Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening March 21-26, 2013

Movie 43

Decades in development, Movie 43 is a project headed up by Peter Farrelly of the Farrelly brothers gross-out comedy duo and their producer Charles Wessell, who backed them on such movies as Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary.

Movie 43 took so long to make because Wessell only wanted big-name talents but didn't want to pay them. Instead, he pestered them endlessly, wearing them down until they took the roles just to get him to leave them alone.

His tactics resulted an unlikely cast of such talented good sports as Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman. Gerard Butler, also starring in Olympus Has Fallen (see below), appears as a deranged-killer leprechaun, which is funny I guess because he's Scottish. Irish actor Colin Farrell was originally sought for the role but turned them down.

Familiar names are in the directors' chairs as well, among them actress Elizabeth Banks, actor Griffin Dunne and directors James Gunn and Brett Ratner.

The 10 unrelated sketches, involving gross-out gags and raunchy sex humor as well as movie parodies, are tied together by the ordeal of an unhinged screenwriter who is pitching various outrageous ideas to a dismissive producer.

Critical reception is so overwhelmingly negative that the only tactic promoters have left is daring viewers to see it, just so they can see for themselves how bad it really is. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Olympus Has FallenTraining Day director Antoine Fuqua trades in the mean streets of Los Angeles for the Oval Office in this thriller in which the US president (Aaron Eckhart) has been kidnapped by a North Korean terrorist mastermind. It's a Die Hard-like situation as the president's only hope is a disgraced former Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler) who is trapped alone to fight the terrorists in the White House. Interestingly, this is not the only White House siege thriller planned for this year – yet to come is Roland Emmerich's White House Down, which stars Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum. Olympus Has Fallen has Morgan Freeman, again looking presidential as he portrays the House Speaker. The cast also features Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd and Rick Yune. This opens in the U.S. tomorrow, and critical consensus, so far, is leaning toward positive. Rated 18+.

Two Weddings and a Funeral – A gay doctor and his lesbian colleague decide to get married to keep their sexual orientations a secret. They set their partners up in the apartment next door. However, the doctor's meddling parents simply won’t leave him alone. Screened at last year's Busan International Film Festival, this comedy is directed by gay activist filmmaker Kimjho Gwang-soo. It's in Korean with English and Thai subititles at some Major Cineplex branches (including Paragon, Mega, Esplanade and EGV Seacon.). Rated 18+.

Let’s Go Kamen Riders – Japan’s costumed superhero franchise celebrates 40 years with the masked Kamen Rider OOO fighting the mole imagin, who then escape by time-travelling back to 1971. Thai-dubbed only. Rated G.

Also showing

Mere Dad Ki Maruti – A whippersnapper borrows his dad's new Maruti automobile without permission so he can score with a young lady. But then the lad ends up losing the car, which, as it turned out, was to be a wedding gift for his sister. This Bollywood comedy is screening in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Rated 13+.

Take note

Pickings are slim this week as theater chains and movie distributors clear the decks for next week's major tentpole releases, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which opens on Wednesday, and the much-hyped and anticipated Thai movie Pee Mak Phra Khanong, which offers a romantic-comedy twist on the popular, often-recounted ghost legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong.

Details are still coming together for the third Salaya International Documentary Film Festival, which will be held from April 1 to 7 at the Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom and from April 2 to 7 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. Organizers have announced their lineup of Southeast Asian documentaries in competition as well as many worthwhile special programs, including the screenings of two works by Indian documentarian Sourav Sarangi: 2008's Bilal, about a boy living with his blind parents and his latest, Char ... the No-Man's Island, about inhabitants of river islands along the twisting border between India and Bangladesh. It screened at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. Find out more over at that other blog or check out the Salaya Doc Facebook page.

And another festival has emerged – the Thailand International Destination Film Festival. Organized by the Kantana film studio with support from the Thailand Film Office and other sponsors, it aims to highlight Thailand as a film location, especially foreign productions. The centerpiece is the Amazing Thailand Film Challenge, in which foreign and local filmmaking teams were given modest budgets to make shorts with an emphasis on exploration in Thailand. Plans are to also screen foreign films that have been shot in Thailand, such as The Hangover Part II. Details regarding the venue and the program have yet to be announced for the Destination fest, which runs from April 1 to 10, directly conflicting with Salaya Doc.

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