Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 29-May 4, 2009

Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. suits back up in Iron Man 2 for another go as billionaire eccentric playboy weapons developer Tony Stark.

"I am Iron Man," Tony has admitted.

Now the government wants to get its hands on the super suit he's built.

Meanwhile, there's Mickey Rourke with a bad accent. He harbors a grudge against Stark and has a wall of newspaper clippings to feed that grudge. As Whiplash, he devises a powerful weapon based on Stark's technology and uses it against him.

Lurking around is Scarlett Johansson who lost so much weight she's barely visible in her tight catsuit. She plays a Russian spy named Black Widow.

And also new to the cast is Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, an oily rival arms manufacturer who is Stark's nemesis.

In the first film, it was Terence Howard looking longingly at an Iron Man suit and saying "next time, baby." But this time it's Don Cheadle who gets to suit up as Tony's best friend, Air Force Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, and wear the armor as War Machine.

Also returning is Gwyneth Paltrow, playing Tony's right-hand woman Pepper Potts. Samuel L Jackson, seen in the surprise ending of the first film, is back as Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jon Favreau again directs, bringing his breezy Swingers sensibility to the big-budget of a superhero movie. Justin Theroux, who wrote the war-movie satire Tropic Thunder, which Downey co-starred with Ben Stiller, is brought aboard as a writer.

Early critical reaction is mixed to favorable. And it should go without saying that Iron Man 2 has a "surprise" tag ending, so keep your butt planted during the credits. Also at IMAX. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Kon Thai Ting Pandin (คนไท ทิ้งแผ่นดิน, The Edge of the Empire) --This historical epic from the Kantana studios delves into the legendary ancestors of Thais -- the Tai people of southern China in the 8th century AD and their battles against Han domination. In production for more than three years, most of the time has been spent polishing the film with loads of computer-graphic imagery, including realistic butterflies, spraying blood and digital backdrops that transform Kantana Movie Town in suburban Bangkok into the mountainous southern China of 1,200 years ago. The movie is directed by industry veteran Nirattisai “Ta” Kaljareuk, He cameos as the beardstroking Han emperor. The screenplay by Ari Jinthapanichakal is based on a bestselling novel by Sanya Phonbhrasit, winner of the John F Kennedy Award for Literature in 1973. Expertly capturing the sweeping, cinematic frames as director of photography is British filmmaker Paul Spurrier. The spectacular results are let down by overly melodramatic acting from the young cast of TV stars, exceptions being the top villain, played by Prapadon Suwannabang. Other stars include Than Thanakorn, Sara Legge, Awain Muangawan, Arnuz Lapanich, Lalisa “Tik” Sontirod, Khemchair Kamutchart, and, in a disappointingly brief appearance, Yuenyong “Ad Carabao” Opakul. Check out the trailer at YouTube. Opened Wednesday. Rated 18+.

Kheaw Aa-Kaard (The Intruder) -- Vengeful reptiles terrorize residents of an apartment building that was built in the Nong Ngoo Hao (Cobra Swamp) area east of Bangkok where Suvarnabhumi Airport is today. Kwankao Sawetwimol, Akara Amartayakul and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk are among the stars in this ensemble-cast thriller produced by Poj Arnon. At least a couple of the cast were actually bitten in the making of this movie, though no snakes were harmed. "James" Thanadol Nualsuth and "Ping" Thammanoon Sakulbunthanom direct. Check the trailer at YouTube to see if you are up for this.

Housefull -- The BollywoodThai boys are back in business after a couple months' hiatus. They bring another new-release Bollywood comedy to Bangkok the same weekend it's opening in Mumbai. Akshay Kumar stars in Housefull as an unlucky guy. He dates three women, hoping to find his one true love but marries all three. Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta and Jiah Khan also star. At Major Cineplex Central Rama III on Friday at 8, Saturday at 5 and 8, Sunday at 4 and 7 and at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit on Monday at 7.45. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Take note

This week, the FCCT-NETPAC Asian Film Festival was to open with Mr. and Mrs. Iyer from India, but it has again been indefinitely postponed "due to unforeseen circumstances."

