Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening July 26-August 1, 2012

Seven Something (ก 7 ปี ดี 7 หน)

Film studio GTH celebrates seven years with Seven Something (รัก 7 ปี ดี 7 หน, Rak Jet Pee Dee Jet Hon), a three-segment comedy-drama that looks at the stages of life at various seven-year cycles.

The first part, directed by Paween Purijitpanya, and starring Jirayu La-ongmanee and Suthata Udomsilp is about romance at the age of 14.

Adisorn Trisirikasem directs the second part, which covers a celebrity couple (Sunny Suwanmethanon and Cris Horwang) breaking up when they are 21 and reuniting at age 28.

Jira Maligool directs the third part, which features Nichkhun Horvejkul from the Korean boyband 2PM and newscaster Suquan Bulakul in a story about a woman marathon runner going through a crisis at age 42.

Most of the cast and crew have all been a major part of GTH's success.

Director Paween did the well-regarded horror thriller Body #19 and also had a hand in the hit horror compilations Phobia and Phobia 2. His segment Seven Something, 14, marks a departure for him as he makes a foray into teen romance.

Young actor Jirayu was in last year's hit rock 'n' roll romance SuckSeed while Suthata was in another big GTH hit from last year, the pyschological thriller Laddaland.

Adisorn is one of the six directors of GTH's first big hit Fan Chan and also directed and co-wrote the hit romance Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story. His segment, 21/28 reunites hims with his BT(L)S leading lady Cris Horwang, who co-stars with Sunny, the leading man from the big GTH hit romance Dear Dakanda.

And Jira, a co-founder of the studio, marks his return to directing for the first time since 2005's historical drama The Tin Mine.

His segment, 42.195, about marathon runners, has a pair of acting newcomers – veteran newscaster Sukwan Bulakul and singer Nichkhun Horvejkul of the South Korean boyband 2PM.

There will also be cameos and supporting appearances by other GTH stars. Among them is Panissara "Opal" Phimpru, who's been the saucy comic-relief character in several GTH films, most notably Dear Dakanda, but is now a popular TV personality and hostess. Rated G.

Also opening

To Rome with Love – Woody Allen continues his tour of famous European cities, weaving together four tales of Rome. One has an American architect (Alec Baldwin) reliving his youth. Another has an ordinary man (Roberto Begnini) suddenly made a celebrity. Another story has a young couple drawn into separate romantic encounters, while the fourth plot involves an amateur opera singer being wooed by a talent scout. Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Judy Davis, Greta Gerwig and Woody himself are among the other stars. Reception has been mixed, with most critics feeling let down by Woody after his best film in years, Midnight in Paris. At Apex Siam Square, Paragon Cineplex and SFW CentralWorld. Rated 13+.

Elles – Juliette Binoche is a reporter for Elle magazine who immerses herself in a prostitution ring run by a pair of university students (Joanna Kulig and Anais Demoustier). Critical reception is mostly negative. It's in French with English and Thai subtitles at House on RCA.

Step Up Revolution – The fourth entry in the dance-movie franchise centers on a young woman (Kathryn McCormick) who arrives in Miami with hopes of becoming a professional dancer. She falls in love with a guy (Ryan Guzman) who leads a dance crew in elaborate "flash mobs". They band together to save a historic neighborhood from being redeveloped by the girl's rich father. There's not yet any reviews. Rated 15+.

My Way – Taking inspiration from a photo of a Korean in Nazi uniform among the dead on D-Day in World War II, this action epic follows rival marathon runners (South Korea's Jang Dong-gun and Japan's Joe Odagiri) as they go into combat, first for the Japanese and then the Russians. Eventually, their path takes them to the beaches of Normandy. Kang Je-Gyu (Taegukgi) directs and Fan Bingbing also stars. The most expensive South Korean film made yet, critical reception, is mixed. In Japanese and Korean with English and Thai subtitles at Apex Siam Square. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Cinema Diverse – The second entry in the Bangkok Art and Culture Center's FilmsForum screening series is Nikkini Vasa (August Drizzle) from Sri Lanka at 5pm on Saturday in the BACC's fifth-floor auditorium. It's the debut feature by Aruna Jayawardanait, who will be present for the screening along with second-lead actress Sulochana Weerasinghe. The 2011 drama is about a lonely female mortician who is shunned by other villagers. Matters are further complicated when a rival mortician arrives on the scene. It's been screened various festivals, including the Vesoul International Festival of Asian Cinema in France, where it won the two top awards – the International Jury and Netpac prize.

Cendres et sang (Ashes and Blood) – Fanny Ardant directs this 2009 drama about old hatreds between rival families being rekindled by an exiled woman's visit to a wedding. It's in French with English subtitles at the Alliance Française on Wednesday, Auguest 1, at 7.30pm.

Take note

Director Kongdej Jaturanrasmee's indie Thai comedy-drama P-047 has been a surprise hit in its limited release, screening to packed houses at the Lido and Esplanade Ratchada.

According to the Bangkok Post, screenings were added to meet the demand, mostly from fans of indie rock musician Apichai Trakulpradetkrai who makes his acting debut in the lead role of a shy locksmith who helps an aspiring mystery writer break into people's homes, not necessarily to steal things, but to "borrow" other people's lives. It was expected that P-047 would screen for just one week, but now it appears its run will be extended for one more week.

Aside from P-047, the other hot ticket in Bangkok cinemas is The Dark Knight Rises, which had its opening weekend in the U.S. marred by the fatal shooting of audience members at a theater in Colorado.

In Bangkok, apparently unfazed fans were flocking to the IMAX at Paragon – the only "real IMAX" theater in Thailand – with the decent seats – at the rear in the center – booked solid. The Dark Knight is screening at conventional cinemas as well as the smaller-screen IMAX Digital cinemas. However, certain scenes were filmed with the extra-large IMAX-format cameras, and it's only at the IMAX at Paragon where those scenes can be enjoyed at the aspect ratio intended by director Christopher Nolan and his director of photography Wally Pfister.

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