Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening March 19-25, 2015

Lupin the Third

Lupin the Third, the live-action adaptation of a long-running manga series gets a limited release following its local premiere at last month's Japanese Film Festival.

Ryuhei Kitamura (VersusThe Midnight Meat Train) directs this adventure tale about the gentleman thief Lupin III (Shun Oguri) and his colorful partners in crime. While trying to stay a step ahead of Lupin III's dogged nemesis Inspector Zenigata (Tadanobu Asano), they come to a fictional Southeast Asian land that looks a lot like Thailand. There, they face a powerful enemy while trying to retrieve the priceless Crimson Heart of Cleopatra. There's a host of Thai talent in the cast, including Rhatha Pho-ngam, Vithaya Pansringarm and Nirut Sirichanya.

Critical reception has been mixed, mostly negative. But to me, it looks more interesting than the major Hollywood release this week. You can read more about Lupin III in an article at The Nation. It's at SF Cinemas, with the original soundtrack with English and Thai subtitles SFC Terminal 21 and SFW CentralWorld. Update: It's also at Apex Siam Square. Rated 13+

Also opening

The Way He Looks – Blind teenager Leonardo struggles with independence, and spends most of his free time with neighbor girl Giovana. Their friendship takes a turn with the arrival of a new boy at school whom Leonardo feels instantly connected to. Directed by Daniel Ribeiro, this Brazilian coming-of-age gay romance won the Fipresci critics prize and the Teddy Award for LGTB-themed features at last year's Berlin International Film Festival. Critical reception is generally positive. This picture comes to us through the singlehanded efforts of indie film enthusiast "Ken" Thapanan Wichitratthakarn, who saw The Way He Looks at a Hong Kong festival and loved it so much, he just had to acquire the Thai theatrical rights for it. You can read more about that in an article in The Nation. It's in Portuguese with English and Thai subtitles at Apex Siam Square, House on RCA and SFW CentralWorld.

Insurgent – Just let me see if can contain my excitement for this week's big Hollywood tentpole release, the second entry in the latest adaptation of a series of best-selling young-adult science-fiction novels. Following the first entry Divergent, the story has young heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her guy pal Four (Theo James) living as fugitives in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world. While they are hunted by the power-hungry Erudite faction, Tris must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance that threatens to tear society apart. Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer also star. Critical reception is mostly negative, but movie critics aren't who this movie was made for. It's in fake 3D (why bother?) in some cinemas including IMAX. Rated 15+

2538 Alter Ma Jive (2538 อัลเทอร์มาจีบ) – It's Back to the Future for a young Thai guy who discovers a message on an old pager belonging to his parents. He first tries to call the number on his smartphone, but, in the way things always go with cellphones in movies, the battery is dead. So he finds a still-working old-fashioned phone booth to call the number, and is transported 20 years back in time to 1995, altering the events in which his parents met and fell in love. Danarun Ramnarong and Pimchanok Luevisadpaibul star. It's directed by "Sua" Yanyong Kuru-angkul. Rated 13+

Feel Good Roosuek Dee The Me Kan (Feel Good...เพราะรู้สึกดีที่มีกัน) – Three stories are depicted in this indie Thai romantic comedy. They involve a pair of newlyweds, two college kids and a young man who uses a science to win over the girl he loves. Ratcd 15+

Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal – The anti-hero of Chinese legend Zhong Kui (Chen Hun) is forced into a battle among the realms of Heaven, Earth and Hell as he attempts to save his countrymen and the woman he loves (Li Bingbing). It's Thai-dubbed in most places, except for SFW CentralWorld and Paragon. Rated 13+

Also showing

German Film Week – As covered in a special update last week, German films are screening at 7 nightly until Sunday at Paragon Cineplex. Tonight, it's the adventure yarn Measuring the World, about German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and geographer Alexander von Humboldt and their surveys of the world in the 1800s. Tomorrow is the road movie The Man Who Jumped Over Cars and Arab-Jewish relations are covered Saturday's Kaddisch for a Friend. The closing film is the 1954 adaptation of the famous children's book Emil and the Detectives. Tickets are free and can be booked by calling (02) 108 8231-32, e-mail or check For more details, visit

