Thursday, July 4, 2013

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

Sarawat Mah Baa (The Cop)

A hot-headed police inspector ("Tao" Somchai Khemklad), under investigation by internal affairs is called back to duty to probe the murder of a government minister's daughter. He's partnered with a veteran sergeant (Bamrer "Note Chernyim" Phongintakun) and the young female lieutenant (Krystal Vee). Meanwhile, the killer has the cop in his sights, setting out to ruin him by exposing his possible misdeeds in a previous case.

Sarawat Mah Baa, (สารวัตรหมาบ้า , literally "inspector mad dog"), a.k.a. The Cop, is the feature directorial debut of MR Chalermchatri "Adam" Yukol, son of veteran filmmaker MC Chatrichalerm Yukol. Having grown up on film sets and schooled in film in Australia, Adam sought to make a name for himself with his new media company, the cheekily named FuKDuk Production, and immersed himself in the latest technology while shopping his first film project to the Thai studios.

For The Cop, Adam has said he aimed to capture the spirit of police films of the 1980s, taking inspiration from Lethal Weapon, though The Cop is much more serious in tone than the Mel Gibson action-comedy. And, it might also hark back to the gritty 1970s and '80s action films of his father, such as The Colonel, The Elephant Keeper and Gunman. Rated 18+.

Also opening

The Lone Ranger – Teaming up again with Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp dresses up in another weird costume to play another quirky character in this big-budget refashioning of the famous tale of the Old American West. He's Tonto, the Native American spirit warrior. No mere sidekick, he's an equal partner with a masked lawman (Armie Hammer from The Social Network) in seeking revenge, fighting for justice and jumping from a runaway train. For his character, Depp sought inspiration from the original Tonto of the 1950s TV series, Jay Silverheels, as well as the deadpan pratfalls of Buster Keaton. He probably also borrowed from Gary Farmer, his Native American co-star in Jim Jarmusch's 1998 acid western Dead Man. Long in development by Disney, The Lone Ranger began in 1933 as a radio series and was then a B-movie serial and then a TV series in the 1950s, starring Clayton Moore and Silverheels. Other stars in this new Lone Ranger include William Fichtner as the villain Butch Cavendish, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson and Depp's cohort from all those Tim Burton movies, Helena Bonham Carter. Critical reception is mostly negative, but that probably won't stop it at the box office. Rated 13+.

Despicable Me 2 – Reformed former mad scientist Gru (Steve Carell) has changed his life around and become a father figure for orphan kids. But he has to return to his old ways when he's approached by the Anti-Villain League to work undercover to combat a new supervillain. The voice cast also includes Kristin Wiig and Benjamin Bratt. Also again featuring his scene-stealing little yellow minions, who will be getting their own movie next yearDespicable Me 2 opened in sneak previews last week and moves to a wider release today. Critical reception is generally positive. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated G.

Lootera – A young scoundrel poses as an archaeologist in an attempt to steal a temple's ancient idol but is sidetracked when he falls for the daughter of a local aristocrat. Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha star. Opening tomorrow, it's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Paragon, Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III.

Also showing

Canta! Timor – Japanese documentarian Natsuko Hirota directs this feature on Southeast Asia's newest country, East Timor, telling the story of how the Timorese kept their music and forgave their enemies. There are interviews with local men and women – villagers, soldiers and shamans – as well as Timor-Leste's first president, Xanana Gusmão, and with former guerrillas. It screens at 8pm on Tuesday, July 9 at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. Admission for non-members is 150 baht.

Simon KonianskiThe Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is this 2010 comedy about a 35-year-old man-child who returns home to live with his father. When the family's uncle dies, they take a crazy journey to Ukraine to bury the old man.

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