Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening June 25-July 1, 2015


Arnold Schwarzenegger is earning terrific reviews for his comeback-career dramatic turn in Maggie, a slow-burn indie zombie thriller about a father who refuses to let his infected daughter go.

Talented young Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, August: Osage County) is the daughter. She has been infected and quarantined following a mysterious illness that has society on edge.

It's the feature directorial debut of Henry Hobson, a young filmmaker who previously created the title credits for several movies, including August: Osage County, The Lone Ranger and Snow White and the Huntsman.

Critical reception is mixed, with the consensus being that the performances by Schwarzenegger and Breslin lift an otherwise clunky drama. It also serves as a warm-up for the next week's big tentpole, Terminator Genesys, which has Arnie returning once again to one of his most iconic roles. Rated 13+

Also opening

The Duff – Teenage perceptions about body image are addressed in this high-school comedy about a girl who learns she's been designated her clique's "D.U.F.F." – designated ugly fat friend – even though she is neither fat nor ugly. Mae Whitman (Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) stars, along with Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne. The director is Ari Sandel, who makes his feature dramatic debut after previously working in television and on Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's at SF cinemas. Rated 15+

Barely Lethal – Along with Maggie and The Duff, this action comedy could well complete a triple feature this week of movies spotlighting teenage female characters. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Pitch Perfect 2) stars as a student at a secret all-girls boarding school for assassins. Yearning for a normal life, she gives her minders the slip and then poses as an exchange student at a public high school, where she finds life even more challenging than black-ops missions. Jessica Alba and Samuel L. Jackson also star. Kyle Newman, who previously did the Star Wars homage Fanboys, directs. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+

It Follows – After a sexual encounter with a stranger, a carefree young woman can't shake the feeling that she's being followed. David Robert Mitchell, yet another Hollywood rookie, directs. Maika Monroe, a former professional kiteboarder who's turned to acting, stars. Critical reception for this indie thriller is crazily positive. It moves to a regular release following two weeks of nighttime sneak previews. Rated 15+

Steak (R)evolution – Tapping into the trendy "foodie" movement, this follows carnivorous gourmets as they trek the world, looking for the best steak. France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the UK, the US, Canada, Japan, Argentina and Brazil are visited, chatting up ranchers, butchers, chefs, historians and meat-eaters along they way. Rated G.

Lovesucks (รักอักเสบ) – A sports news anchor (Teya Rogers) is hit with a double whammy when she’s demoted from her job and then discovers her boyfriend (footballer Teerathep Vinothai) has been cheating on her. She then embarks on a one-night stand with another guy (James Maggie). Actress "Donut" Manasnan Panlertwongskul makes her directorial debut with this romantic comedy, which is produced by TrueVisions Original Pictures. At SF cinemas. Rated 13+

Tomb Robber – An ancient tomb is discovered in a remote valley and rumors start circulating that it may be the site of long-lost treasure. This is a Chinese 3D thriller but it seems to be showing only in 2D here. At Major Cineplex; Thai-dubbed only. Rated 15+

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Tonight, a fast-talking TV journalist (Dustin Hoffman) acts as an intermediary in a hostage situation involving a disgruntled former security guard (John Travolta) in Mad City, a 1998 drama by Costa-Gravas. Tomorrow, it's one last Peter Sellers film for the month, with an early acclaimed performance in 1959's I'm All Right Jack. Saturday's food-themed movie is the bizarre Eating Raoul while Spielberg Sunday is devoted to Schindler's List. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the under-renovation Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. For more details, check the club's Facebook page.

A Child Outside: Retrospective to John Torres – Filmvirus and the Reading Room, with support from the Japan Foundation, bring leading Filipino indie filmmaker John Torres to Bangkok for a two-day retrospective of all his films. Saturday's program will be a selection of short films made from 2004 to 2011. There will also be two self-confessional autobiographical features, Todo Todo Teros, which blended found footage and home-video clips, and won several awards, and Years When I was a Child Outside, which won an award at the Bangkok International Film Festival in 2008. Sunday's line-up has Torres' two dramatic features, 2010’s Refrains Happen Like Revolutions in a Song, about a young woman who takes on different roles as she travels from village to village. There's also 2013’s Lukas the Strange, a coming-of-age yarn about an awkward teenager coming to grips with his manhood just as a film crew comes to his village. And Torres himself will close off the event with a talk. Shows start at 1pm. The venue is a fourth-floor walk-up in a shophouse on Silom Soi 19, opposite Silom Center. Recent Filmvirus events there have been packed to the rafters, so be sure to arrive early to ensure you'll have a seat. For further details, check the Facebook events page.

Alliance Française – In Grand Central, a young drifter (Tahar Rahim) finds work scrubbing reactors at a nuclear power plant. As if the health risks from radioactivity weren't enough, he begins an affair with the wife of a co-worker. Léa Seydoux, Olivier Gourmet, Denis Ménochet, Johan Libéreau also star. Rebecca Zlotowski directs this award-winning romantic comedy-drama. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, July 1, at the Alliance.

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