Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening February 12-18, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, X-Men: First Class) reteams with Kick-Ass comic-book writer Mark Millar for Kingsman: The Secret Service, which looks to be a fun-filled and campy spoof of stiff-upper British spy action.

Colin Firth, channeling his more serious role in the spy drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is an impeccably tailored veteran operative with a super-secret organisation. He recruits an unrefined but promising street kid (Taron Egerton) into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Samuel L. Jackson also stars, along with Michael Caine and Vaughn regular Mark Strong (also from Tinker Tailor and numerous other Brit thrillers). Star Wars' Mark Hamill also turns up in a brief role.

Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 15+

Also opening

Still Alice – Julianne Moore is getting overdue recognition this season, earning an Oscar nomination and winning the Golden Globe, Bafta and other prizes for her performance in this drama. She portrays a renowned linguistics professor who struggles to stay connected to her family and her identity after she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Alec Baldwin also stars. Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated G

Fifty Shades of Grey – Owing to the Valentine's Day weekend, there are romance-themed films being forced onto screens. The most anticipated, by fans of E.L. James' erotic novels anyway, stars Dakota Johnson as a naive 21-year-old college student who takes an assignment for her school paper to write about Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), an eminently successful 27-year-old entrepreneur who turns out to have a thing for sadomasochism. Although she's intimidated at first, she enters into a torrid affair with the man, who makes her sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her to discuss anything that they do together. Critical reception is just starting. Have your I.D. cards handy as it's rated 20-.

Playing It Cool – Chris Evans takes a break from playing Captain America in this mushy indie romance. He's a love-struck man who enters into a platonic relationship with a woman (Michelle Monaghan) who's already engaged to someone else. Luke Wilson, Topher Grace, Giovanni Ribisi and Patrick Warburton also star. Also known as A Many Splintered Thing, critical reception is bit of an unknown. Rated 15+

Phaun Kheed Sen Tai (เพื่อนขีดเส้นใต้) – Three relationships are focused on in this effort by three indie directors. The stories include a husband who is asked to quit smoking by his wife so that they can have a baby. Another examines the conflicts between senior-year film students as they race to complete their thesis works. And there's the friendship between two soldiers that starts on the battlefield and continues after their military discharge. Rated 15+

Roy – Three lives intersect in this Bollywood drama starring Ranbir Kapoor as a mysterious thief no one can catch. His life seems linked with that of another man's (Arjun Rampal), a filmmaker who has made a fortune directing movies about the robberies. A playboy, he takes up with a new girlfriend (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is also filmmaker, but maybe she's also a globetrotting socialite. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya.  Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – The battle for cinematic supremacy between Australia and New Zealand continues tonight with 1971's Wake In Fright (a.k.a. Outback), the crime thriller that gave rise to the Ozploitation genre. It's a mean-spirited and violent counterpoint to the Kiwis' well-mannered offering, the coming-of-age Maori drama Whale Rider from 2002, screening tomorrow. Saturday begins a run of Monty Python films, beginning with the 1979 religious satire Life of Brian. Sundays feature the classic films of Vincente Minnelli, and this week it's Gene Kelly doing the old song and dance in An American in Paris. Wednesdays this month feature films about "those darn kids". And they sure talk funny in next week's entry, the neo-noir thriller Brick, the feature debut of director Rian Johnson, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. 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.

German Open Air Cinema – The Goethe-Institut's annual outdoor showcase of German cinema comes to a close next week with Hannah Arendt, a 2012 biopic that focuses on the Jewish German intellectual and her criticism of Israel's trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, in which she coined the phrase "the banality of evil". The show is at 7.30pm on Tuesday, February 17 at the Goethe-Institut off Sathorn Soi 1.

Alliance Française – "Lost illusions" is the theme for this month and next week's entry is Les beaux jours (Bright Days Ahead), in which a married woman (Fanny Ardant) signs up for a computer class and falls in love with her significantly younger instructor. It's in French with English subtitles at 7pm on Wednesday, February 18 at the Alliance.

Take note

Some movies might be opening a day earlier next week in a bid to milk a bit more from the box office on the eve of Chinese New Year, which starts on Thursday. Among the Wednesday releases will be the latest Jason Statham action reel, Wild Card. But it seems most movies will be released as usual on Thursday, so I'll just wait until then to post an update.

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