Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 12-18, 2013

Pain and Gain

Director Michael Bay takes a break from making movies about giant robots to make Pain and Gain, a broad action-comedy involving giant men. It's a fact-based tale, about an actual gang of bumbling criminals who were members of a Miami bodybuilding gym.

Mark Wahlberg stars as a financially struggling trainer. He becomes jealous of a new gym member's wealth, and, influenced by a motivational speaker (Ken Jeong from The Hangover), he hatches a scheme to kidnap the rich guy (Tony Shaloub).

He ropes in a couple others, a musclebound ex-con born-again Christian (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and a bodybuilder (Anthony Mackie) whose use of steroids has rendered him impotent.

Ed Harris, Rebel Wilson and Rob Corddry also star.

Critical reception is evenly mixed. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Jobs – For the longest time, I assumed this movie was another of Ashton Kutcher's elaborate "Punk'd" practical jokes. But, apparently, this is a real movie, and it's actually happening. Kutcher portrays the co-founder of Apple Computer, who dropped out of college, tripped out in India and then started a computer company in a garage. Through various struggles with stiff corporate investors and narrow-minded engineers who don't care about the little things like typefaces, he becomes one of the most-hailed tech visionaries of the modern age. Josh Gad also stars as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Others include Dermot Mulroney as a slick venture capitalist with J.T. Simmons and Matthew Modine among the corporate suits. Critical reception is mostly negative, so perhaps wait – another Steve Jobs biopic is in the works, with screenwriting whiz Aaron Sorkin handling the script. Rated 13+.

Mood Indigo (L'écume des jours) – Inventive special-effects master Michel Gondry returns to his native France for this surreal fantasy romance starring Romain Duris as the wealthy owner of a preciously quirky bar. One day he meets and woman (Audrey "Amelie" Tautou) and falls in love. All seems happy as they get married, but during their honeymoon, Chloe becomes ill and has a mysterious waterlily growing inside her. Gad Elmaleh and Omar Sy (Intouchables) also star. It's based on a 1947 novel by Boris Vian, "Froth on the Daydream" a.k.a. "Foam of the Daze". Critical reception is mixed. It's in French with English and Thai subtitles at Apex in Siam Square.

First Love (เฟิร์ส เลิฟ) – Phitsanulok province is ready for its close-up in this romantic comedy that stars popular TV actor "James" Jirayu Tangsrisuk as a young man who develops a crush on a pretty girl (Kiratika Swangjang) and takes up ballroom dancing to win her heart. He gets help from a comical dance instructor (comedian Kom Chuanchuen). Rated 15+.

Sadako – The powerful "hair ghost" of the Ring movies returns in this 3D entry in the J-horror franchise. When one of her female students dies after viewing the footage of a suicide on the Internet, a high-school teacher and her boyfriend are drawn into the horror that has been created by the man who appears in the suicide footage, Kashiwada. His intention is to create chaos in the world by bringing back the evil Sadako and the power of her curse. Stars Satomi Ichihara, Yusuke Yamamoto and Ai Hachimoto. It's in Japanese with English subtitles at Paragon, but not in 3D. Other places it's in 3D, but is mostly Thai-dubbed though there appears to a few places with Japanese soundtrack and Thai subs only. Rated G.

Grand Masti – Bollywood's answer to the raunchy American Pie franchise reunites the guys from the first comedy in 2004. Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish Deshmukh star as old college chums who attend a reunion at their alma mater, Shree Lalchand University of Technology and Science, or SLUTS for short. It's fun at first, but then turns dangerous. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Tonight's offering at the FGC, The Party, is one of Peter Sellers' zaniest efforts with director Blake Edwards. With Sellers daubing on the brown greasepaint for his portrayal of a bungling Indian actor who is mistakenly invited to a lavish dinner, it's racially insensitive by today's standards but it remains a cult classic. Tomorrow it's Jeremy Irons and Jeremy Irons as twin gynecologists in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers. Take note: This Saturday, the club is closed for a private function, and the scheduled midnight movie El Topo has been postponed. The club is open again on Sunday for a classic screening of the Marilyn Monroe showcase Some Like It Hot. Next Wednesday's members-only "sex" movie is The Exterminating Angels, Jean-Claude Brisseau's tale of a director and his casting couch. Shows start at 8pm. The FGC 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.

Elle Fashion Film Festival – Style icon Tilda Swinton, heads the cast in I Am Love, a drama about a dysfunctional wealthy Italian textile-manufacturing family. That screens at 8 tonight. Tomorrow night it's L'Amour Fou, a look at fashion icon Yves Saint-Laurent and his lover Pierre Berge. Saturday has a full schedule, starting at 2 with Face (Visage), Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang's trippy visit to the Louvre. That's followed at 5 by Color Me Love, a 2010 Chinese remake of The Devil Wears Prada. At 8, it's Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, depicting the legendary affair between titans of the fashion and music worlds. Sunday at 3 has  Heartbeats (Les amours imaginaires), Xavier Dolan's drama about an unusual love triangle. The fest closes at 8 on Sunday with Farewell, My Queen (Les adieux à la reine), chronicling the last days of Marie Antoinette. Diane Kruger stars. The fest takes place at SFX the Emporium. Tickets cost 150 baht. For more details, visit

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