Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 18-24, 2012


Director John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition) spins a violent tale soaked in booze and blood in Lawless, the fact-based account of the Bondurant brothers, moonshine kingpins of Prohibition-era Franklin County, Virginia.

The brothers are played by Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke and musclebound Tom Hardy (Bane from The Dark Knight Rises). They are threatened by a new lawman in town, played with evil relish by Guy Pearce. Out come the Thompson machine guns as an all-out war ensues. Gary Oldman is a Chicago mobster, and Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska also star.

The highly anticipated film is based on the book The Wettest County in the World by Matthew Bondurant, a grandson of one of the Bondurant brothers. Musician Nick Cave wrote the screenplay, marking his second collaboration with Hillcoat after the rip-roaring Australian western The Proposition.

Lawless premiered in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Critical reception is mixed, but leaning to positive. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Sinister – Ethan Hawke is a true-crime novelist who moves into a house where the previous residents were murdered. He finds a box of old home movies and comes realize 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 "found footage" horror flicks aren't going away, and critical reception for this one, for now, is actually fairly positive. It opened in sneak previews last week, and moves to a wider release this week. Rated 18+.

Paranormal Activity 4 – That's right, another "found footage" movie is opening this week. More mysterious phenomena is captured on a home's security cameras and other high-tech gadgets in this fourth installment of the cult-hit horror franchise. Critical reception, so far, is mixed. Rated 18+.

The Moth Diaries – A girl, haunted by her father's suicide, enrolls in an elite boarding school where she keeps a diary to record her growing obsession with her roommate (Sarah Gadon) and her roommate's friendship with the dark and mysterious new student, Ernessa (Lily Cole), who might be a vampire. Mary Harron (American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page) directs. Critical reception is mixed – mostly negative. At Major Cineplex. Rated 18+.

Saranae Osekkai (สาระแน โอเซกไก) – The gang from Thai TV's Saranae prank show takes their juvenile shtick to Japan, where they join with the Japanese group Yoshimoto in poking fun of stereotypical Japanese pop phenomena like the Baby Cart movies, costumed superheroes and silly stunt TV shows. Willy MacIntosh and Kiattisak “Sena Hoi” Udomnak – minus their just-fired long-time partner "Ple" Nakorn Silachai – star, and rope in others, including Thai pop music's girl duo Neko Jump and comedians Kom and Jazz Chaunchuen. In addition dumping their partner Ple, the Saranae crew have also moved their Lucks 666 production shingle over to M-Thirtynine after their previous feature films were released by Sahamongkol. Rated G.

Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles – Animal Adventure – If there's one thing you can count on during a school break in Thailand, it's that the latest Doraemon anime adventure will crop up in local cinemas and have the little ones bugging their parents to take them. Thai-dubbed only. Rated G.

Rain – The Best Show 3D – Major Cineplex has booked the exclusive rights to show the concert film by South Korean pop star Rain from today until October 31, with a limited number of screenings per day at select outlets. Check the Major Cineplex website for further details.

Also showing

Jalsaghar by Satyajit Ray screens tomorrow at noon.

Centenary of Indian Film Festival – Eight classic Indian films are being shown in this festival at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, which opens to the public at noon on Friday with 1958's Jalsaghar by one of the great auteurs of world cinema – Satyajit Ray. Other highlights in the fest running until Sunday are 1971's Anand, starring Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, and 1965's Guide. Get there plenty early to queue up for the free tickets, which are handed out 30 minutes before showtime. Check the complete schedule in last week's special posting.

Home Movie Day – Amid this week's crop of fake "found footage" movies, here's a chance to see real found footage. Part of an annual worldwide celebration of home movies, the Thai event is being held on Saturday from 11am to 6pm in the FA Cinematheque on the second floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. This year's theme is Thai home movies from Southeast Asian countries, in line with the preparations for the Asean Economic Community 2015. According to Limitless Cinema, the movies will include footage shot by King Rama VII when he visited neighboring countries in 1929-30, a clip of artist Silpa Bhirasri (1892-1962) sculpting the monument of King Taksin the Great and Chun Suwannaboon's film of the opening ceremony of the Lam Tong Game (1959). From 2 to 3pm, Khonthaptip Veeraprawat will talk on her family's home movie collection. Film Archive Director Dome Sukwong will talk from 5 to 6 on "The Surprising Discovery in Home Movies".

Niño – This is the third screening in the Cinema Diverse series of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center and Films Forum. The much-acclaimed family drama is about an ageing opera singer who tries various ways to revive her comatose politician brother, including singing arias to him and dressing a 9-year-old boy up as St. Niño, the Child Christ. Meanwhile, other family members return home, all wanting a share of the estate, and secrets come tumbling forth. It's the debut feature by veteran stage director Loy Arcenas and stars 84-year-old Fides Cuyugan Asensio, one of the Philippines' most prominent opera singers. They will attend the screening, with support from Cebu Pacific Air. The Philippines Embassy will serve Filipino food and beer before the screening, which is also being supported by the Society of Filipinas in Thailand. The reception is at 5pm with the screening starting at 6.30pm in the BACC's fifth-floor auditorium. Admission is free. The organizers have also arranged for a special student showing at the Screening Room in the Centre of  Digital Media, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, on Monday, October 22 at 3pm.

English Vinglish – It's been really hard to track these "Bollywood Exclusive" releases by Major Cineplex because they don't seem to come out on Thursdays like all the other movies in Thailand and generally aren't listed on the chain's website until after I do my weekly posting. Or sometimes the films are listed on the website as "coming soon" then don't materialize when they say they will. Other times, another film will pop up by surprise. Anyway, English Vinglish, which opened last week, is a comedy-drama about a middle-aged housewife (Sridevi) who is ridiculed by other family members for her poor English skills. She's sent to New York to help with her niece's wedding and secretly enrolls in an English class, which is attended by a colorful group of characters from the various parts of America's melting pot. It's at Major Sukhumvit and Rama III.

La chambre des morts (Room of Death) – Alfred Lot directs this 2007 thriller starring Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), Eric Caravaca and Gilles Lellouche. The murder tale has a pair of men hitting and killing a guy with their car. He was carrying a bag of money, which they take and run. Turns out, the money was ransom for a kidnapped girl, who is found dead the next day. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 24 at the Alliance Française. No viewers 12 and under will be admitted.

Sneak preview

Frankenweenie – Tim Burton directs this animated horror tale, a remake of one of his early short films, about a boy who reanimates his beloved pet dog and in so doing, upsets the balance of nature. It's a return to form for Burton, who has had a string of lackluster live-action films of late, and is more in keeping with his early hit movies like Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. The voice cast even reunites him with some folks from this earlier movies, like Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Landau. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's in sneak previews this week, with screenings at most multiplexes starting around 8 nightly, including IMAX Digital at Ratchayothin and Pinklao. Rated G.

Take note

After two weeks at House on RCA, indie Thai director Wichanon Sumumjarn's docu-drama In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire is continuing there for at least another week and has added a venue. This week, it'll screen at 6 nightly at House and at 7 nightly at the Esplanade Cineplex Ratchada.

With everything going on this week, it's easy to lose sight of big events yet to come, like the 10th World Film Festival of Bangkok from November 16 to 25, which has set its line-up. Stay tuned for more details as the kinks in scheduling are smoothed out.

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