Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening January 24-30, 2013

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Another Brothers Grimm tale gets the explosive high-octane treatment in the blood-spattered but campy-sounding Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

The story finds the siblings all grown up 15 years after they were nearly killed by a witch in a gingerbread house. Now they are toting shotguns, pistols and crossbows, tear-assing around the forests of Germany, looking for the shit.

Avengers and Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner is the rogueish Hansel while Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans) is his tough sister Gretel. Famke Janssen is the leader of a coven of evil witches and Peter Stormare is a problematic sheriff.

Tommy Wirkola, Norwegian director of the zombie-Nazi horror comedy Dead Snow, makes his big-budget Hollywood debut. Interestingly, it's produced for MTV Films by comedian Will Ferrell and comedy director Adam McKay.

This doesn't come out in the the U.S. until tomorrow, so critical reception is too early to tell. It's in 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX and IMAX Digital. Rated 15+.

Also opening

The Last Tycoon – Chow Yun-fat is back in the smooth, white-suited Killer mode, starring in this fact-based epic account of the street-brawling rise to power by a Shanghai gangster from the 1910s to the chaos of World War II. Cheng Daqi, played by Huang Xiaoming in his younger years and then Chow later on, arrives in Shanghai and comes under the wing of a corrupt lawman and triad leader, played by the great Sammo Hung. Francis Ng, Yolanda Yuan and Monica Mok also star. Produced by Andrew Lau, it's scripted and directed by Wong Jing, and is being hailed as one of his best efforts in years. Critical reception is generally positive. It's Thai-dubbed in most cinemas except for SF World at CentralWorld, which has the original soundtrack with English and Thai subtitles. Rated 18+.

So Undercover – This comedy vehicle for Disney star Miley Cyrus is going direct-to-video in the U.S., which apparently makes it suitable to take up valuable big-screen space in Thailand. There are so many other movies out there, especially during awards season. Why this? The teenybopper star rather implausibly plays a streetwise private investigator who is hired by the FBI to go undercover in a university sorority where she is to protect the daughter of a former mob boss. Jeremy Piven also stars. Critical reception, so far, is overwhelmingly negative. At Major Cineplex. Rated 13+.

Also showing

Inkaar – Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh star in this tale of advertising agency executives battling for the top position while fighting sexual harrassment charges. At Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III.

Sneak previews

The movie-distribution business in Thailand can be pretty competitive sometimes, particularly during awards season, when everyone is jockeying to bring in the movies that are generating a lot of buzz.

Two films that are clawing for your eyeballs are the French revolution musical Les Misérables and the war-on-terror drama Zero Dark Thirty. Both are Oscar nominees in multiple categories and both were winners at the recent Golden Globe Awards.

And both are due to officially open in Thailand on January 31.

Les Mis, distributed by United International Pictures, had already scheduled a sneak preview for this week, but Zero Dark Thirty distributor M Pictures stole a march on UIP by rushing sneak preview reels into cinemas last week.

So now both Les Mis and Zero Dark Thirty are in sneak previews, with screenings from around 8 nightly at most cinemas.

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