The Friese-Greene Club – A barely literate 13-year-old girl (Wei Minzhi) is left in charge of a rural schoolhouse and pluckily rises to the challenge of stopping the school's loss of students in Zhang Yimou's 1999 drama Not One Less. Tomorrow, it's the Coen Bros.' Barton Fink, which they dashed off while experiencing writer's block on the screenplay for Miller's Crossing. Actually, they say, Barton Fink is about wallpaper. Saturday, Tim Roth is an enigmatic piano player born aboard an ocean liner in The Legend of 1900, another of the films of Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore. It features a score by the great Ennio Morricone. Sunday is another of Sir Carol Reed's film-noir thrillers, 1948's The Fallen Idol. Based on a Graham Greene novel, it's about a butler (Ralph Richardson) who is implicated in a murder by the towheaded boy who idolizes him. And next Wednesday is the final entry in a series of Jean-Pierre Jeunet films, the epic World War I romance A Very Long Engagement. 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.

Salaya International Documentary Film Festival – The schedule is now complete for the fifth annual edition of Salaya Doc, and seats can be booked online. The opener is at 1pm on Saturday at the Thai Film Archive with The Look of Silence, the follow-up to The Act of Killing, which probed genocide by the Indonesian military in the 1960s. Weekend highlights include Asean competition entries plus a pair of films about film, Flowers of Taipei: New Taiwanese Cinema and Love Is All: 100 Years of Love and Courtship. Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery screens at the Archive on Monday. The screenings then shift to the Bangkok Art and Culture Center from Tuesday until next Friday. Among the highlights are the films of this year's director in focus, Dutch-Indonesian auteur Leonard Retel Helmrich, who is known for his "single-shot cinema" technique. His films are Eye of the DayShape of the MoonPosition Among the Stars and Promised Paradise. More details of the festival are covered over at that other blog and in a special posting from last week.

A scene from No Word for Worry, screening on Tuesday at the BACC as part of Salaya Doc and on Thursday at the FCCT.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – In addition to Salaya Doc, more documentaries are on offer at the FCCT, which has Life and Death at Preah Vihear, director David A. Feingold's examination of the conflict of the disputed territory around the 11th century Hindu temple on the Thai-Cambodian border. That's at 7pm on Tuesday, March 24. And next Thursday is a Salaya Doc entry, No Word for Worry, Norwegian director Runar Jarle Wiik's look at the fast-fading "sea gypsy" culture of the Moken people in Myanmar's Mergui archipelago. For more details, please see the FCCT website.

Alliance Française – This month's films have featured stories of women going through major life changes, and the final entry next Wednesday is the 2013 comedy-drama Elle S'en Va (On My Way), starring Catherine Deneuve as a 60-year-old woman who is dumped by her lover and left with a financially troubled family restaurant. She gets in her car and just starts driving. It's in French and English subtitles at 7pm on Wednesday, March 25 at the Alliance.

Sneak preview

Home – A fugtive member of an invading race of space aliens is befriended by a plucky teenage girl in this new feature from DreamWorks Animation. It's winning praise for voice work by Rihanna as the girl Tip. Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) voices the alien named Oh. Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin are also featured. Critics are mixed. It's in sneak previews from around 2pm in most cinemas from Saturday until Wednesday before opening wide next Thursday. Rated G

Take note

Apologies for omitting several film events from last Thursday's update. I belatedly found out about German Film Week and quickly put up a special post. I wonder if there's anybody at the Goethe-Institut who can tip me off to the German film events? I only seem to find out about them after they'e already started. Other quickie updates of things I missed earlier, such as for the BACC's Cinema Diverse series last Saturday and yesterday's screening of Song of the Lao Elephant at the FCCT, were handled on my Twitter feed, so please keep on eye on that for late-breaking #BangkokCinemas updates.

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