Johnson in a scene from “Skyscraper.” (Universal Pictures via AP)

Jake Coyle

New York (AP) — I like to imagine what King Kong, as a popcorn-chomping moviegoer, might make of “Skyscraper,” the latest summer actioner staring Dwayne Johnson. Would he, watching a goliath ascend the exterior of a high-rise with helicopters and klieg lights swirling, woundedly mumble, “Hey, that’s my gig.”

But in Rawson Marshall Thurber’s thriller, there is Johnson steadily — and without too much trouble, really — swinging up a 100-story-high crane to then leap across a mammoth chasm and land in an open window on the burning 220-story tower where his wife and twin kids are trapped.

It goes without saying that if you’re the sort to scoff at a tale’s implausibility, “Skyscraper” may not be the movie you’re looking for. Experts in fields including physics, thermodynamics and screenwriting should proceed cautiously. But then again, few go to a movie starring the Rock and a tall building (they do have great chemistry) for sensible and realistic rescue methods. They go for the dumb fun, the crazy stunts and, above all, the Kong-sized appeal of Johnson, the towering movie star whose on-screen powers easily exceed those of any other action star today, superhero or not.

The Hong Kong-set “Skyscraper” is a kind of West-meets-East “Die Hard,” but without the gritty flair of John McTiernan’s film, nor anything like the villainous heights of Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber. Johnson’s protagonist, too, is a polished family man, the inverse of Bruce Willis’ unshaven divorcee.

Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a former military man who, after a haunting hostage encounter, has become a security systems consultant. “I put my sword down,” says Sawyer, who has a prosthetic leg from the incident — a welcome touch in a movie world where disabilities are seldom represented.

Along with his former combat surgeon wife (the nice-to-see-again Neve Campbell, whose part exceeds the stereotypical spouse role) and their two kids (McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell), Sawyer is in Hong Kong to ready the security for “The Pearl,” a state-of-the-art skyscraper promoted as three times the size of the Empire State Building. With a swirling turbine midway up and a tennis ball-like sphere at the top, it looks a little like a giant World Cup trophy.

The building is the pride of billionaire developer Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), who has filled it with extravagant attractions, like a kind of digital hall-of-mirrors that will inevitably serve as the setting for a “Lady From Shanghai”-like shootout. He presides over it from the penthouse, more than 100 floors above anyone else in the unfinished high rise.

The Singaporean star Han is one of the many Asian actors who populate the film, clearly fashioned to appeal as much to Chinese filmgoers as American ones, though their roles are largely peripheral.

Sawyer’s family is installed on floor 96, a precarious spot when, just below them, a band of terrorists led by Kores Botha (a ho-hum Roland Moller) sets a floor on fire, blazing a crimson line across the night skyline. (“Skyscraper” is lensed by Robert Elswit and it regularly looks better than you’d expect it to.)

Their aim, like countless bandits before them, is to smoke out Zhao. It’s an overly elaborate plan considering they mostly desire the flash drive Zhao carries with him. But what bloodthirsty international mercenary isn’t a big fan of “The Towering Inferno”?

That the timing felt right to Thurber and Johnson (who previously teamed for “Central Intelligence”) for a film about a skyscraper under terrorist assault is itself noteworthy. Such a movie would have been unthinkable in the years after Sept. 11, and for some, still is. But this year, for whatever reason, seems to close a chapter in the post-9/11 disaster movie. In April, “Rampage” (also with Johnson) didn’t hesitate to topple urban towers in clouds of dust.

“Skyscraper” doesn’t have any such thoughts — or, really, any thoughts, period — in mind. It’s counting on your amnesia to the past, on screen and off, and it will readily supply you with two hours of mindless escape. It does the job better than most, thanks largely to its hulking hero. When Johnson makes his crane leap — the movie’s much-promoted central set piece — throngs surrounding the building ooh and aah. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the Rock.

“Skyscraper,” a Universal Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.” Running time: 102 minutes. Two and half stars out of four.

The B-52s are touring on their 40th anniversary - sort of

In this June 21, 2018 photo, Kate Pierson (left) and Fred Schneider, of The B-52s, pose for a portrait in New York to promote the band’s 40th anniversary. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

John Carucci

New York (AP) — The B-52s are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. But they also may celebrate it next year. That is, if they haven’t already hit the milestone.

There’s no fuzzy math here — it’s a just matter of which date adequately represents the origin of the band, which began in Athens, Georgia.

Vocalist Fred Schneider considers 2018 as their ruby anniversary. “This is 40 years since our first single came out,” Schneider said. That was the year they released the song, “Rock Lobster.”

The band’s other vocalist, Kate Pierson, interprets their anniversary a bit more liberally.

“We started in 1976 jamming and we played our first show on Valentine’s Day 1977, so we can mark 40 from there or we can mark 40 from 1979 when we did our first record,” Pierson said, referring to their eponymous album.

Then she added: “It’s flexible. We’re milking the 40 anniversary because it’s flexible.”

