Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 11-17, 2012


Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a younger Bruce Willis in the time-bending sci-fi assassin tale Looper.

Gordon-Levitt, a supporting star in such movies as The Dark Knight Rises and Inception, is an assassin in the year 2044, when hitmen use time-travel technology to get back to the past and erase their targets. But one day, he learns the mob wants to “close the loop” by transporting back Joe’s future self – none other than Bruce Willis – to kill him. Gordon-Levitt wore prosthetic make-up so he'd look like a younger Willis. He also spent a lot of time watching old Willis movies and listening to Bruce's voice read dialogue from the film, just to get down the tough-guy patter of the Die Hard star.

This is the third film by The Brothers Bloom director Rian Johnson, who made his debut with the quirky high-school film-noir saga Brick, which also starred Gordon-Levitt.

Looper premiered as the opener of this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated 18+.

Also opening

ArgoWag the Dog meets Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in this 1970s-set spy thriller about a CIA agent who poses as the location scout for a fake Hollywood film in order to enter Iran and rescue trapped Americans. It's a fact-based account of actual events that took place during the 1979 Iran revolution. Ben Affleck stars in and directs Argo. He has rocketed back to critical acclaim after directing the gritty crime dramas Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Other stars include Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin. This is just being released in the U.S. this week, and critical reception, so far, is generally positive. Rated 13+.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – An introverted outsider freshman high-school student (Logan Lerman) with a multitude of issues is befriended by two seniors (Harry Potter's Emma Watson plus Ezra Miller). Stephen Chbosky adapts his own critically acclaimed novel and directs it for the big screen. Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh and Joan Cusack are among the many other stars. Critical reception for this teenage comedy-drama is generally positive. Rated 18+.

The Watch – Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are back together along with Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade for this sci-fi comedy about four suburban slackers who form a neighborhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines. But they get more than they bargained for when they find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion. Critical reception is generally negative. Rated 15+.

My Name is Love (เค้าเรียกผมว่าความรัก, Khao Riak Phom Wa Khwam Rak) – Actor-musician "Pae" Arak Amornsupphasiri cashes another paycheck by starring in a goofy Thai romantic comedy. Here, the long-haired rock guitarist falls for an attractive woman (Tanyasuphang Jirapreechanan) who turns out the be the chubby girl he teased mercilessly back in school. With a few of the usual faces from these types of Thai comedies, it's directed by Wasin Pokpong, half of the director duo that helmed the critically acclaimed cult-hit teen romance Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa Rak (Crazy Little Thing Called Love), and is released by M Pictures. Rated 13+.

Also showing

Coupable – Mystery month continues at the Alliance Française Bangkok. Laetitia Masson directs this 2008 whodunnit starring Jérémie Renier, Hélène Fillières and Denis Podalydès. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 17 at the Alliance Française.

Sneak preview

Sinister — A true-crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) moves into a house where previous residents were murdered. Through "found footage", he comes realize that he's put his family in the path of an evil supernatural entity. Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Dalton Thompson and James Ransone also star. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs. These dreaded "found footage" horror flicks aren't going away, and critical reception for this one, for now, is actually fairly positive. It's in sneak previews this week, with showtimes from around 8 nightly in most multiplexes. Rated 18+.

Take note

The independent Thai drama-documentary In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire continues its limited run at House cinema this week. Entertaining with a wry sense of self-aware humor, it starts out as drama about a young jobless man returning to his northeastern hometown to crash on his father's couch. Then, about halfway through, the story is intercut with documentary footage of interviews with director Wichanon Sumumjarn's father and brother. It is followed by Overseas, a short film by Wichanon and his producer Anocha Suwichakornpong, about a problem encountered by a young Burmese woman in the seafood-packing industry in Mahachai. Showtimes are at 7 tonight and Friday, 12.30 and 7 on Sunday and 7pm on October 15 to 17 (no screenings on Saturday). There's a Q-and-A after the 7pm shows on Friday and Sunday. Check the movie's Facebook page for more details.

Also this week is the Amnesty International Human Rights Film Series: Movies for Life, which started on Wednesday and runs through Friday. It's detailed in last week's post.

Next week will be an extremely busy week for film-goers, with the Indian Centenary Film Festival at SF World from October 19 to 21, which I'll have more on in a bit. And, on October 20, there's Home Movie Day, put on by the Film Archive at BACC and the Films Forum screening of the Filipino drama Niño, also at the BACC.

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