Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 1-7, 2015

May Who?

Teenage angst takes the form of electricity in the Thai teen romance May Nhai .. Fai Raeng Fer (เมย์ไหน..ไฟแรงเฟร่อ , a.k.a. May Who?), which is about a schoolgirl who is afflicted with a powerful electrical charge, which she releases when her heartbeat reaches 120 beats per second. This makes it difficult for her to get close to anyone.

Sutatta Udomsilp stars as May. She keeps a low profile at school in order to keep her shocking condition a secret, but her heart gets racing whenever she sees the star athlete Fame (Thanapob Leeratanakajorn). Her superpower is discovered by classmate Pong (Thiti Mahayotharak), a shy guy who also keeps to himself but has a crush on the school's most popular girl (Nareekul Katepraphakorn). So May agrees to help Pong score with his crush if he keeps her secret and helps her hook up with Fame.

May Who? has movie studio GTH doubling down on the last few months of the year, as the film is being released less than a month after the studio's current hit Freelance. Usually the studio makes just two or maybe three films a year, and spreads them out more. Sure to also do well at the box office, May Who? is directed by Chayanop Boonpakob, a former indie filmmaker who got his big commercial break with the 2011 hit SuckSeed, about a teenage rock band. Along with the special effects related to the girl's superpower, May Who? also includes animated segments, inspired by notebooks Chayanop drew in when he was in high school.

The new film has been accompanied by the usual promotional blitz by GTH, but it's been a bit awkward because talented young actress "PunPun" Sutatta has been suspended from working by the company after she and members of the cast of Hormones the Series misbehaved on a train while visiting Japan. They posted a clip of their rowdy behavior on social networks, not realizing that being disruptive on public transport is seriously frowned upon in orderly Japan. To prevent the breach in etiquette from becoming a major international incident, GTH made all involved issue apologies, and they punished PunPun and the others by banning them from social media and suspending them from work. And PunPun's suspension doesn't end until sometime next week, too late to support her new film before its release.

You can read more about the movie in an article in The Nation. Rated G

Also opening

The Tribe – From Ukraine, this crime drama is set in a boarding school for deaf children, where a new kid is drawn into the school's institutional system of organized crime. He becomes a pimp for a classmate and crosses the line when he falls in love with her. Directed by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, The Tribe was one of the most-buzzed-about, controversial titles at the Cannes Film Festival last year. It won loads of prizes on the festival circuit and made the top-10 lists of many critics. An unusual film, it's brought to Thai cinemas by a new distribution outfit, HAL Film, which will also release another buzzworthy oddball from film festivals, the Hungarian canine crime drama White God. Free of conventional dialogue, the characters in The Tribe communicate only in Ukrainian sign language and there are no subtitles, which is how it's meant to be seen. It's at Paragon and Esplanade Ratchada. Rated 20-

The Martian – Matt Damon is an astronaut left for dead on Mars after the mission is hit by a dust storm and the crew are forced to flee. Looking at a four-year wait for help to arrive, he turns to science to survive, using his skills as a botanist to grow a food crop. Meanwhile on Earth, there are conflicts in Nasa, where officials determine a rescue mission is too risky. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover also star. Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Alien) directs, marking his return to space after last year's Biblical epic Exodus. Critical reception is very positive, especially from excited Nasa scientists, who worked closely with the production to keep things real. It's in 2D and converted 3D. Rated G

Hotel Transylvania 2 – The Sony Pictures Animation franchise continues, with Dracula opening his monsters-only resort hotel to the general public as he gets to know his half-human half-vampire grandson. Adam Sandler voices Dracula, with the voice cast featuring his pals Kevin James and David Spade. Other returnees from the first film include Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Steve Buscemi. Mel Brooks is among the new additions. He plays Dracula's dad Vlad. Written by former Saturday Night Live staffer Robert Smigel (the hand and voice behind Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), this harmless family-friendly feature is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who previously did the cartoon series Dexter's Laboratory and Samurai Jack. Critical reception is mixed. It's in 3D as well as 2D. Rated G

Attack on Titan: End of the World – Here's the sequel to Attack on Titan: Part 1, which was released here last month. A live-action adaptation of a manga series, the story is set in a post-apocalyptic future and deals with humans fighting against giant man-eating beings that have taken over the world. In Part 2, young hero Eren (Haruma Miura) leaves his walled city to join a revenge-seeking scouting party. Critical reception is mixed. As with Part 1, it's Thai-dubbed in most places, but has the original soundtrack at a few select downtown locations, including SF Terminal 21, SF Rama 9, Paragon and the Quartier CineArt. Rated 13+