While the actual date may be a “Cosmic Thing” — just as the title of their fifth album and hit song — there’s no discrepancy that their reputation as “the world’s greatest party band” has thrived since the late 1970s.

Yet, while their sound remained upbeat, the band had some dark days, most notably the death of founding member Ricky Wilson, who succumbed to AIDS in 1985. He is the older brother of vocalist Cindy Wilson.

“There’s always ups and downs in 40 years. And Ricky’s death in 1985 was definitely a point where we thought we wouldn’t go on. People always ask, ‘Did you envision that you would have gone on for 40 years?’ You know, that seemed like the end,” Pierson said.

Instead, they rebounded with “Cosmic Thing,” and scored their most successful album, and biggest hit single, “Love Shack” in 1989. Pierson attributes their longevity to friendship above all else.

“We all maintained our connections and our friendships, which we’ve maintained over all these years. We still like each other, love each other, and we realize that this was a way to heal and a way to really bring Ricky back into the mix. I think a lot of the songs recalled that time in Athens with Ricky,” Pierson said.

She jokes about what would happen if the band were to try to make it today. “We would go on ‘The Voice,’ and we’d get kicked off of the first episode, probably,” Pierson said.

As for the tour, the band said fans can expect more obscure stuff, like “Wig,” as well as the hits. “We’re not going to say, ‘Hey, tonight I’m sorry. I hope you understand. We’re not doing ‘Rock Lobster’ or ‘Love Shack’ or ‘Roam,’’” said Pierson. “No, we’re going to do those.”

Producers plan movie about Thai cave rescue

Thai rescue team members walk inside the cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for 18 days. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

Jake Coyle

New York (AP) — The boys are out of the cave. Now Hollywood wants in.

The producers behind Christian films like “God’s Not Dead” are already in Thailand with plans to develop a movie about the 18-day saga of the soccer team trapped in a flooded cave. Though the drama of headline-grabbing rescues often doesn’t carry over the big screen, Pure Flix Entertainment co-founder Michael Scott believes the story about the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach is ripe for movie adaptation.

“We realized that this would make an incredibly inspiring movie,” Scott said. “Like a lot of people, we know there’s not a lot of positive news in the world today.”

Scott said he feels a personal connection with the story. His wife is Thai and he said he was spending the summer in Bangkok when the soccer team went missing. Scott and fellow producer Adam Smith recently traveled to the area around the cave in northern Thailand, and they have begun talking to some of the participants about their “life rights.”

But they also stressed that they haven’t yet pursued most of the families of the boys, who remained recuperating in a hospital.

“For us it’s not a huge race,” said Smith. “It’s about making sure we get the authenticity right.”

Many hurdles await. Most films that enter development never get produced, and the producers are just beginning to seek a screenwriter. Other film productions companies will surely show interest, and they could leapfrog ahead with a larger production. But Pure Flix hopes they can beat any fiction-film rush.

“I don’t think this is a religious film,” said Scott. “I think this is an inspirational film.”

There’s also some reason to doubt the box-office appeal of the tale. Ripped-from-headlines movies have not been setting the world on fire. Though Clint Eastwood’s “Sully” was a success, his 2018 docudrama about the 2015 Thalys train attack, “The 15:17 to Paris,” disappointed. Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” (2016) was the director’s worst performing release. Peter Berg’s 2016 big-budget drama about the 2010 oil rig explosion “Deepwater Horizon” likewise fizzled.

The best comparison would be 2015’s “The 33,” about the 2010 mining disaster in Chile that trapped 33 miners for two months. Though boasting a starry cast of Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Juliette Binoche, it made barely a blip at the box office, with $24.9 million worldwide.

Elvis Costello cancels tour dates after cancer surgery

Musician Elvis Costello is shown in this Nov. 12, 2017 file photo. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

London (AP) — Elvis Costello has canceled the rest of his European summer tour after undergoing surgery for a “small but very aggressive” cancerous tumor.

The post-punk singer-songwriter says he needs time to recover after the operation.

The 63-year-old musician said in a statement that he initially thought “normal service had been resumed” but now realized he needed more rest. He said “therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour.”

He vowed to “return at the soonest opportunity.”

The canceled concerts were in Britain, Croatia, Austria, Norway and Sweden.

Costello, whose hits include “Alison” and “Oliver’s Army,” urged men to go to their doctors if they had symptoms they were worried about.

Release of 5th ‘Indiana Jones’ movie pushed to 2021

Actor Harrison Ford is shown in this Jan. 10, 2016 file photo. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

New York (AP) — Indiana Jones won’t be swinging back into movie theaters until at least 2021.

The Walt Disney Co. has announced that the planned fifth installment in the “Indiana Jones” franchise will be released in July 2021 instead of July 2020. The film was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 2019.

Script issues are reportedly behind the delay. Last month, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” co-screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan was brought on to help write the film.

Steven Spielberg is set to direct the latest “Indiana Jones” film, with Harrison Ford also reprising his role. Ford turns 79 years old in July 2021.

Spielberg also has a number of films in front of “Indiana Jones,” including a remake of “West Side Story.”

