Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 15-21, 2013

The To Do List

Aubrey Plaza, the unusual actress from TV's Parks and Recreation, stars in The To Do List, a throwback to the 1980s teen sex comedies, especially the classic Caddyshack.

The quirky actress is a high-school valedictorian who seeks to shed her squeaky clean image. She compiles a list of all the things she missed out on, with an aim to check them all off and before she heads off to college. She sets her sights on a hunky lifeguard, in hopes of losing her virginity.

Donald Glover (Community) and Alia Shakat (Arrested Development) also star along with a host of others, including Bill Hader as her goofball boss at the swimming pool, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Andy Samberg. Rachel Bilson is her wordly older sister and Clark Gregg is her uptight father.

It's directed by Maggie Carey, a writer for Will Ferrell's Funny or Die comedy website.

Critical reception is mixed leaning to positive. Rated 15+.

Also opening

The Purge – In a dystopian near-future, crime and unemployment in the U.S. are at all-time lows, and everyone is prosperous, and it's all thanks to a government program that, once a year, makes most violent crimes, even murder, legal for a 12-hour period, allowing everyone to blow off steam. That night, one wealthy family comes under siege and struggles to survive the terrifying time. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey star. It's directed by James Demonaco, who talks a bit about the movie to The Nation. Producers include Michael Bay (Transformers), but this movie is more closely related to the movie of Bay's co-producer, Jason Blum (Insidious, Sinister), and its smaller-budget thrillers like this one that have had the most success in this summer of mega-blockbusters and mega-flops. Critical reception is mixed. This opened sneak previews last week and now moves to a wider release. Rated 18+.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – Percy Jackson, the demigod son of Poseidon, heads to Camp Half-Blood to learn more about his heritage. At God Camp, he meets his half-brother, Cyclops, and with his friends, continues his adventure to find the Golden Fleece. They journey into the Bermuda Triangle where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of Confederate Army zombies and the ultimate evil. This is a mix of Harry Potter and Clash of the Titans, with all the usual CGI special effects. Critical reception is mixed. It's in 3D in some cinemas, including Major Cineplex's 4DX theaters. Rated G.

Saving General Yang – Ronny Yu returns with his first feature since 2006's Fearless with an episode from the Generals of the Yang Family epic. Ekin Cheng, Vic Chou, Xu Fan, Yu Bo, Raymond Lam, Wu Chun and Adam Cheng star in this martial-arts adventure about seven sons who battle incredible odds to save their father the general. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to positive. It's at Major Cineplex only, Thai-dubbed most places, but the Chinese soundtrack with English and Thai subtitles is at Paragon, Esplanade Ratchadaphisek and Major Cineplex Sukhumvit. Rated 15+.

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo – The Japanese anime-mecha sci-fi franchise continues with heroic pilot Ikari Shinji awakening after 14 years to find himself in an unfamiliar world. Earth is in ruins, and his once-friendly companions are now completely against him and he realizes that the battle is not over. In Japanese with English and Thai subtitles at SFW CentralWorld and SFC Terminal 21. Rated 13+.

Hubble 3D – Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this guided tour of the universe, including the birth of a star and a supernova, in this documentary that compiles fantastic IMAX camera footage from the Hubble Space Telescope taken during repair missions in 1993 and 2009. Critical reception is generally positive. At IMAX Paragon and IMAX Digital Ratchayothin and Pinklao.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Follow the trail of an investigation into child molestation in Capturing the Friedmans at 8 tonight as the month of documentaries continues at Bangkok's smallest cinema. Tomorrow night it's the 1968 classic Salesman in which Albert and David Maysles follow door-to-door Bible peddlers. And on Saturday it's Spellbound, with gripping coverage of 1999's U.S. National Spelling Bee. Sunday offers another classic by Frederick Wiseman, High School. And next Wednesday it's Hearts and Minds, Peter Davis' Oscar-winning look at the Vietnam War. Showtimes are at 8pm. A private club, 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.

Andalucia The Alliance Française screens free movies with English subtitles at 7.30pm every Wednesday. Next week's show is a 2007 cultural-identity drama by Alain Gomis about a young French-Algerian man who leads a nomadic existence, living in a travel trailer and avoiding any permanent jobs.

Take note

House on RCA is closed on Saturday and Sunday this week as it hosts auditions for Thailand Dance Now. And next Thursday, the 17th Thai Short Film and Video Festival starts at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. I'll have more on that soon.

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