Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 12-18, 2010

Toy Story 3

The beloved Disney-Pixar animated franchise comes to a close with Toy Story 3.

The toys' owner Andy is headed off to college. His mother gives him a choice: Either box the toys up and put them in the attic or throw them all away.

Either option causes distress for the cowboy Woody, his Space Ranger buddy Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang, though they've known all along that Andy's growing up was inevitable and they should have been prepared for this day.

A mix-up has the toys delivered to a day-care center, where things take a dark turn.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return to voice Woody and Buzz Lightyear respectively with Joan Cusack again doing duty as rootin', tootin' cowgirl Jessie. John Ratzenburger again voices the know-it-all piggy bank Ham, and Don "Hockey Puck" Rickles is back as Mr. Potatohead.

New to the cast are Michael Keaton as a Ken doll, Timothy Dalton as a British hedgehog toy named Mr. Pricklepants and Ned Beatty as a grandfatherly teddy bear and leader of the day-care gang.

As with the first two Toy Story movies, critical reception is overwhelmingly positive, but with critics saying it falls just short of the perfection the earlier entries achieved. Kids may find some things disturbing, but adult fans of the series won't be able to hold back the tears.

It's in 3D in some cinemas, including Imax. Rated G.

Also opening

First Love (สิ่งเล็กๆ ที่เรียกว่า...รัก, Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk, or literally "a little bitty thing called ... love") – Mario Maurer is 21 years old, but the Love of Siam star can't seem to get away from being cast as a schoolboy. Here he's the heartthrob of the school and crush object of a rather plain schoolgirl (Pimchanok Luevisetpaibool). A makeover is needed. So ditch the schoolgirl uniform and maybe the glasses. But she could also wipe that dumb look off her face, or else it'll freeze like that. Sudarat "Tukky" Butrprom plays a teacher who's trying to catch the eye of the gym teacher. This teen romance is a co-production of Sahamongkol Film International and TV production house Workpoint. Putthiphong Promsakha na Sakon Nakhon and Wasin Pokpong direct. Rated G.

Luangphee Teng 3 Roon Ha Khayao Lok (หลวงพี่เท่ง 3 รุ่นฮา เขย่าโลก) – Phranakorn Film's hit monastic comedy series started in 2005 with comedian Teng Terdterng playing a former street hood who seeks to redeem himself as a monk. He joins a down-at-the-heels temple in a small town and faces all kinds of new situations in helping the locals deal with their problems. It was the biggest box-office hit of the year. The series continued in 2008, with rapper Joey Boy taking over the lead role, playing a monk who preaches in a rapid-fire style, energizing the disadvantaged residents of a rural area. Now comes singer-actor Krissada "Noi Pru" Sukosol Clapp, who is known for taking on challenging film roles. But here it doesn't seem to be much of a stretch for the 13 Beloved leading man, as he plays a rock star named Noi who enters the monkhood. As a new and somewhat rebellious monk, he has to deal all kinds of new situations. Chalermpon “Jack Fan Chan” Thikampornteerawong, Natee Ekvijit (Oui from the rock band Budda Bless) and veteran comedian Der Doksadao also star. Musician Ad Carabao rides in on his Harley to help out. As always, Bumrer “Note Chernyim” Phonginsee directs. Rated 13+.

Also showing

Mundane History (เจ้านกกระจอก, Jao Nok Krajok) – Playing as part of Extra Virgin's Director's Screen Project, director Anocha Suwichakornpong's family drama is loaded with symbolism as it comments on Thai society as well as life, the universe, and, well, everything. The story is about a young man who's been paralyzed in an accident. He's the scion of a well-to-do Bangkok family. The dad is cold and distant, too busy with his work to care much. He hires a male nurse for his son. The two are ill at ease – the rich kid because he's bitter about having to waited on hand and foot, and the nurse because he comes from upcountry and is ill-equipped to deal with the way his new patient looks down on him. The film is made unique by a non-linear structure, which gives it a jagged, jazz-like feel that's enhanced further by an alternative-rock soundtrack by the bands Furniture and the Photo Sticker Machine. Mundane History has been winning lots of awards, most recently the Grand Prix at the Era New Horizons International Film Festival in Poland. It screens until September 1 at SFX the Emporium, with nightly screenings at around 7 and additional Saturday and Sunday matinees at around 2. The showtimes are not fixed exactly, so check the SF website or Extra Virgin's calendar for the latest timings. Every Saturday, there's special activities, with a director's Q&A after the evening show. Rated 20-.

Aisha – Sonam Kapoor stars as a precocious, presumptuous Delhi socialite who plays matchmaker for all her friends. It's adapted from Jane Austen's "Emma". Here's a review. In Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Central Rama III on today at 4, on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

The Adventure of Sudsakorn – The late animator Payut Ngaokrachang's seminal animated feature is based on an episode from Phra Aphai Mani, a 30,000-line epic poem by Sunthorn Phu, and depicts the fantastic adventures of the young son of a mermaid and a minstrel prince. It's screening at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, at 11am every Sunday until October 3. Call (02) 482 2013-14, ext 111.

Time of the Gypsies – Emir Kusturica's 1998 film tells the story of Perhan, a Gypsy teenager with telekinetic powers and his passage from boy to man that starts in a little village in Yugoslavia and that ends in the criminal underworld of Milan. It's the 270-minute extended version and is part of a program by Duangkamol Film House, FilmVirus and Thammasat University Libraries Tha Prachan, Cabaret Balkan: Rarely Seen Films from the Balkans. It's showing at 12:30pm on Sunday in the the Rewat Buddhinun Room, U2 Floor, in the Pridi Banomyoung Library at Thammasat University, Tha Phra Chan. Admission is free. You'll have to inform the library staff of your film-viewing purpose and show an ID. Call (02) 613 3529, (02) 613 3530.

A tout de suite (Right Now) – Benoît Jacquot directs this 2004 drama, set in the mid-1970s, about a young upper-class woman who embarks on a life of crime after falling in love with a hoodlum. It's showing on Wednesday, August 18 at 7:30pm at the Alliance Francaise, which regularly shows French films on Wednesday nights, with English subtitles. Admission is free.

Who Killed Chea Vichea? – This 50-minute film's title asks a question it doesn't answer. This "documentary about an untrue story" does clearly sum up that the two men, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who were convicted of the murder of labor activist Chea Vichea, didn't do it. So who pulled the trigger on January 22, 2004, when Chea was gunned down at a newsstand in Phnom Penh's Wat Langka neighborhood? Fingers seem to point at top police officials, cronies of self-proclaimed strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen. Bradley Cox worked over the course of five years to make this depressing and damning portrait of Cambodia, a country that despite decades of international aid, cannot break free of the rule of lawless thuggery that has dominated the so-called democracy since the end of the genocidal Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s. The voices of dissent are stifled by intimidation. Their absence is even more incriminating. And to prove that point, the Cambodian government has banned Who Killed Chea Vichea? and says it intends to stop screenings of the film “wherever they are held". But, after a kerfuffle involving scheduling, it was shown at the recent Phuket Film Festival, and it'll be shown again at 8pm on Wednesday, August 18, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. Cox and Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Right Watch's Asia Division, will be present for a Q&A session.

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