July 14, 2018 - July 20, 2018

Film Review: ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ punches above its weight

This image released by Marvel Studios shows Paul Rudd in a scene from “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” (Disney/Marvel Studios via AP)

Jake Coyle

Los Angeles (AP) - Not since Animal against the advice of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker ingested Insta-Growth pills has a movie had as much fun with scale as “Ant-Man and The Wasp.”

Among the greatest threats to the shape-shifting heroes of the Marvel sequel are windshield wipers, salt shakers and seagulls. This is surely the first movie to weaponize that most fearsome of terrors: a giant Hello Kitty Pez dispenser. In one of the film’s finest moments, a loud, careening chase culminates in a dramatic fall into the ocean sounded not with an explosive splash but with a tiny ripple and a “Plink!”

In both scale and ambition, “Ant-Man and The Wasp” is an altogether more modest affair, and it’s so much the better for it. Most Marvel movies strenuously insist on how much they matter — how much a carefully stitched together comic-book apparatus hangs in the balance — with only an occasional aside to acknowledge their inherent silliness. But slapstick is in the DNA of “Ant-Man and The Wasp.”

For some Marvel devotees, “Ant-Man and The Wasp” will be a clever enough diversion in between the more main-event releases. But it’s pretty much exactly what I’d want in a superhero movie: a funny cast, zippy action scenes and not an infinity stone in sight.

The Marvel product has, it should be noted, grown more dynamic and varied in recent years. But if you’re not going to reach the mythic heights of “Black Panther,” the light-hearted antics of “Ant-Man and The Wasp” are your next-best bet. As different as they are, the two films have one crucial thing in common: No outer space.

Just as “Black Panther” styled itself after a spy thriller, “Ant-Man” takes from the heist movie. The first installment in 2015 was a somewhat muddled franchise debut, thanks to a late director shuffle. Peyton Reed, who took over production on the first one, is back here, and he has carved out a real identity for Paul Rudd’s character, among the most self-contained in Marvel’s “cinematic universe.”

And more than its predecessor, “Ant-Man and The Wasp” has adopted the goofball charm of its leading man. Coming a few years after “Ant-Man,” Rudd’s Scott Lang is now under house arrest for his involvement in the Berlin showdown of “Captain America: Civil War.” When his 10-year-old daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) isn’t around, he passes the time playing drums and learning magic tricks. With just days to go before Randall Park’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is to remove Lang’s monitoring device, he’s summoned by the brains behind their last adventure: Dr. Hank Pym (a sometimes in-the-way Michael Douglas) and Pym’s daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), whose winged Ant-Man-like suit has earned her the Wasp moniker.

Pym believes his wife, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) has for the last 30 years been locked away in the “quantum realm,” a mind- and matter-bending subatomic limbo that, it turns out, has predictably done curiously little damage to the indestructible Pfeiffer. A Technicolor blur of floating blobs, the quantum realm looks like a lava lamp’s dream of heaven.

To send someone into the realm on a rescue mission, Pym and Van Dyne have built a sophisticated laboratory many stories high that, with a click of a remote, they can shrink down to carry-on size. Their plans bring them into contact with a black-market dealer (Walton Goggins) and an old academic colleague of Pym’s (Laurence Fishburne). It also attracts the interest of the film’s villain, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), whose tragic backstory has left her burning (figuratively) and blurry (literally) with anger for being robbed of a bodily existence.

The plot is fine but many of the pleasures of “Ant-Man and The Wasp” come from its digressions. And no one better breaks down the molecular structure of a Marvel movie than Michael Pena. Every time he takes the screen, he threatens to destabilize it with his chatterbox excitement. When Pena’s Luis (Lang’s friend and business partner at X-Con Security) is given a truth serum, you pray for the movie to just let him keep talking until the end credits roll. Just as good is Park, who steals his scenes with a quieter deadpan.

There are more gags, too. A malfunctioning Ant-Man suit turns Rudd enormous or embarrassingly child-sized. A Hot Wheels-riff on the “Bullitt” car chase tumbles down the hills of San Francisco. None of this is earth-shattering stuff, but that’s part of the fun of it. Here, for once, is a Marvel movie about saving one life, not a billion.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” a Walt Disney Studios release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “some sci-fi action violence.” Running time: 118 minutes. Three stars out of four.

Jerusalem backlash casts shadow over Eurovision contest

In this May 12, 2018 file photo, Netta Barzilai from Israel celebrates after winning the Eurovision song contest in Lisbon, Portugal. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Tia Goldenberg

Jerusalem (AP) — When the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israelis hoped other countries would follow suit. Instead, the move has created a backlash. The latest setback threatens the contested city’s hopes of hosting the 2019 Eurovision song contest — an affair that has become something of a national obsession.

“There is a greater concern this year than any other year I can remember about the political backdrop surrounding Eurovision,” said William Lee Adams, who runs a popular Eurovision blog. “Many Eurovision fans build their whole year around a trip to Eurovision, and just given the nature of what’s going on their ideal has been tarnished.”

