Three youngsters are haunted by the spirit of their teen-idol friend who died under mysterious circumstances in Last Summer Rue Doo Ron Nan Chan Tai (Last Summer ฤดูร้อนนั้น ฉันตาย).
Jirayu La-ongmanee, Suthata Udomsilp and Krit Sathapanapitakkij star. Scripted by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, the nearest thing there is to a rock-star screenwriter in the Thai film industry, the three-act story is handled by three directors, Saranyoo Jiralak, Sittisiri Mongkolsiri and Kittithat Tangsirikit, each responsible for one of the acts, which focus on one of the three lead actors.
Indie film figures Aditya Assarat, Soros Sukhum and Pawas Sawatchaiyamet worked behind the scenes as line producers, and veteran director Rutaiwan Wongsirasawad served as producer. It's released by the new production shingle, Talent 1. Rated 15+.
The Company You Keep – It's "prestige" movie week! Robert Redford directs and stars in this political drama. He's a fugitive former member of the Weather Underground militant group of the 1970s. After his secret identity is uncovered by an aggressive young reporter (Shia LaBeouf), he sets out on a journey to clear his name. The star-studded cast also includes Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Brendan Gleeson, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root, Stanley Tucci and Chris Cooper. The Company You Keep premiered in competition at last year's Venice Film Festival and won two prizes. It also screened in Toronto and was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for a limited art-house release. Critical reception is mixed. It's at Apex in Siam Square.
At Any Price – And here's another "prestige" movie. An ambitious Midwest U.S. farmer (Dennis Quaid) working overtime to expand his land holdings for seed-crop growing finds his livelihood at risk when he comes under investigation. Meanwhile, his rebellious son (Zac Efron) wants nothing to do with the family business and instead seeks to become a stock-car driver. Kim Dickens (Deadwood, Treme), Clancy Brown, Heather Graham and Chelcie Ross (Conrad Hilton from Mad Men) also star. It's directed by Ramin Bahrani, who made waves a few years ago with his indie debut, the New York crime drama Chop Shop. At Any Price is another selection from last year's competition at the Venice International Film Festival. It also screened in Telluride and Toronto and was picked up for art-house release by Sony Pictures Classics. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+.
Odd Thomas – Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the new Star Trek movies) is a young man with clairvoyant abilities who lives in a California desert town. When he isn't serving up flapjacks at the local greasy spoon diner, he's dealing with supernatural beings that only he can see. Directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), it's based on a novel by Dean Koontz. This is just getting released, so there aren't many reviews. Rated 15+.
Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons – Stephen Chow revisits the Chinese epic that his 1990s hit A Chinese Odyssey was based on. He directs this tale about the young demon hunter Xuan Zang (Wen Zhang) before he made his journey. He conquers a water demon, a pig demon and the demon of all demons and then takes them as his disciples. They then embark on their journey to the West. It's at SF cinemas. Rated 13+.
Huk Aum Lum (ฮักอ่ำหล่ำ) – The Laotian film industry continues to make inroads into Thai cinemas. Can we expect more of this as the Asean Economic Community comes into play in 2015? A famous singer (Athisak Ratanawong) returns home to his village in Laos and tries to woo back his old girlfriend (Phailinda Philavan). Rated 15+.
Ghanchakkar – A master safe-cracker (Emraan Hashmi) takes one last job before retiring, teaming up with two dangerous criminals. The job goes like clockwork and the thief hides the loot. But when his partners come back a few months later to collect, the safe-cracker has no memory ofwho they are. This Bollywood crime-comedy is directed by Rajkumar Gupta and produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur. Vidya Balan, Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das also. Ghanchakkar opens tomorrow at Paragon, Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Major Rama III.
Marathon 17 – One of the defining characteristics of the annual Thai Short Film and Video Festival is the Marathon, in which all the films submitted are shown over the course of the month before the festival. I don't know of any other film festival that does this sort of thing. Featuring around 450 shorts, this year's Marathon starts on Tuesday, July 2. Screenings will be in the FA Cinematheque on the second floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 8.30 and Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11am to 8.30pm. The 17th Thai Short and Video Festival is set for August 22 to September 1 at the BACC.
Les caprices d'un fleuve (Unpredictable Nature of the River) – The Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is a 1996 historical drama starring Bernard Giraudeau as a Frenchman who is appointed king-governor of a tiny west African colony.
Despicable Me 2 – The mad scientist Gru, having given up his supervillain ways, is contacted by the Anti-Villain League to work for them undercover. The Universal Pictures animated feature features a voice cast that includes Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong and Steve Coogan. It's in sneak previews this week, with showtimes from around 2pm daily at most multiplexes. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated G.
Hurry if you want to see Pachatipathai (ประชาธิปไตย), a.k.a. Paradoxocracy. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but political pressure may shut the thing down. And, it's only showing with English subtitles at Paragon. The other location, Esplanade Ratchada, didn't have them when I checked on Tuesday. Directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang and Pasakorn Pramoolwong, it's a funny and frank documentary on contemporary Thai politics since 1932. Some parts are censored, with whatever they're saying muted and the subtitles blanked out. But if you know about Thai history, and the context of the discussion, you can pretty much figure what's being said. Showtimes are at 2 and 8pm daily through July 10.