Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening July 2-8, 2015

The Wolfpack

Six unusual brothers, kept locked away in their Manhattan apartment by a stern father and homeschooled by their mother, learned most of what they know about pop culture and life itself from watching movies. They grew up spending their days re-creating favorite films such as Reservoir Dogs and The Dark Knight with homemade props and costumes.

It's The Wolfpack, a documentary by Crystal Moselle, who makes her debut as a director. She spent several years getting to know the Angulo brothers, all with Sanskrit names, Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna and Jagadesh. They were raised by a strict Peruvian dad, who forbade his children and his American wife from leaving their apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. At one point, the boys didn't leave the apartment for an entire year. But they eventually came to light when 15-year-old Mukunda was the first to venture outside, scaring the neighbors with his Friday the 13th hockey-goalie mask.

Screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year, The Wolfpack captured the hearts of industry figures, and went on to win the festival's Grand Prize for U.S. Documentary. Critical reception is generally positive.

The Wolfpack comes to cinemas as part of the ongoing Doc Holiday series, put on by the Documentary Club and SF cinemas. Shows are at 3, 5, 7 and 9 through Wednesday at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. It's also screening at 8 night from tomorrow to Sunday at SFX Maya Chiang Mai.

Additional showtimes and venues may be added. To find out more, check Facebook. Advance bookings are encouraged through the SF Cinemas website.

Terminator Genisys

The thing about the Terminator franchise is that the timeline is continually changing. It is canon. And whenever a character travels back in time, multiple timelines are altered and splintered. So there is no limit to what the studios want to do. If something doesn't work, they can just hit reset and try again. And it doesn't matter if it makes sense.

So now we have Terminator Genisys, which like the 1984 movie has resistance leader John Connor sending lone warrior Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah Connor from being killed by the machines of Skynet. Original series star Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as a cyborg guardian. It'll be interesting to see how they explain the machine-man's head of gray hair and wrinkled appearance.

Other stars are Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), with Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke taking a break from being the mother of dragons to be the mother of future human society.

She follows GoT castmate Lena Headey in the role of Sarah Connor, Headey having portrayed the heroine mum in TV's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which ran for two seasons and was actually pretty cool.

Alan Taylor takes over as director. A veteran helmer who previously did Thor: The Dark World, he's best known for his work on TV series such as Game of Thrones and The Sopranos.

Terminator Genisys is the fifth feature film in the franchise. It follows 2009's Terminator Salvation, which tied in with the TV series but was a failed attempt at a reboot. Perhaps Genisys will take hold, but critics aren't so sure. Perhaps it's time to lower this franchise into a pool of molten steel.

It's in 2D and converted 3D, including IMAX. Rated 13+

Also opening

The Trials of Cate McCall – Kate Beckinsale is Cate McCall, a former hot-shot lawyer whose career went off the rails. Newly sober and trying to rebuild her life, she is assigned to defend a woman who has been framed for murder. But her search for evidence uncovers conspiracy and corruption in the police department. Nick Nolte, James Cromwell, Clancy Brown and Mark Pellegrino also star. It's helmed by Karen Moncrief, a TV actress who is adding to her credits as a writer-director. Critical reception isn't a thing, even though this movie has already aired on the Lifetime channel in the U.S. Rated 15+

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Canadian comedies, "midnight" movies, precocious girls, bad kids and imaginary friends are featured in July. Tonight, it's Eraserhead, the disturbing and mind-blowing cult classic from David Lynch, which is a regular staple on the midnight-movie circuit. Tomorrow's precocious girl is Brooke Shields, portraying a 12-year-old New Orleans prostitute in Louis Malle's controversial Pretty Baby. Saturday's "bad kids" are boys marooned on an island in 1963's Lord of the Flies. On Sunday, the bartender won't flinch if you order two martinis for just yourself. It's James Stewart in Harvey. And next Wednesday is the hilariously uneven comedy Canadian Bacon, documentarian Michael Moore's first and only foray into scripted features. John Candy stars, in one of his last performances. Shows are at 8pm (even the "midnight" movies). 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.

Marathon 19 – Each year, the Thai Film Foundation receives hundreds upon hundreds of entries for the annual Thai Short Film and Video Festival, and each year all those entries are screened in a monthlong marathon preceding the festival. This year, the Short Film Marathon starts on Saturday, July 4, and runs until August 2, with screenings in the little FA Cinematheque on the second floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. Shows run from 4.30 to 8.30 Tuesday to Friday and 11am to 8.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The BACC is closed on Mondays. The 19th Thai Short Film and Video Festival is set for August 13 to 23 at the BACC. For more details, check the fest's Facebook page.

Alliance Française – Next week's screening is Hannah Arendt, which depicts the German Jewish writer and philosopher as she covers  the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, and presents her controversial thoughts about "the banality of evil". Margarethe Von Trotta directs and Barbara Sukowa stars. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, July 8, at the Alliance.

Take note

The European Union Film Festival runs from July 10 to 19 at SFW CentralWorld and is covered in a special post. Happily, you won't have to queue up in a long line to get free tickets. However, the convenience of booking your seats in advance comes at a price – 120 baht. Still a good deal.

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