Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening November 28-December 4, 2013

Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy

Messages from a teenage girl's Twitter stream – 410 consecutive tweets – are adapted for Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy, a fancifully weird comedy by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, the indie writer-director who gained much acclaim last year, and still is, for his experimental feature debut 36.

Mary is the quirky story of a depressed, accident-prone high-school student (Patcha Poonpiriya) and her level-headed friend Suri (Chonnikan Netjui) as they work on the school’s yearbook.

The film is peppered with all sorts of strange characters, mainly the teachers at the girls' boarding school. Among them is the always-intense Krissada Sukosol Clapp as the awkwardly intimidating teacher overseeing the girls' efforts.

Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy was developed out of the Venice Biennale College – Cinema, which picked Nawapol to direct one of three micro-budget films that premiered at this year's Venice Film Festival. It's since screened at several other festivals, including Busan, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Torino, and earned glowing reviews. Among the latest honors is Asian Film of the Year by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

One of the best Thai films of the year, catch it at Apex Siam Square's Lido, House on RCA and Esplanade Ratchada.

Also opening

The World’s End – A hopeless goofball slacker (Simon Pegg) makes a last-ditch attempt to connect with his four more-successful and mature schoolmates and complete an epic pub crawl they first attempted as teenagers in their hometown 20 years before. They arrive to find things have really changed and eventually discover that alien robots have taken over. Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan also star, along with Rosamund Pike and Pierce Brosnan. Edgar Wright directs, wrapping up the "Three Cornettos" trilogy of comedies he's done with his old Spaced collaborators Pegg and Frost. World's End represents green Cornettos, while the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead was strawberry red ice cream and the buddy-cop spoof Hot Fuzz was police blue. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's at Esplanade Ratchada, Paragon Cineplex and SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Rated 13+

Don Jon – Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes, directs and stars in this comedy about a typical Italian-American guy. He's devoted to family, church and his friends, and keeps himself fit, clean and attractive to the ladies. But he's also addicted to Internet porn. He meets his match in Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), and she's into something worse – sappy romance movies. They struggle to find true intimacy in a culture full of false fantasies. Julianne Moore, Tony Danza and Glenne Headly also star. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's at SF cinemas as well as Apex Siam Square. Rated 18+

Carrie – Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry, Stop-Loss) directs this fresh remake of Stephen King's 1974 novel. Taking over the Sissy Spacek role from Brian DePalma's 1976 horror classic is none other than Hit Girl herself, Chloe Grace Moretz. She's a teenager who's tormented by others because of her mother's extreme religious believes. As she comes of age, hidden psychokinetic abilities emerge, and Carrie uses them to take revenge, with things coming to a head on prom night. Julianne Moore also stars, making two movies she's in this week (Don Jon is the other). Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+

Evidence – Using "found footage" from various recording devices, detectives attempt to piece together what happened at the scene of a massacre at an abandoned filling station. Stephen Moyer and Radha Mitchell star. Olatunde Osunsanmi (The Fourth Kind and screenwriter on Smokin' Aces 2) directs. It's at Major Cineplex. Rated 15+

Oh! My Ghost Khun Phee Chuay (โอ้! มายโกสต์ คุณผีช่วย, a.k.a. OMG!) – Sudarat “Tukky” Butrprom is Kitty, an ordinary young woman haunted by the tall and gorgeous ghost Bee (Cris Horwang). She wants Kitty to contact her old boyfriend Korn (Anusorn Maneethed). For help, Kitty consults a shaman (Kom Chaunchuen) and an undertaker (Kotee Aramboy). Puttipong Promsakha Na Sakon Nakhon (First Love, 30+ Singles on Sale) directs this ghost comedy produced by Workpoint Entertainment. Rated 15+

Ruam Phol Khon Luk Thung Ngern Laan (รวมพลคนลูกทุ่งเงินล้าน) – Director Pornchai "Gun" Hongrattanaporn brings his colorful and stylish touch to the already colorful and stylish world of luk thung music. This comedy brings together a cavalcade of singing stars for a story that follows their various escapades as they travel to a remote temple to make merit. Stars include Ekachai Sriwichai, Pai Pongsathorn, Sunaree Ratchasima and Apaporn Nakhon Sawan. Rated 15+

Bullett Raja – Saif Ali Khan and Sonakshi Sinha star in this Bollywood gangster action comedy. It's at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – One of the masters of "disturbing" cinema, Japan's Takashi Miike, will make you jump in fright with Audition, screening tonight. Tomorrow it's the also weirdly disturbing, but also wonderful City of Lost Children by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. And Saturday's ghost love story is 1988's opium-tinged Rouge, directed by Hong Kong's Stanley Kwan and starring Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. December's schedule offers a new lineup of films meant to be an "antidote to Christmas cheer". It starts with "Christmas classics" on Sundays beginning with 1947's The Bishop's Wife starring Cary Grant as a mischievous angel. "Bad Lust" is the theme for next week, with Atom Egoyan's Exotica on Wednesday. Other themes covered include "Troubled Youth" and "Troubled Adults". Later in the month during the Christmas holiday, the club will take a break. Shows start at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. With just nine seats, the screening room fills up fast, so please please please check the website to make bookings and confirm the schedule.

Take note

I am awaiting confirmation from the Alliance Francaise Bangkok that their Wednesday-night movie screenings will finally resume next week. Check the website for further details.

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