The red-shirt political protests are continuing at the Rajprasong intersection.

CentralWorld shopping center continues to be shut down, removing 15 screens from the central Bangkok cinema equation.

Other shopping centers in the area have reduced hours, which are decided on a day-by-day basis.

Some cinemas, such as Siam Square's Apex chain, won't screen a flick if you're the only customer. Others, like Century, will sell you the ticket but might ask you to see another movie is no one else shows up.

I'm told they need at least three to make it worthwhile, so find some friends when you are planning your movie outings.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 22-28, 2010

Noo Kanpai

Thai tattoo movies are a unique subgenre of Thai films, though off the top of my head I can only give a few examples.

Of course there's Killer Tattoo, but that isn't really what I'm thinking about here.

It's about the Thai spiritual tattoos that are said to convey supernatural powers that protect the wearers from bullets and blades.

You'll see the tattoos around, worn by policemen, soldiers, motorcycle-taxi drivers and other hard-working men in Thailand.

The ink is very much in evidence in historical battle epics like Bang Rajan 2.

The recently released Buddhist thriller Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga) made a cheeky reference to the "power" of the tattoos and showed one of the main characters receiving one from a monk.

The tattoos are applied with an ink-dipped needle that's attached to a long stick.

Supernatural tattoos were a focal point of the 2008 action movie Hanuman: The White Monkey Warrior, in which the characters assumed the powers of the mythical gods they had tattooed on their backs.

Another 2008 tattoo-action movie was Haa Taew, literally "five columns", which refers to the five lines in a tablet of Buddhist scripture that is usually tattooed on the shoulder.

Lots of young actresses and models are getting these haa taew tattoos on their delicate little shoulder blades. Other women get little scrolls on the small of their back.

They're following the example of Angelina Jolie who came to Thailand some years back and got one from Ajarn Noo Kanpai, the recognized master of the yantra tattoo. There's lots of videos dedicated to Noo Kanpai.

It was Noo Kanpai who produced Haa Taew and now he's made another movie -- an action-packed biopic about his own life.

According to the legend of Noo Kanpai, the master first started to study about magic spells and yantra tattooing at the age of six. When it was discovered the tattoos conveyed magical powers, everyone wanted one, even as Noo Kanpai tried to remain modest and avoid infamy. The full title is, check this out, Noo Kanpai Seuk Maha Yan Ying Kan Sanan Jor (หนู กันภัย ศึกมหายันต์ ยิงกันสนั่นจอ), something about fighting furiously and loudly.

Khet Thantap, Bin Bunluerit, Suebsak Pansueb and Supakorn Kitsuwan star with a special appearance by Noo Kanpai himself. Keep your eyes peeled on the trailer (embedded below) for a familiar pair of policemen -- probably the last appearance by the two of them together. Arinthawit Chomsri directs. It's released by Ohm Maha Ruay Film. Rated 18+.

Also opening

The Crazies -- Breck Eisner (Sahara) directs this remake of a 1973 George Romero thriller about zombies of a different sort that crop up in an Iowa farming community. A toxin is turning the residents into violent psychopaths and the U.S. military is bearing down trying to isolate the sickness by killing everyone off. But there are survivors -- the local sheriff (Timothy Olyphant), his physician wife (Radha Mitchell) and others. Critical reception is leaning toward positive. Rated 18+.

The Shock Labyrinth 3D (Senritsu meikyû 3D) -- The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu gets in on the 3D trend with this horror-thriller about teenagers dealing with the sudden return of a friend who went missing a decade ago. When she falls ill, they take her to a hospital but end up trapped in a labyrinthine haunted house. It's Thai-dubbed in most places by House cinema on RCA has the 2D version in Japanese with English and Thai subtitles. Rated 15+.

Brooklyn's Finest -- Training Day director Antoine Fuqua offers another gritty thriller about bent cops. The policemen in this drama about come from different beats. There's an undercover guy played by Don Cheadle, a young vice cop (Ethan Hawke) who's started skimming drug money to support his sick, pregnant wife, and an older uniform officer (Richard Gere) who just wants to get through his last week before he retires. They all come together at the same crime scene. Wesley Snipes and Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) also star. Critical reception is leaning towards negative. At Apex and SF Cinemas. Rated 18+.

