Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening June 2-8, 2011

The Beaver

In a movie that could be seen as an allegory for his career, Mel Gibson stars in The Beaver as a toy-company executive who experiences a mental breakdown and adopts a beaver handpuppet as his sole means of communicating with his family and co-workers.

Jodie Foster directs and co-stars.

The Beaver has had its general theatrical released repeatedly pushed back for the better part of a year because of a controversy over leaked phone messages in which Gibson made violent threats against his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Facing an ongoing investigation for domestic violence, the troubled star had previously tarnished his image in 2006 after he made anti-Semitic remarks during an arrest for drunken driving.

However, The Beaver was recently shown in Cannes, where it got a standing ovation. Foster has also been quite vocal in her support of Gibson.

Critical reception is mixed. It's at Paragon, Esplanade Ratchada, Major Ratchayothin and House RCA. Rated 15+.

Also opening

X-Men: First Class – Marvel Comics' X-Men franchise gets a reboot with this origin tale that goes back to the early years of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr to a time when they were the closest of friends and before they took the names of Professor X and Magneto. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender star. The action is set during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, with Xavier and Lensherr teaming up to form the first team of mutant superheroes and seeking a way to end the nuclear threat and prove that mutants can be beneficial to society. Characters making appearances include the telepathic diamond-skinned White Queen (Mad Men's January Jones), Dr. Hank McCoy as the Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and the shape-shifting Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence from Winter's Bone). Kevin Bacon also stars as Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club, a secret society that aims to take over the world. Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass) directs. He had earlier been tapped to direct 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, but dropped out over family considerations. Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated G.

InsidiousSaw franchise directors James Wan and Leigh Whannell team with Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli to offer this haunted-house tale. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star as parents who move into an old house and when their son falls into a coma they have to fight evil spirits from taking the kid's soul. Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye also star. Critical reception is leaning to positive. "Aside from a shaky final act, Insidious is a very scary and very fun haunted house thrill ride," says the consensus. Rated 18+.

Sabaidee Wan Wiwa (สะบายดี วันวิวาห์, a.k.a. Lao Wedding) – Director Sakchai Deenan completes his Sabaidee trilogy of cross-border romantic comedies with this story of a Thai magazine writer ("Boy" Pakorn Chatborrirak) who visits Laos and falls for local lass Kam (Khamly Philavong). The series started in 2008 with Sabaidee Luang Prabang, which starred Ananda Everingham and Khamly. Ananda was also executive producer. The film was co-directed by Sakchai and Laotian director Anousone Sirisackda. Then came last year's Sabaidee 2: From Paxse With Love, which starred Ray MacDonald as a down-and-out filmmaker hired to take wedding photos who becames smitten with Khamly. This third episode was filmed back-to-back with Sabaidee 2.

Ready – BollywoodThai is back in action after a few months' break with this romantic comedy starring Salman Khan as a young guy who aids lovers in distress. He falls for a girl (Asin) who he helps escape from a marriage. Parts of this film were shot in Thailand, where Asin was dared by Salman to eat a popular local delicacy. It's showing at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) at 8 on Friday, 7.30 on Sunday and 8 on Monday and at Major Rama III at 8 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Visit or call (089) 488 2620.

Take note

This blog is taking a vacation-time hiatus. Look for the next update on the week of June 23-29, 2011.

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