Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 29-May 4, 2009

Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. suits back up in Iron Man 2 for another go as billionaire eccentric playboy weapons developer Tony Stark.

"I am Iron Man," Tony has admitted.

Now the government wants to get its hands on the super suit he's built.

Meanwhile, there's Mickey Rourke with a bad accent. He harbors a grudge against Stark and has a wall of newspaper clippings to feed that grudge. As Whiplash, he devises a powerful weapon based on Stark's technology and uses it against him.

Lurking around is Scarlett Johansson who lost so much weight she's barely visible in her tight catsuit. She plays a Russian spy named Black Widow.

And also new to the cast is Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, an oily rival arms manufacturer who is Stark's nemesis.

In the first film, it was Terence Howard looking longingly at an Iron Man suit and saying "next time, baby." But this time it's Don Cheadle who gets to suit up as Tony's best friend, Air Force Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, and wear the armor as War Machine.

Also returning is Gwyneth Paltrow, playing Tony's right-hand woman Pepper Potts. Samuel L Jackson, seen in the surprise ending of the first film, is back as Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jon Favreau again directs, bringing his breezy Swingers sensibility to the big-budget of a superhero movie. Justin Theroux, who wrote the war-movie satire Tropic Thunder, which Downey co-starred with Ben Stiller, is brought aboard as a writer.

Early critical reaction is mixed to favorable. And it should go without saying that Iron Man 2 has a "surprise" tag ending, so keep your butt planted during the credits. Also at IMAX. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Kon Thai Ting Pandin (คนไท ทิ้งแผ่นดิน, The Edge of the Empire) --This historical epic from the Kantana studios delves into the legendary ancestors of Thais -- the Tai people of southern China in the 8th century AD and their battles against Han domination. In production for more than three years, most of the time has been spent polishing the film with loads of computer-graphic imagery, including realistic butterflies, spraying blood and digital backdrops that transform Kantana Movie Town in suburban Bangkok into the mountainous southern China of 1,200 years ago. The movie is directed by industry veteran Nirattisai “Ta” Kaljareuk, He cameos as the beardstroking Han emperor. The screenplay by Ari Jinthapanichakal is based on a bestselling novel by Sanya Phonbhrasit, winner of the John F Kennedy Award for Literature in 1973. Expertly capturing the sweeping, cinematic frames as director of photography is British filmmaker Paul Spurrier. The spectacular results are let down by overly melodramatic acting from the young cast of TV stars, exceptions being the top villain, played by Prapadon Suwannabang. Other stars include Than Thanakorn, Sara Legge, Awain Muangawan, Arnuz Lapanich, Lalisa “Tik” Sontirod, Khemchair Kamutchart, and, in a disappointingly brief appearance, Yuenyong “Ad Carabao” Opakul. Check out the trailer at YouTube. Opened Wednesday. Rated 18+.

Kheaw Aa-Kaard (The Intruder) -- Vengeful reptiles terrorize residents of an apartment building that was built in the Nong Ngoo Hao (Cobra Swamp) area east of Bangkok where Suvarnabhumi Airport is today. Kwankao Sawetwimol, Akara Amartayakul and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk are among the stars in this ensemble-cast thriller produced by Poj Arnon. At least a couple of the cast were actually bitten in the making of this movie, though no snakes were harmed. "James" Thanadol Nualsuth and "Ping" Thammanoon Sakulbunthanom direct. Check the trailer at YouTube to see if you are up for this.

Housefull -- The BollywoodThai boys are back in business after a couple months' hiatus. They bring another new-release Bollywood comedy to Bangkok the same weekend it's opening in Mumbai. Akshay Kumar stars in Housefull as an unlucky guy. He dates three women, hoping to find his one true love but marries all three. Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta and Jiah Khan also star. At Major Cineplex Central Rama III on Friday at 8, Saturday at 5 and 8, Sunday at 4 and 7 and at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit on Monday at 7.45. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Take note

This week, the FCCT-NETPAC Asian Film Festival was to open with Mr. and Mrs. Iyer from India, but it has again been indefinitely postponed "due to unforeseen circumstances."

The red-shirt political protests are continuing at the Rajprasong intersection.

CentralWorld shopping center continues to be shut down, removing 15 screens from the central Bangkok cinema equation.

Other shopping centers in the area have reduced hours, which are decided on a day-by-day basis.

Some cinemas, such as Siam Square's Apex chain, won't screen a flick if you're the only customer. Others, like Century, will sell you the ticket but might ask you to see another movie is no one else shows up.

I'm told they need at least three to make it worthwhile, so find some friends when you are planning your movie outings.

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