Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 4-10, 2013

Khoo Kam

Khoo Kam (คู่กรรม), the tale of star-crossed lovers during World War II, returns to the big screen this week, with Nadech Kugimiya as a Japanese soldier who falls for the fiercely independent Thai lass Angsumalin, played by new-face actress Oranate "Richy" D Caballes.

"Leo" Kittikorn Liasirikun directs this remake, which looks to be the most ambitious production yet by studio M-Thirtynine.

Based on a book by Thommayanti, Khoo Kam has been adapted for film and television numerous times. In fact, there is a Khoo Kam on Thai TV right now, with "Bie" Sukrit Wisetkaew and "Noona" Nuengthida Sophon. Another version was 1996's Sunset at Chaophraya, starring Thongchai "Bird" McIntyre and Apasiri Nitibhon.

Following last week's release of Pee Mak Phra Khanong, which is yet another adaptation of the famous ghost story Mae Nak Phra Khanong, this new version of Khoo Kam joins the trend of bringing the favorite old stories to a new generation of moviegoers. Rated G.

Also opening

The Croods – DreamWorks Animation goes back to prehistoric times with this comedy about a neanderthal family on an adventure after being displaced from their cave. The main characters are a neanderthal teenage girl voiced by Emma Stone and a more-evolved caveboy played by Ryan Reynolds. Other voices include Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman. Chris Sanders (Lilo and Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon) directs. Critical reception is mixed to positive. This opened last week in a sneak preview run and now moves to a wide release. It's in 3D in some cinemas.

The Host Twilight author Stephenie Meyer offers more overwrought teenage emotions in her tale about alien parasites that have taken over most of the human race. Saoirse Ronan is a young woman who's been invaded by a soul called the Wanderer and set on the path of finding the last pockets of free humans. However, she's stronger than most and does her best to resist. Andrew Niccol (Lord of War, In Time, Gattaca) directs. Max Irons and Jake Abel also star, along with William Hurt, Diane Kruger and Frances Fisher. Critical reception is mostly negative. Rated 15+.

Back to 1942 – Adrian Brody, Tim Robbins and Daoming Chen are among the stars in this heavy-handed Chinese drama set during World War II and covering the famine in Henan Province that left at least three million dead.Feng Xiaogang (Aftershock) directs. Critical reception is mixed. It's in Mandarin with English and Thai subtitles at Apex Siam Square.

Also showing

Salaya International Documentary Film Festival – The Asean Documentary Competition screenings wrap up today at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, and tomorrow the BACC screen is given over to the Director in Focus, India's Sourav Sarangi, with screenings of 2008's Bilal and his latest, Char ... the No-Man's Island. Saturday has Nargis: When Time Stopped Breathing, Nontawat Numbenchapol's Boundary, about the disputed border area around Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple, and The Cat that Lived a Million Times from Japan. Sunday has the Queer Asean program, the historic 14 October footage of the 1973 pro-democracy demonstrations, and the awards ceremony. The festival is also taking place until Sunday at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya. A Nation article last Friday has more details. Click here for the schedule.

Thailand Interational Film Destination Festival – Screenings of made-in-Thailand foreign films started yesterday and continue through Tuesday, with screenings at 4 and 8 daily at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Admission is free. Today's offerings are the tsunami drama The Impossible with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor and another tsunami drama, Vinyan, about parents looking for their lost little boy. Belgian director Fabrice Du Weltz will be on hand for a Q&A. Other films are Formosa Betrayed and Mammoth tomorrow. Lost in Thailand screens on Saturday with the Thai theatrical premiere of the action flick Elephant White, with Q&A by star Djimon Hounsou and director Prachya Pinkaew). Sunday brings The Lady and Teddy Bear (Q&A with actors Kim Kold and David Winters), The Beach and The Hangover Part II on Monday and Pang Brothers Day on Tuesday with the Nicolas Cage remake of Bangkok Dangerous and crime thriller The Detective, followed by a Q&A with Danny and Oxide Pang. Check the schedule at the festival website.

Himmatwala – Ajay Devgn, Tamanna Bhatia and Paresh Rawal star in this colorful, song-and-dance filled remake of a 1983 "disco" movie. The story is about a man returning to his village to seek revenge for the death of his father and he falls for a local lass. As is typical of many mainstream Bollywood movies, it sounds way more serious than it actually is. Critical reception is mostly negative. It's at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Rated 13+.

Take note

If you went to see the Thai ghost movie Pee Mak Phra Khanong (พี่มาก...พระโขนง) over the weekend, you likely faced a long line of youngsters waiting to see it. It's the first bonafide Thai blockbuster in awhile, and looks set to break records, having reached the industry benchmark figure of 100 million baht in just four days. Audiences were still packing in for midweek late-night screenings. This week's release of Khoo Kam might steal some wind from Pee Mak's sails, but I think most folks who will see Khoo Kam will only do so after they've seen Pee Mak.

Be prepared for sticker shock when you watch a digital movie at the Apex Siam Square cinemas. The chain recently installed digital projectors at the Scala and in the Lido 2 and 3. The price right now is the same as it's always been – 100 baht – a bargain. But now posters at the cinema say that's a "promotion price during introductory period", so it appears a price increase will be coming soon at Apex, at least for the digital movies. However, I'd imagine that it will still be cheaper than what Major Cineplex or SF cinemas charge, which can be as much as 200 baht or even more.

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