Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening February 13-19, 2014

Timeline Jodmai Khwam Songjam

Everybody's crying in veteran director Nonzee Nimibutr's romantic drama Timeline Jodmai Khwam Songjam (Timeline จดหมาย-ความทรงจำ).

Popular soap-opera leading man "James" Jirayu Tangsrisuk stars as the teenaged son of a young mother who was widowed early in her marriage.

He is seeking to break free of his mother's world, and thinks he's found that escape when he meets free-spirited female classmate (Jarinporn Joonkiat).

Meanwhile, the mother (Piyathida Worramusik) is supported by a male friend (Noppachai Jayanama) who is falling in love with her.

The project originally started as a sequel to 2004's hit romance The Letter, which Nonzee produced and had everybody crying, both on screen and in the packed theaters. It was a remake of a hit South Korean romantic drama. Problems with licensing the original story arose and now Nonzee insists that Timeline is not a sequel but a brand new and totally original standalone film.

An article in The Nation has more. Rated 15+

Also opening

RoboCop – The repurposing of classic R-rated action films for younger audiences continues, with Paul Verhoeven's darkly comic 1987 sci-fi gem RoboCop getting a reboot. Joel Kinnaman stars as a loving family man and Detroit cop who is mortally wounded. His body then becomes the basis for a hybrid human-robot security system marketed by tech firm OmniCorp. And so the struggle between man and machine begins anew. Other stars include Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson. Brazilian helmer José Padilha (Elite Squad) directs, making his Hollywood debut. Critical reception is mixed, with the consensus being this new RoboCop isn't that great, but is perhaps not as bad as the recent remake of another Verhoeven sci-fi classic, Total Recall. It's in 2D, including IMAX. Rated 13+

That Awkward Moment – How about a little bromance for Valentine's Day? Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller are three young men in Manhattan who make a pact to remain single but shortly after the vow, each of them falls in love. Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis and Jessica Lucas also star. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to negative. Rated 15+

Venus in Fur – Roman Polanski adapts David Ives' Tony-nominated 2010 Broadway play, relocating the setting from New York to Paris, where a director (Mathieu Amalric) finds his emotions move from attraction to obsession as he auditions an unknown actress (Emmanuelle Seignier) for his new play. This latest effort from Polanski premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 15+

Endless Love – Another '80s film gets the remake treatment for the sake of Valentine's Day movie dates. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde star in this drama about star-crossed lovers – a bookish rich girl who embarks on a forbidden affair with a reckless young man from the wrong side of town. Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood and Joely Richardson also star. Critical consensus is a mystery at the moment. Rated 13+

Gunday – Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor star in this Bollywood action drama that charts the rise of young bandits in 1970s and '80s Calcutta. Priyanka Chopra and Irrfan Khan also star. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Paragon, Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Can genetic engineering create a perfect society? Gattaca ponders that question in tonight's "strange vision of the future". Tomorrow is special event, with Don Robinson regaling club members about his long and varied career, which has seen him handling lighting and visuals for concerts, photographing the Universal logo, doing effects on Star Wars, working with John Cassavetes, playing a hippy cult cannibal in Faces of Death and running the international desk for local production services firm Siamlite. He'll show the 1988 cult B-movie Night of the Demons, which he line produced, and then talk about his life and work. Saturday's "controversial" film is Hard Candy, about a 14-year-old girl seeking revenge on a pedophile. Sunday, yes, you can have some more, with the musical Oliver! Next Wednesday's French crime wave entry is La Haine, a 1995 drama by Mathieu Kassovitz. 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. So please check the website and Facebook page before planning a visit.

Alliance Française – Louis Garrel, Martin Siméon and Léa Seydoux star in La Belle Personne (The Beautiful Person), a 2008 drama by Christophe Honoré, about a 16-year-old girl just getting over the death of her mother. She enrolls in a new high school is attracted to a boy but then is also wooed by one of her teachers. The show is at 7pm on Wednesday, February 19.

Take note

Tickets are on sale now at the Lido box office for next week's Japanese Film Festival, which features animation and will have eight screenings from February 20 to 23. Tickets are 50 baht. This is always a very popular, well-attended festival, and in past years punters have queued up for hours just to get the free tickets. Even though this year's fest is different with tickets that cost a little bit of money, I expect there to still be a big demand. It's worth noting that even though the Japan Foundation screens films all year long they are generally only subtitled in Thai, so the annual Japanese Film Festival is the only time each year they offer Japanese films with English subtitles. You can read more about the festival in an earlier blog entry.

A couple more events to mark on your calendar are the screening of Thai and Irish experimental films on February 23 at the Thammasat University library and Social Change Film Festival on March 6-7 at Srinakharinwirot University and March 9 at Siam Square's Scala.

There's nothing on the schedule this week at the Goethe Institut. Check back next week for details on the final entry in the Open Air Cinema series, screening on February 25.

The five-week-old Bangkok Shutdown anti-government protests show no sign of ending soon. The main protest stage at Pathumwan is especially disruptive. Getting out of a movie at Scala last weekend, at nearly 9pm, it was difficult to get aboard the Skytrain because the BTS stupidly restricts access to its station after 8pm, with just one entrance open, at Siam Paragon. I don't know the reason behind this, but it made an already stressful situation even hairier, with large crowds looking for a way out of the area and everyone reduced to using one narrow staircase. If you do venture to Siam Square to see a movie, do so at your own risk and as early in the day as possible, and then clear out of the area quickly.

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