Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening March 10-16, 2016

The Hunting Ground

Rape culture at American colleges is exposed in The Hunting Ground, a documentary on campus rape crimes, institutional cover-ups and the toll that rape and sexual abuse takes on students, families and society.

It's the latest film by Kirby Dick, the noted documentary filmmaker whose previous works include Twist of Faith (on sex abuse of children in the Catholic Church), the informative This Film Is Not Yet Rated (on Hollywood's hypocritical film-ratings agency) and The Invisible War (on sexual assault in the U.S. military).

A winner of several awards, The Hunting Ground features the Academy Award-nominated original song "Til It Happens to You", written by Diane Warren and performed by Lady Gaga. It was featured in a special live performance at the recent Oscars ceremony. Critical reception has been mostly positive.

Brought to Thailand by the Documentary Club, The Hunting Ground is at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld and SFX The Crystal Ekamai-Ram Indra. For more details, check the Documentary Club Facebook page and SF's bookings site. Rated 13+

Also opening

Kung Fu Panda 3 – The DreamWorks Animation talking-animals franchise keeps rolling, with the portly panda martial-artist Po (Jack Black) reuniting with his long-lost father (Brian Cranston) and paying a visit to a secret panda paradise. Meanwhile, a new villain arises in the form of a snorting bull named Kai (J.K. Simmons), who is defeating kung-fu masters across the land and stealing their supernatural powers. Along with Black, returning voices include Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Dustin Hoffman, James Hong and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Kate Hudson and Jolie's children add their voices to this latest adventure. Critical reception is generally positive. This was in daytime sneak previews last week and now moves to general release. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated G

The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Taking a page from adaptations of Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Hunger Games, it's apparently mandatory now for the third book in young-adult-science-fiction novel trilogies to be broken in two for the Hollywood movie adaptations. This is part one of the final chapter in Divergent, with Part 2 (now called Ascendant) not due out until next year. So it's not over yet. Anyway, the story has the teen heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her rebel-scum friends faced with having to flee for their lives from a comfortable existence in post-apocalyptic utopian Chicago. Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz,  Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort also star. Critical reception is starting to trickle in, but won't really get going until next week when this opens in the U.S. The release in overseas territories is a move to gin up box-office takings before the majority of critics weigh in and trash the film. In addition to 2D screenings in ordinary cinemas, there's also a 2D IMAX version. Rated 13+

Also showing

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – Film screenings resume at the FCCT, with a special Thai documentary screening and panel discussion tonight and a South African film on Monday. First up is Y/Our Music, a critically acclaimed and nominated Thai-British documentary on the political and social divide in Thai music. It covers the nearly forgotten mor lam artists of the Thai country music scene in the Northeast and oddball indie musicians in Bangkok. Panelists will be co-director "Art" Waraluck Hiransrettawat Every, political scientist Dr. Sirote Klampaiboon, and Bangkok Post music columnist John Clewly. The show is at 7 tonight. Admission is (yikes!) 450 baht for non-members. Monday marks the beginning of the year's Contemporary World Film Series, which opens with Drum, a fact-based 2004 South African drama about a writer for Drum magazine getting caught up in the anti-Apartheid movement in the 1950s. Taye Diggs and Gabriel Mann star. South African Ambassador Ruby Marks will be on hand, along with South African wine and snacks. Entry is 150 baht for non-members plus 100 baht for the drinks and food. The show starts at 7pm.

German Film Week – The Goethe-Institut's annual showcase continues tonight with Inbetween Worlds (Zwischen Welten), following a German soldier in Afghanistan as he becomes conflicted between duty and his conscience as he works in a Taliban-controlled area with a young Afghan interpreter. Tomorrow, it's A God send (Ein Geschenk der Götter), in which an unemployed actress takes a job teaching theater to other jobless folks. Saturday has Jack, about a 10-year-old boy looking for his missing mother. And the week concludes on Sunday with Patong Girl, about a dysfunctional German family on vacation on Phuket. It was shot in Phuket with a Thai and German cast, with assistance from production-services firm De Warrenne Pictures. Shows are at 7pm at Paragon Cineplex. Tickets are 120 baht and 150 baht at the box office.

The Friese-Greene Club – A support-group meeting for the confused will be convened at the Club immediately following tonight's screening of the L.A.-noir mystery Mulholland Drive, part of a monthlong tribute to cult director David Lynch. Tomorrow's "controversial" film is another cult entry, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. "Not for the faint-hearted," warns the Club. Saturday is the first of three screenings this month of Trump: What's the Deal?, a 1999 documentary on the bloviating U.S. presidential candidate. It's reportedly "the movie Trump doesn't want you to see." Showing no fear of being sued by Trump, the FGC has specially licensed the film for screenings in its nine-seat boutique cinema, and is charging 150 baht a head to recoup the costs. Douglas Slocum, the veteran British cinematographer who died last month at age 103, is paid tribute in Sunday screenings. This week's entry is The Servant, a 1963 adaptation of a Harold Pinter novel that won four BAFTAs, including best cinematography. "The Best of Danish" is featured on Wednesdays, with Thomas Vinterberg's 1998 family drama Festen. It's the first of the films made under the rules of the Dogme 95 movement, which aimed to bring filmmaking back to the basics of story, acting, and theme, eschewing special effects and slickness. 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.

German Film Series – The Goethe has got it going on when it comes to film. In addition to the recent Wim Wenders retrospective and the ongoing German Film Week there are the monthly installments in the year-round German Film Series, which has screenings at the Thai Film Archive and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. This month's entry is Love Steaks, an indie romance about the unusual relationship between a resort's trainee masseur and the hotel's chef-in-training. It screens at 1pm on Sunday at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, and at 6pm on Tuesday in the BACC's fifth-floor auditorium.

Alliance Française – Following a one-week hiatus, the free French films return at the Alliance with Deux de la Vague (Two in the Wave), a 2010 documentary on the friendship between two of the founding titans of the French New Wave – Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, March 16, at the Alliance.

Take note

Details are starting to emerge about the Salaya International Documentary Film Festival, which runs from March 26 to April 3 at the Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. Hit the Salaya Doc Facebook page to see what they are up to.

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