Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening February 6-12, 2014

The Rocket

The opener of last year's World Film Festival of Bangkok, The Rocket blasts back into Thai cinemas.

This crowd-pleasing Australian film is set in Laos and involves an Akka hilltribe boy who is seemingly cursed from birth. One tragedy after another befalls him. Forced to leave their home to make way for dam construction, the boy and his family fall in with a pair of outcasts – an orphan girl and an alcoholic ex-soldier who is obsessed with James Brown. They make their way across the countryside and happen upon a rocket festival, which the boy enters in hope of changing his fortune.

Thai comedian Thep Pho-ngam stars as the colorful drunken Uncle Purple. Kim Mordaunt directs, making a followup to Bomb Harvest, a documentary he made in Laos about the tons of unexploded ordnance from the U.S. carpet bombing during the Vietnam War.

Winner of several awards, including a Crystal Bear at last year's Berlin film fest and best actor for young leading man Sitthiphon Disamoe at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, it was Australia's submission to the Academy Awards. Critical reception is generally positive. It's at SF cinemas. Rated 13+

Also opening

All Is Lost – Robert Redford is alone in a lifeboat in this drama about a man travelling solo on his 39-foot sailboat. Tragedy strikes when the boat runs into a shipping container in the middle of the ocean. With a large hole in his hull and the radio and navigation equipment fried, he has no way to contact help. And when the sailboat takes on too much water, and the man is forced to abandon it and use his lifeboat. J.C. Chandor directs. He mightily impressed Redford when his 2011 financial drama Margin Call was the toast of the Sundance Film Festival. All Is Lost premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival. It was largely snubbed by the Academy Awards, which gave it only a best sound editing nomination, but it has been lauded at other ceremonies. Critical reception is generally positive. It's at Apex Siam Square, Paragon and SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Rated 13+

Her – Spike Jonze directs this romantic comedy about a sad lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with the artificial intelligence that runs his computer. Named Samantha, the computer is voiced by Scarlett Johansson, a role that won her the best actress award at last year's Rome Film Festival. Other accolades have included the Golden Globe for best screenplay and five Academy Awards nominations, including best picture. Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 15+

Charlie Countryman (a.k.a. The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman) – Plagarizing nutjob Shia LaBeouf stars in this crime drama about a young man who falls in love with a girl (Evan Rachel Wood) while travelling to Bucharest. Turns out she's married to a vicious gangster (Mads Mikkelson). Til Schweiger, Vincent D'Onofrio, Melissa Leo and Rupert Grint also star. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to negative. Rated 18+

Nurse 3DUnhinged exhibitionist actress Paz de la Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) stars in this psycho-thriller about a nurse who dispenses a permanent cure to cheating men. Critical reception is mixed. It's in real 3D. Rated 18+

The Legend of Hercules Twilight heartthrob Kellan Lutz is the mythical Greek hero in this epic directed by Renny Harlin. Critical reception is mostly negative. It's in real 3D in some cinemas.

Tai Hong Tai Hian (ตายโหงตายเฮี้ยน) – Thondon Nuansut, Thammanun Sakunbunthanom and Poj Arnon direct this three-segment horror with stories inspired by real-crime cases – a monk who sheds his robes to seek revenge, a passenger van with a checkered past falling from a tollway and a ghost in a building's ventilation system. Rated 18+

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – A strange vision of the future in which everyone is drinking generic beer is depicted in the cult classic comedy Repo Man, tonight at 7. Tomorrow is a special event with cinematographer Ross Clarkson taking club members behind the scenes of how to shoot an action film. He'll show Undisputed II. Saturday's controversial film is the highly disturbing Salo, and Sunday is another classic musical, The Sound of Music. Next Wednesday's French crime wave entry is Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita. 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 reservations are a must. There are often last-minute changes in the schedule. For example, this past Tuesday a special screening of Capote was added as a tribute to the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. So please check the website and Facebook page before planning a visit.

Goethe Institut – There are three film events next Tuesday, February 11 – academic Peter Zimmerman will give the talk "Humor is Laughing Despite of It" at 5pm in the Goethe's library, the historical romantic drama Goethe! screens at 6 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center as part of the German Film Series in collaboration with the Thai Film Archive and the World War II drama Hotel Lux screens outside the Goethe on Sathorn Soi 1 at 7.30pm.

Alliance Française – Guillaume Depardieu stars in the 2008 romantic comedy Les inséparables, one of the last films he made before his death.  The show starts at 7pm on Wednesday, February 12 at the Alliance Française de Bangkok. It's at the intersection of Rama IV and Wireless roads, opposite Lumpini Park in the former location of the Suan Lum Night Bazaar.

Take note

There's a new movie showtimes website, Moveedoo. It doesn't carry the schedules for Apex or House, but you still may want to give it try. Another showtimes site, MovieSeer, went dark awhile back. It had been circling the drain for the past several years.

The Bangkok shutdown is now in its fourth week. Following last Sunday's election, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee has disbanded some of its rally sites, including Victory Monument, Lat Phrao and the Rama VIII Bridge. However, the whistleblowing protesters remain encamped at Pathumwan (near Siam Square), Lumpini, Asoke, Ratchprasong and Chaeng Wattana.

During the day, it is generally safe to go near the protest sites, like say to see a movie at the Scala or Lido. But after dark, it is best to stay away from the rallies, which are guarded by scary-looking paramilitary characters who are likely itching for action.


  1. Hi Kwai -

    We actually do have showtimes for House and Apex, as well as for all the Major group cinemas across Thailand, and most of the SF Cinemas. Given the state of data sharing in Thailand, it's quite a complex feat for us to get accurate showtimes on a regular basis, but we've pretty much cracked it for everyone except House. We update on a daily basis, and are constantly trying to improve the accuracy of the data (which in the end comes directly from the Cinemas themselves) and more importantly, the user experience – Movieseer was a very poor experience.

    This is a weekend project born out of a real frustration with trying to find films in Bangkok, and is being done for free, in the spirit of making sure everyone benefits from the things we ( as a studio enjoy doing, which is making interesting things.

    Thanks for the mention, and look forward to sharing more as Moveedoo continues to develop.


    1. Thanks for commenting. When I checked as I wrote this post, Apex and House weren't supported yet. But I see they are now and the site has had a simple but stylish upgrade in design. Looks good. I'll be sure to mention that in a future post.