Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening May 5-12, 2010

Ong-Bak 3

Picking up right where 2008's cliff-hanging Ong-Bak 2 left off, Tony Jaa is back in Ong-Bak 3 (องค์บาก 3) for another martial-arts rampage through ancient times, promising more fights, more opponents and more elephants.

Here's the plot:

The legend of Ong-Bak 3> begins after Tien (Tony Jaa) has lost his fighting skills and his beloved stepfather at the Garuda’s Wing cliff from the raid led by Jom Rachan (Saranyu Wonggrajang). Tien is brought back to life with the help from [childhood friends] Pim (Primrata Dechudom) as well as Mhen (Petchai Wongkamlao) and the Kana Khone villagers. Deep into the meditation taught by [the monk] Phra Bua (Nirutti Sirijanya), Tien finally is able to achieve [the martial-arts discipline of] Nathayut. His talents are put to the test again when his rivals including the Golden-Armored King’s Guard (Supakorn ‘Tok’ Kijusuwan), the mysterious killers in black, and Bhuti Sangkha (Dan Chupong) return for the final massive showdown.

More about the movie is explained in a recent Nation article. It's the second prequel to the gritty urban 2003 original that made Tony Jaa a cult martial-arts sensation.

Directed, written, produced and starring Tony Jaa, Ong-Bak 3 has been made with none of the fuss that attended Ong-Bak 2, which controversially became bogged down in financial disputes between Tony and his producers at Sahamongkol Film International and stressed Tony out so much he walked off the set was said to have retreated to a meditation cave deep in a forest.

The production got back on track when Tony's long-time mentor and action choreographer Panna Rittikrai, who had initially been kept at arm's length, was brought in to co-direct.

Ong-Bak 3, by the looks of of the trailer, is all Tony all the time.

And it hasn't been without troubles, though, with Tony lamenting that two of his pet elephants died after succumbing to injuries sustained during the filming.

Behind-the-scenes photos reveal Dan Chupong gingerly touching his nose with crew surrounding him. Looks like took a hard strike from the business end of a foot or elbow. But injured actors are nothing new to the "no wires, no CGI" movies of Tony Jaa.

Rated 18+.

Also opening

A Brand New Life -- French-Korean filmmaker Ounie Lecomte directs this partially autobiographical drama about a girl who is abandoned by her father in a South Korean orphanage. A Brand New Life has been picking up acclaim around the festival and awards circuit, winning a special mention at the Berlin Film Festival. It also won the Best Children's Feature Film honors at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Child actress Sae Ron Kim was a nominee for best newcomer at the Asian Film Awards. It recently played in the Tribeca and San Francisco festivals and won the narrative feature award in Sarasota. It's at House on RCA.

The Hole -- Having moved into a creepy old house with their single mother (Terri Polo), young brothers (Chris Massoglia and Nathan Gamble) discover a mysterious door in the floor of their basement. With the help of a neighbor girl (Haley Bennett), they explore the hole and find it leads to pretty frightening adventures. Bruce Dern also stars. It's directed by Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins), his first feature in six years. This apparently hasn't been released in the U.S. yet, so there's not much in way of critical reception except for a favorable review at Twitch. In 3D only. Rated 15+.

Take note

Movies are opening a day earlier this week because of the Coronation Day holiday, which this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of the coronation of His Majesty the King.

As of this writing on Wednesday morning, there was an offer on the table by the government in which elections would held in November.

At first, there were murmerings that the red-shirt anti-government protesters might go for it.

And in a glimmer of optimism, the Skytrain has announced it will resume ordinary service, operating from 6am to midnight after a couple weeks of reduced hours.

But the red shirts are as resolution as ever. Sticking to their demand that Parliament be dissolved, they are not about to pack up and abandon their Rajprasong Intersection stronghold.

So until you hear different, expect that the malls and cinemas around the area -- SF World at CentralWorld, EGV Metropolis, Paragon Cineplex and likely even the Apex chain in Siam Square -- will remain closed as long as the red shirts are occupying the streets.

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