Tenderness -- Russell Crowe stars in this crime thriller as a police detective keeping watch over an 18-year-old psychopathic killer (Jon Foster) who's been released from an institution and appears to have been rehabilitated. The detective believes otherwise. Meanwhile, a 16-year-old girl seeks out the young man, thinking he'll help her escape from her troubled home. John Polson directs. The actor-turn-director previously helmed the psycho-thrillers Swimfan and Hide and Seek, but has also been doing TV work, including Without a Trace, The Mentalist and FlashForward. The movie is adapted from a novel by Robert Cormier (The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese). Critical reception for this 2008 film is still a bit thin on the ground but is leaning towards negative. At APEX and SFX Central Lad Prao. Rated 18+

Take note

The red-shirt protests are continuing in the Rajprasong area and CentralWorld has remained closed. Siam Paragon and other shopping centers in the area have been open but might be cutting back on hours. The red-shirt protests are coming under pressure from security forces who are determined to keep them confined to Rajprasong and not spread to Silom. A number of anti-red-shirt groups -- yellow shirts, no-shirts, white shirts, multi-color shirts, whatever-kind-of-shirts -- are staging counter protests.

In short: It's getting ugly.

Be careful out there. Stay clear of the protest areas. Pay attention to the news and call ahead before you venture out.

This week, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand postponed the start of its FCCT-NETPAC Asian Film Festival, officially "due to unforeseen circumstances". The club is located in the penthouse of the Maneeya building, just steps away from the Rajprasong interesection. You do the math.

The film series is now due to start on Thursday, April 29 with Mr. and Mrs. Iyer from India.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 13-21, 2010


In a twist on Spider-Man and all that hooey of "with great power comes great responsibility" comes Kick-Ass, about a teenage comic-book nerd to who dons a costume and calls himself Kick-Ass as he goes around the city performing feats of derring-do.

"With no power comes no responsibility," says the hero nerd, portrayed by Aaron Johnson.

Caught on viral video as he performs great deeds, he soon finds there are other costumed avengers lurking. Much like most of the anti-heroes in Watchmen, they are ordinary people with no superpowers.

Among them is a kid with a fast car and a red outfit who calls himself Red Mist. He's played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, probably best remembered for his role as "McLovin" in Superbad.

But the real kick-ass characters in Kick-Ass have to be the purple-haired gun-toting acrobat Hit-Girl (13-year-old Chloe Moretz in a stunning performance), who wears a plaid schoolgirl skirt with her body armor. She's partnered with her father, Big Daddy, played by none other than Nicolas Cage. I'm getting a big Batman vibe off Big Daddy, which is probably the intention of the filmmakers.

Based on a comic series by Mark Millar (who also wrote Wanted), it's directed by Matthew Vaughn, who previously did the British gangster drama Layer Cake and the fractured fairytale Stardust and produced Guy Ritchie's Snatch.

Critical reception is mostly positive. There's a teaser on YouTube. Opens Thursday. Rated 18+.

9 Wat

9 Wat (9 วัด), English title Secret Sunday, is perhaps a fitting movie to open today, which is the start of Songkran, the Thai New Year -- one of the biggest holidays in the Kingdom.

The release day is auspicious, because many adherents do just what they are doing in the film -- visit nine Buddhist temples in a bid to erase bad karma and clear the way for good luck.

That isn't the way it's working out for "Noon" Siriphan Wattanajinda, a beauty columnist who is being haunted for some reason. Maybe because she dyed her hair a bleach blond. Or wears thick eye makeup. And dresses fashionably. And swims in a bikini. The spirits can't take it. They are angered by non-traditional Thai looks.

So she takes a trip with her architect boyfriend (James Alexander Mackie), who's been tasked with undertaking the nine-wat ritual by his mother (Penpak Sirikul). The couple are accompanied by a friend of theirs who is a monk (Pharadorn Sirakovit).

