Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 20-26, 2011

Top Secret Wairoon Pun Lan

Top Secret Wairoon Pun Lan (Top Secret วัยรุ่นพันล้าน) – The story of Tao Kae Noi seaweed-snack tycoon Aitthipat “Top” Kulapongvanich is told in this semi-autobiographical account of the struggles of a Thai-Chinese teenager who parlayed his online-gaming wins into a business that made him a millionaire by age 27. “Peach” Patchara Chirathivat, who made his scene-stealing debut in the rock 'n' roll movie SuckSeed earlier this year, stars. Among his co-stars is Somboonsuk Niyomsiri, making his acting debut at age 80. Better known as Piak Poster, Somboonsuk directed a string of classic youth-oriented movies in the 1970s. Songyos Sugmakanan (Dorm, Hormones) directs. Read more about it in a recent Nation article. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Buddha – Prince Siddartha’s early life is depicted in this anime adaptation of the award-winning manga by Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka. The theme “Scarlet Love Song” was composed and recorded for the movie by the metal band X Japan. At Apex Siam Square.

Dream House – Soon after moving into their cozy new home, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against former residents of the dwelling, and the dad (Daniel Craig) is in for a shock when he finds out who perpetrated the killings. Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts also star. Jim Sheridan (The Boxer, My Left Foot) directs. Critical reception of this psycho-thriller is mostly negative. Rated 15+.

Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night – What's certainly going to be confusing for moviegoers is the presence of two entries from the low-budget Paranormal Activity ghost mockumentary franchise opening the same week by competing distributors. The M Pictures release, Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night, is a Japanese remake of 2009's Paranormal Activity. It's about a young woman, wheelchair-bound with two broken legs after a car wreck, who starts experiencing supernatural phenomena. Her computer-nerd brother sets up a video camera in hopes of catching the ghosts. Noriko Aoyama and Aoi Nakamura star. Rated 15+.

Paranormal Activity 3 – The other Paranormal movie released this week is from distributor United International Pictures (UIP). A prequel to last year's second film in the Hollywood series, it's set in 1988 and is about two young sisters who befriend an invisible entity that resides in their home. It's directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the pair who did the controverisal "fake documentary" Catfish. Critical reception, so far, is positive. Rated 18+.

After Dark Horrorfest – House cinema on RCA brings in seven "films to die for" from the After Dark Horrorfest, an annual independent horror film festival that commissions original works. There are seven features: Husk (farm haunted by scarecrows), The Task (night in a haunted prison), Seconds Apart (telepathic twins), Prowl (vampires), Scream of the Banshee (monster with a bone-shattering scream), Fertile Ground (haunted rural home) and 51 (space aliens), all from this year's HorrorFest 5. Check House's Facebook page for the schedule.

Also showing

Le fil (The String) – Back home in Tunisia after the death of his father, 30-year-old Malik (Antonin Stahly-Vishwanadan) is once again living with his mother (Claudia Cardinale). He'd like to tell her that he's gay, but can't bring himself to do so and slips ever deeper into his lies. Mehdi Ben Attia directs this 2009 drama. In French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 26 at the Alliance Francaise.

La femme d'à côté (The Woman Next Door) – François Truffaut directs this 1981 romantic drama about the love triangle that shatters the idyllic life of two seemingly happy families in a French village. Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant star. Crtical reception is mostly positive. The screening, courtesy of the Embassy of France, is at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand at 8pm on Thursday, October 27. Admission is 150 baht for non-members and 50 baht for anybody wanting to sip the French wine laid on by the embassy.

Take note

With floodwaters threatening Bangkok, going to a movie might be the furthest thing from some people's minds while others might welcome an escape to the cineplex, especially if it's on a floor high atop one of Bangkok's shopping malls.

If you do venture out, be mindful of the flood warnings, especially for Bangkok's eastern suburbs, including the Rangsit and Fashion Island areas. Many cinemas may be closed and events might be cancelled, so perhaps call ahead before you go.

Or stay at home and watch an old home movie, The Flood in Bangkok 1942 (embedded above). Among the first films to be listed as national heritage by the Culture, the clip was filmed by Tae Prakardwuttisan, who made several documentary records during the era.

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