The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbors the Yamadas) returns with The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, his first feature animation in 14 years.
An elderly bamboo cutter discovers a tiny baby in the woods, and the man and his wife believe the rapidly growing girl is of divine origin. They prepare her for a life of nobility and move into a palace where she attracts many suitors. But happiness and true love do not come easy.
The closing entry of this year's World Film Festival of Bangkok, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya could very well be the second-to-last Studio Ghibli offering, following the retirement of studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki and the release of his The Wind Rises. One more is in the works, When Marnie Was There by Arriety director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and will likely be making the rounds next year.
Winning several awards at festivals worldwide, Princess Kaguya has been tipped as a possible nominee for the Academy Award for best animated feature. Critical reception is 100% positive, with much praise for the film's painterly, watercolor-like look.
It's in Japanese with English and Thai subtitles at Apex in Siam Square and House on RCA. Rated G.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb – The action-comedy franchise bows out on a bittersweet note with the last appearance by Robin Williams as President Theodore Roosevelt. In this third entry in the series, museum security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) discovers that the ancient magic that makes the Natural History Museum’s exhibitions come to life at night is dying out. To save his friends, Larry heads to the museum’s London branch in a search for answers. Rebel Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson and Dan Stevens also star. Critical reception is mixed. Rated G.
The Good Lie – A brash-but-well-meaning American woman (Reese Witherspoon) has much to learn when she is assigned to help with the resettlement of three Sudanese men – survivors of their country’s generation of “lost boys” war orphans of the 1980s. Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 15+
Rak Mod Kaew (รักหมดแก้ว, a.k.a. Love on the Rock) – Veteran singer-actress Marsha Wattanapanich heads the ensemble cast in this tale of fun-loving friends and romance. She's Ou, among a close-knit group of partiers who hang out at a pub. Among their pals are Baggio (Naprat Ratananit) and Fai-Liaw (Pilaiporn Supinchomphoo), a couple who are dating but have agreed not to commit. Ou, Man (Pongsak Rattanapong) and Bo (Pongkool Suebsueng) support the decision, but feelings start to change and all five find themselves at a crossroads. Released by studio M-Thirtynine. Saranyoo Jiralak (Last Summer, Secret Sunday) directs. Rated 18_
Game Plook Phi (เกมปลุกผี, a.k.a. Ghost Coins) – Ghostly revenge comes back a hundredfold after teen pranksters trap their friend in a graveyard and then steal a coin from the mouth of a corpse. Released by Five Star Production, the director is Tiwa Methaisong, a talented lensman who has previously directed a few other decent thrillers, particularly the controversial 2009 effort Meat Grinder. Rated 15+
The Friese-Greene Club – A few more Christmas-themed movies will close out the year at the club. The bartender has the night off tonight, though refugees needing a place to celebrate may "BYOB". For Boxing Day tomorrow, it's the holiday romance-and-friendship classic Love Actually followed on Saturday with the cult-favorite neo-noir comedy Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. Sunday has An Affair to Remember, and the year's final entry on Tuesday is the epic sci-fi Children of Men. Check the club's Facebook page for updates into the New Year. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. There's just nine seats, so book them.
Stand by Me Doraemon – One of Japan's longest-running and and most-popular franchises, Doraemon enters the computer-animation age with this first CG-animated entry. Based on the first seven volumes of the manga series, this is an origin tale, depicting how a robotic cat was sent from the future to teach and protect a bratty boy named Nobita. Thai-dubbed, it's in sneak previews from around 2pm at most multiplexes before opening in wide release next week. Rated G
Owing to the New Year's Eve holiday, movies will open next week on Wednesday, a day earlier than usual.