Thursday, December 22, 2011

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

The Kick

From the director of Thai martial-arts hits like Ong-Bak and Chocolate comes The Kick (วอนโดนเตะ), a South Korean-Thai co-production about a Korean family in Bangkok who join with a pair of Thai friends to battle gangsters.

As the story goes, former Taekwondo champs Moon (Jo Jae-hyeon) and Yun (Ye Ji-won) have settled down in Thailand to open a Korean restaurant and taekwando school. Their three kids are interested in different things; the teenage boy is crazy about K-pop, the girl loves football and Thai dance and only the youngest boy shows any interest in martial arts. Their life changes when they become involved with Korean mobsters who've stolen a sacred Thai sword. A family friend Mum (comedian Petthai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkumlao and his Muay-Thai-fighter niece Wah Wah (Jeeja Yanin) join in the battle.

The Kick premiered earlier this year at the Busan International Film Festival and was released in South Korean cinemas in November. Check out the trailer to see if you'll like this kind of action. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen's latest romantic comedy, which premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is being hailed as a return to form for the director of such classics as Annie Hall and Sleeper. Owen Wilson stars, playing a screenwriter who's visiting Paris and he has magical, time-travelling experiences each night at midnight, which force him to confront the problems of his relationship with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams). Historical figures he encounters include Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Luis Buñuel, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Wilson and McAdams (also appearing in the new Sherlock Holmes being released this week) were previously paired up in Wedding Crashers. The cast includes Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Marion Cottilard and French first lady Carla Bruni, playing a museum guide. Critical reception is highly favorable. Rated 13+.

Arthur Christmas – From Aardman Animations, the British studio that brought us Chicken Run and the Wallace and Gromit tales, teams with Sony Animation for this 3D computer-animated holiday treat in which Santa's workshop has become a huge hi-tech enterprise that delivers two billion presents in one night in much the same manner as a military operation. However, Santa's teenage son Arthur (James McAvoy) discovers that one child has been forgotten, so he teams up with Grand-Santa (Bill Nighy) to save the holiday the old-fashioned way. Other voices include Hugh Laurie as older brother Steve Christmas, Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Santa and Jim Broadbent as Santa. Critical reception is highly favorable. In 3D. Rated G.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are back with director Guy Ritchie for a second outing about the master detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson. This time Holmes meets an adversary who is his intellectual equal but whose capacity for evil is unmatched – Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Eddie Marsan, Rachel McAdams, Stephen Fry and Noomi Rapace also star. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to favorable. Rated 13+.

Take note

The film festival calendar for Thailand in January just got even more crowded with the announcement yesterday of the Hua Hin International Film Festival, which will take place January 26 to 29. They have trailers for a few of their films on YouTube. The newly announced fest overlaps with the rescheduled 9th World Film Festival of Bangkok, which was postponed from November because of the floods to January 20 to 27. Also in Bangkok, there will be the 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival on January 28 and 29 and February 4 and 5 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. And in Chiang Mai, there is Payap University's Lifescapes Southeast Asian Film Festival from February 2 to 5.

A few other notes:

  • The German Open Air Cinema Season at the Goethe-Institut takes a break for the holidays. It'll start back up after the New Year on January 3.
  • The newly opened CentralPlaza Grand Rama 9 shopping center has the 11-screen SFX Central Rama 9. It's at the intersection of Rama IX and Ratchadaphisek roads at the Rama 9 MRT station.
  • Major Cineplex at CentralPlaza Bangna has reopened after renovations on the sixth and seventh floors of the mall.
  • And House, the boutique cinema on Royal City Avenue, has recently redesigned its website, offering showtimes, movie synopses in Thai and English and previews of upcoming films.

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