Thursday, July 11, 2013

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

Pacific Rim

Cult director Guillermo del Toro pays tribute to the classic kaiju monster movies with Pacific Rim.

A combination of Godzilla and the popular-in-Japan mecha and anime genres, Pacific Rim is a big-budget disaster movie, with giant monsters from deep underneath the sea emerging to wreak havoc on coastal cities. The only way to fight the monsters is with our own monsters, so giant, 25-story robots called jaegers are created. They are piloted by two mind-linked soldiers. To get a sense of the scale of these creatures, one of the jaegers grabs a ship from the harbor and uses it like a baseball bat to pummel a kaiju.

Among the characters are a washed-up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) who are paired up to pilot a legendary but seemingly obsolete jaeger from the past.

Other stars include Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther), Charlie Day and del Toro regular Ron Perlman.

Casual movie-goers might dismiss this as yet another giant-robot spectacle like Transformers, but genre-film fans and fans of del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) know better. He left The Hobbit and ended up doing this, so it had better be good. Anticipation is high and critical reception so far is favorable.

It's in 2D in some cinemas and hybrid 3D in others, including IMAX.  Rated G.

Also opening

ByzantiumThe Crying Game director Neil Jordan returns with his first feature film in three years. I suppose it isn't a spoiler to say this is a vampire movie. Gemma Arterton stars as a 200-year-old vampire prostitute who moves with her daughter (Saoirse Ronan) to open brothel in a run-down English coastal resort hotel. Daniel Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Riley and Jonny Lee Miller also star. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+.

Arthur Newman – Colin Firth is a man going through a mid-life crisis who fakes his own death and buys another man's identity. Reinventing himself as a golf pro as he drifts around the Midwestern U.S., he attracts the attention of a young kleptomaniac (Emily Blunt) who sees through his scam. Together they embark on a cross-country crime spree, breaking into houses to "borrow" other people's lives. It's somewhat reminiscent of a couple of Asian films, South Korea's 3 Iron and last year's indie Thai release P-047. Becky Johnston (The Prince of Tides, Seven Years in Tibet) penned the screenplay with Dante Ariola as director of this indie feature. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to negative.

Also showing

Estômago – A homeless man falls into a career as a restaurant cook that takes an increasingly darker path in this award-winning 2007 black comedy by Marcos Jorge. It screens at 8pm on Monday, July 15, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, courtesy of the Embassy of  Brazil, which will lay on caipirinha and snacks. Entry for non-members is 150 baht and 100 baht for anyone wanting the food and drink.

Le voyage du directeur des ressources humaines (The Human Resources Manager) – The Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is Eran Riklis' award-winning 2010 tragi-comedy about a human resources manager at a Jerusalem bakery who sets out on a journey to save the reputation of his business and prevent the publication of a damaging article.

Take note

Be sure to call before heading out to the Apex cinemas in Siam Square. Frequently, the Apex's crown jewel Scala is hired out for concerts and private functions on weekends, throwing the movie showtimes into disarray. Sometimes the Apex website is updated, but more often it is not. So to confirm those showtimes, call the Lido at (02) 252-6498, where, surprise, surprise, an actual person will pick up the phone and tell you when the movies are playing.

Also, keep an eye on House. They will frequently show "out of menu" movies from this library. This week, to get ready for next week's release of Only God Forgives from Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling, they are showing Drive.

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