Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening November 4-10, 2010

Due Date

Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis are mismatched traveling partners in Due Date, a road-trip comedy by director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) that's very much in the same vein as Trains, Planes and Automobiles, Midnight Run and Phillips' own Road Trip.

Downey plays a "highly strung father-to-be" who is forced to hitch a ride with a goofball aspiring actor (Galifianakis) and the bearded man's French bulldog.

Comic mishaps ensue.

Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, the RZA and Matt Walsh also star.

Critical reception so far is mixed.

Meanwhile, Phillips, Galifianakis and the rest of The Hangover crew are due in Bangkok soon to start shooting The Hangover 2. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Brown Sugar 2 (Namtan Daeng 2, น้ำตาลแดง 2) – Three more young indie directors offer short erotic tales in the second half of the six-film Brown Sugar series put together for Sahamongkol Film International by Baa-Ram-Ewe producers Prachya Pinkaew and Bandit Thongdee. Here, Surawat Chuphol offers Lum Prang, Prachya Lampongchat has Trisadee Bon Toh Arharn and Anurak Janlongsilp has Khurak Bon Dao Loke. Prangthong Changtham and Arthit Amornvej are an aunty and a nephew in Lum Prang, which delves into the dark side of sex, in which a story from the past comes to haunt the victim and sex is used as a bargaining tool. Anna Ris and Narisara Srisant are two friends in Trisadee, which deals with surrealism. Rapat Akenithiset and Weerachaisriwanik Wannikkul are a working woman and a working man in Khurak, looking for the meaning of real love. The trailer is at YouTube. Rated 18+.

Nam Pee Nong Sayong Kwan (น้ำ ผีนองสยองขวัญ) – Nang Nak leading lady Inthira Charoenpura goes from playing the ghost to being scared by them in this swimming-pool frightfest. She teams up with ubiquitous comedian and actor Jaroenporn On-lamai, a.k.a. Kohtee Aramboy, as well as Kom Chanchuen, and looks like she's having a blast working with these two funnymen. Sai Inthira portrays Mook, a competitive swimmer who has a phobia of water ever since there was an accident involving other members of her swim team. She is then befriended by a guy named Charlie (Kohtee) after she's hit by Charlie's car and develops amnesia. The two then start seeing ghosts everywhere. The trailer is at YouTube. Rated 15+.

Paranormal Activity 2 – More ghostly goings-on are caught on a home surveillance system in this follow-up to last year's viral low-budget hit thriller. Here, a ghost mom is intent on taking her baby. Critical reception is leaning toward positive. At Major Cineplex, Paragon, Esplanade and IMAX. Rated 13+.

Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage – Similar to Pixar's Finding Nemo, this computer-animated feature by Belgian director Ben Stassen follows a sea turtles 50-year journey around the world in which he witnesses the devastation being wrought on the oceans by humans. In 3D. Rated G.

Action Replayy – It's Diwali, one of India's biggest holidays, when traditionally a huge Bollywood box-office attraction will unspool, and this year's tentpole is a time-travel comedy featuring the superstar combination of leading man Akshay Kumar and mega-starlet Aishwarya Rai. It's a sort-of Back to the Future, with a young guy believing all his troubles will be fixed if he goes back in time to the 1970s and makes it so that his parents (Akshay and Aish) fell in love, instead of getting hitched in an arranged marriage. BollywoodThai screens this colorful comedy starting tonight (Thursday, November 4) at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit at 8, also Friday at 8 and then at Major Central Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4, back at Major Ekamai on Sunday at 7.30 and at SFX The Emporium on Monday at 8. Check or call (089) 488 2620.

Also showing

The Ugly American – Marlon Brando stars in this 1952 Cold War thriller based on a 1958 novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer about an idealistc U.S. ambassador in the fictional strife-torn Southeast Asian nation of Sarkhan, where he battles for hearts and minds against the communists. Interestingly, this film was shot in Thailand, and Thai statesman MR Kukrit Pramoj played the role of Sarkhan's Prime Minister Kwen Sai and later on became the 13th prime minister of Thailand. The screening is on Thursday night at the Jim Thompson Art Center's William Warren Library, and will be followed by a panel discussion by Mahidol University and Thammasat University lecturer Sirote Klampaiboon and film critic and writer Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn. They'll talk on how the film relates to today’s politics in Thailand. The program is part of Revisit the Jim Thompson Era, a current exhibition at the Jim Thompson Art Center, 6 Soi Kasemsan 2 off Rama I Road, opposite National Stadium. The film screening is in English with English subtitles, and the discussion will be in Thai. The show starts at 6 on Thursday, November 4.

World Film Festival of Bangkok – The eighth annual festival gets under way on Friday with an invitation-only gala opening and screening of the Thai indie film Eternity at Paragon Cineplex. The fest then begins in earnest on Saturday, screening around 150 features and shorts from all over the world. There are many highlights, including Cold Water of the Sea from Costa Rica, which won a Tiger Award at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam; the Taiwanese drama No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti, winner of four Golden Horse Awards this year; Insects in the Backyard, the debut feature by Thai indie director Tanwarin Sukhapiset; Au Revoir Taipei, a new romantic comedy from Taiwan and Crab Trap, Colombia's Oscar contender. The opening film, the arthouse drama Eternity screens again on Wednesday night at 5.40 at Paragon Cineplex with a Q&A afterward by filmmaker Sivaroj Kongsakul and his crew. Other highlights include a retrospective on French director Jacques Doillon and five of his films, among them his latest, The Three Way Wedding, and the New Turkish Cinema section with five features, including Honey by Semih Klaplanoglu. There's also Three Monkeys this year's Lotus Award recipient, Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The festival takes place this year in two venues, at Paragon Cineplex, where most of the films are in the digital format, and at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai), where the movies are on 35mm film and screen the multiplex's Cinema 3. Tickets are Bt100 and Bt50 for students. You can download the schedule from the festival website.

À côté – It's Documentary Film Month at the Alliance Française, and next Wednesday's screening is this 2007 work by Stéphane Mercurio in which she hangs around the men’s jail in Rennes, France, and its hostel for relatives – women, sometimes with their children, who wait for the visiting times when they can see their husbands, sons or brothers. It's showing on Wednesday, November 10 at 7:30pm and on Saturday, November 13 at the Alliance Française, with English subtitles. Take note that Juliette Binoche dans les yeux (Juliette Binoche: Sketches for a Portrait) will have an encore screening on Saturday, November 6, at 2 in the Media Lab. Admission is free.

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