Trouble is, instead of clearing up their bad karma, the temple trek seems to bring them more rotten luck. And bleeding cows. And headless dogs. And a hand that needs washing.

It's directed by Saranyoo Jiralak, who's making his feature debut. He's previous worked as an assistant director with Nonzee Nimibutr and Wisit Sasanatieng and has been making commercials.

“I don’t believe karma can be fixed. We all have to pay for what we have done,” he was quoted as saying in The Nation last week.

It's the second production from the new company, Oriental Eyes, which debuted in 2008 with Where the Miracle Happens, a drama starring Princess Ubol Ratana.

Saranyoo says his first choice wouldn’t have been a horror flick but after discussions with the producers, he decided it could be an interesting project.

“Although the Thai film industry has a lot of ghost and horror movies, I believe there is room for new ideas. I hope viewers are ready to open their minds,” he says.

For actress Siraphan, who debuted in romantic comedy Puean Sanit (Dear Dakanda) and starred in Wisit Sasanatieng’s Pen Choo Kab Phee (The Unseeable) and was featured in Where the Miracle Happens, portraying Poon has been her biggest challenge to date.

“Poon may seem confident and aggressive but in fact, she’s very vulnerable. It wasn’t easy for me take the part because I come from a very conservative family,” says the actress, who agreed to take the role only after her mother read the script and gave the green light.

“Her decision really encouraged me to do this project even if it does blow my good girl image,” she says.

The trailer has crowds jumping in cinemas now and it's on YouTube. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Legion -- From the poster, I thought this looked stupid. Then I saw the trailer and thought, "Wow. This looks pretty cool." It's basically Dogma without the dick jokes. Paul Bettany plays the archangel Michael, the only one standing between mankind and the apocalypse. He teams up with mortal strangers in a remote desert diner to battle all the other angels and protect a young waitress (Adrianne Palicki) who may be pregnant with Christ in his second coming. Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson and Charles S. Dutton also star. Scott Stewart, a senior staffer at award-winning visual-effects house The Orphanage, makes his directorial debut. Critical reception is mostly negative. Rated 18+.

Chloe -- Atom Egoyan directs a remake of Anne Fontaine’s Nathalie, with Julianne Moore as a wife who suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) of infidelity. She meets an alluring young woman (Amanda Seyfried) who works as an escort and hatches a scheme of having the girl seduce her husband but finds that she's the one being seduced. Critical reception is evenly mixed. Rated 18+.

Oppai Volleyball -- Haruka Ayase, in Japanese Academy-nominated role that won her best actress from the Mainichi Film Concours, stars as a young teacher in 1979 Japan who volunteers to coach the boys volleyball club. The guys are all nerds who are obsessed with girls. In an effort to motivate the team, she promises to flash them her “oppai” (breasts) if they win a game. At the Lido.

Take note

Except for Kick-Ass, movies are opening two days earlier than ordinary this week because of the Songkran Thai New Year holiday, which starts today (April 13) and officially runs until Thursday but will likely continue through the weekend. It's a traditionally celebratory and lighthearted time for family gatherings and water fights.

This year there is more to worry about than getting wet.

There is a pall cast over Songkran by the deadly battles that took place in Bangkok on Saturday between the red-shirt political protesters and Thai soldiers.

The red shirts are continuing their protest and are still occupying the Rajprasong Intersection. This has caused the nearby malls, including CentralWorld and Paragon, to close or curtail hours. The Lido multiplex has been dropping is last showtimes, closing after the 6.30 shows are over.

I hope there won't be any more shooting.

So, in addition to slipping your phone and other gadgets in waterproof bags, wearing light clothing and plastic sandals, prepare for your movie outings by planning carefully and trying to avoid the areas of town where the protest is going on, however non-violent they might be right now.

Make sure the cinema is open. I've called ahead to my favorite cinemas -- the Apex in Siam Square, and they confirm they are open and are showing Kick-Ass at the Siam, Shutter Island at the Scala and Oppai Volleyball as been added to the program at the Lido.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 8-12, 2010 (updated)

This is an updated entry, noting that Kon Thai Ting Pandin has been postponed and adding the screening of Tokyo Sonata at House.

