South African director Neill Blomkamp is having another moment. With his third full-length feature Chappie hitting cinemas, Blomkamp has been making the rounds of premieres and press conferences to promote the sci-fi thriller, but he's also talking about his next project, a sequel to Aliens, which will bring back Sigourney Weaver and also ignore the third and fourth entries in that sci-fi franchise.
Anyway, Chappie has Blomkamp touching on the themes of humanity, technology, machines and class differences that he explored in his previous efforts, his well-received debut District 9 and the more-ambitious Elysium, which bombed with critics, but Blomkamp accepts the blame.
In a future when rampant crime is controlled by an aggressive robotic force, one police robot named Chappie is stolen and has its programming changed so that it starts to think for itself. While one programmer (Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel) tries to help the friendly robot, an engineer (Hugh Jackman) who is violently opposed to artificial intelligence sets out to destroy the robot.
Sigourney Weaver also stars, as does Blomkamp's longtime collaborator, South African actor Sharlto Copley, who provides the voice of Chappie. Critical reception is just starting to percolate. Rated 15+
Cat a Wabb! (แคท อ่ะ แว้บ! #แบบว่ารักอ่ะ , a.k.a. Cat AWOL) – A young woman takes an internship with a TV commercial director and develops on instant crush on the guy. Meanwhile, her company has to make a TV spot with a celebrity cat, a potbellied Burmese bronze named Johnny, who causes a panic after he goes missing. Popular young actress "Bae Fern" Pimchanok Luewisatepaiboon stars, along with this season's rom-com leading man, "Pe" Arak Amornsupasiri. TV comedy cohorts Pongsak Pongsuwan and Chusak Iamsuk add comic relief. A production by Workpoint Entertainment, it's directed by Narubodi Wechakam, who previously did a couple of the Saranae comedy films. Rated 13+
Mor 6/5 Pak Ma Tha Phe 3 (ตัวอย่าง มอ6/5 ปากหมาท้าผี3, a.k.a. Make Me Shudder 3) – Director Poj Arnon always seems to have a current-events angle with his movies. Here, he uses the recent 10th anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami for the latest installment of his comedy-horror franchise involving around a dozen shrieking schoolboys. Previous entries were in 2013 and last year. Here, they are in for more scares when they head to Phuket and investigate an abandoned hotel that’s haunted by ghosts of the tsunami. Rated 15+
The Friese-Greene Club – March is "directors' month" at the club, which will feature the work of France's Jean-Pierre Jeunet, China's Zhang Yimou, American siblings Ethan and Joel Coen, Italy's Giuseppe Tornatore and Britain's Sir Carol Reed. Tonight, fall in love with all over Gong Li again in Yimou's masterpiece Raise the Red Lantern. Tomorrow, it's the Coen Bros' debut, and still one of their best, Blood Simple. Memories unspool on Saturday in Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso. This Sunday is a special event, Welcome to the Machine, a 2012 documentary that promises to "reveal the secrets of the music industry". Director Andreas Steinkogler will be on hand for a talk afterward. Next Wednesday is Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's cult sci-fi The City of Lost Children. 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.
Alliance Française – There are two free programs at the Alliance this week. First up on Saturday is something for the children, a new adaptation of Belle et Sébastian, an adventure drama about a little boy and his giant Pyrenean Mountain Dog who aid resistance fighters in the French-Swiss Alps during World War II. It was previously made as a French TV series that inspired a cult following as well as the name of a band. It screens at 2pm on Saturday. And at 7pm next Wednesday is Respire (Breathe), a 2014 coming-of-age drama about the intense relationship of two teenage girls.