Brad Pitt stars as a hitman in the low-down and gritty crime tale Killing Them Softly, which boasts a fine cast that also includes Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini.
Pitt plays a gunman named Jackie Cogan who's hired by a mob lawyer (Jenkins) to track down a pair of comically bumbling small-time punks (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) who robbed a high-stakes poker game in order to frame the game's manager (Liotta).
Helmed by New Zealander Andrew Dominik, who previously directed Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the film premiered in the main competition at last year's Cannes Film Festival and has been met with generally positive critical reception.
It's screening at the Apex theaters in Siam Square and SF cinemas. Rated 18+.
The Last Stand – How many times can Arnold Schwarzenegger announce "I'll be back"? After a cameo in last year's Expendables 2, the Terminator star is finally and truly back in show business after his stint as California governor, taking his first lead role in a movie since 2003's Terminator 3. In The Last Stand, he's a former Los Angeles policeman who has retired to a little border town and taken the post of sheriff. However his hopes of living the quiet life are dashed when a drug lord (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from prison and makes a beeline for Arnie's town. Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzmán and Peter Stormare also star. South Korean helmer Kim Ji-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, The Good, the Bad, the Weird) directs, making his Stateside debut. Critical reception is wildly anticipatory. Rated 18+.
Albert Nobbs – Actress Glenn Close portrays a man in this much-acclaimed drama for which she received multiple nominations last year, including the Oscars and Golden Globes. The tale is set in 19th century Ireland where Close's character is a woman who has quietly posed as a man named Albert for 30 years. Working as a waiter at a posh hotel, Albert's carefully guarded secret is uncovered. Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson and Janet McTeer also star. Critical reception is mixed, but praise for Close's performance is nearly universal. It's at House on RCA.
The Thieves – A crew of South Korean con artists and thieves are hired to steal a $20 million diamond from a Macao casino in this slickly ambitious heist flick that's become South Korea's second-highest-grossing film. I guess it's sort of the South Korean answer to Ocean's Eleven. The cast of this action comedy is led by Korean stars Kim Hae-sook, Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae and Kim Soo-hyun, and adds Pan-Asian flavor with Hong Kong talents Angelica Lee, Simon Yam and Derek Tsang. Nominated for several awards, critical reception is generally positive. It's at Major Cineplex, and is unfortunately Thai-dubbed only. Rated 15+.
Daddy's Menu (เมนูของพ่อ, Menu Khong Phor) – Crinkly faced comic Ping Lumprapleng heads the cast in this comedy about finalists on a TV cooking show who are tasked with preparing a special dish. Saichea Wongsaroj, Billy Ogan and Phongthawat Chalermkittichai also star. Rated G.
The Stunt – Thailand's legion of largely unheralded stuntmen, who perform death-defying acts just for the sake of entertaining you, are given a voice in this new documentary. It goes behind the scenes to look at the hardships of Thai action cinema, which has grown into a major industry since the 2003 release of Ong-Bak, the movie that introduced the rough-and-tumble, "no wires, no CGI" Thai style to the world. The men behind that movie, martial-arts choreographer Panna Rithikrai and director Prachya Pinkaew, are among the interviewees, along with a bunch of people you've probably never heard of, but you've likely seen their films. The Stunt screens on Sunday, January 20 at 2pm at the Lido cinemas in Siam Square. Check the movie's Facebook page for more details or watch English-subtitled trailer.
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola – Imran Khan stars in this tale of romance. He's a bright young man whose family has always served the clan of a local tycoon (Pankaj Kapur) and he's long harbored a crush on the man's daughter (Anushka Sharma). But then the Oxford-schooled young woman falls for the son of a wealthy politician (Arya Babbar). It's at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Rated G.
Argo is back in cinemas, thanks to its big win at the Golden Globe Awards this week. Ben Affleck's thriller, based on actual events during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, was named best drama film and also netted Affleck the best director award. It's also a nominee for the Oscars, including Best Picture and best supporting actor for Alan Arkin, but notably not best director for Affleck.
Next week, the musical drama Les Misérables opens in a sneak preview run. It won the Golden Globe for musical or comedy motion picture as well as best actor and best supporting actress for Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. It's also a Oscar nominee.
Les Misérables moves to a wider release on January 31, the same day another major nominee and winner Zero Dark Thirty opens, though it might also already be playing in a sneak run. Zero Dark Thirty stars Jessica Chastain in a Golden Globe-winning role as a CIA agent in charge of hunting 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden, and is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, following up her Oscar-winning Iranian war drama The Hurt Locker.
The leading Academy Award nominee Lincoln comes to Bangkok on February 7. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Golden Globe best actor Daniel Day-Lewis, the historical drama covers the events surrounding President Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation to free the slaves.
Other major nominees and award winners include David O. Russell's romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook, for which Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy motion picture. It opens in Bangkok on February 21, along with the airline drama Flight, starring Denzel Washington in an Oscar-nominated role.
Also playing in Bangkok right now is the surprisingly humorous Hyde Park on Hudson, featuring Bill Murray in a Golden Globe-nominated performance as U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained doesn't look likely to open around here until May. It won the Golden Globe for original screenplay and supporting actor for Christoph Waltz, and is also a nominee for five Oscars.