I Am the Director

Nitchapoom Chaianun's documentary I am the Director (ฝันฉันคือผู้กำกับ, Fun Chan Kue Phoo Kamkab) interviews nine young directors.

Five are already established, either working for big-industry studios like GTH's Wittaya Tong-U-Yong (The Little Comedian) and Komkrit Treewimol (Dear Dakanda) and Sahamongkol's Chookiat Sakveerakul (Love of Siam), or as independents, like Sakchai Deenan (Sabaidee Luang Prabang) or Aditya Assarat (Wonderful Town).

And there are four other young filmmakers who want to be directors: Uten Sririwi, Supakit Seksuwan, Harin Paesongthai and Pitchaya Jarusboonpracha.

I am the Director has had various screenings before, including last year's World Film Festival of Bangkok.

It's an illuminating look at Thailand's film industry and indie scene, and well worth watching.

There's an English-subtitled trailer at YouTube. It's playing April 19 at 6.30 nightly at the Lido multiplex in Siam Square.

Shutter Island

Director Martin Scorsese returns to the thriller genre with Shutter Island, which is based on a best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane.

Again working with leading man Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in his Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed, Scorsese pays tribute to Hitchcock-style suspense with this story, set in 1954, about a federal marshal (DiCaprio) and his partner (Mark Ruffalo) who visit a creepy prison mental hospital on an island, where a murderess has somehow escaped. Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow also star.

Originally planned for release last October but delayed to this year so it could be properly promoted and exploited by Paramount, Shutter Island premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Critical reception is mixed to favorable. It opened on Tuesday. Rated 18+.

The Princess and the Frog

After saying it was abandoning hand-drawn 2D animation after 2004's Home on the Range, Disney's animation studios, now under the supervision of Pixar executives, returns to the classic artform with a feature that aims to recapture the cartoon magic. Like the stories of Snow White, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Mulan or The Little Mermaid, this is a "princess" story, and, notably, it's the first black Disney princess.

The story, set in 1920s New Orleans, has a young woman named Tiana who is confronted by a talking frog who claims to be a prince and thinks she is a princess. The frog then convinces her to kiss him to break a voodoo spell and so begins an adventure through the bayous of Louisiana for the pair.

The voice cast stars Anika Noni Rose from Dreamgirls as Tiana, Bruno Campos as the frog prince and Keith David -- check out his voice work in Coraline -- as the scheming voodoo magician and chief villain.

It's directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who previously did The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules and Treasure Planet.

In an age where most animated features are made with computers and done in 3D, the retro look of The Princess and the Frog is refreshing. Critical reception is solidly favorable. Rated G.

Also opening

Big Boy (บิ๊กบอย ) -- Veteran entertainer Seetha Sirichaya (เศรษฐา ศิระฉายา) returns to the big screen in this breakdancing comedy-drama. "Toy" Seetha, former lead singer of the 1970s rock band The Impossibles, made a cameo in 2006's The Possible (Kao ... Kao). His long list of acting credits includes playing the villain in the classic Cherd Songsri drama Plae Kao (The Scar). He remains an ever-present personality, regularly staging concerts and hosting TV variety series. He's also married to actress Aranya Namwong, a screen siren of the 1970s. In Big Boy he's the old-smoothie grandfather of an awkward teenager (Toni Rakkaen), who comes to Bangkok from the countryside to learn more about breakdancing. Turns out granddad is a dancer himself, though it's the ballroom style of Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. It's the kind of part a classy entertainer like Seetha can play with ease. What follows looks to be a sort Karate Kid for the Thai b-boy scene, with the boy getting schooled by the grandpa and a young woman dancer. The second feature from new production house M39 Pictures, it's directed by Monthon Arayangkoon, who's making big shift away from the kaiju thrills of 2004's Garuda (Paksa Wayu) and the horror of The Victim and The House. The trailer is at YouTube. It opened Tuesday. Rated 13+.

Date Night -- Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) team up for this comic romp as a husband and wife on the verge of divorce. To spice up their dull marriage, they decide to have a romantic night out in New York City. A case of mistaken identity makes their evening a good deal more thrilling and dangerous than they planned. Mark Wahlberg also stars, playing a suave secret agent. Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) directs. Critical reception is almost evenly mixed. Rated 15+.

