Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 15-21, 2011


Three Asian directors take part in Camellia, a.k.a. The Busan Project, a trilogy of romance shorts filmed in the city of Busan, South Korea. It premiered at last year's Pusan International Film Festival.

The segments are divided into the "past", "present" and "future".

Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng (Tears of the Black Tiger, Citizen Dog, The Red Eagle) directs the "past" with Iron Pussy, a.k.a. A Kimchi Affair. Performance artist Michael Shaowanasai stars as the transvestite secret agent Iron Pussy, who he's portrayed in a series of shorts and a 2005 feature that he co-directed with Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Capturing the colorful spirit of the 1960s Thai romance movies, it has Iron Pussy travelling to Korea on a mission and falling in love with a local man (Kim Min-Jun).

Kamome by Isao Yukisada is set in the present and is about a director (Sol Kyung-Gu) making a movie in Busan and falling in love. Yuriko Yoshitaka also stars.

And Love for Sale, directed by Joon-hwan Jang, is set in a future when the buying and selling memories is common. Gang Dong-Won plays a guy wanting to retrieve his memories of a lost love (Song Hye-Kyo).

It's Thai-dubbed, unfortunately, though that's okay for the Iron Pussy segment, because all her lines are dubbed anyway.

Also opening

Women Without Men – The destinies of four women come together against the tumultuous backdrop of the CIA-backed coup d’etat in Iraq in 1953. It's directed by artist-turned-filmmaker Shirin Neshat, who won the Silver Lion for best director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. Critical reception is generally positive. At House.

Johnny English Reborn – Rowan Atkinson is back in action as the bumbling British spy. He's spent the past few years in reclusion, honing his unique skills in remotest Asia. However, when his superiors at MI-7 learn there will be an attempt on the life of the Chinese premier, they believe that Johnny English is the man for the job. This movie doesn't open in the rest of the world until next month, so Thailand is among the first to see it. Consequently, there isn't yet any critical consensus. Rated 13+.

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Sarah Jessica Parker is a mother struggling to balance her demanding career with the stress of raising two children, maintaining a healthy marriage and dealing with a flirtatious business associate (Pierce Brosnan). Greg Kinnear, Olivia Munn, Christina Hendricks and Kelsey Grammer also star. Critical consensus is mixed, leaning to positive. Rated G.

Shark Night 3D – A summer weekend on an island in a Louisiana lake becomes a nightmare for a group of bikini-clad vacationers when the place becomes surrounded by blood-thirsty sharks. It's the latest effort by David R. Ellis, director of such films as Final Destination 2, Cellular and Snakes on a Plane. This has the potential for mindless fun, but critical reception is mostly negative, with the consensus that it's "a joyless excursion ... that doesn't even produce good gore or nudity thanks to the neutered PG-13 rating." Rated 15+.

Luer Lae (เหลือแหล่ ) – It's a clash of musical cultures when a ska band led by Luer Lae (Nattawat "Ton AF7" Deeduangkaew) and Cello (Chalermphol Thikampornteerawong) stray into a village that's home to two masters of traditional Thai folk music. Comedians Yong and Note Chernyim direct and also star in this comedy from Phranakorn Film. Rated G.

Also showing

All That I Love – This acclaimed Polish drama follows the lives and loves of four young guys as they struggle to form a punk band against the backdrop of 1980s Poland and its political turmoils stemming from communism and the Solidarity movement. Directed by Jacek Borcuch, it was in competition at the Sundance Film Festival last year, and has won praise from other festivals, including Busan, Rotterdam, Brussels, New York and Los Angeles. It was also Poland's official entry to the Oscars. The screening is at 8 tonight (Thursday, September 15) at the Foreign Correspondents Club. Entry for non-members is 150 baht and 100 baht for anyone wanting to sample the vodka and zhurek from the Polish Embassy.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan – A young man sets out to arrange a marriage for his brother but finds himself falling for his future sister-in-law. Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif and Ali Zafar star in this love-triangle romantic comedy. In Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) on Saturday night at 8 and at Major Rama III on Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Sneak preview

Friends With Benefits – Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are long-time friends who decide that they can simply add sex and still just be friends, without emotional or romantic attachment. Of course, this being a Hollywood romantic-comedy, it's not as easy as that. Woody Harrelson also stars, stealing scenes as the couple's gay friend. Will Gluck (Easy A) directs. Critical reception is mostly favorable, with the consensus being it "adds nothing new to its well-worn rom-com formula, but the chemistry between Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis is almost enough to carry the movie by itself." Friends With Benefits opens wide next week but is in nightly sneak previews this week, with showtimes starting around 8 at most multiplexes. Rated 18+.

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