Israel won Eurovision in May with a flashy pop tune called “Toy” by the charismatic, previously unknown singer Netta Barzilai, who dazzled viewers with her feminist lyrics, unconventional appearance and signature chicken dance. Her victory won Israel the right to host next year’s Eurovision contest.

But the celebrations were tempered by continued bloodshed along the Gaza border, as well as the controversial move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem two days later.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since weekly protests began in the Gaza Strip in March. Some 60 people were killed on May 14, marking a jarring contrast to the Israeli jubilation over the embassy move and the Eurovision victory.

The so-called BDS group — for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions — has called on the European Broadcasting Union, the contest’s sponsor, to boycott the Eurovision contest in Israel next year.

“This contest must be boycotted to avoid complicity and business-as-usual with this regime and to avoid irreversibly tarnishing the Eurovision brand with Israel’s egregious human rights record,” the group said.

Activists had targeted Barzilai and her song ahead of this year’s contest with a campaign calling on voters to award her zero points. But win she did.

The winning country traditionally hosts the contest the following year. But exactly where the show will be held remains an open question.

In Europe, capital cities have usually played host. But the city Israel considers its capital — Jerusalem — is not recognized as such by most of the international community. Just two countries, Guatemala and Paraguay, have followed the U.S. and moved their embassies to Jerusalem.

Hosting the competition in Jerusalem could present a predicament for the public broadcasters that make up the European Broadcasting Union, sparking criticism that they are taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel is expected to present four cities as potential hosts, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel held the Eurovision contest in Jerusalem following its previous victories, most recently in 1999, without incident.

Israel’s outspoken culture and sports minister, Miri Regev told Kan Bet radio, “the state of Israel has the right to decide where Eurovision will be held. I will recommend to the government and to the prime minister that it won’t be right to host Eurovision if it will not be held in Jerusalem.”

Paul McCartney ready to release his 17th solo album

Paul McCartney is shown performing in this July 26, 2017 file photo. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

Los Angeles (AP) — Paul McCartney is inviting fans on a musical journey as he prepares to release his 17th solo album.

The former Beatle, who turned 76 last month, announced on social media that “Egypt Station” will be released on Sept. 7. The title comes from the name of one of McCartney’s paintings and it will be his first full album since “NEW” in 2013.

McCartney posted the singles “I Don’t Know” and “Come On To Me.”

In a statement, McCartney says he thinks of the album “as a dream location that the music emanates from.”

“Egypt Station” was recorded between Los Angeles, London and Sussex, England.

Peruvian restoration center rescues art from ruin

An art restorer works on a sculpture of Jesus Christ in a studio of the Ministry of Culture’s Restoration Center in Cuzco, Peru. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Franklin Briceno

Cuzco, Peru (AP) — The old colonial palace high in the Andes and crowded with treasures from Peru’s bygone golden age feels more like an emergency room than a workshop for recovering damaged artwork.

But sculptures of decapitated Roman Catholic saints, dismembered angels and charred paintings from remote churches across the spine of the Andes all find their way here, where a team of dedicated specialists works to restore them after catastrophic fires and centuries of neglect.

“They are like patients suffering terminal cancer who we are bringing back to life,” said Erwin Castilla, head of canvas conservation at the Ministry of Culture’s Restoration Center in Cuzco.

The facility, which opened in 2003, claims to be the only one of its kind operating in Peru and has already made major contributions to the country’s cultural heritage: Between 2015 and 2017 it rescued more than 500 paintings, sculptures, and ceramic pieces.

The center’s teams of more than 50 conservationists wear surgical masks and use modern technology — like X-ray and ultraviolet machines — to uncover images that over time have faded away on canvases that average 300 years old.

Cuzco was the capital of the ancient Inca Empire, and from the 16th to 18th centuries it became an epicenter for Catholic-themed art under Spanish colonizers.

Paintings from the “Cuzco School” reflect a rich blend of European influences with indigenous imagery and homegrown artistic techniques that later spread throughout South America.

In the meticulous workshop, conservationists keep detailed records of each piece, as if they were a patient’s medical chart. A board of experts then pores over the records to determine how to bring the works back to life.

The center receives calls for help from small churches in remote Andean villages that have existed for centuries, and many of the paintings have endured punishing rain, sun, mold, nibbling moths and even flawed repairs by untrained hands.

“We have to advance bit by bit,” Castilla said. “Sometimes it takes us years.”

One restored painting by the indigenous artist Diego Quispe Tito was scorched in a 2016 fire at a Cuzco church along with more than 30 other works. Authorities estimate losses from that fire at nearly $2 million.

The team also restores delicate sculptures depicting Catholic martyrs made from wood and cloth that are often missing heads or arms.

The workshop struggles to run on a shoestring budget of $700,000 a year, said Nidia Perez, an art historian who heads the workshop. But the team never loses sight of its mission.

“We are keeping alive the memory of Andean art,” she said. “We must fight every day to keep it from disappearing.”

Ramayana performance in Myanmar celebrates diplomatic ties with Thailand


Thai performers staged the Ramayana epic in Myanmar last month to celebrate ties between the two countries.