Singh Is Bliing – Akshay Kumar stars in this colorful Punjabi comedy, which is a sequel of sorts to 2008's Singh Is Kiing, in which he played a happy-go-lucky simpleton who becomes a crime kingpin in Australia. Here, his comic misadventures take him to Romania in pursuit of a mysterious woman. Amy Jackson, Kay Kay Menon and Lara Dutta also star. It's directed by Prabhu Deva, who previously worked with Akshay on the action comedy-drama Rowdy Rathore. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Paragon and at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – October at the FGC spotlights the work of English writer-director Andrew Birkin on Thursdays, starting tonight with the 1993 coming-of-age family drama The Cement Garden, based on novelist Ian McEwan's book. It won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin film fest. Fridays are devoted to adaptations of works by French writer Marcel Pagnol, starting tomorrow with 1986's rural drama Jean de Florette, which starred Gérard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil and Yves Montand and was at the time the most-expensive French film ever made. It won dozens of awards. Head to Ireland on Saturdays, with a line-up that starts with Alan Parker's The Commitments, about working-class Dubliners who form a soul band. The classic films of Hollywood tough-guy director Robert Aldrich screen on Sundays, starting with the 1955 film-noir Kiss Me Deadly. Ralph Meeker stars as Mickey Spillane's Los Angeles private eye Mike Hammer. Wednesdays have a line-up of documentaries, beginning next week with The Aristocrats, which is the story of a filthy joke that has kept comedians in stitches for generations. Special events in October include screenings of the made-in-Thailand South Korean romance So Very Very, courtesy of director Jack Park. And there's no Irish film on the last Saturday of the month. Instead, it's John Carpenter's Halloween, because, well, just look at the calendar. 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 – There are two free French films to list. At 2pm on Saturday, there's a "kids' movie", Peau d'âne. Also known as Donkey Skin, Jacques Demy's 1970 live-action musical is adapted from an old French fairy tale about a king who has grown wealthy thanks to his pet donkey's excrement of gold. When his wife dies, he seeks to marry his own daughter. With the help of her fairy godmother, the princess escapes the incestuous marriage by donning the skin of the magical donkey and going into hiding. Catherine Deneuve is the princess. Next week's usual free French film is La belle vie (The Good Life), a 2012 drama about brothers who have lived a life on the run with their father, dodging a custody battle with their mother. Coming of age, the youngest brother experiences his first crush. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, October 7, at the Alliance.

Shnit International Short Film Festival – The third Bangkok edition of Shnit runs from next Wednesday until October 11 at the Lido multiplex in Siam Square. Now in its 13th year, the Switzerland-based Shnit fest is held simultaneously in several cities, with Bangkok joining Bern, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Cape Town, Moscow, San José and Hong Kong. The selection includes new short-film entries from around the world plus a special bloc of "Made in Thailand" shorts. Find out more at the festival's Facebook events page.

Sneak preview

Sinister 2 – A young mother (Shannyn Sossamon) moves into an old farmhouse with her twin boys, who become haunted by an evil entity and are forced to watch gruesome home movies kept in the basement. This is a sequel to a 2012 horror, with James Ransone (Ziggy from The Wire) reprising his role from the first film as Deputy So-and-So. Here, he's an ex-deputy, but is still on the case, trying to prove the evil ghost is real. Critical reception is not as positive as it was for the first Sinister. It's in sneak previews from around 8 nightly in most cinemas and opens wider next Thursday. Meanwhile, the excellent U.S.-Mexico crime thriller Sicario continues in sneak previews before also opening wider next week.

Take note

The World Film Festival of Bangkok is set for November 13 to 22 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Keep an eye on the festival's Facebook page for a glimpse of the selection.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand has a special event on October 12 to mark the 25th anniversary of Netpac, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, with a screening of the indie Filipino film Foster Child. Director Brilliante Mendoza is scheduled to be in attendance with Netpac president Aruna Vasudev.

And outside Bangkok, Filmvirus has organized a touring show for Filipino director Lav Diaz's Venice prize-winning opus From What Is Before. Running just over 5.5 hours, it is an epic drama set in a small town during the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s. It screens on October 10 at Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani, 5pm on October 12 at Walailak University in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 2pm on October 21 at Silpakorn University Pathum Thani and 2pm on November 7 at Chiang Mai University. Screenings in Bangkok are in the planning stages.

1 comment:

  1. Great site for Americans who love movies and living in Thailand. Any news about an opening of the new Aussie directed "Macbeth?" I'm desperate to see it! Thanks!