Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 21-27, 2010

My Best Bodyguard

A veteran journalist investigating the spread of a new virus discovers that it’s the result of a pharmaceutical company’s experiments on human subjects. And now her life is in danger.

Princess Ubolratana stars, making her sophomore big-screen appearance following 2008's social drama Where the Miracle Happens.

Shahkrit Yamnarm plays a gunman, with Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue as a villainous pharmaceutical company executive.

A 10-minute preview of this action drama was shown at a Thai night gala during the Pusan International Film Festival, with favorable response. Rated 15+.

The Housemaid

Director Im Sang-soo remakes Kim Ki-young's revered 1960 classic South Korean drama, sexing things up for contemporary sensibilities.

The story is basically the same – a destructive, melodramatic love triangle forms between a maid, the master of the house and his wife.

This new Housemaid premiered in the Palme d'Or competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, with generally mixed reviews.

With Thai and English subtitles at the Scala and at Paragon Cineplex as part of the Bangkok Korean Film Festival (see below) until Wednesday. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore – Cats and dogs from rival spy organizations have to join forces when rogue feline agent Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler) plans to destroy the world. An all-star voice cast is behind the CGI-animated critters with the weirdly dead eyes. They include James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Wallace Shawn, Roger Moore, Joe Pantoliano and Michael Clarke Duncan. Critical reception is mostly negative, but it's probably a safe bet for family viewing compared to the other new releases this week. In 3D in some cinemas. Rated G.

The Last Exorcism – An evangelical minister has what he plans to be his last exorcism filmed in order to confess that all his jobs have been faked. But there's a hitch in that plan – the evil spirit inhabiting the body of a Louisania farmgirl is very real. Filmed in a documentary style by German director Daniel Stamm, this is co-produced by Eli Roth, the maker of the slasher-horror thriller Hostel (he also starred in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds). Critical reception is mostly positive, with the consensus being that while it "doesn't fully deliver on the chilly promise of its Blair Witch-style premise, but The Last Exorcism offers a surprising number of clever thrills." At SF cinemas and the Lido. Rated 18+.

Also showing

Bangkok Korean Film Festival – Seventeen South Korean films will screen in the first Bangkok Korean Film Festival at Paragon Cineplex from October 21 to 27. The Housemaid, opening this week in Bangkok for a limited run, is part of the festival, alongside such other recent hits South Korean films as the romance Beastie Boy, the comedy Our School ET (Our English Teacher) starring Lee Min Ho, the erotic movie Secret Love, horror in Death Bell and the documentary Tears in the Arctic. Another highlight is the romantic-comedy Acoustic, which premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival and stars Im Seul Ong from the boy band 2AM and Lee Jong Hyun and Kang Min Hyuk from the rock band CN Blue in their big screen debuts. It's about twentysomethings looking to music for their hopes, dreams and loves. Check the festival website for the schedule.

Phuket/Boy Genius/The Sigh – A collection of three shorts by Wonderful Town director Aditya Assarat closes the current leg of the Extra Virgin's Director's Screen Project. Commissioned as a tourism promotion, Phuket is actually a bittersweet tale of a South Korean actress (played by Lim Su-jeong) who is trying to take a vacation in Phuket, but is harried by phone calls and fans. She is rescued by the hotel's limo driver (veteran actor Sorapong Chatree, whose portrayal of the driver is a bit lonely and sad). Boy Genius and The Sigh are from 2005 and 2006 and humorously deal with filmmaking. The screenings are at the recently re-opened SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, with showtimes at around 7.30 daily and additional 2.30 matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.

European Union Film Festival – Nineteen movies from 16 European Union countries will be shown in the EU Film Festival at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until October 31. Tonight's opening reception and the screening of Loft, Belgium's 2008 box-office record setter, is by invitation only. Other highlights include such award-winners as Little Girl Blue from the Czech Republic, Letter to Father Jacob from Finland and Thesis from Spain. All are subtitled in English. Screenings are free, in the multi-purpose room on the ground floor of the BACC. Check the EU delegation website for more details. The festival will also be held in Chiang Mai, and you can check the Thomat Chiang Mai Film Blog for synopses.

On connaît la chanson (Same Old Song) – Alain Resnais directs this 1997 musical that's set in Paris, where six characters get caught up in a web of romantic and social confusion combined with mounting misunderstandings. It's showing on Wednesday, October 27, at 7:30pm at the Alliance Française, with English subtitles. Admission is free.

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