The Thai Ministry of Culture has held Ramayana performances to mark the 70th anniversary of Thai-Myanmar diplomatic relations.

The four act performance, which included epic battle scenes, took place in the three Myanmar cities of Yangon, Naypyidaw and Mandalay between June 19 and 23.

Minister of Culture Weera Rojpojanarat said that the Ramayana is a high form of art and performance that has been revered for many generations and has become a symbol of Thailand. He noted the three performances in Myanmar were all sold out and helped enhance relations between the two countries in all regards, including tourism and economics. (NNT)

July 7, 2018 - July 13, 2018

Film Review: In ‘Day of the Soldado,’ an equally bleak ‘Sicario’

This image shows Benicio Del Toro (left) and Josh Brolin in a scene from “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” (Richard Foreman, Jr./Sony Pictures via AP)

Jake Coyle

Los Angeles (AP) - There’s an oppressive bleakness to the brutal action-thriller “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” But with faces like Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, what are you going to do?

Amid the dust cloud of violence that settles over the “Sicario” sequel, nothing stands out like the furrowed brow of Brolin’s grimace or the cold, worn-out stare of del Toro. They look like gunslingers from an Anthony Mann or Sam Peckinpah western, just with heavier ammo and dark sunglasses. With such sunken, world-weary eyes, in the heyday of film noir del Toro and Brolin would have made a killing.

They do plenty of that, too, in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Matt Graver (Brolin) and his cartel lawyer turned undercover pal Alejandro Gillick (del Toro) are again called into action in a black-ops operation along the Mexico border, this time without the benefit of Emily Blunt, who starred in Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario” (2015).

Blunt played a less experienced FBI agent with the naivety to be horrified by things that Graver and Gillick wouldn’t bat an eye at — you know, sissy stuff like dozens of decaying corpses stuffed like insulation into a Mexican cartel safe house.  No, Graver and just-as-grave Gillick have seen it all. And Blunt’s absence leaves “Day of Soldado” without the mounting sense of dread that defined the first one.

It also lacks the muscular camera work of Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins. With such missing talent, it would be easy to view “Day of the Soldado” as a cheaper knockoff. Easier, still, considering the movie’s poster — of a gun-toting skeleton draped in a flag — most resembles a Guns N’ Roses album cover.

It’s better than that, but not by much. Stefano Sollima (“Gomorrah”) steps in to direct a script by Taylor Sheridan, whose neo-westerns (“Hell or High Water,” ‘’Wind River”) have made him the genre’s best new hope. Sheridan wrote “Sicario,” too, which sought to modernize the drug-war thriller to catch it up to the lethal battles of today’s cartels.

But in its ballet of SUVS sweeping across the border, “Sicario” mostly stood for a ruthless, borderless American power equaling the ultra-violence of a new era, with all the moral doubt that accompanies such a fight.  “Day of the Soldado” begins with a similar stab at political relevance. A supermarket in Kansas City is attacked by a swarm of suicide bombers, the last of whom we watch detonate his vest just as a mother and child are trying to tiptoe past.

Sheridan and Sollima could easily defend the imagery: This is indeed a not uncommon happening. But it’s a sensationalist way to show it. Is there anyone left who doesn’t understand the horror of terrorism?

It’s believed the bombers were jihadis who infiltrated the country by slipping through the Mexican border. Told that the cartels control the trafficking of migrants over the border, the Secretary of Defense (Matthew Modine) opts to clandestinely prompt a war between two cartels. Graver’s plan is to kidnap the 12-year-old daughter of a cartel kingpin to kick-start the war.

“There are no rules this time,” Graver tells Gillick, even if it’s unclear how much Graver ever heeded the rules in the first place.

Where “Day of the Soldado” most succeeds is in the blur or maybe altogether disintegration of American altruism in a heinous fight. In one scene, Gillick switches from kidnapper to DEA agent by unhurriedly slipping on a government jacket, but not changing gun or even his seat.

Things go from dark to darker still, as “Day of the Soldado” sets its genre tale against the backdrop of Mexican migrants in a way that sometimes feels topical and sometimes exploitive. As grim as the world of “Sicario” is — and Sollima and Sheridan really wants us to know just how grim it is — there’s also a sentimental stab at redemption by way of the kingpin daughter (played by a very good Isabela Moner), who ends up in a desert trek with Gillick.

Still, there’s a mean potency to the borderland noir of both “Sicario” films, enough that it sometimes recalls another tale of explosions and drug enforcement agents on both sides of the border: Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil.”

“Day of the Soldado” is too sober and grim for the sweaty heat of “Touch of Evil.” But it has taken to heart one of its best lines: “All border towns bring out the worst in a country.”

“Sicario: Day of Soldado,” a Sony Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong violence, bloody images, and language.” Running time: 123 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

Knight fever: Bee Gees star becomes Sir Barry Gibb at palace

Singer and songwriter Barry Gibb talks with Prince Charlesm (left) during an Investiture ceremony to award a knighthood to Gibb, at Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday June 26. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

London (AP) — Bee Gee Barry Gibb has received a knighthood at Buckingham Palace, and says he hopes his late brothers Robin and Maurice are proud of him.

