Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 1-7, 2013

2 Guns

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg team up in the action-comedy 2 Guns. They are rival cops, a DEA agent (Washington) and a Naval Criminal Investigative Service officer (Wahlberg), who are at odds after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel.

It's a big change for Washington, who is better known for more intense dramatic roles, but after Flight, in which he played a drug-addicted, alcoholic airline pilot, he was looking for something lighter.

Paula Patton, James Marsden, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos and Fred Ward also star. It's directed by Baltasar Kormákur, the Icelandic actor and filmmaker who previously worked with Wahlberg on 2011's Contraband.

This is just being released in the U.S. this week, so critical reception is a bit thin. Those in favor seem to enjoy it, saying it's a throwback to the R-rated action-comedies of the olden days. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Monsters University – Before they partnered up as professional scarers for Monsters, Inc., big furry Sully and his little one-eyed green buddy Mike were rivals in college. This is their story, the first prequel from Disney's Pixar Animation Studios, bringing back the characters introduced in 2001's Monsters, Inc. and puts them in a college setting. Expect plenty of references to Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. Back as the voices are John Goodman as Sully and Billy Crystal as Mike, along with Steve Buscemi as Mike's roommate Randy. Joining the cast this time around are Helen Mirren and Alfred Molina along with a host of other names. As with all Pixar features, Monsters University is accompanied by an animated short, in this case it's The Blue UmbrellaCritical reception is generally positive, though not as strong as other Pixar features, such as the Toy Story movies or The Incredibles. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated G.

Mr. Go – A circus gorilla plays professional baseball in this South Korean-Chinese special-effects extravaganza. It's directed by Kim Yong-hwa (200 Pounds Beauty) and stars Xu Jiao, the sprightly young actress who made her debut playing a boy in Stephen Chow's CJ 7. She plays the gorilla's owner and trainer. The gorilla is computer-animated, with help from a motion-capture actor as a stand-in. It's also the first South Korean film shot in actual 3D. Critical reception for this "feel-good" movie is generally positive. Unfortunately, owing to the technical complications of subtitles, the 3D version showing here is in dubbed Thai only. However, a 2D version is screening with the original soundtrack and English and Thai subs at some cinemas, including Paragon Cineplex, SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, SFX the Emporium and SF Cinema City Terminal 21. Rated G.

Pawnshop (โลงจำนำ, Lohng Jam Nam, literally "coffin pledge") – Golden A Entertainment, a label that usually distributes low-budget B-movie-style horror thrillers, has a couple of big names in its latest release, Krissada "Noi" Sukosol Clapp and "Kratae" Supaksorn Chaimongkol. Noi plays a financially strapped songwriter and bar owner who comes up on the wrong end of a bargain with a pawnbroker who deals in the supernatural. Directed and written by Parm Rangsi and produced by Free Film, it's at SF cinemas only. Rated 18+.

Bajatey Raho – A conman (Ravi Kishan) posing as a successful business entrepreneur pulls off a series of frauds that impacts the lives of a widow (Dolly Ahluwalia) and three other poor sods (Tusshar Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey). They decide to take things into their own hands for what's billed as Bollywood's "first revenge comedy". It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) and Rama III. Starts Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Bangkok's smallest cinema will feature documentaries all this month. Each day will have a general theme, with films about justice on Thursdays, stories of the poor and downtrodden on Fridays and human obsessions on Saturdays. Sundays will be devoted to the classic documentaries of Frederick Wiseman. Tonight's film is 2003's The Corporation with High on Crack Street on Friday. Saturday is When We Were Kings, covering the epic "Rumble in the Jungle" match between boxing greats Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Wiseman's Juvenile Court from 1973 is on Sunday. And next Wednesday offers Manufactured Landscapes, a must-see on the big screen. Showtimes are at 8pm. The FCG is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. It's open Wednesday through Sunday from around 6pm. With just nine seats, the screening room fills up fast, so please check the website to make bookings.

L'esquive (Games of Love and Chance) – The Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is Abdellatif Kechiche's award-winning 2004 drama about immigrant teenagers in suburban Paris.

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