Agora -- Alejandro Amenábar (The Others, The Sea Inside) directs this historical romantic drama set in ancient Alexandria, Egypt. A slave (Max Minghella) who's turned to Christianity is conflicted by his love for his mistress, the atheist philosopher and astronomer Hypatia (Rachel Weisz). Critical reception is mixed. At Apex and SF World CentralWorld. Rated 15+.

Frozen -- Three snowboarders are stranded on the chairlift at night in a ski resort that's going to be closed for a week. They could drop down from their high perch and risk injury or stay in the chair and risk death by starvation and freezing. As it turns out, their choices are even scarier than they imagined. Directed by Adam Green, this indie horror thriller premiered this year at Sundance and is making its way around the the horror and genre festival circuit. It's pretty cool that we have a chance to see it here in Thailand. Critical reception is mixed. At House, Paragon, CentralWorld. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Tokyo! Tokyo! Tokyo! -- Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata is a quietly unsettling and powerful drama about a dysfunctional Japanese family of four. No one will look each other in the eye and tell the truth. The father has lost his job, but continues to suit up and act like he's showing up, leaving the house each day to sit in the park and wait in a bread line for lunch. The housewife appears dutiful but has been taking driving lessons behind everyone's back. She yearns for freedom. The youngest son is secretly taking piano lessons after his father forbade him. And the oldest wants to join the American army and fight in Iraq. After a quiet beginning, the movie goes a bit off the rails in the last act, and it's actually fun. It's the final entry in the Tokyo! Tokyo! Tokyo! "off-the-menu" series at House, showing on Saturday and Sunday at 4.30 Check the House website.

Take note

Malls, hotels and other businesses around the Rajprasong Intersection in central Bangkok have been closed or cut back on hours because of the rallies staged there by the red-shirt political protesters. This has included CentralWorld and Paragon, where Thailand's biggest multiplexes are located.

The release of one film, Kon Thai Ting Pandin (The Edge of the Empire), has been postponed, with the studio citing the political protests as the reason.

A state of emergency declared by the government is meant to end the protest and restore order to Bangkok. I am uncertain how it will affect things. Chaos still pretty much reigns. Before setting out to watch a movie anywhere in the Bangkok metro area, it's best to call ahead and confirm the cinema is open.

Next week, movies are scheduled to open two days earlier than usual, on Tuesday, April 13, the start of the Songkran Thai New Year holiday. Planned releases include the Thai thriller 9 Wat, the attitude-filled superhero sensation Kick-Ass, battling angels in Legion, the erotic psychothriller Chloe and the Japanese sports comedy Oppai Volleyball.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening April 1-5, 2010

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

Chinese director Zhang Yimou, known for his acclaimed and lushly costumed historical arthouse dramas (Raise the Red Lantern) and martial-arts epics (Hero), shifts gears in a major way to slapstick black comedy with A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.

It's a remake of Blood Simple, the 1985 debut film by Joel and Ethan Coen.

This is not an April Fool's joke! It's real!

The Coens' setting of a bar in a small modern-day Texas town is shifted to long-ago China, to a noodle shop in the desert. The kernel of the plot remains the same -- the shop's abusive owner (Ni Dahong) hires a policeman (Sun Hunglei) to murder his cheating wife (Yan Ni) and her lover (Xiao Shenyang), but the introduction of a gun causes plans to turn disastrously and hilariously wrong.

Released in China last year as San qiang pai an jing qi (The Stunning Case of the Three Gun Shots), it hit the international circuit in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. It's also been called Amazing Tales: Three Guns, The First Gun and A Simple Noodle Story.

Critical reception is very positive so far, perhaps even more laudatory than it was initially for Blood Simple. It's at the Lido cinemas in Siam Square with the original soundtrack and English and Thai subtitles.