Gibb is the last surviving member of the fraternal trio whose falsetto harmonies and disco beats powered huge 1970s hits including “How Deep is Your Love,” ‘’Stayin’ Alive” and “Tragedy.” Maurice died in 2003 and his twin Robin in 2012.

After being knighted at the palace by Prince Charles on Tuesday, June 26, the 71-year-old songwriter said: “If it was not for my brothers, I would not be here.”

Gibb, who can now call himself Sir Barry, said the honor was “a bit surreal.” He said “it is a high award that your culture can give you and that is something I am enormously proud of.”

Joe Jackson turned his children into stars, but at a price

Joe Jackson (left) and his son Michael (right) are shown in this March 14, 2005 file photo. (AP Photo/ Carlo Allegri)

Nekesa Mumbi Moody

New York (AP) — Joe Jackson once had his own dreams of success. He tried to be a boxer and then played guitar with a group called The Falcons. But he realized early on that there was an overwhelming pool of musical talent in his children, particularly a little bright-eyed boy named Michael.

He channeled his ambition through them, creating one of the greatest pop vocal groups, The Jackson Five, and launched the career of one of entertainment’s greatest legends in Michael Jackson, as well as another superstar talent, daughter Janet.

Yet the legacy of Jackson, who died last week in Las Vegas at the age of 89, was steeped not only in the brilliant guidance of his children into the world’s premiere entertainment dynasty, but the iron fist with which he did it. Michael described beatings with the switch of a tree branch, and a fear so great of his father that he would sometimes vomit at the sight of him. His children called him Joseph — they weren’t allowed to call him by fatherly terms.

“You call me Joseph,’” Janet Jackson recalled her father telling her once when she called him dad.  “I’m Joseph to you.”

By the time they were all adults, his children severed professional ties to him, preferring to let others guide the careers he once nurtured.

Still, in times of turmoil, it was Joe that they continued to turn to. When Michael Jackson stood trial on allegations that he sexually abused a child (he was acquitted), it was Joe Jackson who was at his side on most days. Janet Jackson rationalized that her father wanted the best for his children, even if he didn’t go about it the right way.

Michael credited his father with making sure his children weren’t cheated by industry vultures, and noted that unlike some child stars, his parents didn’t take their children’s money to enrich themselves.

“I’d say we’re among a fortunate few artists who walked away from a childhood in the business with anything substantial — money, real estate, other investments. My father set all these up for us,” Jackson wrote in his 1988 autobiography. “But still I don’t know him, and that’s sad for a son who hungers to understand his own father. He’s still a mystery to me and may always be one.”

The relationship with many of his children never improved.  Janet Jackson said in a CNN interview in 2011 that she rarely spoke to her father, and by adulthood, they had severed ties with Jackson as their manager.

When Michael Jackson died of an overdose of the anesthetic propofol in 2009, he had been estranged from his father, and his bodyguards recall not allowing Joe Jackson in when he attempted to see the superstar at his estate.

In his own autobiography, Joe Jackson acknowledged being a stern parent, saying he believed it was the only way to prepare his children for the tough world of show business. But he denied many of the claims of physical abuse.

After 4,000 episodes, a halt for Jerry Springer’s show

TV talk show host Jerry Springer is shown in this Jan. 16, 2014 file photo. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

David Bauder

New York (AP) — Somehow it doesn’t seem right for Jerry Springer to exit quietly.

There should be one last thrown chair or a bleep-filled tirade, at the very least. Instead, it was announced with no fanfare recently that he will stop making new episodes of his memorably raucous talk show, and neither Springer nor his bosses will talk about it.

Producers said “there is a possibility” that more original episodes could be ordered sometime in the future but, since they wouldn’t answer questions, it’s not known how serious that possibility is.

At its heyday in the 1990s, Springer’s show challenged Oprah Winfrey for U.S. daytime television supremacy with TV studios filled with seething spurned lovers, gender fluid guests before that was a term and pretty much anyone who was spoiling for a fight. It even provoked serious end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it talk.

Springer, a former Cincinnati mayor who realized he had to do something to distinguish himself in a competitive market, was the low-key ringmaster who didn’t take himself too seriously and let you know he was in on the joke.

During an interview with The Associated Press at his show’s 25th anniversary three years ago, Springer said that anyone could do his job if they learned three phrases: “You did what?” ‘’Come on out!” and “We’ll be right back.” He presided over 4,000 episodes.

Some of his shows last month illustrated that the formula hadn’t changed much: “Stripper Sex Turned Me Straight,” ‘’Stop Pimpin’ My Twin Sister,” ‘’My Bestie is Stalkin’ You,” ‘’Hooking Up With My Therapist” and “Babes with Baguettes.”

After more than 4,000 episodes, it’s hard for things to register on the outrage meter. Between reality television and the verbal slugfests of cable television news, there are plenty of places viewers can turn for experiences that fill the role that Springer once did.

“He was lapped not only by other programs but by real life,” said David Bianculli, a television historian and professor at Monmouth University.

