Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening July 30-August 5, 2015

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise says he was "scared s–less" doing his stunts in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, his latest desperate, bravura effort to keep himself and the over-punctuated Mission: Impossible franchise relevant.

Hanging for dear life off an ascending military cargo plane and racing around on motorcycles, Cruise is back for the fifth installment in the hit movie series, which is based on a 1960s TV show. Following the adventures of Ghost Protocol, Cruise's Ethan Hunt and his IMF team have been disbanded and scattered to the wind. But a new threat emerges in the form of the Syndicate, a shadowy organization that is using IMF's old technology and assets in an escalating series of terrorist attacks. To stop them, Hunt and his team have to put their trust in a disavowed British spy (Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson).

Along with Cruise, other returnees from previous M:I installments include Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner. Alec Baldwin joins this time around.

The director is Christopher McQuarrie, the writer of Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects, who has become a go-to guy for Cruise since directing him in Jack Reacher and having a hand in scripting such Cruise vehicles as Valkyrie and Edge of Tomorrow.

Critical reception is mostly positive, with the consensus being that Cruise and company are a well-oiled machine that deliver the goods as expected. It's in 2D only, including IMAX cinemas. Rated 13+

Also opening

The Road Within – After his mother dies, a young man (Robert Sheehan) who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome is packed off by his father to a clinic. There, the sweary guy falls for an anorexic woman (Zoe Kravitz, who shrunk down to 90 pounds for the role). He decides to take her on a trip to deliver his mother’s ashes to the ocean, bringing his obsessive-compulsive roommate (Dev Patel) along for the ride. Robert Patrick and Kyra Sedgwick also star. An independent drama that has won awards at several film festivals, The Road Within is directed by Gren Wells. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+

Love Hiao Fiao Tott (เลิฟเฮี้ยวเฟี้ยวต๊อด, a.k.a. There’s Something About Tott) – Anon “Poj” Mingkhwanta directs this romantic comedy about a hapless young man (Khunathip Pinpradab) whose overwhelming charm attracts many ladies, making it difficult for him to hold down a job and earn the money he needs to get his beloved grandmother (Duangta Tungkhamanee) out of the nursing home. Rated 15+

Last Knights – A disgraced knight seeks revenge and the restoration of his honor as he leads a rebellion against the ruthless emperor. Clive Owen stars as the sword-wielding hero, with Morgan Freeman as his master. Aksel Hennie is the sneering baddie. This seems to be an adaptation of Japan's historical 47 Ronin tale, but with European-style knights with broadswords instead of samurai. The director is Japan's Kazuaki Kiriya, making his English-language debut. He previously directed the special-effects-laden epics Casshern and Goemon. Critical reception has landed with a dull thud. It's at SF cinemas. Rated 15+

Drishyam – A middle-class man who runs a village cable-TV network in Goa, and his family, have their happy life turned upside down when they become suspects in the disappearance of the teenage son of a police officer. With Ajay Devgn, Shriya Saran, Tabu and Rajat Kapoor. In Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Central Rama III and Pattaya. Rated G

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – "A unique exploration of the nadir of taste, sophistication and film technique." Now that's an accurate description of tonight's cult-classic entry, John Waters' Pink Flamingos. Tomorrow's "precocious girl" is British ingenue Jane March in 1992's The Lover, a steamy adaptation of a Marguerite Duras romance novel and starring Tony Leung Ka Fai as "the Chinese man". And that's all I have so far. For the August schedule, keep an eye on the club's Facebook page. Shows start at 8pm.

Alliance Française – In Une place sur la Terre (A Place on Earth), a lonely photographer (Benoît Poelvoorde) finds himself drawn to a mysterious piano-playing neighbor lady in this 2013 drama by Fabienne Godet. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, August 5, at the Alliance.

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