Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 30-September 5, 2012


With his animated TV series like "The Family Guy" and "American Dad", writer-director Seth MacFarlane leaves no pop-culture reference unturned as he aims for the broadest possible laughs. But with Ted, his feature-film debut, McFarlane offers a more narrowly honed concept with a live-action story of a man and his talking teddy bear.

Mark Wahlberg stars, with MacFarlane himself as the voice of the smoking-drinking-swearing stuffed bear. Through the same motion-capture technology used on movies like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings, MacFarlane also acted as the bear.

The two lifelong buddies face a new challenge when the guy's longtime girlfriend (Mila Kunis) has had enough and pushes her man to make a choice – her or the bear.

Ted opened in sneak previews last week and moves to a wider release this week. Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Hope Springs – After 30 years, a devoted wife (Meryl Streep) wants to spice things up and revitalize her relationship with her husband (Tommy Lee Jones), a steadfast man who's accustomed to his routine and resistant to change. So it's going to take a lot of convincing to get him on a plane to travel to a small town where a famous marriage counselor is said to work wonders. Steve Carell also stars. Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated 15+.

The Possession – Sam Raimi "presents" this horror tale, "based on a true story", in which a girl purchases an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside lives a malicious ancient spirit known as a dybbuk. The girl’s single dad (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) teams with his ex-wife (Kyra Sedgwick) to find a way to end the curse upon their child. Critical response is too early to tell. Rated 15+.

Hmoob: Blood for Freedom (ม้ง  ... สงครามวีรบุรุษ, Hmong Songkram Weeraburut) – This historical war drama takes place during the conflict between communists and the Thai government that lasted from 1968 to 1982. In Phetchabun’s Khao Khor Mountains, the native Hmong people were caught between the sides. The story focuses on one young man who has to choose between duty to his country and his own blood. It's directed by U.S. based Hmong filmmaker Jimmy Vanglee and Seri Pongniti, Sorapong Chatree, Akkarat Nimitchai, Atthama Cheewanitchaphan and Pheeraphan Arayaphan star. It premiered in May at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Rated 15+.

Virgin Am I รักแรกกระแทกจิ้น – Sex-crazed youngsters try various ways to lose their virginity. Anuchit Mualprom, who had a hand in last year's teen-pregancy comedy-drama Love, Not Yet, directs. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi – Veteran Bollywood choreographer and director Farah Khan steps from behind the scenes to star in this comedy with Boman Irani. It's about a bra-and-panty salesman who meets his match in a bubbly plus-sized secretary. It's at Major Cineplex. Rated 15+.

Also, Nawapol Thamrattarongrit's 36 is back at House and the Bollywood hit Ek Tha Tiger is continuing its screenings this weekend at SFC Terminal 21.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 23-29

The Raid: Redemption

A worldwide sensation among action-movie and martial-arts fans, The Raid: Redemption has a police tactical team going to make an arrest in an apartment building. There, they are trapped and beseiged almost non-stop by a ruthless mobster’s army of thugs.

Iko Uwais stars as a rookie member of the SWAT team. He's a practitioner of the Indonesian martial art of pencak silat, and is credited with sensationalizing it for worldwide audiences in much the same way that Tony Jaa did with Muay Thai (or more properly Muay Boran) in 2003's Ong-Bak.

The director is Gareth Huw Evans, a Welsh-born filmmaker who relocated to Indonesia and made a name for himself with Merantu, a cult martial-arts hit starring Uwais.

Following Merantu, Evans and Uwais aimed to make something harder-hitting while also channeling the martial-arts classics like Bruce Lee's The Big Boss and Jackie Chan's Drunken Master as well as newer cult movies like Park Chan-wook's Oldboy and Takeshi Miike's Ichi the Killer and even Hollywood action blockbusters like Die Hard.

The Raid premiered last year on the film-festival circuit and was picked up for U.S. distribution, where it acquired a retooled score and the Redemption in its title, aiming for a possible franchise.

