Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening January 18-25, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Tilda Swinton stars in We Need to Talk About Kevin, a searing drama about a mother struggling to deal with her grief and feelings of responsibility after her teenage son commits a Colombine-style massacre at his school and then murders his father and little sister.

Scottish filmmaker Lynn Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar) directs. It's adapted from a 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver.

John C. Reilly is the father and Ezra Miller plays the disturbed teenage boy.

The story is told in flashbacks, with the mother looking back on her pregnancy and memories of the troubled boy growing up, from a baby who wouldn't stop crying to an anti-social brat and eventually the angry, out-of-control teenager.

We Need to Talk About Kevin premiered in the main competition at last year's Cannes Film Festival, and has gone on to win the best film award at various other festivals. Swinton was nominated for a Golden Globe, only to lose out to eight-time winner Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady.

Critical reception is mostly positive. It's at Apex Siam Square.

Also opening

A Separation – Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and 11-year-old daughter Termeh, but Nader, whose father is suffering from Alzheimer's, refuses. Simin sues for divorce, but is turned down, so she goes to live with her parents and the couple's daughter remains with her father. More problems ensue when Nader hires a lower-class woman to care for his father. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, it's the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear of the Berlin Film Festival and has been met with universal acclaim. It's Iran's official submission to the Oscars and it just won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film. It was to have opened in Bangkok last June but technical problems with the subtitles prevented that. It's at House on RCA.

ATM Er Rak Error (ATM เออรัก เออเร่อ) – A malfunctioning ATM machine that's spitting out cash provides the backdrop for this romantic comedy from the GTH studio about a couple, Jib (Preechaya Pongthananikorn) and Suea (Chantawit Thanasevee), who work for a bank and have to keep their relationship a secret because it's against company policy. Mez Tharatorn directs. Rated G.

Underworld: Awakening – After taking a break from the third film in this vampires vs. wereswolves franchise, Kate Beckinsale is back in the tight leather catsuit as the vampire warrior princess Selene. She's been captured by humans, who have learned of the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, and are seeking to eradicate both species commences. The key to ending the conflict lies in a little girl named Eve, who is a hybrid. It's just be released in the U.S. this week, so there's not yet any critical reception. Filmed in 3D, and it's screening in 3D, including IMAX. Rated 15+.

Faces in the Crowd – Milla Jovovich is a schoolteacher who is the lone survivor of an attack by a serial killer but she can't identify him because she suffers from a bizarre neurological disorder that prevents her from recognizing people’s faces. Julian McMahon also stars, playing a police detective. Released on DVD in the U.S. in October, Critical reception is practically non-existent. At SFW CentralWorld. Rated 18+.

Also showing

The Woman Next Door (La femme d'à côté) – Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant star in François Truffaut's 1981 romance about a love-triangle that reaches a level of intensity that makes it Hitchockian in terms of suspense. Postponed from November because of the flood, it's now the opening film of the 2012 Contemporary World Film Series at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. Admission is 150 baht for non-members and 50 baht for anyone wanting to sample the French win. The show time is at 8 tonight (Thursday, January 19).

World Film Festival of Bangkok – Postponed from November, the ninth edition of the WFFBKK starts this week. After the invite-only opening on Friday night at Paragon Cineplex, the festival moves to the Esplanade Ratchada. Highlights on Saturday includes the 2010 Cannes Jury Prize winner A Screaming Man from Chad; the 1965 Polish film Walkover and the acclaimed quirky festival favorite P-047 by Thai director Kongdej Jaturanrasamee. Sunday offers Taiwan's Pinoy Sunday, about Filipino laborers carrying a sofa across Taipei; Turin Horse, the latest stark black-and-white documentary-style feature from Hungary's Bela Tarr (also screening Monday night); the Polish animation George the Hedgehog and the French animated The Illusionist; and an encore screening the opening film, I Carried You Home, an indie Thai drama. Monday has Dog Sweat, about young folks dealing with the oppressively conservative society of Iran; Las Acacias, a prize-winning Argentine drama; and The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a mesmerizing 3D documentary by Werner Herzog on ancient French cave paintings. Find out more about the Thai films in the festival at the Thai Film Journal. And a story in The Nation today details more highlights, many of them award-winners from other festivals. Click the links for complete film list and the schedule spreadsheet.

Players – Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu star in this Hindi remake of The Italian Job. They are a pair of thieves who form a crew to steal a fortune in gold from a train in Russia. Bobby Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor and Sikander Kher also star. It's at Major Cineplex Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4 and at SFW CentralWorld on Sunday at 7.30. There will also be a special 3D digital screening of last week's BollywoodThai presentation, Don 2, starring Shah Rukh Khan, at 8pm on Saturday at Paragon Cineplex. Call (089) 488 2620, (02) 225 7500 or visit

Bangkok Experimental Film Festival – Held every two, three, four or five years or so, the sixth edition of the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival has long been in the works but just so happens to partly conflict with the World Film Festival of Bangkok because the latter was postponed from November due to the flooding. BEFF6 starts on Tuesday with workshops, talks and screenings at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom. The program includes "Conversations: What is an Archive (For)?", and an archival screening of Fai Yen, a.k.a. Cold Fire (ไฟเย็น), a 1965 anti-communist propaganda film that was selected for the first listing of Thai National Heritage Films. More screenings are planned for January 28 and 29 and February 4 and 5 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The Goethe-Institut and the Jim Thompson Art Center also have screenings. Click the link for the day-by-day schedule.

German Open Air Cinema – Next Tuesday's screening is Sasha, a 2010 drama by Dennis Todorovic. The title character is a young man, a piano student in Cologne who is coming to terms with his sexuality. He's developed a crush on his teacher, a man, who then up and announces he's moving to Vienna, leaving Sasha heartbroken. The German Open Air Cinema series runs on Tuesdays until February 28 at the institute on Sathorn Soi 1. Show times are at 7.30pm.

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