Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening January 8-14, 2015


One of the season's most-buzzed-about awards contenders, Foxcatcher is based on true events that I don't remember. And I want the story to be a surprise, so I'm avoiding reading too much else about it.

So here's what I've gathered by only halfway researching about the film. Channing Tatum stars as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, who despite winning a gold medal, has always been overshadowed by his more-beloved brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo). But Schultz sees a way to greater glory when he and his brother are invited by eccentric millionaire John du Pont to move onto his large estate and train for the 1988 Olympics.

Both Mark Schultz and the creepy du Pont are desperate men, and their drive to achieve pushes them into a spiral of self-destruction.

Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) directs. Already, Foxcatcher has a number of accolades, including the best director prize from Cannes and three Golden Globe nominations – best picture, best actor for Carell and best supporting actor for Ruffalo.

Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 18+

Also opening

Taken 3 – Liam Neeson again brings his particular set of skills to the franchise that relaunched his career as an action star. In this third and possibly final entry, his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) is killed and he's framed for murder. While eluding the authorities and protecting his daughter (Maggie Grace), he must track down the real killers. Forest Whitaker also stars. Olivier Megaton (Taken 2, Colombiana) directs the script by producer Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 13+

Hector and the Search for Happiness – Simon Pegg is a quirky psychiatrist who is tired of his humdrum life. So he embarks on a global quest to uncover the secret to true happiness. Rosamund Pike also stars. Peter Chelsom (Hannah Montana the Movie, Shall We Dance) directs. Critical reception for this piece of schmaltz is mixed. If you're a fan of Pegg's work in such movies as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, go watch those again. Rated 13+

Black and White: The Dawn of Justice – This is the second entry in a big-budget Taiwanese police-action franchise. Mark Chao stars as Hero Wu, a dutiful police detective. He's paired up with arrogant loner cop Chen Zhen (Kenny Lin) to track down the mastermind behind a series of bombings. They discover the attacks are just a prelude to a bigger scheme involving stolen missiles and biochemical weapons. Thai-dubbed. Rated 13+

Beauty and the Beast – Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux star in this live-action adaptation of the French fairy tale about a young woman who falls in love with a beastly-looking man. It's in release for one week only from tomorrow at the Apex cinemas in Siam Square.

Also showing

Frozen Sing-Along – Follow the bouncing snowflake and see if you can match the high notes of "Let It Go" with the sing-along version of Disney's Oscar-winning animated hit. More than a year on, Frozen remains crazily popular, thanks mostly to the hit song "Let It Go", which is not only a favorite with karaoke fans, but is also so insanely loved by children, that director Jennifer Lee has apologized to parents who are fed up with hearing it. The Frozen Sing-along runs in cinemas for just one week. Rated G

The Friese-Greene Club – Spanish filmmakers, "strange futures", Doris Day and documentaries help get 2015 underway at the Club. Thursdays are devoted to Spanish directors, opening with Abre Los Ojos by Alejandro Amenabar, which was remade as Vanilla Sky. "But the original is so much better," seems to be the consensus. Documentaries are featured on Wednesdays and Fridays. Tomorrow, it's 2012's The Imposter, about a man who returns his family after disappearing years before. "Strange futures" are on Saturdays, opening with the influential Silent Running, director Douglas Trumbull's 1972 sci-fi classic, starring Bruce Dern as the last man alive aboard a massive spaceship. Sundays are all about Doris Day. This week it's Pillow Talk. Next Wednesday's documentary is 2009's Cropsey, which examines the New York urban legend of a child-killing monster and segues into the story of Andre Rand, a convicted child kidnapper. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22.  For more details, check the club's Facebook page. There's just nine seats, so book them.

The Circle – SF Cinema's "Doc Holiday" series continues with The Circle, a fact-based Swiss drama about the relationship between schoolteacher Ernst Ostertage and drag queen Robi Rapp, chronicling their efforts as members of the Circle, a pioneering gay-rights group that battled homophobia in the 1950s. It's Switzerland's entry for the best foreign language film at this year's Academy Awards. It screens in German with English and Thai subtitles at 9pm from tomorrow until Sunday and at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. For details, check the SF Cinemas website.

Filmvirus Kawaii Luv Luv – Filmvirus starts 2015 with a series of Sunday double features of youth-oriented Japanese romances, running until February 8. First up is 2013's See You Tomorrow, Everyone by Yoshihiro Nakamura, followed  by 2012's The Drudgery Train by Nobuhiro Yamashita. The show starts at 12.30 on Sunday in the Pridi Banomyong Library at Thammasat University Tha Prachan, in the Rewat Buddhinan Room, floor U2. Dress appropriately and inform the desk worker you are there to see a movie. For details, call (02) 613-3529 or (02) 613-3530.

German Open Air Cinema – It's star-crossed romance in The Silent Mountain, when war breaks out in the Dolomites just as an Italian woman and an Austrian man hope to form their own European union. William Moseley, Eugenia Costantini and Claudia Cardinale star. It screens at 7.30pm on Tuesday, January 13, at the Goethe-Institut off Sathorn Soi 1.

Alliance Française – A bitter and depressed woman falls into an alcoholic coma and awakens 25 years in the past, giving her a second chance at life in Camille Redouble, written, directed by and starring Noémie Lvovsky. Will she make the same choices that led her to an unhappy marriage? It's in French with English subtitles at 7pm on Wednesday, December 14 at the Alliance.

Take note

In addition to the Polish Film Festival from January 18 to 22 at SF World cinema at Central World, another upcoming event is the Japanese Film Festival from January 30 to February 8 at Paragon. And Filmvirus and and Wathann Film Festival join for a screening of old and new Myanmar films on January 24 and 25 at the Reading Room.

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