Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 10-16, 2009

The Road

John Hillcoat, director of the bleak Outback western The Proposition, gets even more depressing with The Road, which is adapted from Cormac McCarthey's novel about life in a post-apocalyptic United States.

Viggo Mortensen stars, playing a father who with his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is walking the starkly abandoned highways and byways of America, looking for civilization among the ruins, which are mainly populated by nomadic bands of cannibals.

To play the role, Viggo whittled down his already lean frame by starving himself during production, confining himself to a diet of dark chocolate and a little red meat.

Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron also star. I'll be looking out for Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire) and Garret Dillahunt (Cromartie from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) in supporting roles.

Like The Proposition, music is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Critical reception, despite the film's punishing nature, is mostly positive. At SF cinemas. Rated 13+.

Pai in Love

Thai filmmakers have taken Paris, je t'aime and New York, I Love You to heart it seems. Now there's Pai in Love (ปาย อิน เลิฟ) -- six short films set in Pai, a tiny town in the mountains of northern Thailand that is a draw for foreign backpackers and Thai hipsters.

From what I understand, the six segments have been edited to form an ensemble romance story, similar to Love Actually. Here's a rundown of the six pieces:

  • Ong-Bak and Chocolate director Prachya Pinkaew's is Rak Ter Tee Soon, starring Leo Putt and Kanya Rattapetch.
  • Bang Rajan helmer Thanit Jitnukul directs Pai Postcard with "Guitar" Chayanun Ardpru and Suttírak Putsoonrot.
  • Actress Tak Bongkot Kongmalai makes her directorial debut with 3 Days of Hers, 3 Days of His, 3 Days for Us (3 วัน ของเธอ 3 วัน ของ เขา และ 3 วัน ของ เรา) starring Ray MacDonald and "Kratae" Supaksorn Chaimongkol.
  • Bandit Thongdee (Mercury Man, 4 Romances) directs Pee Sao Khrap starring "Boy" Pakorn Chadborirak and "Noo Jaa" Achiraya Peerapatkunchaya.
  • Love Sick by Dunyasit Niyomkul stars the original Bangkok Dangerous man Pawalit Mongkolpisit and "Niew" Patìda Atyatomwittayaa.
  • Sakchai Deenan (Sabaidee Luang Prabang) directs Postcard from Pai with men's magazine model "Run" Natthamonkarn Srinikornchot.
  • And Tittipong Chaisatìdee directs Secret (Kwaam Lap Kong Kwam Rak) with Noppan Boonyai, Pongam Panatju and Chalohton Prirat.

There's a trailer at YouTube. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Whip It -- It's Juno on skates. Ellen Page, the misfit pregnant teen from Diablo Cody's indie-quirk sensation last year, stars as a rebellious teenager in a small Texas town who's forced by her square-jawed mother (Marcia Gay Harden) to enter beauty pageants. She's far too hip for that. And clumsy. But she discovers plenty of poise and confidence when she straps on roller skates and becomes Babe Ruthless, a member of the Hurl Scouts, a mini-skirted, elbow-throwing women's roller-derby team. It's the directorial debut by Drew Barrymore, who also stars along with Kristen Wiig, Zoe Bell, Andrew Wilson, Daniel Stern and Jimmy Fallon. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's at House, Paragon and CentralWorld. Rated 13+.

The Founding of a Republic -- Celebrating 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, this epic piece of propaganda charts the ascendancy of the Communist Party and Mao Zedong, who is portrayed by Tang Guoqiang, a well-known Mainland TV star. There's a star-studded cast of around 200, including Andy Lau, Zhang Ziyi, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, some in cameos so brief you'll probably miss them. Rated G.

The Warrior and the Wolf -- This fantasy epic is set in ancient times in the Gobi Desert, where a warrior (Jo Odagiri) begins an affair with a woman (Maggie Q) from a tribe has mystical connections to wolves. It's by veteran Chinese helmer Tian Zhuangzhuang, who adapted the screenplay from a novel by Inoue
Yasushi. At the Lido.

The Fourth Kind -- Milla Jovovich stars in this fact-based thriller, playing a psychologist in an Alaskan town. She comes to believe that her patients are suffering trauma because they were abucted by aliens. Critical reception is overwhelmingly negative. Rated G.

Rocket Singh -- Salesman of the Year -- Bollywood's biggest star of the year, Ranbir Kapoor, stars in this comedy about a freshly-graduated young man whose marks in college bar him from entering the medical or engineering fields. So he takes a job in sales. At Major Cineplex Central Rama III on Friday and Saturday 8, Sunday at 4 and 7 and Monday at 8. Call (089)488 2620, (02) 225 7500 or visit

Also showing

British Film Festival -- Two screenings remain in this year's fest -- It's a Free World at 7 tonight and Looking for Eric at 7 on Friday night. Both are directed by Ken Loach. Free World is about a young London woman who starts an employment agency of migrant workers. Eric stars soccer great Eric Cantona as himself. He coaches a postman, also named Eric, through a crisis.

House on RCA is playing the Swedish vampire drama Let the Right One In at 5.30. It's the story of a bullied boy growing up in suburban Stockholm of the 1980s who is befriended by a 200-year-old child vampire. Admission is 80 baht.

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