Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening May 10-16, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Having opened for a sneak-preview run two weeks ago, The Cabin in the Woods finally moves to an official wide release.

Produced and co-written by Avengers director Joss Whedon, and directed and co-written by Whedon's "Buffy"/"Angel" writing partner Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), The Cabin in the Woods has five college students heading off for a weekend of partying at a remote cabin, and from there, the usual horror-movie story diverges wildly.

An antidote to the tiresome and sad trend of "torture porn" and "found footage" horror films, The Cabin in the Woods aims to get back to the roots of the genre, and offers plenty of nods to The Evil Dead

It's best if no more is said from this point, except to say it's hilariously wicked good fun. Go see it!

Kristen Connolly, Chris "Thor" Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz (from Whedon's "Dollhouse") and Jesse Williams are the five youngsters, but it's Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who steal most of the movie.

Cabin was actually filmed and completed long before Whedon even started on The Avengers, but got trapped in the studio vault when MGM went bankrupt. Lionsgate finally got around to releasing it, and it's well-timed, given the huge buzz Whedon is enjoying from The Avengers.

Critical reception is overwhelmingly postive. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Dark Shadows – Once again, Tim Burton brings his fantastic gothic vision to a weird movie with Johnny Depp as some wacky character. Here, the frequent collaborators adapt the cult-classic 1960s TV series about a playboy English nobleman who's changed into vampire and buried alive by a vengeful witch (Eva Green). Dug up 200 years later in 1972 small-town Maine, he tries to fit in as he's acquainted with descendants who are even wackier than he is. The family is so messed up, they have a live-in psychiatrist (Helena Bonham Carter). Plus, that witch is still around, making his life miserable. Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Moretz and Jackie Earle Haley also star. Critical reception is mixed so far. Rated 13+.

Bel Ami – Robert Pattinson continues his quest to be recognized as a serious actor rather than just that guy who plays the vampire in the Twilight movies. He stars in this costume drama, set in 1800s Paris, where he's a social-climbing young playboy, sleeping his way up the societal ladder by bedding wealthy and influential women. It's based on a 1885 novel by Guy de Maupassant and has been made into a movie several times before. Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman and Colm Meaney also star. Critical reception is mixed. It's at Major Cineplex. Rated 15+.

American Reunion – It was all the way back in 1999 that American Pie revitalized the teen gross-out sex comedy genre that was popular in the1980s with such movies as Porky's and Meatballs, and Pie became an industry of its own, with four direct sequels and an equal number of spin-offs. Here, the gang is all grown up, more or less. Pie-loving goofball Jim (Jason Biggs), his "band camp" wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), the jock Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), brainy Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), whoever that chick Tara Reid plays and of course the irrepressible party guy Stifler (Seann William Scott) reunite for a holiday weekend at the lake. Also back for more laughs is Jason's dad (Eugene Levy), Stifler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge) and those guys who like to use an acronym for a Filipino rebel group. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+.

Vicky Donor – John Abraham produces (but does not star) in this "superhit" Bollywood comedy about a struggling sperm-donation clinic. Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Annu Kapoor star. It's at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) on Friday at 8, Sunday at 7.30 and Monday at 8 and at Major Cineplex Central Rama III on Saturday at 7.30 and Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or check

Chob Kod Like Chai Kod Love (ชอบกด Like ใช่กด Love) – A young guy who lacks the confidence to approach girls ("Mos" Patiparn Pattaweekarn), a new flight attendant (Sucharat Manaying) with very high standards in men and two other guys (Ankun Thanasubchareon and Niti Chaichitatornwho) start a love-confession service on the Internet. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Trois couleurs – Bleu (Three Colors: Blue) – The first of the impressionistic trilogy of films by Krzysztof Kieślowski, Blue explores the meaning of "liberty" in its story of a woman (Juliette Binoche) whose husband and child are killed in a car crash. She then attempts to cut all her former ties and live in isolation but finds that she cannot live totally free of human connections. It's at the Alliance Française at 7.30 on Wednesday, May 16.

Swedish Film Festival – Having just had the Hong Kong Film Festival and the New Spanish Film Festival, Bangkok now hosts the Swedish Film Festival from May 16 to 20 at SFX the Emporium. Organized with the Embassy of Sweden, the fest offers seven recent films, opening next Wednesday at 7.30 with A One-way to Antibes, a drama about a half-blind widower fighting with his children over his assets. Others are Simple Simon, Simon and the Oaks, A Thousand Times Stronger, Sound of Noise, Sebbe and Miss Kicki. All are in Swedish with English subtitles. Screenings will be in digital format, but good quality I'm told, not blurry DVD. Admission is free. Line up a half hour before showtime to get your ticket. Check the schedule at the SF Cinema City website.

Take note

The Scala on Sunday, May 7, 2012, before the 5.45 screening of The Avengers. Photo by Wise Kwai.

A few items:

  • A new blog on Tumblr, Scala marquee, has been started. Long live the Scala.
  • The Bangkok metropolitan area's newest cinema, Mega Cineplex, opened over the long Coronation Day holiday last weekend at Mega Bangna, a sprawling American-style shopping mall that's the cause of traffic snarls along Bangna-Trad Highway in the eastern suburbs. Operated by the Major Cineplex chain that also runs EGV, Paragon, Paradise, Esplanade, etc., Mega has 15 screens, which were mainly showing The Avengers.
  • By the way, Major Cineplex changed its website not too long ago. It takes some getting used to, but there may be a way to use the old design.
  • I'm told that the UMG RCA, initially slated to close on May 1, will remain open for another week or two while The Avengers is hot property.
  • A recent Reader's Submission at the Stickman website waxes nostalgic about the Scala and the Lido, and a certain nightlife figure you might meet there.

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