Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening June 9-15, 2016

Where to Invade Next

Though it seems like he never really went away, Michael Moore returns from a hiatus of around six years with Where to Invade Next, in which he turns his eyes to progressive European countries and elsewhere to find examples of social policies that could turn troubled America around, and really, really make it great.

The documentary premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, and critical reception has been generally positive.

Where to Invade Next is the latest in the Doc Holiday series of The Documentary Club and SF Cinemas.

Shows are at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, SFX The Crystal Ekamai-Ramindra, SFC The Crystal Ratchapruek and SFX Maya Chiang Mai. Some of the screenings at CentralWorld will be accompanied by talks by various Thai advocacy groups.

For further details, please check The Documentary Club Facebook page or SF's bookings website. Rated G

Also opening

Now You See Me 2 – The quartet of outlaw illusionists known as "the Four Horsemen" are in Macau, where they are tasked by a tech prodigy (Daniel Radcliffe) with stealing a powerful computer chip. Meanwhile, the FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) tasked with finding the Four Horsemen pursues a personal case – taking revenge on a jailed magic debunker (Morgan Freeman). Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco reprise their roles as the magician-thieves from the first film, joined this time around by Lizzy Caplan, who takes over for Isla Fisher, who had to bow out due to pregnancy. Other stars include Jay Chou and Michael Caine. Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) directs. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+

The Conjuring 2 – Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga take another outing as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the American ghost-hunting couple who documented the "Amityville horror" and other paranormal events. In Conjuring 2, they head to England, to look into the case of the Enfield poltergeist. Franka Potente, Frances O'Connor, Simon McBurney and David Thewlis also star. James Wan, helmer of those Saw and Insidious movies, directs. Critical reception is generally positive. This was in sneak previews last week and now moves to a general release. Rated 15+

The Faith of Anna Waters – Demonic possession grips us. In Singapore, an American journalist (Elizabeth Rice) is seeking answers about the purported suicide of her sister. With help from her brother-in-law (Matthew Settle), she uncovers links to many mysterious deaths that point to an apparent demonic entity. This is billed as Singapore's first "Hollywood" supernatural thriller and is directed by Kelvin Tong, a well-known Singaporean director whose previous efforts include the 2005 horror The Maid and the Hong Kong action thriller Rule No . 1. It's at Major Cineplex. Rated 15+

Te3n – Amitabh Bachchan is a grandfather who for eight years has been on a quest for justice over the kidnapping and murder of his granddaughter. Ignored by the cops, he gets help from a former cop who is now a priest (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Vidya Balan also stars. It's a remake of the 2013 South Korean thriller Montage. It's in Hindi With English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III, Pattaya and EGV Mae Sot. Opens Friday.

Also opening

Bangkok Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – The second edition of the BGLFF opens tomorrow night with Tomcat, an Austrian drama that won the top-prize Teddy Award in Berlin this year. With many award-winning, much-acclaimed films, the entire lineup was profiled in a special blog post last week. I'm most interested in seeing the Filipino entry, Miss Bulalacao, an indie comedy about a drag performer who becomes pregnant. Another one is Nasty Baby, directed by and starring Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva. It's about a gay couple trying to have a baby, with help from a surrogate mother (Kristen Wiig, in a dramatic turn). The fest, which runs until June 19, is at the Quartier CineArt, and tickets can be purchased through the Major Cineplex website. Films will have English and Thai subtitles. For more details, check or

The Friese-Greene Club – With the U.S. presidential race locking into focus, American politics are on the minds of barstool pundits at the Club, which tonight has Jay Roach's 2012 HBO comedy-drama Game Change, which recalls the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Tomorrow, it's The Killing Fields, the Oscar-winning drama about Cambodia's "Year Zero", as seen through the eyes of translator-reporter Dith Pran (played by Haing S. Ngor) and New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg (Sam Waterson). It was filmed in Thailand and is part of a line-up of "classics" made here. Saturday has "not-so-classic" movies made in Thailand, with 1976's Emanuelle in Bangkok. Sunday has 1941's The Little Foxes, directed by William Wyler and starring Bette Davis. Next Wednesday is a documentary on American politics, 2005's Our Brand is Crisis, about American political operators working on a Bolivian presidential campaign. It was recently adapted into a comedy with Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton. 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.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – Violence against women is in focus in two Academy Award-winning short documentaries from Pakistan at the FCCT at 7pm on Monday as part of the Contemporary World Film Series. From 2012, Saving Face deals with acid attacks. The short film follows a London-based plastic surgeon as he travels to Pakistan to perform facial-reconstruction surgery. And from 2015 is A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, which profiles a young woman who survived an "honor killing" by her father and uncle. She ran into conflict in Pakistani society for not forgiving the men. Both shorts are courtesy of SOC Films. Admission for non-members is 150 baht. Take note that there will be another entry in the Contemporary World Film Series, Le Meraviglie from Switzerland, on June 20.

Alliance Française – There are three French film events this week. Tomorrow night's French film with Thai subtitles is Un château en Italie (A Castle in Italy) in which a dysfunctional industrialist family is forced to sell their home in Italy. Saturday has a matinee for the kids, Les contes de la nuit (Tales of the Night), which has distinctive animator Michel Ocelot weaving together various fantastic stories. And next Wednesday's French film with English subtitles is Les châteaux de sable (Sand Castles), in which a young woman returns to her family home after her father's death and is reunited with an ex-lover. Shows are at 7pm except for the 2pm Saturday matinee. Admission for the general public is 100 baht.

Take note

The Silent Film Festival in Thailand has issued its schedule, and will open with Nosferatu on Thursday, June 16, at the Scala. This is a change from the previous two editions of the festival, which had the Scala gala screening as the closing event. Tickets go on sale at the Lido tomorrow, which coincidentally is the 119th anniversary of the first film screening in Thailand, which was on June 10, 1897. I will aim to have a special post on the Silent Film Fest very soon.

Also next week is the Singapore Film Festival at CentralWorld. Details of the films and the schedule are now online at SF Cinema's website. The five-film lineup ranges from 1997's 12 Storeys to last year's much acclaimed seven-segment omnibus 7 Letters.

And the long-running annual European Union Film Festival has posted its lineup, which includes Tale of Tales, the latest effort from Italian director Matteo Garrone, which stars Salma Hayek. The fest runs from June 22 to July 3 at SF World.

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