At this point, asking to talk about Springer’s legacy is a little like commenting on an obituary for someone you forgot was alive, he said.

June 30, 2018 - July 6, 2018

Film Review: Family fun and insight in sprightly ‘Incredibles 2’

This image released by Disney Pixar shows a scene from “Incredibles 2”. (Disney/Pixar via AP)

Lindsey Bahr

Los Angeles (AP) - “The Incredibles” writer/director Brad Bird has said that his characters’ powers are all born of stereotypes. Dad is strong, mom is stretched in a million directions, teenage girls put up shields, little boys are full of boundless energy and babies are unpredictable. It’s why he decided that for the sequel, “Incredibles 2 ,” a buoyant and quick-witted romp, he’d pick up right where we left off, in that parking lot after Dash’s track meet where a new threat emerges from underground. No matter that in reality, 14 years had actually passed. Animation is not bound by time or aging actors.

For the rest of us, however, 14 years is still 14 years. And in the past 14 years, the business of Hollywood has become the business of superhero movies.

It’s hard to remember a time when there weren’t a dozen a year. But when “The Incredibles” came out in 2004, they were still a bit of an anomaly at the multiplex — its cheeky, mockumentary realism, its jokes about capes, secret identities, “monologue-ing” and the dangers of toxic, obsessive fandom was the perfect introduction (and indoctrination) to superheroes for those who couldn’t care less. Pixar magic made superhero believers out of the skeptics. And by 2008, we all thought, sure, let’s see about this Tony Stark fellow and someone called Iron Man.

In “Incredibles 2,” it seems like Bird himself is wrestling with a culture he helped facilitate — not totally dissimilar to what Steven Spielberg did earlier this year in “Ready Player One.” But instead of nostalgia on trial, it’s superheroes and screens.

The villain here is called Screenslaver, who uses screens to hypnotize anyone watching. It’s both the most retro plan of all (keeping with Bird’s love of the 60s aesthetic) and still somehow utterly modern. Annoyed by how blindly and wholly consumerist everyone has become at the mercy of screens and simulated experiences in lieu of real ones, from movies to video games, Screenslaver has set out to end that, and squash Municiberg’s dependence on and obsession with superheroes. As with the first, there are a million ideas at play here (not a flaw, by the way), including evolving family dynamics.

Most of the original voice cast has returned, including Craig T. Nelson as Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible, Holly Hunter as Helen Parr/Elastigirl, Bird as Edna Mode, Sarah Vowell as Violet Parr and Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone (the only slight change in the main players is that Dash Parr is now voiced by Huck Milner).  And once again, superheroes are still on shaky ground in Municiberg and are put on ice after the Parr family accidentally damages some public property while trying to take down a criminal.

But a wealthy heir and superhero appreciator Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his tech savvy sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) have a plan to rehabilitate their image. Right now, the public only sees the destruction. The Deavors propose outfitting superheroes with body cams to get exciting footage of their feats.

“Incredibles 2” provides a bit of a corrective on a micro level to the first film’s gender politics by sending mom off to work and making dad stay home (although wasn’t that a little antiquated 35 years ago?). The animation is also a heck of a lot better. “The Incredibles” looks downright primitive and even a tad ugly in retrospect.

Although it gets off to a slow start, ultimately it’s also quite a bit of fun, from the absurd (Jack Jack’s burgeoning powers) to the grounded (Dad helping Dash with his math homework or trying to make up for getting in the way of Violet’s date and embarrassing her even further in the process).

Like “Ready Player One,” however, “Incredibles 2,” kind of loses the thread by the end. A villain is a villain no matter how salient their point, and Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and their offspring are our heroes and thus we must root for them even while thinking that Screenslaver might be on to something.

It’s still fun to watch smart storytellers like Bird working within the system and using his platform to self-evaluate or comment on what’s going on, even if the conclusion is a little flimsy. Bird could have easily just brought back his lovable characters, leaned on Jack Jack’s antics and cashed in the check. It makes the effort and care here seem even more incredible.

“Incredibles 2,” a Walt Disney Pictures release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for “action sequences and some brief mild language.” Running time: 118 minutes. Three stars out of four.

‘Fun, Fun, Fun:’ Beach Boys team up with Royal Philharmonic


Beach Boys musicians Mike Love (left) and Bruce Johnston (right) talk during an interview at Spiritland in London, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Gregory Katz

London (AP) - Summer is coming and the season in Britain is being marked by a return to the airwaves of the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” with a new version featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The raucous teenage classic has been reborn with a classical twist, one of 16 Beach Boys tunes given a new lease on life on a CD recorded at Abbey Road, a London landmark forever associated with another great ’60s band, the Beatles.

Beach Boys singer Mike Love seems somewhat mystified by the continuing appeal of tunes he helped pen with cousin and fellow Beach Boy Brian Wilson more than five decades ago.

“They’re playing ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ on the radio these days, which is great,” says Love, who was in Britain for days of live performances. “Brian and I wrote that years and years ago. I said, Brian, ‘we ought to do a song about a girl who borrows her dad’s car and goes cruising in it rather than to the library.’”

