Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening January 13-19, 2011

The Warrior's Way

East meets West in The Warrior's Way, a hybrid of Spaghetti westerns and martial-arts fantasies.

Korean actor Jang Dong-gun stars in this story, set in the 19th century, as a fugitive assassin from Asia who doesn't want to kill any longer. He flees to the American Wild West and holes up in a town where he becomes allies with the local figures, among them the town drunk (Geoffrey Rush) and a tough heroine (Kate Bosworth). Danny Huston and Tony Cox also star.

Sngmoo Lee directs and the South Korean-New Zealand production was filmed around Auckland and counts Lord of the Rings exec Barrie Osborne among its producers.

Critical reception is a bit thin on the ground but is so far leaning to negative, the consensus being "perfectly, thoroughly divisive, The Warrior's Way will either be delightful or unbearable, depending on your tolerance for surreal, shamelessly over the top collisions of Eastern and Western clichés." Rated 15+.

Also opening

Burlesque – Christina Aguilera and Cher star in this musical-dance drama. It's the typical story of a small-town girl (Aguilera) who comes to the big city hoping to make it big. She happens upon a burlesque club, lands a job as a waitress and under the mentorship of the club's owner (Cher) she becomes a featured performer. Stanley Tucci also stars. Critical reception is leaning to negative, but it's nominated for three Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture and Best Song. Rated 13+.

Gulliver's Travels – This loose adaptation of Jonathan Swift's literary classic stars Jack Black as a slacker nerd who finds his slovenly bulk is an asset to the tiny citizens in the hidden land of Lilliput. Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Emily Blunt and Billy Connolly also star. Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) directs with the script by Joe Stillman (Shrek, Percy Jackson) and Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek). Critical reception is mostly negative, getting plus marks for "Jack Black is doing what he does best" but assailed for "juvenile humor and special effects". Rated G.

Operation: Endgame – This ensemble action comedy is set in a top-secret black-ops agency called the Factory and has opposing sides shooting it out over the course of a day at the office. Joe Anderson, Maggie Q, Rob Corddry, Michael Hitchcock, Tim Bagley, Beth Grant, Ving Rhames, Bob Odenkirk, Odette Yustman, Ellen Barkin, Adam Scott, Brandon T. Jackson, Emilie de Ravin, Jeffrey Tambor and Zach Galifianakis star. The movie had a limited release in the U.S. last summer before going straight to DVD, and it looks to be doing the same here. Critical reception so far is leaning to negative. It's only at House on RCA.

Yamla Pagla Deewana – Dharmendra and Bobby Deol star in this Punjabi comedy as a father-son pair of globetrotting conmen. They are joined by a naive muscle man (Sunny Deol) and than chase after a woman (Kulraj Randhawa) who's been snatched away by her brothers. Premiering this week, Bollywood Thai brings it to town, screening in Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit on Friday at 8, Sunday at 7.30 and Monday at 8 and at Major Cineplex Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Also showing

Japanese Film Festival 2011 – Akira Kurosawa Centennial Retrospective – The great Japanese director is paid tribute in this festival that runs until January 19 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. This week's highlights include Seven Samurai at 7 tonight, Throne of Blood and The Hidden Fortress on Saturday, Yojimbo and Sanjuro on Sunday, High and Low on Monday and Red Beard on Tuesday. The full schedule was posted here earlier, or check it at the Japan Foundation website. Tickets are free, and are handed out one per person 30 minutes before showtime.

Salaya International Documentary Film Festival – The Film Archive (Public Organization) in cooperation with the Thai Film Foundation organizes the first Salaya International Documentary Film Festival offering more than 20 Asian documentaries from January 13 to 23 at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom. The fest features docs that were supported by the Asian Network of Documentary of the Pusan International Film Festival. Among the highlights is a tribute to Japanese director Ogawa Shinsuke with the screening of his most acclaimed work, 1968's Summer in Narita as well as his 210-minute epic from 1982, A Japanese Village. There's also Uruphong Raksasad's highly acclaimed Agrarian Utopia and Baby Arabia, the musical by Muslim filmmakers Panu Aree, Kong Rithdee and Kaweenipon Ketprasit, about a band that's well-known in Bangkok's Islamic community. As a bonus, Baby Arabia will give a concert after the 5pm screening on Friday. Scroll down further on this blog for the full schedule or check the Facebook events page.

Eternity: Director's Cut (Chua Fah Din Salai, ชั่วฟ้าดินสลาย) – Running for 3 hours and 10 minutes – an hour longer than September's original theatrical release – the characters in director ML Bhandevanob Devakula's lush period potboiler are literally and figuratively more fleshed out with lots more skin and sex. The story is adapted from a 1943 novella by Malai Choopinit, and deals with a love triangle between a Burmese timber baron, his attractive younger wife and the man's handsome young nephew. Ananda Everingham and "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak star. Originally set to end yesterday, Chua Fah Din Salai: Director's Cut has proven to be popular and has been extended until January 19 at House on RCA, showing on Blu-ray with English subtitles. Rated 18+.

French Open Air Cinema Festival – The Embassy of France and the Alliance Française bring French films to Lumpini Park this weekend with the 1964 musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) on Friday night, Le Hussard sur le Toit (The Horseman on the Roof) with Olivier Martinez and Juliette Binoche on Saturday and Anne Fontaine's La Fille de Monaco (The Girl from Monaco) on Sunday night. Show times are at 7, all in French with English subtitles. Call (02) 670 4231 or check the Alliance Française website for more details.

Moving to Mars – This 2009 British documentary charts the journey of Karen families from a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border to their resettlement in the U.K. Organized by Film Kawan and the Southeast Asian Studies Program, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University, the screening on January 18, which will be followed by a talk, is part of the Understanding Our ASEAN Neighbors series. The show time is at 3 in the Rewat Buddhinan Room, U2 Floor in the Pridi Banomyong Library at Thammasat University Tha Prachan. Call (085) 970 0478.

Gerdas Schweigen (Gerda's Silence) – Part of the annual open-air film series at the Goethe-Institut Bangkok until February 22, this coming Tuesday's show is a 2008 documentary about the German Democratic Republic and an aunt's missing child that no one in the family ever dares mention. Admission is free. The show time is at 7.30. Call (02) 287 0942-4 or check the Goethe-Institut website.

Bye-Bye – Karim Dridi writes and directs this 1995 tale about Tunisian brothers who head to Marseille after a family tragedy strikes in Paris. They are to go on back to Tunisia, but the young brother wants to stay in France, and runs away with his cousin and fall in with a drug dealer. Meanwhile, the older brother is searching. With English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, January 19 at the Alliance Française.

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