Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening January 3-9, 2013

The Guillotines

Long in the works, The Guillotines brings to the 3D age a legendary ancient Chinese weapon previously featured in 1970s kung-fu flicks, particularly the cult-classic 1976 Jimmy Wang Yu "One-Armed Boxer" vehicle, Master of the Flying Guillotine, as well as an earlier Shaw Brothers movie, 1974's The Flying Guillotine.

Produced by Peter Chan, the Chinese-Hong Kong fantasy had been stuck for years in development hell, with Teddy Chen (Bodyguards and Assassins) at one time attached to direct. Eventually it fell to Infernal Affairs helmer Andrew Lau to bring the project to the screen.

The special-effects-laden story focuses on the "guillotine squad" serving the Qing dynasty, who use their special flying swords to decapitate anyone who opposes the throne. Problems arise when these hotshot executioners become targets themselves.

Shawn Yue, Huang Xiaoming, Ethan Juan, Li Yuchun and Jing Boran star.

Critical reception has been mixed, with Twitchfilm's James Marsh noting that the titular weapon is hardly even featured.

It's in 3D in some cinemas, but it's Thai-dubbed with no subtitles. The Chinese soundtrack with English and Thai subtitles is at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld (2D only). Rated 18+.

Also opening

The Bay – More shaky-cam "found-footage" horror from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious takes an environmental angle and has an high-profile director – Oscar-winning Hollywood veteran Barry Levinson (Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man). As revealed by video footage that authorities thought they had buried, a deadly water-borne menace sweeps through a Chesapeake Bay community in Maryland during a big summer holiday weekend. Told from the perspective of those who were there and saw what happened, the mockumentary unfolds over 24 hours though phone-video clips, 911 calls and web cams. The Bay premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, and critical reception, so far is somewhat mixed, leaning to positive. Rated 15+.

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