Critical reception is mostly positive. It has English and Thai subtitles at Apex and SFW CentralWorld. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Shambhala (ชัมบาลา) – Sunny Suwanmethanon and Ananda Everingham are estranged brothers on a soul-searching journey in Tibet. Sunny, the more strait-laced and uptight of the pair, decides to go to Tibet to fulfill the wishes of his ailing girlfriend (Nalinthip Phermphatsakul). His feckless older brother, played by Ananda, then turns up. He's having problems with his girlfriend (Asa Wang) and invites himself along. Panjapong Kongkanoi, a veteran TV director, helms this road-trip drama, which is his feature-film debut. It was completed three years ago, but has been delayed for release by Sahamongkol Film International for one reason or another. You can find out more about it in an article in The Nation. Rated 15+.

Lay the Favourite – After achieving great critical acclaim with his portrait of a troubled Elizabeth II in The Queen, director Stephen Frears makes a return of sorts to a grittier tale, like The Grifters or Dirty Pretty Things. This comedy is about a former stripper (Rebecca Hall) from Florida who finds herself in Las Vegas. There, she falls in with a gang of sports gamblers led by Bruce Willis. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson and Vince Vaughn also star. Critical reception is mixed, and is so far among the most-poorly received films by the High Fidelity helmer. At SF cinemas. Rated 13+.

The Dinosaur Project – Tired of waiting around for another Jurassic Park sequel, a team of British filmmakers went digging and turned up some “found footage” that purportedly reveals the terrifying discovery of adventurers who were searching for “Africa’s Loch Ness monster”. But really, it's just bad CGI. Critical reception is mixed. Rated G.

Also showing

When Night Falls screens on Friday at 5 and Sunday at 11.

16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival – Wrapping up on Sunday, there are still many highlights to see, among them Queer Musical!, adding a tuneful twist to the annual package of GLBT-themed shorts from around the world. That's tonight at 6.30 and on Sunday at 1pm. Also of note is the Jeonju Digital Project, offering new works by three Asian filmmakers: The Great Cinema Party by the Philippines' Raya Martin; Light in Yellow Breathing Space by Sri Lanka's Vimukthi Jayasundara; and the feature-length docu-drama When Night Falls by China's Ying Liang, on Friday at 5 and Sunday at 11. Controversially, When Night Falls deals with the case of Yiang Jia, a man who became a symbol for injustice when was executed in 2008 for killing six police officers with a knife. He had complained of abuse and harassment by police  after his arrest in 2007 for riding an unlicensed bicycle. The film, which has angered Chinese authorities, follows Yiang Jia's mother in her quest for justice. According to the Bangkok Post, Ying Liang, who is in Bangkok to give a masterclass on Friday afternoon, will face arrest if he returns home. On Saturday at 1pm, the entire S-Express package of shorts from the Philippines, Malayasia, Indonesia and Singapore will be shown in one 250-minute block. Also worth catching is the Best of Clermont-Ferrand program on Sunday at 11am, offering an entertaining selection of short movies from the world's largest shorts fest. It's all at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in the fifth-floor auditorium and the fourth-floor conference room. Admission is free.

Chulalongkorn University International Film Festival – The twice-yearly DVD-screening series continues on Friday with Silenced, a South Korean drama in which a new teacher at a school for deaf children uncovers a dark, troubling secret. On Monday it's Tuesday After Christmas, a Romanian drama about a married man torn between devotion to his wife and lust with his new fling. And next Wednesday is Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a crime tale by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The series wraps up on August 31 with Belgium's Dardenne brothers and The Kid With a Bike. Screenings are at 5pm on the ninth floor of the Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Building at Chula. Admission is free. All have English subtitles.

