Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 9-15, 2010


China's record-setting blockbuster Aftershock is a disaster drama, chronicling a family torn apart by the 1976 Tangshan earthquake.

Directed by Feng Xiaogang (Assembly, The Banquet), it's an epic tearjerker, following characters over the decades from 1976 to the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

It broke box-office records last month, earning 532 million yuan ($78.6 million).

Aftershock is China's first commercial IMAX movie – a first by a studio outside of North America – however the local release won't be in the IMAX format. It's at Apex and House in Mandarin with English and Thai subtitles. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Resident Evil: Afterlife – Director Paul WS Anderson and his leading-lady wife Milla Jovovich return for a fourth outing of this action-horror franchise inspired by a video game. Milla again plays Alice, the genetically enhanced warrior woman and survivor of a viral zombie apocalypse unleashed on the world by the Umbrella Corporation. Picking up from the ending of 2007's Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice has made her way from Nevada desert up to Alaska, where a ragtag group of survivors have fled, in hopes of finding a land untouched by the T-Virus mutation. She gets in a plane and flies it to Los Angeles, where she finds more survivors and leads them on an attack on Umbrella's underground headquarters. Mother-to-be Ali Larter also returns as Claire, the plucky leader of the band of resistance fighters, along with Sienna Guillory. Wentworth Miller joins the cast as Claire's brother, leading the LA cell. It's in 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX. Rated 15+.

We Are Family – Writer-producer Karan Johar offers the Bollywood remake of the 1998 Hollywood family comedy-drama Stepmom, with Kajol in the Susan Sarandon role of the devoted mother of three children. She's divorced from her husband (Ed Harris in the original, Arjun Rampal here), who has a new career-oriented girlfriend (Kareena Kapoor taking the Julia Roberts role). It's showing at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) on Friday at 8.30pm and Sunday at 7.30pm and at Major Cineplex Rama III on Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm. For more details, call Bollywood Thai at 089 488 2620.

Also showing

Agrarian Utopia (สวรรค์บ้านนา, Sawan Baan Na) – Uruphong Raksasad directs this beautiful, highly acclaimed experimental documentary on the hardships of rice farming. The director hired two families to tend a plot of land in his native rural Chiang Rai Province, setting the stage for real-life hardships with no script. The film pulls no punches as it depicts the challenges the families face as they try to plant their crop with a stubborn buffalo, and work in all kinds of weather, from blistering heat, shivering chills and intense downpours, all captured on high-definition video camera, to brilliant, jaw-dropping effect. Part of Extra Virgin's Director's Screen Project, Agrarian Utopia is playing at SFX the Emporium until September 29 at around 7 nightly with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2. Rated 15+

Doc Fest – Thai and international documentaries will be shown this weekend at Chulalongkorn University. The new and classic Thai selection includes The Rocket from Agrarian Utopia director Uruphong Raksasad, Home Video (Made in Thai Town) by Sompot Chidgasornpongse, The Mother Wanna Go to Carrefour by recent Thai Short Film & Video Fest winner Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit and In Between, the 2006 short doc by Baby Arabia directors Kong Rithdee, Panu Aree and Kaweenipon Ketprasit. The international selection includes Afghan Star, Modern Life, Blindsight and Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One. The fest is in Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Communication Arts, Dr Thiem Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 8pm.

Cabaret Balkan: Rarely Seen Films from the Balkans – The film series continues on Sunday with two 1960s Romanian films. First up is Reconstruction, a 1968 drama in which two students are made to re-enact a drunken brawl as part of a disciplinary action by a prosecutor, a policeman and a teacher. Next is A Bomb Was Stolen, the debut live-action film by animator Ion Popescu-Gopo. It's a low-tech sci-fi Cold War comedy. The movies are at Thammasat University Tha Prachan, in the Pridi Banomyong Library's Rewat Buddhinun Room, U2 Floor. The shows start at 12.30. The movies are on DVD. Admission is free. You'll have to inform the library staff you're watching the movies and let them copy your ID. Call (02) 613 3529 or (02) 613 3530 or visit the DK Filmhouse blog for the complete lineup.

Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue – Ali, Kouka, Omar and Boubker are street kids in Casablanca. They sniff glue to escape the harsh reality. However, the boys must face that reality when a rival gang intrudes on their turf and kills Ali. Rather than abandoning their friend, the three survivors decide to give their friend a burial fit for a king. It's showing on Wednesday, September 15 at 7:30pm at the Alliance Francaise, with English subtitles. Admission is free.

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