Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening May 27-June 2, 2010

Sin Sisters 2

After finally seeing the release of his studio-banned 2003 katoey sports horror-comedy Phee Tum Tim (ผีตุ๋มติ๋ม) last year, Sukij Narin now follows up his controversial cult-hit 2002 sex comedy Sin Sisters (ผู้หญิง 5 บาป, Phu Ying Ha Bap) with Sin Sisters 2.

No longer hindered by police censorship, Sukij seeks to take full advantage of Thailand's new motion-picture ratings system and make the movie he presumably wanted to make eight years ago.

Sin Sisters 2 has the rather dubious distinction of being the first commercially released Thai film to receive the 20- rating (unofficially stated as 20+) . This is the only restricted rating in the system, with I.D. checks at the theater supposed to be mandatory.

Previous 20- releases include Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (the first) and Anocha Suwichakornpong's Mundane History (yet to be commercially released in Thailand – it had a festival screening only).

The premise of Phu Ying Ha Bap 2 is roughly the same as the first -- five saucy women confess the sexual secrets they are least proud of. Only here, instead of sitting around in an apartment as in the first film, there are five women being held captive under torturous conditions by a mysterious person who urges them in a devilish voice to spill their secrets. It all looks rather exploitive, in a "Women in Prison" sort of way.

With the censorship panel being beefed up, it's anybody's guess whether more films like this will be allowed.

There's an English-subtitled trailer at YouTube.

It appears to only be playing at SF Cinemas. Rated 20-


Hrithik Roshan stars in this Western-flavored Bollywood hit as Jay, a Hindi dance teacher in Las Vegas who's about to marry the daughter of a casino owner. In the past, Jay had a business of marrying immigrant women so they could get their permanent resident permit – popularly known as the green card.

It turns out Jay's future brother-in-law is about to marry one of Jay's past clients, a Mexican woman portrayed by Bárbara Mori. The brother-in-law is abusive and Jay wants to save the woman. Sparks fly and the star-crossed lovers have to go on the run.

Kangana Ranaut, Kabir Bedi and Nicholas Brown also star.

Shot on location in Las Vegas and the southwest American desert, Kites became the first Bollywood movie to crack the top 10 on the U.S. and Canada box-office chart when it opened last weekend.

Critical reception is mixed, leaning to favorable.

It's playing at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit on Friday at 5 and at Major Cineplex Rama III on Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Take note

Following the deadly May 19 crackdown on the red-shirt political protesters, a curfew remains in effect through Friday night, from midnight to 4am on Saturday morning, and there is much uncertainty and worry that Thailand's CRES state-of-emergency overlords might extend the curfew through the weekend and maybe next week.

The reduced hours are curtailing movie-going. In order to give cinema staffs the time to clean up, close down and make it home before midnight, the last shows start at around 6pm. This doesn't leave much flexibility when planning a night out at the movies. And if you stay out too late, there's the danger of getting caught out by extortionist taxi drivers.

Likely because of the curfew, it's a bit of a slow week at the cinemas, with only one new wide release for the multiplexes. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was due to open this week, but it's been postponed until June 10.

Good news is the cinemas around Siam Square have reopened – with the exception of the Siam (long live the Siam).

The Apex circuit's Lido and Scala are open, says the man who always answers the phone at the Lido.

Paragon Cineplex has re-opened and the Krungsri IMAX is offering 100 baht tickets on Iron Man 2: The IMAX Experience, with some action scenes filmed in the larger IMAX format. The IMAX is also playing the 3D Shrek Forever After, but you'll have to pay full price to see it.


I'll buy tickets for the first two people to meet me at Siam Square's Lido cinemas on Sunday, May 30, for the 4.30 screening of A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.

I've been trying to see it since it opened in Bangkok in early April, but the red-shirt protests prevented that from happening.

Directed by Zhang Yimou, who's better known for his lavish and sweeping Chinese historical dramas like, Raise the Red Lantern and Hero, A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop is a comedy. Also called A Simple Noodle Story, it's a remake of the Coen Brothers' 1985 debut, Blood Simple, transplanting their story from 1980s Texas to the dust-blown Chinese desert of 100 years ago.

I'll likely be hanging out at the coffee stall in the cinema lobby. Come out and see a movie with me, reclaim Bangkok's classic cinemas and if you're lucky, you might get in free.

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