Elvis and Nixon
A bizarre intersection of American pop culture and politics is recounted in Elvis and Nixon, which stars Michael Shannon as the King of Rock 'n' Roll and Kevin Spacey as Tricky Dick.
It's the story of a famous photograph taken in the Oval Office in 1970, in which the President shakes hands with the King, and Presley asked to be sworn in as a special undercover agent of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and to be given a badge.
Other stars in the indie comedy-drama include the ever-reliable Colin Hanks, plus Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Evan Peters, Tracy Letts and Tate Donovan.
Critical reception is mostly favorable.
Independence Day: Resurgence – Twenty years after the first Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich gets most of the band back together for another epic of special-effects-driven global destruction. Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner are among the returnees with Will Smith among the notables not appearing. This is imagined as a reboot of the ID franchise and could be the first of a trilogy. However, early critical reception is not so good so far.
A Hologram for the King – Colin Hanks' dad is a down-and-out businessman who takes a gamble on landing a big deal with Saudi Arabia's monarch, who envisages a massive economic development rising up from the nothingness of the desert. The stressed-out exec has a panic attack, and is nursed back to health by a Saudi woman (Sarita Choudhury from Homeland), and the two hit it off in a taboo star-crossed romance. The story is based on a novel by Dave Eggers, who also wrote the screenplay. Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Cloud Atlas) directs. Critical reception is mixed.
Queen of the Desert – Nicole Kidman portrays Gertrude Bell in this historical drama, chronicling the achievements of the intrepid British explorer, diplomat and writer in the Middle East in the late 1800s and early 1900s. James Franco, Damian Lewis and Jenny Agutter are among the other stars, along with Robert Pattinson, who plays Colonel T.E. Lawrence. It's the first feature in six years from the veteran writer-director Werner Herzog. Sadly, critical reception is generally negative.
Raman Ragav 2.0 – Nawazuddin Siddiqui portrays a serial killer who preyed on citizens in 1960s Mumbai, using a steel rod to smash victims' heads to bits. Vicky Kaushal also stars. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.
The European Union Film Festival is under way at CentralWorld. I covered the offerings in a special post last week. The opening film, the terrific Tale of Tales, unfortunately won't be repeated during the festival, but it has been picked up by the small Thai distributor Mono Film, and hopefully it will soon get a decent general release. There are also screenings at the usual places I cover here, the Friese-Greene Club and Alliance Francaise. But I'm not going into details about those because ...
I am cutting things short this week in order to say farewell.
It's been my pleasure to bring you news of new movie releases and film events in Bangkok these past several years, but now it is time for me to shift my focus to other matters besides what's playing in Bangkok cinemas.
I leave you with an urging to get out and watch films in the cinema, and please support Bangkok's handful of independent theaters – House and Lido and especially the Scala.
Thanks for reading.