Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 26-30, 2012


Guy Pearce goes out of this world in Lockout, a sci-fi hostage drama that's set in a maximum-security prison in space.

In a scenario that closely mirrors Escape from New York, he's a government agent who's been falsely imprisoned and his only chance of freedom is rescuing the U.S. president's daughter (Maggie Grace), who's being held hostage in the space prison.

It's directed by Stephen St. Leger and James Mather from their script co-written with Luc Besson, who is also a producer. Peter Stormare also stars.

Critical reception is mixed, but it looks like a fun return to form for Pearce, the star of such movies as Memento and L.A. Confidential. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Safe – Jason Statham is doing his gruff Jason Statham act again, only this time he's doing it while protecting a little Chinese girl who is a mathematics wiz. She's being pursued by Chinese and Russian mobsters, as well as corrupt officers in the New York police department. Statham portrays a second-rate cage fighter, who, it turns out, is an ex-cop – one of the NYPD's toughest. Critical reception is mixed, but if you're a fan of Statham's action movies, then you probably won't be disappointed by this. Rated 18+.

From Up on Poppy Hill – Nestling in comfortably with the nostalgic Always 3, which opened in cinemas last week, comes this Studio Ghibli anime adaptation of a manga about Yokohama schoolchildren working to save their clubhouse from destruction as Japan prepares to host the 1964 Olympics. Goro Miyazaki directs. Critical reception, so far, is mixed. In Japanese with English and Thai subtitles at Apex Siam Square.

Venom (อสรพิษ, Asoraphit) – A gifted boy shadow puppeteer's life is in danger after he's bitten by a cobra, but villagers believe the snake to be holy and will not help the boy. Based on the novella by famous Thai writer Danarun Sangthong, the movie is partially funded by the Culture Ministry’s Thai Khem Khang (Strong Thailand) project. Jarunee Thammayu directs. At Apex Siam Square.

Also showing

New Spanish Film Week – As covered in a recent special blog entry, seven highly acclaimed Spanish films from the past year or so will screen for free at 7 nightly until Wednesday at Paragon Cineplex. The fest opens tonight with the Oscar-nominated animated feature Chico and Rita, a musical romance that follows a Cuban musician and a singer as they chase their dreams from Havana to Las Vegas. Other highlights include Balada Triste de Trompeta (The Last Circus), about a sad clown in a circus in the 1970s. That's on Sunday night. There's also No habrá paz para los malvados (No Rest for the Wicked), a fact-based thriller about the 2004 Madrid terrorist attacks, on Tuesday. Tickets are free and available from the festival ticket table from around 5pm daily.

A Costa dos Murmurios (The Murmuring Coast) –  Mozambique in the 1960s colonial era is the setting for this 2004 drama by Margarida Cardoso. A young woman leaves Lisbon to join her fiancé, a soldier in Africa. Soon, she finds he's not the same man she fell in love with. The screening at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand is courtesy of the Embassy of Portugal, which will provide wine and snacks. Admission for non-members is 150 baht. The show time is at 8 tonight (Thursday, April 26).

Hong Kong Film Festival – As covered in a recent special blog entry, ten recent critically acclaimed hit Hong Kong movies will unspool from Friday through Monday at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Highlights include director Ann Hui's A Simple Life, which has won many awards this year for performances by Andy Lau and Deanie Ip, portraying an aged servant who is cared for by her master after she has a stroke. Check the schedule at the SF Cinema website. Line up a half hour before showtime to get your free ticket.

Sneak preview

The Cabin in the Woods – Before Joss Whedon started work on The Avengers, he co-wrote and produced this horror-comedy that you're not supposed to talk about. It's wildly popular and much acclaimed and is in sneak previews this week at around 8 nightly. Rated 18+.

Take note

The UMG RCA lobby. Photo via Khajochi Blog.

It's been rumored that the UMG RCA will close on May 1, but now I've heard it may remain open another week so that it may show the upcoming blockbuster superhero film The Avengers.

One of Bangkok's older multiplexes and owned by studio Sahamongkol Film International, the UMG RCA has seen dwindling audiences in recent years as mainstream movie-goers, especially teenagers and young adults, have been drawn to the bigger and flashier shopping-mall multiplexes.

RCA Plaza suffers from a lack of public transport connections – neither the subway nor the City Link rail line stop there, nor do any public bus lines serve the area, leaving personal cars and taxis the only way to visit the place.

The location is also home to the popular House boutique cinema, which was carved out of the formerly five-screen UMG RCA multiplex, but I have been assured that House will not be closing, at least not right now.

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