Saranae Siblor

Saranae Siblor (สาระแนสิบล้อ) is the sophomore feature-film effort by the team from the Saranae TV series. This time out, instead of adapting the reality-TV prank skits to the big screen as they did in last year's Saranae Hao Peng, the comedy team of "Ple" Nakorn Silachai, "Sena Hoi" Kiattisak Udomnak and Ruengrit "Willy" McIntosh, have crafted a fictional road-trip comedy adventure.

Along for the ride is Love of Siam heartthrob Mario Maurer. He plays a young man whose father suspects he's gay. He's sent packing on a road trip to learn how to become a man.

He gets a ride from his uncle (Ple), the Che Guevara-styled driver of an old 10-wheel truck (the siblor of the title). Sena Hoi and Kotee Aramboy (sufficiently recovered from being pranked in last year's movie) are Tweedledum-and-Tweedledee slapstick goofballs. Along the way they meet a prosthetic-legged woman who's trapped in a brothel ("Chompoo" Araya A. Hartgett) and are chased by her pimp (Willy). Patheera Sarutipongpokim also stars.

The trailer is at YouTube. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Clash of the Titans -- Avatar's Sam Worthington stars as Perseus, the mortal son of the god Zeus, who embarks on a perilous adventure to stop the gods of the underworld from destroying mankind. Directed by Louis Leterrier (Unleashed), it's remake of the 1981 fantasy feature that had stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen. Here, CGI takes the place of the stop-motion creatures, though a bit of the cartoonishly fantastic Harryhausen spirit and designs have been carried over. The cast includes Ralph Fiennes as Hades, God of the Underworld, Alexa Davalos as Andromeda, Izabella Miko as Athena, Mads Mikkelsen as Draco, leader of the Praetorian Guard, Jason Flemyng as Acrisius, Gemma Arterton as Io, Danny Huston as Poseidon and Pete Postlethwaite as Spyros. The trailer, for all its epicness, belongs to Liam Neeson as Zeus, who had his moment. "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!" Critical reception so far is mixed, leaning to negative. It's in 3D in some cinemas, but keep in mind this is a movie shot in 2D and "converted" to cash in on the gimmick. It's a subpar 3D experience, not like seeing Avatar (or perhaps How to Train Your Dragon), which was actually shot in 3D. If you see it, it's suggested you skip the higher-priced 3D shows and just see it in 2D. Rated 13+.

Also showing

Tokyo! Tokyo! Tokyo! -- A slacker illustrator (Joe Odagiri) in Tokyo watches over his cancer-ridden mother's hospital bed as his childhood is recalled in the 2007 melodrama Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad, which is playing at House as the second in the cinema's three-part Tokyo! Tokyo! Tokyo! weekend screening series. Kiki Kirin won a Japanese Academy Award for her portrayal of the mother in later years. Kirin's daughter Yayako Uchida plays the mother in her younger days, when she moved with her boy away from her alcoholic husband to a small mining town. Next weekend, April 10-11, it's the tension-filled family drama Tokyo Sonata. For showtimes, check the House website.

Reality Filmmaker Season #1 -- A project by award-winning Mundane History director Anocha Suwichakornpong and Electric Eel Films, Reality Season #1 put together 12 young filmmakers and got them to make a movie under the mentorship of various figures in Thailand's independent film scene, including Wonderful Town director "Juke" Aditya Assarat, Man and Gravity and Unreal Forest director "Geng" Jakwaral Nilthamrong, Final Score director Soraya Nakasuwan and award-winning film editor Lee Chatametikool (Karaoke, Syndromes and a Century). The result is Dear Father (ฉันกับพ่อ, Chan Gap Por), which will premiere on Saturday afternoon in a screening at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Events start at 2pm, with Anocha and Chalida Uabumrungjit of the Thai Film Foundation giving a talk about the project and then the introduction of the filmmakers. Dear Father will be shown at 3 followed by a look Behind the Scenes of Reality Filmmaker and then Q&A. There are no English subtitles on the film.

Take note

Tuesday, April 6, is Chakri Day, a national holiday and day off for many employees. Cinema chains hope to lure idled workers with new movies on Tuesday, including the teen breakdancing comedy Big Boy and Martin Scorsese's thriller Shutter Island.