The slightly preposterous song (romance develops after the girl’s father takes her Thunderbird away) had a first life as a hit, a second spell as a nostalgic encore at hundreds of Beach Boys concerts, and now a third incarnation that combines the band’s early sound with a premier orchestra.

“They’ve done a great job of honoring the original vocal performances and complementing them with the orchestrations,” said Love.

The project has been approved by all the surviving Beach Boys, including Brian Wilson, who had recently been embroiled in bitter lawsuits with Love. Brian’s two brothers — Carl and Dennis Wilson — have both died.

Brian Wilson is not touring with the current incarnation of the Beach Boys — he’s been concentrating on solo projects for some 20 years — but he sees the Philharmonic project as validation of his belief that classic compositions like “Good Vibrations” are “pocket symphonies.”

“I always knew the vocal arrangements I did back in the 1960s would lend themselves perfectly for a symphony,” he said in a statement. “I am both proud and humbled by what they have created using our songs.”

The album, released this month, is already the Beach Boys highest charting album in Britain in 28 years. The Royal Philharmonic has had success with this approach before, releasing earlier albums “with” Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Aretha Franklin.

Producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick use the orchestra to set the stage with dramatic introductions to well-known songs, then add bits and pieces to highlight key passages, but they don’t play with the vocal tracks or alter the mood of the songs.

For Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, the reworking of his “Disney Girls” — a nostalgic paean to growing up in the 1950s — is a revelation that breathes new life into a song he wrote for the band’s 1971 album, “Surf’s Up.”

“They brought a dream to life,” he said. “I never thought ‘Disney Girls’ would ever get this treatment. I couldn’t even imagine it this way. It’s a surprise.”

Sons of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago face off in ‘Creed II’

Actor Michael B. Jordan is shown in this June 16, 2018 file photo. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Los Angeles (AP) — The sons of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago will pick up where their fathers left off more than 30 years ago.

MGM and Warner Bros. Pictures last week released the first trailer for “Creed II,” the sequel to the 2015 “Rocky” spinoff.

Michael B. Jordan returns as Adonis Creed, with Sylvester Stallone by his side as former heavyweight champ and trainer Rocky Balboa. In the trailer, Balboa warns Creed his opponent is dangerous.

Creed is training to box Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago, who killed Apollo Creed in “Rocky IV.” Romanian boxer and kickboxer Florian Munteanu plays Viktor.

“Creed II” is directed by Steven Caple Jr.

The eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise is scheduled to be in theaters Nov. 21.

Sridevi, ‘Jurassic World’ actor Khan win Indian film awards

The late actress Sridevi was honored at the Indian Film Academy Awards in Bangkok, Sunday, June 24. (AP Photo)

Bollywood actress Rekha poses on the green carpet at 19th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Bangkok, Sunday, June 24. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) — The late Sridevi was among Indian cinema performers honored at Bollywood’s biggest annual event, the International Indian Film Academy Awards that concluded last Sunday in Bangkok.

Sridevi received the best actress award for her final role, in the 2017 film “Mom,” in which she played a woman seeking vengeance after her stepdaughter is raped.

Bollywood’s leading lady of the 1980s and ’90s, Sridevi was described as the first female superstar in India’s male-dominated film industry. She accidentally drowned in February while in Dubai for a wedding.

The leading film coming into the event, “Tumhari Sulu,” took home the best picture prize. The story of a housewife who becomes a radio jockey had seven nominations.

Director Saket Chaudhary and actor Irrfan Khan won top awards for “Hindi Medium,” a tale of parents seeking a good education for their daughter. Khan, best known internationally for his role as the park executive Masrani in “Jurassic World,” has been undergoing treatment for neuroendocrine cancer.

Performers on Sunday included Rekha, who returned to the stage for the first time in 20 years. The 64-year-old star is known as Bollywood’s timeless beauty and has acted in more than 180 films.



Back to Main Page

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Film Review: In ‘Skyscraper,’ the Rock towers over action tropes

The B-52s are touring on their 40th anniversary - sort of

Producers plan movie about Thai cave rescue

Elvis Costello cancels tour dates after cancer surgery

Release of 5th ‘Indiana Jones’ movie pushed to 2021

Film Review: ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ punches above its weight

Jerusalem backlash casts shadow over Eurovision contest

Paul McCartney ready to release his 17th solo album

Peruvian restoration center rescues art from ruin

Ramayana performance in Myanmar celebrates diplomatic ties with Thailand

In ‘Day of the Soldado,’ an equally bleak ‘Sicario’

Knight fever: Bee Gees star becomes Sir Barry Gibb at palace

Joe Jackson turned his children into stars, but at a price

After 4,000 episodes, a halt for Jerry Springer’s show

Family fun and insight in sprightly ‘Incredibles 2’

‘Fun, Fun, Fun:’ Beach Boys team up with Royal Philharmonic

Sons of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago face off in ‘Creed II’

Sridevi, ‘Jurassic World’ actor Khan win Indian film awards

Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.