Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening June 13-19, 2013

Man of Steel

DC Comics hero Superman is again brought to the big screen in Man of Steel. It's an origin tale, essentially combining the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies of the late 1970s and '80s, but recasting them in a darker tone.

All grown up, Clark Kent is full of angst as he struggles with his amazing superpowers and his feelings of alienation. He's grown a beard and is drifting on a soul-searching journey. Flashbacks show him being sent away as a baby from Krypton by his parents, just as his planet is destroyed. As a foundling infant, he's adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), a farming couple in a small village, and Pa Kent urges him to keep his superpowers a secret.

But when Earth is attacked by fellow Kryptonians, he finally accepts his role as hero and protector of Earth and its people.

Henry Cavill stars as the man who will eventually wear a red cape, with Michael Shannon as the powerful General Zod. Amy Adams is Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne is Daily Planet editor Perry White and Russell Crowe is Superman's father, Jor-El.

Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300, Sucker Punch) directs, again displaying his devotion to comic-book culture. David S. Goyer, co-writer of The Dark Knight Rises, penned the screenplay, with the story by Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, who is also one of the producers. So if your a fan of Nolan's Batman movies, you can probably imagine what direction this Superman reboot is taking.

Critical reception is mostly positive. In addition to 2D, it's in 3D (converted) in some cinemas, including IMAX. Rated 13+.

Also opening

The Barrens – New Jersey's Pine Barrens have been referenced in films and TV series before, especially in The Sopranos, which had an episode actually set there. Aside from being a burial ground for mobsters, the Barrens are also the haunt for a local folklore figure – the Jersey Devil, a terrifying monster with bat-like wings said to have been spawned by Satan himself. The Barrens is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who did several installments of the Saw series. Stephen Moyer (True Blood) stars as a family man who takes his wife and kids on a camping trip. They are looking for the perfect spot to set up their tent but instead find unspeakable horrors. This essentially went straight-to-DVD in the States last year, so there isn't much critical reception. Rated 15+.

True Love – Newlyweds wake up after their wedding night to find they have been separated, locked in cells and can only see each other through a monitor. Their love and commitment to each other is then put to the test as they are tortured and the secrets each is hiding are revealed. Tyrees Allen, John Brotherton and Clare Carey star. Directed by Enrico Clerico Nasino, this Italian-American production is also known as Y/N: You Lie, You Die and like The Barrens is yet another mainly direct-to-video torture-porn thriller. Rated 15+.

The Silent WarInfernal Affairs screenwriters Alan Mak and Felix Chong adapt and direct this Chinese-Hong Kong thriller set in the 1950s, with Tony Leung Chiu Wai as a blind piano tuner. Because of his exceptional hearing, he is recruited by the shadowy government unit 701. But instead of focusing on his mission of rooting out an invisible enemy, he finds himself drawn to 701's senior investigator (Zhou Xun). This was nominated for several awards last year, including best screenplay, best actor and best actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards and it won for best cinematography. Other prizes include best costumes at the Asian Film Awards and best sound effects for the Thai team of Traithep Wongpaiboon and Nopawat Likitwong at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. Critical reception is mixed. Thai-dubbed most places, it's in Mandarin with English and Thai subtitles in a few cinemas, including SFW CentralWorld, Paragon and Major Cineplex Sukhumvit. Rated 15+.

Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 – This sequel to a 2011 Bollywood action comedy again has the scheming Dhillons (Dharmendra and Bobby Deol), father-and-son con artists who scam people by pretending to be gurus. Neha Sharma and Sunny Deol also star. Critical reception is mostly negative. Starts Friday at Paragon, Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Major Rama III.

Also showing

Nights of Cabiria – Federico Fellini's Academy Award-winning 1957 romantic drama screens at 8pm on Tuesday, June 18 at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. The story of a prostitute on the streets of Rome who yearns to find true love, it was later adapted into the Broadway musical Sweet Charity. The screening, part of the FCCT's Contemporary World Film Series, is sponsored by the Embassy of Italy, which is laying on wine and apertifs for 150 baht and 100 baht. Admission is 150 baht for non-members.

Les neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro) – The Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is an acclaimed 2011 drama about a shipyard worker who loses his job. With his family and fellow fired co-workers, he organizes a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. The story is based not on a short story by Ernest Hemingway but on a poem by Victor Hugo.

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