Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening March 29-April 4, 2012

Wrath of the Titans

Clash of the Titans, a 2010 remake of a 1981 Ray Harryhausen stop-motion-animation epic, was critically assailed but it was enough of a financial success that Warner Bros. saw an opportunity to make a franchise out of it.

So now we have Wrath of the Titans, with Sam Worthington back as Perseus, the demigod son of the god Zeus (Liam Neeson, cashing another paycheck).

The story takes place a decade after Perseus' defeat of the monstrous CGI Kraken. Perseus is attempting to live a quiet life as a fisherman and single dad of his 10-year old son Helius. But the gods and the Titans are still at war, and the gods are losing, thanks to humanity's lack of devotion. And so Perseus is called upon to rescue Zeus when he's captured by his turncoat godly son son Ares (Edgar Ramírez).

Ralph Fiennes, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston and Rosamund Pike also star.

Early buzz is that it's better than Clash, but not many critics have weighed in yet. It's in 3D, including IMAX. Rated G.

Also opening

Love 555 (รัก 555 อย่าท้าก๋อย, Rak 555 Ya Tha Koy) – The title of this comedy released by M Pictures references the "555" Thai Internet shorthand for laughter. If you speak even a little Thai, you get it. If not, then, well, who cares? Ha, ha, ha. Swimmer Pimchanok (Pokchat Thiamchai) is trained by a Japanese coach (Jaturong "Mokjok" Ornnorm, who also directs) but comes up against an unexpected rival who is being trained by Hayato’s respected friend (Jim Chaunchuen). Pongpit Preechaborisutkun also stars. Rated G.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu – Bollywood heads to Las Vegas in this romantic comedy starring Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor as two strangers who wake up to discover that they’ve gotten married. At Paragon.

Also showing

Agent Vinod – Bollywood's answer to James Bond is this globe-trotting blockbuster spy yarn starring Saif Ali Khan, with Kareena Kapoor, Prem Chopra and Malika Haydon. Sriram Raghavan directs. Read a review at Beth Loves Bollywood. It's in Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) on Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 5. Call (089) 488 2620 (02) 225 7500 or check

311, directed by Tatsuya Mori.

Salaya International Documentary Film Festival – If you didn't make it to the Thai Film Archive for last week's second edition of Salaya Doc, you missed some great films screening in the wonderful atmosphere of the Sri Salaya Theatre, along with appearances by many of the filmmakers, and even some Thai movie stars. But this weekend, Salaya Doc brings some of its films to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The offerings on Saturday are 311, on Japan's earthquake last year; Golden Slumbers, a magical look at the lost films of Cambodia's cinematic golden age; and Repatriation, about the complicated, emotional and contentious South Korean issues of repatriating "unconverted" North Korean spies. Sunday is a trio of unflinching films from the Director in Focus, China's Xu Tong: Wheat Harvest, about the sex industry in Beijing; and Fortune Teller and Shattered, about a crippled itinerant soothsayer and his deaf, mute, mentally impaired wife. Check the festival blog for the schedule.

Take note

The Scala Theater in 2007, with a special Christmas Eve screening of The Love of Siam. Photo by Pantip user:Kampongpiratevee, via Wikimedia Commons.

A movement is afoot to try and convince Chulalongkorn University against tearing down Siam Square's historic Lido and Scala cinemas in order to build more shopping malls.

Kong Rithdee writes about the issue in last Saturday's Bangkok Post, and he says that perhaps the powers that be at Chula are willing to listen. Further, he says, "let's take a deep breath" and quotes Associate Professor Permyot Kosolbhand of Chulalongkorn's Property Management Office:

"We will try to find a way to preserve the symbols of the area, but at this point we have no details."

The grass-roots movement takes the form of an online petition, which I linked to last week. It's in Thai – and it's going to be only Thais who have a say in this – but an English translation has been provided, courtesy of reader Richard Wilson:

For those who love movies, three movie theaters in the Apex Group are now slated to be demolished. These three movie theaters represent a creative center, an alternative space. They have always been unique places for:

  • Showing movies that are outside the mainstream (i.e., shorts, documentaries, award-winning films, political movies, cross-gender movies, etc.),
  • Projects specifically for the creative community
  • Holding events for young people and for the general public.

We do not object to change and development, but we request that the management guidelines for the Siam Square area be reviewed, taking into consideration the mission of the University –
“Chulalongkorn is known for its public service” – and also taking into account the expectations that society has for this area.

Please submit your first and last names in the “comment box”.

Every name submitted will be sent directly to the e-mail of the Office of the University Dean of Chulalongkorn University and the drafters of this petition will combine these names and submit them along with an official letter requesting that the petition’s request (be granted).

Thank you.

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