Continuing the blockbuster holiday season, there is a mind-boggling number of releases this week, all jockeying for position with last week's Hobbit and this week's big tentpole.
Celebrated director Ang Lee ventures into special-effects-laden 3D for the epic adventure tale Life of Pi, based on a best-selling novel by Yann Martel, in which a teenage boy is the sole human survivor of a shipwreck. He ends up stranded in the middle of the Pacific in a lifeboat with only a hungry tiger as his companion.
Suraj Sharma stars, with Bollywood great Irrfan Khan as the older Pi, who tells the story of how his family sold their zoo in India and planned to move it halfway around the world.
Life of Pi is among the buzzworthy titles as awards season gets underway. Tipped as a likely Oscar nominee, especially in the special effects and technical categories, it's been nominated for the Golden Globe for best picture, best director and best score by Mychael Danna. Critical reception is mostly positive. In 3D. Rated G.
Countdown (เคาท์ดาวน์, Kaadao) – Indie filmmaker Nattawat Poonpiriya makes his major-studio feature debut directing this remake of his 2010 short film about three young Thai hipsters who share an apartment in New York City. They want to have a rocking New Year's Eve party and call a drug dealer to help out. However, the pusher Jesus has other ideas about how to have fun, and he makes the trio's night a living hell. Pachara Chirathivat, Patarasaya Krueasuwansiri and Jarinporn Junkiet star. Rated 18+.
Chinese Zodiac a.k.a. CZ12 or Armour of God III – Nearly a decade in development, Jackie Chan is back in Indiana Jones mode for this third entry in his Armour of God archaelogical adventure franchise. Infused with a sense of nationalistic Chinese pride, the globetrotting action-packed tale has Jackie as a treasure hunter-thief seeking to retrieve a dozen bronze statue heads that were stolen when French and the British armies sacked the Summer Imperial Palace in Beijing during the Second Opium War of the 1860s. Among the highlights is the 58-year-old Jackie, still doing his own stunts after breaking every bone in his body, donning a "skate suit" to fly down a hill. Read more about it in a story in today's Nation, "A man of many hats". Reviews are mixed. The original soundtrack with English and Thai subtitles at some cinemas, including Paragon, CentralWorld, Terminal 21 and Emporium. Rated 15+.
Deadfall – There's somewhat of a Fargo feel to this story of a brother and sister (Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde) who are on the run along the Canadian after a casino heist leaves their driver and a state trooper dead. A female sheriff's deputy (Kate Mara) is in pursuit on a snowmobile. Separated during a near white-out blizzard, the brother heads cross country, leaving destruction in his wake, while the sister hooks up with an ex-con former boxer (Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy) who takes her to a family Thanksgiving dinner. There, at the table, things come to a head between the siblings and the ex-con's parents (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson). Stefan Ruzowitzky directs. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+.
Your Sister’s Sister – Plaid-clad hipster Jack (Mark Duplass) is an emotional wreck a year after his brother's death. Seeing that he could use solace, his brother's friend Iris (Emily Blunt) offers Jack her cabin on an island in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. There, he unexpectedly runs into Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt), who is recovering after the abrupt end of a seven-year relationship. A blurry evening of drinking concludes with an awkward sexual incident. Screened at such festivals as Toronto, Sundance and Tribeca, critical reception for this indie comedy-drama directed by Lynn Shelton is mostly positive. At House.
Together Wan Tee Rak (Together วันที่รัก) – Princess Ubolratana and Saharat Sangkhapreecha head an ensemble cast in this family melodrama from the Oriental Eyes studio. Their long marriage comes under pressure when the wife's Alzheimer's-suffering father (Krisana Sethadumrong) is brought into the home. Peter Nopachai Jaayamana and Piyathida Worramusik also star. Sarunyu Jiralak directs. Rated 13+.
Film Virus: Wild Type 2012 – The Film Virus group is screening Thai independent experimental shorts at the Reading Room on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 2pm. The full program is here.
Khiladi 786 – Akshay Kumar and Asin Thottumkal star in this Bollywood comedy about a family of con artists who masquerade as cops to carry out brazen schemes. At Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Major Rama III. Rated 15+.