Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening July 25-31, 2013

The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman again returns to the role of what's arguably the most popular character in the X-Men comic franchise – the gruff, steel-clawed Canadian superhero Wolverine.

The Wolverine covers Logan's exploits in Japan, where he fought in World War II, was trained in martial arts and battled samurai and ninjas. He returns to fulfill the request of a dying old man and faces a new challenge after he has his healing powers taken from him by an evil mutant doctor (Svetlana Khodchenkova).

This is the second stand-alone adventure for Wolverine, following 2009's Origins movie, which was a prequel to the whole X-Men movie franchise. The events here take place sometime after the third X-Men film, X-Men: The Last Stand.

Famke Janssen reprises her role as Jean Gray, fellow X-Men member and the unrequited love of Logan's life. She appears in dream sequences. Rila Fukushima also stars, playing Logan's self-appointed bodyguard. The cast also features Will Yun Lee and Hiroyuki Sanada.

Long in the works, the script is by Christopher McQuarrie with rewrites by Scott Frank and Mark Bomback. Darren Aronofsky was initially set to direct, but then backed out after he decided he didn't want to spend so much time overseas making the film. The March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused filming in Japan to be further delayed. A host of other names were bandied about but the job eventually fell to James Mangold (Walk the Line, Knight and Day).

Critical reception is mixed to positive. It's in 2D and converted 3D (including 4DX at Paragon and Major Ratchayothin). Rated 13+.

Also opening

I’m So Excited – Technical problems aboard a flight to Mexico are mined for campy, light-hearted laughter by director Pedro Almodovar. To keep the passengers calm, the quick-thinking gay flight crew – go ahead, call them Shirley – resorts to administering drugs to everyone in economy class and offering free booze to everyone in business. The wacky cast of characters includes Almodovar regular Cecilia Roth as well as cameos by Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz and others. Critical reception is mixed. It's in Spanish with English and Thai subtitles at House and SF cinemas. Rated 15+.

Admission – A strict Princeton University admissions officer (Tina Fey) visits an alternative high school run by her former college classmate (Paul Rudd) and encounters a gifted but unconventional student who might well be the kid she secretly gave up for adoption years ago. Soon, she finds herself bending the rules for the boy and putting her career at risk. Paul Weitz (About a Boy) directs. Critical reception is mixed.

My Sweet Orange Tree – This coming-of-age drama is based on the partly-autobiographical 1968 novel by Brazilian writer José Mauro de Vasconcelos, Meu Pé de Laranja‑Lima. Popular as assigned reading for schoolchildren because of its simple style, it's been translated from Portuguese to 32 language and is popular all over the world. It's especially beloved by nostalgic Thais, who remember it as Ton Som San Rak, which was made into a TV soap opera. It's the story of a poor lonely misbehaving little boy who discovers he can talk to a small orange tree in his backyard. He also learns important life lessons from an elderly man who befriends him. It's in Portuguese with English and Thai subtitles at Apex in Siam Square.

Also showing

Moviemov Italian Film Festival – Running until Sunday at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, the fest offers a mix of contemporary and classic Italian films and even a mini-selection of Thai horror. The classics are by Ettore Scola, a director known for his commedia all'italiana (Italian-style comedies) and award-winning dramas in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Highlights include Sunday's La migliore offerta (The Best Offer), the latest by Cinema Paradiso director Giuseppe Tornatore. Starring Geoffrey Rush as the eccentric head of an art-auction house, it's Tornatore's first English-language film, but it appears it's showing here with the Italian-dubbed soundtrack. Tickets are free, so you'll have to give yourself an hour or more beforehand to queue up to ensure you get a decent seat. For the schedule, please see the Italian Festival in Thailand website or the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce site.

AmericanoThe Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is Mathieu Demy's 2011 road-trip drama about a guy (Demy) who head to Los Angeles to take care of his late mother's estate and then sets out in search of the mysterious woman named in her will. Chiara Mastroianni, Geraldine Chaplin and Salma Hayek (again as a stripper) also star.

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