Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 2-8, 2010

The Social Network

Already being tipped as one of the year's best movies, with pundits predicting Oscar nominations, with The Social Network director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have crafted a breezy but brutal look at the start-up of Facebook and its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who became the youngest billionaire in history at the cost of alienating his friends and would-be business partners and having his reputation dragged through the mud.

Adapted from The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, the movie features the rapid-fire dialog that's a trademark of Sorkin and his TV drama The West Wing. So much needs to be said, that everyone has to speak 10,000 words a minute. English subtitles on the Thai theatrical release would be helpful.

None of the characters in this movie are particular;y likable. As portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, Zuckerberg is a cold-hearted, selfish SOB – quite the opposite of the sunny portrait that is his profile pic on Facebook.

"You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd," Erica Albright, the girl who inspired Zuckerberg's fit of drunken website coding, tells him. "And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

Andrew Garfield, who'll be starring in the Spider-Man reboot, plays Facebook's founding CFO Eduardo Saverin, who garners the most sympathy as Zuckerberg takes his money and runs the website how he sees fit.

Justin Timberlake, as Napster founder and web entrepreneur Sean Parker, is another reprehensible character. And even he gets dumped on, as do the athletically and socially privileged Winklevoss twins (both played in typical Fincher sleight-of-hand technique by one actor, Armie Hammer.)

Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Cool Gel Attacks (Kradueb, กระดึ๊บ) – Loosely based on a story a few years ago of strange blue debris that fell from the sky, comedian-director Jaturong "Mokjok" Ornnorm comes up with this sci-fi/horror comedy about nasty alien slugs attacking a rural village. Feuding neighbors Jaturong and Jim Chuanchuen have to team up to survive. Nuttapong Chatpong and Patarasaya Kreusuwansiri also star. Rated G.

Kapi Ling Jor Mai Lork Jao (กะปิ ลิงจ๋อไม่หลอกจ้าว ) – The tradition of coconut growers and their trained monkey coconut pickers is mined for comedy in this family friendly comedy. Tong (Richard Ghaini) lives with his uncle (Thep Pho-ngam) and mischievous pet monkey on an idyllic coconut plantation by the sea. They put up a fight against a rich developer who wants to build wind turbines. Nitivat Cholvanichsir directs. And as if a cheeky macaque and a kid aren't enough laughs, Mum Jokmok, Kom Chuanchuen and "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom supply more comic relief. Rated G.

Yamada the Samurai of Ayothaya (ซามูไรอโยธยา) – This bare-chested fact-based action drama takes place during the early 15th century in Siam, when a samurai warrior named Yamada Nagamasa acquitted himself well in his service to the King and became a part of the Ayutthaya court. He was eventually given a lordship and appointed governor of a territory that today is Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand. Thailand-based Japanese actor Seki Oseki is in the lead role, with Kanokkorn Jaicheun and Sorapong Chatree among the cast. Nopporn Watin directs. Rated G.

The Next Three Days – Paul Haggis (Crash) directs this thriller starring Russell Crowe as a husband who'll stop at nothing to free his wife (Elizabeth Banks) after she's accused of murder. Liam Neeson also stars, playing a twisted sort-of Jedi master to Crowe's character, offering advice on how to plan the big jail break. Critical reception is mixed. At Apex Siam Square.

Also showing

Film Festival in Commemoration of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King's 83rd Birthday Anniversary – Short films and features are showing for free at SF World CentralWorld until Friday in this festival organized by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture of the Culture Ministry.

Four of the shorts are screening under the title of Hearth Weaving for Our King. Three of them are by recent honorees of the OCAC's Silpathorn Award for contemporary art, Nonzee Nimibutr, Pimpaka Towira and Aditya Assarat. The shorts are:

  • Six to Six, (เพลงชาติไทย, Pleng Chat Thai) by Aditya Assarat – Workers at an apartment building clean their master's top-floor room and idle about until 6pm and the National Anthem, thus marking the passage of another day in the Kingdom.
  • Terribly Happy (สุดสะแนน, Sudsanan), directed by Pimpaka Towira – A soldier on leave from duty in the Deep South returns to Udon Thani to find his girlfriend has taken up with a Westerner. Can the soldier learn forgiveness?
  • Superstitious (เกษตร ...ตะกอน, Kaset Ta Korn), directed by Nonzee Nimibutr – Adapted from Thanthawan Dok Nueng, a story by Senee Saowapong, about a farmer who plants a fast-growing genetically modified sunflower seed that villagers believe has magical powers. Their gathering of worship causes a disturbance on the farmer's land and eventually the police arrive to put a stop to it, on the grounds that the worshipers are terrorists.
  • The Greatest Love, (รักที่ยิ่งใหญ่) by Sirisak Koshpasharin and Pranpaporn Srisumanant – Childhood friends grow up in a rural farming village with an appreciation for the "sufficiency economy" theory. One of the young men enters politics, becomes corrupt and tries to convince the villagers to sell their land to a factory owner.

There are also two features:

  • The Ultimate Dream (ปิดทองหลังพระ ตอน ความฝันอันสูงสุด, Pid Thong Lung Phra), directed by Punyos Chinbuasuwan and Rames Leeraksithi – Veteran filmmaker Manop Udomdej produces this feature-length biographical drama about two heroes, a soldier, Captain "Khan" Thornit Srisuk, and a policeman, Captain "Tee" Krittikul Bunlue. Maj-Colonel Wannasak Sawasdi (Naresuan) and Sornram Theppitak star. The title refers to the act of placing gold leaf on the back of a Buddha statue – doing a good deed without expecting recognition.
  • 9 Mahasan Ong Rachan Palang Pan Din (๙ มหัศจรรย์ องค์ราชัน พลังแผ่นดิน), directed by Pam Rungsri – A compilation of short segments that celebrate the "nine miracles", including concepts about unity, music, art, sufficiency and the environment.

A 3D version of The Greatest Love, which combines live action and motion-graphic animation, screens by itself at 10.30 daily. The 2D version is screened with the other three shorts.

Tickets are at a table in the lobby of SFW CentralWorld. Check this spreadsheet for the schedule or visit the cinema website.

Break Ke Baad – Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone star in this nostalgic romance. They are childhood sweethearts, but then Deepika heads off to Australia. Will the lovers get back together? Critical reception is mixed. It's showing at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) tonight and Friday at 8 and at Major Cineplex Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4. Bollywood Thai is also showing the comedy Golmal 3 at Major Rama III at 4pm on Monday and the right-to-death melodrama Guzaarish at Major Sukhumvit on Monday at 7.30pm. Call (083) 488 2620.

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