Friday Killer (Ma Kae Untarai)
The second release in director Yuthlert Sippapak's trilogy of hitman comedies, Friday Killer (Ma Kae Untarai, หมาแก่อันตราย, literally "dangerous dog") stars veteran comedian Thep Po-ngam in a rather downbeat role as an aging assassin.
Released from prison, Pae Uzi is afflicted with failing eyesight. Nonetheless, he takes on a job, which puts him in conflict with the daughter (Ploy Jindachote) he never knew he had. Turns out she's a tough policewoman, and she's now gunning for him, without knowing he's her father.
Along with all that drama, Yuthlert mixes in stylish action and cheeky bits of comedy and satire that poke fun of Thailand's political situation.
With the original Thai title of Meu Puen Dao Prasook, มือปืน ดาวพระศุกร์), Friday Killer screened at last year's Phuket Film Festival, won awards at this year's Shanghai film fest, and also screened at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.
It's part of Yuthlert's Meu Puen 3 Pak, which pair up veteran comedians with young starlets. Interestingly, what was intended to be the first film in the series, Saturday Killer (Meu Puen Dao Pra Sao, มือปืน /ดาว /พระ /เสาร์) was released first, coming out last September. It starred "Nong" Choosak Iamsuk and Cris Horwang. A third film in the series, Sunday Killer is yet to be released. It stars Kohtee Aramboy and "May" Pitchanart Sakakorn. Rated 18+.
Contagion – Don't touch your face! Stephen Soderbergh directs this thriller about the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart. The ensemble cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Elliot Gould and John Hawkes. Critical reception is very positive. "Tense, tightly plotted, and bolstered by a stellar cast, Contagion is an exceptionally smart – and scary – disaster movie," is the consensus. Rated 15+.
Cars 2 – Pixar's animated automobile franchise continues with star racing car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) heading overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix. Along for the ride is his redneck tow-truck buddy Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) who is mistakenly recruited as a secret agent by British intelligence. Michael Caine is the Bond-like Aston Martin named Finn McMissile with Emily Mortimer as the sexy spy Holly Shiftwell. They face a gang of evil lemon cars. Other voices include John Turturro, Eddie Izzard, Joe Montagna, Bruce Campbell and racing drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jeff Gordon. Alongside the first Cars movie, this is one of the most unacclaimed movies in the Pixar universe, with the consensus being that "Cars 2 is as visually appealing as any other Pixar production, but all that dazzle can't disguise the rusty storytelling under the hood." Children and racing fans will probably enjoy it. It's in 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX. Rated G.
The Three Musketeers – Resident Evil franchise director Paul W.S. Anderson takes on Alexandre Dumas' often-adapted swashbuckling tale, adding lots of action and eye candy in this special-effects laden production that was filmed in 3D. The story has the trio of swordsman – Athos (Matthew MacFadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) – eeking out a menial existence. They are coaxed back into action by young D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman), and together they battle their old nemesis Milady (Milla Jovovich), the English lord Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and his fleet of airborne zeppelin warships as well as the conniving Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), who's looking to seize the French throne. Juno Temple and Freddie Fox also star. This is opening in Asia before the rest of the world, so there's not yet any critical consensus, though some mixed reviews are trickling in. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated 15+.
Mausam – Actor Pankaj Kapoor makes his directorial debut with this romantic epic about a Kashmiri refugee and a Punjabi Air Force officer. Sonam Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor (the director's son) star. In Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) on Thursday and Friday at 8pm, at Major Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4 and back at Major Ekamai on Sunday at 7.30. Visit BollywoodThai.com or call (02) 225-7500 or (089) 488-2620.
Persepolis – This 2007 animated feature by Marjane Satrapi, adapted from her illustrated books about her life growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, is back for a weeklong run at House cinema on RCA, running as a companion piece to another film at House, Women Without Man, which looks at 1953's CIA-orchestrated coup in Iran. For showtimes, you'll have to look at House's Facebook page; they are slow in updating their website.