Thursday, December 9, 2010

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


A cult hit that's attracting acclaim like last year's thematically similar District 9, director Gareth Edwards' low-budget indie sci-fi thriller Monsters takes place six years after a NASA probe carrying alien biological samples crashed upon re-entry over Central America.

Giant alien life forms have taken over the jungles, and in an effort to contain the aliens, half of Mexico has been quarantined as an "infected zone" and the American and Mexican militaries are mobilized to repel them.

Into this situation ventures a photojournalist (Scoot McNairy), who's tasked by his wealthy employer with rescuing his daughter (Whitney Able), and escorting her through the infected zone.

Monsters has been nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Achievement in Production.

Critical reception is mostly positive, with the consensus that though "it doesn't quite live up to its intriguing premise ... [it's] a surprising blend of alien-invasion tropes, political themes and relationship drama."

It's playing at House, Paragon and SFW CentralWorld. Rated 15+.

Also opening

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and their annoying cousin Eustace Scrubb are whisked away to the fantasy land of Narnia for this third adaptation of the C.S. Lewis book series. This time they are sucked into a painting of a sailing ship, and they join King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the crew of the Dawn Treader on a voyage to find seven lords who were banished by Caspian's evil uncle. Simon Pegg is featured as the voice Reepicheep, the swashbuckling mouse. Tilda Swinton makes a cameo as Jadis. Michael Apted directs, taking over from Andrew Adamson, who helmed the first two Narnia movies. With the movie just coming out worldwide this week, critical consensus so far is mixed. Rated G.

Takers – This heist drama is basically Heat reheated with a younger cast – Matt Dillon in the Al Pacino role of a determined cop and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire) in the Robert DeNiro role as the leader of a group of high-stakes thieves and Paul Walker playing Val Kilmer's right-hand man. They're joined by Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy and Chris Brown. They are put onto a armored-car hold-up by a former member of the gang (rapper T.I), who's out of prison and looking for payback. Zoe Saldana also stars as the ex-con's former girlfriend who's since taken up with another member of the gang. I actually saw this in Singapore a few months back, and it's okay even if its highly derivative. Critical reception is mostly negative. Rated 15+.

Bruce Lee, My Brother – This biographical drama covers the martial-arts legend's early years in Hong Kong, when he was a It's a down-to-earth portrait, covering Bruce Lee's life as a rebellious adolescent and street fighter. A portrait of the movie star as a son, student, brother and loyal friend, it's seen through the eyes of Robert Lee, who produced this biopic. Aarif Lee plays Bruce, with Tony Leung Ka-fai and Christy Chung also starring. Raymond Yip directs. Critical reception so far is mixed, with highly favorable review at Singapore's Nutshell Reviews. At the Lido and House.

Lunla Man (Phoochai Lunla Soot 3G Sa Sa Ha Kik, ผู้ชายลัลล้า สูตร 3G ซ่าส์ ซ่าส์หากิ๊ก) – Three actors from the "Pentor” sitcom – Shahkrit Yamnarm, Jeab Chernyim and Kitti Chiawongkul – portray three philandering married guys whose wives team up to teach them a lesson. Tanya “Ped Chernyim” Phovijit directs. There's a trailer at YouTube. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Strange Birds in Paradise – Move Media Communications in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day, will launch the DVD of the Move Media Rights Festival. Parinya Boonridrerthaikul, director of Amnesty International (Thailand), will inaugurate the DVD, which will be followed by a screening of Strange Birds in Paradise, a documentary about political resistance in West Papua, Indonesia, by Charlie Hill-Smith. There will a post-screening panel discussion with Phil Robertson, deputy director, Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, and Wensislaus Fatubun, a West Papuan human rights activist. Refreshments will feature West Papuan cuisine. Admission is free. The show time is at 7 tonight (Thursday, December 9) at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Insects in the Backyard – Veteran indie filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit directs and stars in this family drama, portraying a transvestite father of a teenage daughter and son. The movie has strong depictions of sexual acts as the two youngsters address their confused sexuality and rebel against their cross-dressing dad by entering the prostitution trade. The controversial drama premiered in the Dragons and Tigers competition at the Vancouver International Film Festival and also screened at the recent World Film Festival of Bangkok. However, attempts to get a local commercial screening for Insects in the Backyard have been met with bureaucratic resistance, with Culture Ministry authorities saying it is "contrary to morality". The banning of Insects has reignited the debate about Thailand's film laws, which are vague, confusing and often contradictory. The film will be screened on Friday – Constitution Day – at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, followed by panel discussions with filmmakers, film experts, media activists like Supinya Klangnarong and authorities. Registration is at 12.30, with the screening at 1. Panel discussions in Thai will take place during the rest of the afternoon. You must pre-register for this event by e-mailing thaishortfilmfestival [at] gmail [dot] com. Also no one under 18 years of age will be admitted, and IDs will be checked.

Les bureaux de Dieu (God's Offices) – Claire Simon directs this 2007 comedy drama starring Nathalie Baye, Nicole Garcia and Isabelle Carré about workers and clients at a family planning center. It's showing with English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, December 15 at the at the Alliance Française.

1 comment:

  1. Let us know if they show "Insects..." in Bangkok again! I wish I could get my butt up to Nakhon Pathom.