In Tang Wong (ตั้งวง), four neighbor schoolboys from various backgrounds all pray at a spirit-house shrine in hopes of achieving success in their endeavors.
One hopes to get a scholarship playing table tennis, while another dances in a K-pop cover band. Two others are entering the science fair. If their prayers are granted, they swear they will perform a traditional Thai dance. Trouble is, none of the boys know that much about tradition nor dancing but they do believe in the superstition about the bad luck that may befall them if they don't honor their vows. To learn the dance, they seek help from an unconventional traditional-dance performer who lives nearby.
Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, writer-director of the quirky romantic-comedies Midnight My Love and Handle Me With Care as well as last year's award-winning psychological comedy-drama P-047, directs this coming-of-age tale. It premiered at this year's Berlin film festival and also screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
The buzz so far is pretty positive, with Kongdej himself saying he thinks Tang Wong is more entertaining than his previous film. Read more about it in The Nation today. It's in a semi-limited release, at many Major Cineplex branches, a few SF Cinemas locations and House on RCA. Rated G.
White House Down – Following Olympus Has Fallen earlier this year, Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich offers his own disaster-filled spin on the U.S. president in peril. Channing Tatum stars as a musclebound cop who applies to join the Secret Service but is denied. Not wanting to let down his daughter down with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House just as the place is invaded by a paramilitary group. And it falls to the cop to protect POTUS (Jamie Foxx). Like many other big-budget Hollywood action movies this year, White House Down tanked at the U.S. box office and critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+.
Vehicle 19 – Fast and Furious star Paul Walker trades in his tuned Suburu race car for a non-descript minivan in this action drama set in South Africa. Landing after a long-haul flight, he gets into a rented vehicle that was intended for someone else. A stranger's cellphone in the glovebox and a gun under the seat deepen the mystery. Then an unconscious woman rolls out of the cargo hold in the back and the pair find themselves pursued by corrupt cops. Rated 13+.
Make Your Move – K-pop meets Coyote Ugly and Dirty Dancing in this tale of Shakespearean star-crossed romance and clashing cultures. Derek Hough is a street-smart guy who moves to New York where he meets an immigrant Asian woman (K-pop singer BoA). They click and work out a steamy dance number together as the girl's family objects. Duane Adler, writer of Step Up and Save the Last Dance, directs. It's in 3D (actual) in some cinemas. Rated 15+.
Satyagraha – Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor star in this Bollywood political drama about a middle-class uprising. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Paragon, Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Major Rama III. Opens Friday.
|Penny Dreadful screens as part of Best of Clermont-Ferrand 2 on Sunday.|
17th Thai Short Film and Video Festival – Veteran filmmaker Pimpaka Towira's The Death Trilogy screens today at 6.45. It's an anthology of her recent films, which are thematically linked not only by death but also of rural characters searching for justice. They are My Father from 2010, The Mother from last year and the latest work, Malaria and Mosquitoes. At 5 today is the S-Express Philippines program of shorts and an encore screening of the International Competition 3. Tomorrow at 5 it's S-Express Malaysia. Saturday's screenings start at 11am with the Special White Elephant competition for high-school and younger students, but take note that not many of those entries have English subtitles. Other highlights on Saturday include the top-tier RD Pestonji competition programs at 1, 3 and 6.45, and a retrospective of shorts by acclaimed Indian filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni at 5. Sunday opens at 11 with the Payut Ngaokrachang animation competition. There is no notation for subtitles on this program, but many don't have dialogue anyway, and they're worth watching to see what the often-resourceful and scrappy Thai animators have to offer. There's also the always-watchable Best of Clermont-Ferrand 2 at 1, offering some of the top short films of the past year or so from around the world. Also at 1, the fourth-floor screening room hosts competition films from Jenesys 2.0 (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth Program), in which young filmmakers from across the region were invited to submit films for competition in the Asian International Children's Film Festival 2013. The fest wraps up with the Award Ceremony starting at 4.30pm in the main auditorium. The full schedule is on the festival's Facebook page.
The Friese-Greene Club – The club's month of documentaries wraps up this week with Errol Morris' Thin Blue Line tonight, Michael Moore's debut Roger and Me tomorrow and the Oscar-winning Man on Wire on Saturday. Sunday offers a special members-only screening of The Artist with the film's first assistant director David Cluck in attendance to offer his behind-the-scenes views. September's schedule changes with different themes each day – "boundaries of sex" on Wednesdays, Peter Sellers on Thursdays, David Cronenberg on Fridays, Midnight Movies on Saturdays and classics on Sundays. It all starts on Wednesday with the controversial Lies from South Korea. 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.
The Alliance Française Bangkok is moving and has cancelled its film screenings for September. Hopefully the French films will start back up again when everything is situated.
Also, if you're new to this blog, welcome. And thanks to Bangkok.com for featuring Bangkok Cinema Scene as a Cool Blog of the Month.