Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening March 31-April 6, 2016

All Things Must Pass

Remember Tower Records? In the days before streaming music services, MP3s and digital downloads, Tower Records and other record stores were the places to get your music fix. There used to be Tower Records outlets in Bangkok, but despite me spending much hard-earned money there, they were shuttered in the early 2000s as the U.S.-based music retailer headed toward bankruptcy.

What happened? There’s more to it than just the Internet and illegal downloads. The answers await in All Things Must Pass, a documentary that examines the legacy of Tower Records and its colorful founder Russ Solomon.

It’s directed by Colin Hanks – son of Tom and a talented actor and filmmaker in his own right. He’s joined by a host of well-known musicians who lament Tower’s passing. Among them are hip-hop titan Chuck D, rockers Chris Cornell and Dave Grohl and top pop artists Elton John and Bruce Springsteen.

Critical reception is overwhelmingly positive. All Things Must Pass is yet another fine release organized by the Documentary Club. It's in a limited release at select SF cinemas. For times and venues, please check

Also opening

10 Cloverfield Lane – A young woman is injured in a car wreck and wakes up in a storm cellar with no memory of how she got there. She tries to escape, but there’s a strange man there who says that’s impossible due to fallout from a deadly chemical attack. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr star. What's going on? Is this a sequel to the 2008 found-footage surprise hit Cloverfield? Of course it is! But because this is from the Bad Robot factory of producer J.J. Abrams, details about the film were kept under wraps until the very last minute in order to stoke that ever-so-valuable viral curiosity. Despite Abrams and his cutsey-pie marketing gimmicks, critics love 10 Cloverfield Lane. Rated 13+

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – With their teenage daughter about to head to college, Toula (Nia Vardalos) and her non-Greek husband Ian (John Corbett) are dealing with marital problems in the face of a secret from Toula’s past and the prospect of a bigger, fatter and even-more-Greek wedding. This is the follow-up to the 2002 low-budget smash hit that kickstarted the Hollywood career of writer-actress Nia Vardolos. And ever since that first film, Vardolos' close friends have been bugging her and bugging her to write another Big Fat Greek screenplay. Helps that two of those close friends are producer Rita Wilson and her husband, some guy named Tom Hanks. Nonetheless, critical reception has been tepid. Rated 13+

11 12 13 Rak Kan Ja Tai (11 12 13 รักกันจะตาย a.k.a. Ghost Is All Around) – Horror anthologies. The Thai film industry has a thing for horror anthologies. Saravuth Wichiansarn (Ghost Game) directs this one, which is released by the M-Thirtynine studio. It has the same type stories as other Thai horror anthologies – one about a guy haunted by the spirit of his suicidal girlfriend and another about goofball pals haunted by a friend who is dead but doesn't know it. A third story follows a woman who is in for terror in her travels with her gay chum. Heartthrob "Weir" Sukollawat Kanarot is among the stars. Rated 18+

Ki and Ka (Hers and His) – Traditional gender roles are reversed in sweeping Bollywood style in this romantic comedy starring Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor, which is about a rising young female corporate executive who wants to stay focused on her career, and her man, who stays at home to cook and clean. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

Salaya International Documentary Film Festival – The annual Salaya Doc festival has moved into the city, to the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, where it will continue until Sunday with events starting at 1pm daily. Today's selection includes Look Love, which contrasts stories of Chinese schoolboys from different social classes, and Tea Time, an Chilean feature about elderly ladies who have had weekly tea gatherings for 60 years. Both of those are part of the fest's "Sense and Sensibility" category for films directed by women. There are also entries in the Asean Documentary Competition, screening in four programs from 5.30pm today and tomorrow. Tomorrow has Face Taiwan, which looks at the state of contemporary Taiwanese cinema, and Return to Nostalgia, which is about the search for a lost classic film of Malaysian cinema. Both of those are part of the Power of Asian Cinema series commissioned by KBS Busan television. There's also Visible Silence, a short documentary on the Thai lesbian realm of "toms" and "dees". Saturday is devoted to a panel talk on funding, the announcement of awards in the Asean competition and then Homeland: Iraq Year Zero, a 334-minute look at Iraq before and after the U.S. invasion. Sunday has No Lullaby, on the insidious cycle of sexual abuse by a parent, When We Talk About KGB, about a Lithuanian former political prisoner's search for answers and Before the Last Curtain Falls, about ageing German drag queens. For more details, please check the fest's Facebook page.

The Friese-Greene Club – One last film for March tonight, closing out the monthlong tribute to David Lynch. It's his most atypical film, The Straight Story, a gentle, heartfelt road drama about an elderly man who drives his riding lawnmower across the country in order to see his ailing estranged brother. Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek and Harry Dean Stanton star. And the April schedule is just out, with "the secret life of secret agents" on Wednesdays, Hong Kong action on Thursdays, "quirky Eighties" on Fridays, "a bright future?" on Saturdays and Akira Kurosawa on Sundays. The '80s quirk gets underway tomorrow with one of Martin Scorsese's best, After Hours, with dystopian sci-fi in Terry Gilliam's Brazil on Saturday. Sunday has Toshiro Mifune caught between warring sides in a small town. It's Yojimbo. And next Wednesday is Robert Redford as an intelligence analyst in over his head in 3 Days of the Condor. 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 – The Alliance switches things up this week with just one film screening to list, this one at 7 tomorrow night. It's the equine-themed drama Jappeloup, a fact-based yarn about a lawyer who gives up a successful legal career in order to pursue the sport of show jumping, entering the Olympics with his prize steed Jappeloup. As is customary, the Alliance then takes much of April off, owing to the Songkran holiday. The free movies will resume on Wednesday, April 20.

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