Poj Anon, Thailand's leading maker of films featuring cross-dressing actors in bad wigs, offers his own take on the true story of the “iron ladies” – the transgender-queer volleyball team from Lampang that won a men's national championship in the 1990s, with Satree Lek Tob Loke Taek (สตรีเหล็กตบโลกแตก).
It is another version of story that is already a fine film, released in 2000, Satree Lek (The Iron Ladies). It was among the first in a new wave of Thai titles to make a splash internationally and was directed by Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, making his debut. He even made a sequel, and has since gone on to be one of the major players behind the hit-making Thai studio GTH.
Always the opportunist, Poj makes films that seem ripped from the headlines, and his volleyball movie has synergy with current affairs thanks to the women's national volleyball team winning a world championship this year. He drafted them for a cameo appearance in his film.
The remake has enlisted a few prominent male stars to don wigs and loud makeup, among them sought-after talent "Film" Rattapoom Toekongsap and bespectacled character actor Padung “Jazz Chuanchuen” Songsang. Ubiquitous little comedienne, actress and TV presenter "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom is also featured, portraying the coach. Rated 15+
Seventh Son – Jeff "the Dude" Bridges mumbles and chews his way through the scenery in this fantasy epic. He's Master Gregory, a knight of ancient times who tangles with a witch (an also-scenery-munching Julianne Moore) who he imprisoned ages ago but is now out for vengeance. The only way to defeat her is to train a new apprentice (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son. Critics, so far, aren't falling for any of the tricks. Rated 13+
Tua Phor, Riak Phor (a.k.a. The One Ticket) – Local studio Sahamongkolfilm offers what it thinks New Year's viewers want to see – a crass comedy starring former boyband singer "Dan" Worawech Danuwong. He's a young slacker father who'd rather party with his friends than spend time with this daughter, and when he squanders the girl's savings, he's deprived her of a chance to see her favorite Japanese band. To put things right, dad has to do everything he can to get her that concert ticket. Rated 15+
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. It's Thai-dubbed in most place, though SFW CentralWorld might have the original Japanese soundtrack. Rated G.
- German Open Air Cinema – After a break for the holidays, the weekly series resumes on Tuesday with Forget Me Not, a 2012 documentary by David Sieveking, in which he uncovers the past of his mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The show is at 7.30pm at the Goethe Institut off Sathorn Soi 1.
- Alliance Française – The year opens with 8 Fois Debout, a comedy about a young mother struggling to find work and support her son. The show is at 7pm on Wednesday, January 7.
Happy new year! Because of the holiday, movies are released a day earlier than usual.
I had yet to see a January schedule from the Friese-Greene Club, so watch their Facebook page for updates.
As the year gets underway, there are a number of film events in the works. Among the highlights will be the Polish Film Festival from January 18 to 22 at SFW CentralWorld.