Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 11-17, 2013


Tom Cruise offers his twist on Wall-E with Oblivion, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller in which he's a clean-up man of sorts, working a mostly solitary life as he patrols the Earth's ruined cities in his futuristic aircraft while repairing security drones.

One day, the crash landing of a mysterious spacecraft puts him in touch with someone who might be from his past. Memories he didn't know he had come flooding back.

Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Zoe Bell and Melissa Leo also star.

And there's a cigar-smoking Morgan Freeman, who ties Tom to a chair and tells him he can't handle the truth.

It's directed by Joseph Kosinski, who made his debut with Tron: Legacy. Based on his unpublished graphic novel, he co-wrote the screenplay with Karl Gajdusek and Star Wars Episode VII scribe Michael Arndt.

Oblivion doesn't open in the U.S. until April 19, so it's up to audiences here to make their critical voices heard first by the rest of the world. It's in 2D only, including IMAX. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Happiness Never Comes Alone (Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seul ) – One of the titles that premiered in February at the Clap! French Film Festival at SFX the Emporium, this romantic comedy by director James Huth stars comedian Gad Elmaleh as a womanizing young jazz musician who falls improbably in love with the divorced mother of three children (Sophie Marceau). Huth spoke more about his film in an article in The Nation. It's in French with English and Thai subtitles at the Lido in Siam Square. Rated 15+.

VampsFast Times at Ridgemont High director Amy Heckerling is back with a new comedy, which looks to be a bit of her Clueless mixed with a sort-of parody of Twilight. Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter star as a pair of young women who enjoy the party life of New York City while keeping the fact that they are vampires a secret. One of them gets pregnant, and it turns out her boyfriend is one of the Van Helsings, that famous family of vampire hunters. To protect her child, she must join forces with him to bring down the bloodthirsty "stem" vampire – Sigourney Weaver – who made her and her friend vampires in the first place. Criticial reception is evenly mixed. Rated 15+.

The Last Exorcism Part II – Turns out it wasn't the last one after all. Having survived her ordeal in the first film, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found terrified and alone in rural Louisiana. Back in the relative safety of New Orleans, she begins to rebuild her life but realizes there are huge gaps in her memory. And the evil force that once possessed her is back with more horrific plans. Critical reception is mostly negative. Rated 13+.

Sammy’s Adventures 2 – With the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory just announced by Disney and Pixar and set for 2015, starring Ellen DeGeneres as the forgetful fish Dory, it must just be a coincidence that this Belgian Nemo-knockoff is swimming its way into cinemas this week. A sequel to the 2010 first entry in the Sammy animation franchise, Sammy's Great Escape has Sammy the sea turtle supervising new leatherback hatchlings when they are attacked by seagulls. Then Sammy and his pal Ray are captured by poachers to be part of an aquarium show. In the boat's storage tank, they meet a forgetful lobster. And together, they try to figure out a way to escape. Rated G.

Nautanki Saala – Ayushmann Khuranna and Kunaal Roy Kapur star in this romantic comedy by Ramesh Sippy. Ayushman is a successful stage actor who befriends a lonely goofball played by Kunaal, and sets about to find the woman of his new pal's dreams. Pooja Salvi and Evelyn Sharma also star, along with Abhishek Bachchan in a cameo. Opening Friday, it's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Major Rama III.

Also showing

Dans la vie – Even though I've been neglectful of listing them here in recent weeks, the Alliance Française screens free movies at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's movie is a 2008 comedy directed by Philippe Faucon and starring Sabrina Ben Abdallah, Ariane Jacquot and Zohra Mouffok that tackles Jewish-Arabic cultural relations with a story about an eccentric disabled Jewish woman who is cared for by a Muslim nurse who then hires her mother to be her patient's caretaker. It's in French and Arabic with English subtitles.

Chashme Baddoor – This Bollywood romantic comedy follows the exploits of three friends – Ali Zafar, Siddharth and Divyendu Sharma – who like the same girl (Taapsee Pannu). When she selects one of them, the other two attempt to break them apart. This opened last Friday and is in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Central Rama III.

Take note

Songkran, the water-splashing Thai New Year holiday, takes place this weekend. Thanks to Saturday being the official Songkran day, Tuesday has been added as a substitution day making what's usually a three-day holiday four days. Bangkok ordinarily empties out for Songkran, making travel in the city a bit quicker. However, if you want to stay dry, it's best to ride in a locked taxi and avoid the entertainment zones, like Silom Road, RCA and the night-life haunts along Sukhumvit. Even though water throwing is traditionally supposed to cease after dark, there's always a few idiots ruining things for everyone else. Siam Square, home to the Scala and Lido, will be hosting the Culture Ministry's "traditional" Songkran celebration, but there will still be water play. The government has made moves this year to tone things down, with a ban on open booze containers on vehicles as well as no alcohol sales in some areas. But it will likely still be pretty crazy. Take the necessary precautions, assume you'll probably get hit with water and don't get upset.

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