Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening June 10-16, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

It doesn't matter that Jake Gyllenhaal isn't Persian. The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time looks utterly ridiculous. A confusing wash of sand and CGI.

Can you tell I'm excited about seeing it?

The Brokeback Mountain star has bulked up considerably to play this swashbuckling role, based on a character in a video game. He's a prince, adopted at birth by the king with the intent of keeping the king's two sons from fighting over the throne. But things don't work out that way, and the adoptee prince is made a fugitive. He has the Dagger of Time, which gives him the power of going back just a little bit and take another stab at something that might have gone wrong.

Gemma Arterton is a princess, who's held captive by the prince and spends the whole movie whining at him.

Ben Kingsley smirks as he collects a paycheck from Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Alfred Molina gets one too.

Mike Newell (Love in the Time of Cholera, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) directs.

Critical reception is mixed, with consensus being "a suitably entertaining swashbuckler." Rated 13+.

Also opening

Letters to Juliet – Amanda Seyfried plays an aspiring magazine writer who discovers an unanswered letter to Shakespeare's Juliet in a stone wall in Verona, Italy. She tracks down the writer of the letter, who 50 years ago was a lovelorn woman, now a grandmother. She's played by Vanessa Redgrave. The reporter then teams up with the older woman on a trip across Italy to track down her heartthrob Lorenzo. Gael García Bernal, Daniel Baldock and Christopher Egan also star. Gary Winick (Bride Wars, 13 Going on 30) directs. Critical reception is mixed, saying it has "refreshingly earnest romantic charm, but it suffers from limp dialogue and an utter lack of surprises." At Major Cineplex, EGV, Paragon, Esplanade. Rated 15+.

Also opening

San Alai: Payut Ngaokrachang – The Thai Film Archive and the Thai Film Foundation will pay tribute on Saturday to the late pioneering animator Payut Ngaokrachang (ปยุต เงากระจ่าง), who died on May 27 at age 81. They will show his first animated short, 1955's Haed Mahasajan (เหตุมหัศจรรย์), about a distracted traffic cop, and his daughter, actress Nantana Ngaokrachang, will be there to make her hand-and-feet impressions in the cement outside the cinema. She's best known for her starring role in Cherd Songsri's 1977 classic romantic tragedy Plae Kao (The Old Scar). Her father had made his impressions, including a funny drawing, at the Sri Salaya in 2008. Payut is best known as "the Walt Disney of Thailand" for making the country's first animated feature, The Adventure of Sudsakorn, which was released in 1979. The annual Thai Short Film & Video Festival's animation prize is the Payut Ngaokrachang Award, a silver medallion designed by Payut himself. San Alai: Payut Ngaokrachang (In Memory of Payut Ngaokrachang) gets under way at 2.30 on Saturday. Poet Jiranan Pitpreecha will give a reading, there will be the movie screening and Nantana will make her impressions. It all runs until about 6. The Film Archive is easily reachable from Bangkok's Victory Monument on air-con bus 515. It's about a one-hour ride and the Film Archive (หอ ภาพยนตร์(องค์การมหาชน), Hor Pappayon (Onggan Mahachon)), identified by the bright yellow Thai Film Museum, is near the end of the line on Phuttamonthon Soi 5 in Salaya. Call (02) 482 2013-5 or (02) 482 1087-8.

Reality Filmmaker Showtime #1 – Electric Eel Films will have another session of its Reality Filmmakers Showtimes Season #1 on Friday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The project had 12 young filmmakers being mentored by experienced indie directors "Juke" Aditya Assarat, "Geng" Jakwaral Nilthamrong, Soraya Nakasuwan, Lee Chatametikool and Anocha Suwichakornpong. They'll show the resulting short, Dear Father (ฉันกับพ่อ, Chan Gap Por). Anocha and Chalida Uabumrungjit of the Thai Film Foundation will lead a talk about the project. It all starts at 5.30 on Friday in the fifth floor auditorum at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center.

Remember the Siam – The Lido multiplex in Siam Square has extended its benefit screeings of Japanese films to help the merchants whose shops were lost in the burning down of the Siam Theatre. They're showing Nobody Knows at 3.30 and Be With You at 8.15.

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