Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 22-28, 2011


Twilight teen wolf Taylor Lautner stars in this thriller as the missing kid whose picture was on the side of a milk carton.

All his young life, he's had the uneasy feeling that he's living someone else's life, then one day he discovers that he was in fact abducted, and his parents are not really his parents.

Actually, he's a sleeper agent for the CIA.

Soon, he's been chased by government assassins, and he goes on the run with the only person he can trust, the girl next door (Lily Collins).

Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello and Sigourney Weaver also star.

John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, the Shaft remake, 2 Fast, 2 Furious) directs.

This is just being released worldwide this week, so the critical consensus is yet to form. Rated 15+.

Also opening

The Missing Piece – Patana Chirawong directs this documentary about youngsters of varying disabilities who get together to learn about filmmaking and their efforts to make a movie. There's a trailer at YouTube. The Missing Piece was shown last month in a special screening at the 15th Thai Short Film & Video Festival, and now it's in limited release at House on RCA.

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." Rated 18+.

Blitz – Jason Statham stars in this British crime thriller as a tough London police detective hunting a serial killer (Aidan Gillen from The Wire and Game of Thrones) who preys on police officers. Luke Evans, David Morrissey and Paddy Considine also star. Critical reception is mixed. It's at the Scala.

Apollo 18 – Officially, Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon. But there was one more after that, which was kept secret, and man hasn't set foot on the lunar surface since. This mockumentary/horror-thriller, directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego and produced by Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov, aims to show the terrifying reasons why. Critical reception is overwhelmingly negative, the consensus being it's "a boring, suspense-free Paranormal Activity rip-off." Rated 13+.

Baan Phee Pob: Reformation (บ้านผีปอบ รีฟอร์เมชั่น) – There have been something like two-dozen installments in this long-running ghost-comedy series, which goes back to the 1980s. The story, involving much running around, screaming and slapstick antics by villagers who hide in water jars, is about a gut-munching female ghost who disembowels her victims with a sharp thrust of her claw-like hands. There have been many iterations of Baan Phee Pob over the years – 2001's Pop Weed Sayong, a.k.a. Body Jumper, comes to mind – but the original series was revived in 2008 by Golden A Entertainment. They brought back veteran actress Natthanee Sitthisaman as Pob Yib. Now comes the second installment in the rebooted series starring Natthanee, Baan Phee Pob Reformation, which aims to bring Pob into the modern era. You can read more about the long-running a series in a Bangkok Post story by Kong Rithdee. Rated G.

Take note

Camellia, the pan-Asian trio of romance shorts set in Busan, South Korea, is not subtitled, even in cinemas where it is listed as being subtitled.
Additionally, it's only available as Thai-dubbed, which works out fine for the first segment, Wisit Sasanatieng's Iron Pussy: A Kimchi Affair, which is done in a retro style and is actually intentionally dubbed. And even without subtitles, it's still a lot of fun.

Starring Michael Shaowanasai, it's the story of a Thai transvestite secret agent. As a man, Iron Pussy is working in a seafood restaurant, preparing live octopi for dinner. Secret messages are passed to him through phones embedded in the seafood, and a ringing, squirming octopus puts him on his next mission.

Transformed into the fashionable lady secret agent (with a dubbed woman's voice to match), she makes the scene at a swinging nightclub, where she catches the eye of a masked man (Kim Min-jun) and romance blossoms. Masked tommy-gun-wielding thugs are quickly dispatched with a few swift kicks by the lady spy. She then takes her Korean man on a picnic.

Set initially in 1979, Wisit's stylish Iron Pussy actually feels more like 1969 when Mitr Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowarat were the leading man and lady of Thai cinema. It's that era of Thai cinema that Iron Pussy's character pays tribute to, and Wisit, the director of Tears of the Black Tiger and The Red Eagle, is especially adept at capturing.

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