Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening November 7-13, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

Tough luck if you don't like comic-book superhero movies. It's slim pickings this week as just one film is getting a big release in Thai cinemas – Thor: The Dark World.

Yet another entry in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, in the aftermath of 2011's Thor and last year's The Avengers.

Chris Hemsworth returns as the man with the hammer, and joining the cast this time around is former Doctor Who Christopher Ecclestone as Malekith, the leader of an ancient race that's out to bring darkness to all the worlds. Also returning are Tom Hiddleston also returns as Thor's troublesome adopted brother Loki and Natalie Portman as Thor's Earthling sweetheart Jane. There's also Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano and Rene Russo.

Alan Taylor, best known for his work on such acclaimed TV series as Deadwood, RomeThe SopranosMad Men and Game of Thrones, directs. He landed the job after the original director, Patty Jenkins (Monster) bowed out over "creative differences". Additionally, Avengers helmer and TV's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. producer Joss Whedon was brought in for script rewrites.

Just like all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, you'll need to prepare yourself to keep your seat when the end credits roll, because there will be two post-credits scenes. So don't get up and rush out at the end.

Critical consensus, so far, is mixed, leaning to positive. It's in converted 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX. Rated G.

Also showing

Wonderful Town – Thai indie director Aditya Assarat's 2007 feature is the slow-moving but gripping tale of romance and class conflict in a small town. Set in an isolated Andaman coast town in the months following the tsunami, it's about a young Bangkok architect (Supphasit Kansen) who comes to develop a big resort. He falls for the young woman (Anchalee Saisoontorn) who runs the rundown hotel he's staying in. He comes into conflict with the woman's ex-con brother and his gang. Wonderful Town won dozens of awards all over the world, including the Tiger Award at Rotterdam and the New Currents Award at Busan. It also won Best Picture and a bunch of other trophies at the Subhanahongsa Awards – the "Thai Oscars" – establishing the indie director as a new voice for the industry to reckon with. It's in a special "off menu" screening this week at House on RCA.

The Friese-Greene Club – Screenings are fully booked at the private club for Censor Must Die, an instructive documentary on film censorship and Thailand's new movie-ratings bureaucracy. It's directed by Ing K., the outspoken artist and filmmaker, who made the film as a means of documenting the banning of her political satire and Macbeth adaptation, Shakespeare Must Die. As I said before, the screenings are fully booked. You can always stop by and see if there's a seat at the bar. Please check the website for details. On Sunday, it's another "early Hitchcock" film, with 1935's The 39 Steps. And next Wednesday, it's a classic from Rob Reiner, 1986's childhood drama Stand By Me. Shows start at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit.

Días de Santiago (Days of Santiago) – After six years of violent military duty in the jungles of Peru, a young soldier named Santiago returns home to Lima. With his wife gone and his family seemingly uncaring, he struggles to get on with life as his friends try to lure him into criminal activities. Winner of dozens of awards and Peru's submission to the Academy Awards in 2006, this drama is the debut feature by Josué Méndez. It screens at 8pm on Monday, November 11, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. Admission is 150 baht for non-members plus 100 baht for anyone want to enjoy the wine and snacks laid on by the Runa Run Peruvian-Thai Association and the Embassy of Peru. And stay tuned for next Thursday, November 14, for an FCCT screening of the documentary, The Buddha's Forgotten Nuns.

Take note

I've now been informed that movies will not be resuming at the Alliance Française Bangkok until December. They were due to start last month, and then pushed to yesterday (November 6), but it's taking longer than expected to fit out the auditorium at the new location on the former grounds of the Suan Lum Night Bazaar on the corner of Rama IV and Wireless Roads. Please consult the AFThailande website for further updates.

Also, brace yourself for next week. After several light weeks of new releases, there are around six titles lined up to make their bow next Thursday, and the World Film Festival of Bangkok opens on Friday, November 15 at SFW CentralWorld.

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