Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 27-September 2, 2015

Absolutely Anything

Robin Williams and the cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus all figure into the absurdist comedy Absolutely Anything, which stars Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible) as a hapless Earthling who is granted powers by a bunch of jerkface aliens. He can make anything happen, but doesn't do much of consequence with his abilities, other than make his pet dog talk.

The Pythons' Terry Jones directs, and is also one of the voices of those trouble-making aliens, along with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam, making Absolutely Anything the first time the Pythons have worked in a movie together since 1983's The Meaning of Life. Williams, in one of his last roles, is the voice of the dog. Kate Becksinsale, Eddie Izzard and Rob Riggle are also featured.

Despite the presence of Brit-comedy favorite Pegg, the Pythons and Williams, critical reception has been underwhelming. Rated 15+

Also opening

Paper Towns – Following up quickly behind the popular success of the teen romantic drama The Fault in Our Stars, here's another movie based on a young-adult novel by author-of-the-moment John Green. Paper Towns deals with a teen named Quentin who has long had a crush on mysterious neighbor girl Margo. After an all-night adventure with her, Margo disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends have to follow on a cross-country journey that will change their lives forever. Outspoken model-actress Cara Delevingne stars along with Nat Wolff and Austin Abrams. Jake Schreier (Robot and Frank) directs. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to positive. in limited release at Paragon and SF World at CentralWorld. Rated 13+

Khon Oak Hak (คน.อก.หัก, a.k.a. Love H2O) – In this Thai comedy, Naam (Natpapas Thanathanamaharat) is the editor of a romance magazine but her own love life turns rocky after her long-time boyfriend ditches her for someone else. She wants to find the perfect guy to take to her ex’s wedding and has a choice between old friend Doc (Tony Rakkaen), diplomat Joe (Navin Yavapollkul) or property tycoon Ohm (Ananda Everingham). Sutthasit Detinthonnarak (Club Friday: The Series) directs. Rated 15+

367 Won: Him and Her (367 วัน Him and Her) – And in this Thai romance, Tine (Chonluedee Amornlak) and Hade (Khanut Rojanai) have been a couple since high school. Now  graduated from college, Tine is set to head overseas, and she breaks up with Hade rather than have him wait for her to return. Thirawat Phadungkan directs. Rated G

Attack on Titan – After 100 years of living behind huge walls to protect themselves from man-eating giants, humanity is starting to fight back. Among them is teenager Eren Jaeger (Haruma Miura), who must use his special gift to defeat the titan race. This is the first of a two-part live-action adaptation of a popular manga and anime franchise in Japan. Part two, Attack on Titan: End of the World, is set for release there next month. Critical reception has been mixed. It's Thai-dubbed most places (including IMAX) but in Japanese with English and Thai subtitles at a few locations, including CentralWorld, Paragon and the Quartier CineArt. Rated 13+

To the Fore – Dante Lam, a Hong Kong director known for gritty, gripping crime thrillers, turns to romance with To the Fore, which is set in the world of competitive cycling, where four riders put their relationships to the test as they enter a big race. Eddie Peng, Choi Siwon, Shawn Dou and Wang Luodan star. Critical reception has been mixed. It's Thai-dubbed most places but is in Chinese with English and Thai subtitles at some locations, including Paragon and Quartier CineArt. Rated G

Also showing

Bangkok Asean Film Festival – Lots of worthwhile stuff to choose from in the selection of Southeast Asian films put together by the Culture Ministry and the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, running from tonight until Sunday at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. For broad comedies, there's the hilarious What's So Special About Rina? from Brunei and, if you like Thai TV comedies, then you'll probably like Huk Ey Ly 2 (Really Love 2) from Laos. There's drama with The Last Reel from Cambodia, Bwaya from the Philippines, Siti from Indonesia, 1021 from Singapore and Golden Kingdom from Myanmar. Vietnam has a gay angle with Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories, while Malaysia offers a darkly comic satire with Men Who Save the World. And Thailand looks to the South with the drama Latitude 6, with various stories of religious and cultural conflict against the backdrop of restiveness in the three southernmost provinces. Each film was further detailed in an earlier post. Tickets are handed out 30 minutes before the shows, so queue up well in advance to ensure you get a decent seat. The schedule is at the SF Cinemas website.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – A longstanding feud between Brazilian farming families boils over in Behind the Sun (Abril Despedaçado), a 2001 drama by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries), screening at 7 tonight. Part of the FCCT’s Contemporary World Film Series, the movie is courtesy of the embassy of Brazil. Admission is 150 baht for nonmembers, plus 100 baht for anyone wanting the snacks and drinks. Also upcoming at the club is the Belgian film Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit) by the Dardenne brothers on September 7.

The Friese-Greene Club – Tonight is a special event, with a best-of selection from last year's Shnit International Short Film Festival. It's part of the run-up to this year's Shnit fest, which is set for October 7 to 18, and is held simultaneously in major cities worldwide, Bangkok among them. If you want to go, check the Facebook events page. Tomorrow is one more Bertolucci for the month, 1996's Stealing Beauty, with Liv Tyler as an American teenager visiting her late mother's hometown in Tuscany. She hopes to lose her virginity before the summer ends. Saturday's Terry Gilliam film is one his most celebrated, 1995's 12 Monkeys, starring Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe and an absolutely unhinged Brad Pitt. And the month wraps on Sunday with one more Sinatra film, 1958's Some Came Running, a small-town drama that features the first onscreen pairing of Sinatra with fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin. 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.

Alliance Française – A depressed rock musician quits his band and stumbles on a new occupation as the caretaker of an old Paris apartment building in Dans la cour (In the Courtyard). He soon builds a rapport with residents, among them a mentally deteriorating retired woman. Gustave Kervern and Catherine Deneuve star. Pierre Salvadori directs. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, September 2, at the Alliance.

Take note

The latest offering from the Documentary Club, Amy has moved to a wider release. It's at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, SF Cinema City Terminal 21, SFX Central Rama 9, SFX Maya Chiang Mai and maybe more places. For showtimes and bookings, please check SF Cinema's bookings page.

Upcoming events include another entry in the Bangkok Art and Culture Center's Cinema Diverse: Director's Choice series, which on September 5 has Pee Mak director Banjong Pisanthanakun screening one of his favorite films, The Chaser from South Korea. He'll be talking about the thriller afterward with director Na Hong-jin. Registration opens at 4.30pm with the show at 5.30pm in the BACC's fifth-floor auditorium.

Also in September will be a video-art exhibition, Behind the Painting, with work by inventive filmmaker Chulayarnon Siriphol. Organized by the Japan Foundation, the exhibition will be at Silpakorn University's Art Center, opening on September 11 and running until October 10. Don't miss it!

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