Ek Tha Tiger – In case you missed it last week, Bollywood Thai is offering another run this weekend of the blockbuster thriller starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. The action-packed spy-romance yarn is about a university professor suspected of selling nuclear secrets to Pakistan. It's in Hindi with English subtitles at SF Cinema City Terminal 21 on Friday at 7.30, Saturday at at 5 and 7.30, Sunday at 3, 4 and 7pm and Monday at 7.30pm. Call (089) 488 2620 or (02) 225 7500 or visit

La Petite Jérusalem (Little Jersusalem) – Karin Albou directs this 2005 drama starring Fanny Valette, Elsa Zylberstein and Bruno Todeschini about an orthodox Jewish teenager living with her family in France, struggling to balance her religious upbringing with her increasingly complex views of contemporary society. It's in French with English subtitles at the Alliance Française on Wednesday, August 29, at 7.30pm.

Sneak preview

Ted – With his animated TV series like "The Family Guy" and "American Dad", writer-director Seth MacFarlane leaves no pop-culture reference unturned as he aims for the broadest possible laughs. But with Ted, his feature-film debut, McFarlane offers a more narrowly honed concept with a live-action story of man and his talking teddy bear. Mark Wahlberg stars, with MacFarlane himself as the voice of the smoking-drinking-swearing stuffed bear. I wonder if MacFarlane was inspired at all by the 2005 Thai comedy, Citizen Dog by Wisit Sasanatieng? It also had a smoking-drinking-swearing teddy bear. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's in sneak previews this week, screening nightly at most cinemas from around 8, and then opens in wide release next week. Rated 18+.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 16-22, 2012

The Expendables 2

Old action heroes never die, they just all make movies together.

Sylvester Stallone is back in action for The Expendables 2, leading a cast of other ageing action stars in a testosterone-fuelled yarn.

Stallone and his fellow mercenaries, including Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Terry Crews, are hired by the shadowy Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) for a seemingly simple mission. But then one of their own is killed by a rival mercenary (Jean-Claude Van Damme), so they plot revenge.

Also joining the fun this time around are Arnold Schwarzenegger (who along with Willis cameoed in the first film) and Chuck Norris. There's also Liam Hemsworth, the younger brother of Chris "Thor" Hemsworth, as eye candy for the girlfriends who get dragged to this, and Chinese actress Yu Nan as the only female member of the mercenary team.

Simon West (Con Air) directs.

Sadly, the release of Expendables 2 comes not long after the death of Stallone's 36-year-old son Sage, a producer and distributor of cult B-movies, leading to the mourning Sly curtailing his promotional appearances.

Critical reception is surprisingly favorable so far, so if like me you're a fan of old-time '80s-style action flicks and gratuitous violence, then you'll probably like this. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Yes or No 2 Rak Mai Rak ... Ya Kuk Loei (Yes or No 2 รักไม่รัก อย่ากั๊กเลย) – Tomboy Kim and her "dee" girlfriend Pie are still together after the college roomates became lovers in the 2010 cult hit Yes or No? So, I Love You. Now their relationship is tested when the two young women go their separate ways for internships, with Pie (Sucharat Manaying) going to Chanthaburi and Kim (Supanart Jittaleela) heading off to picturesque Nan Province where she catches the eye of the attractive Jam (Apitha Klaiudom). Sarassawadee Wongsompetch again directs, with a screenplay by the popular writer Nepalee. The first openly lesbian Thai film, 2010's Yes or No didn't do all that well in Thai cinemas, but it became big in other parts of Asia, attracting huge followings in Taiwan, where it was released on DVD, as well as China and the Philippines. A Bangkok Post article from last month examines the phenomenon and executive producer Chatchada Musikaratuay talks more about the film's success in another Bangkok Post article. Rated 13+.

North Sea Texas – With Yes or No 2 in wide release, here's a tale of gay love, a coming-of-age drama about a Belgian teenage boy in a small town who becomes fixated on the guy next door. It's won awards at festivals and is generally well-received by critics. It's at House on RCA.

Ek Tha Tiger – Bollywood Thai returns to the scene with this thriller starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif about a university professor suspected of selling nuclear secrets to Pakistan. It's in Hindi with English subtitles at SF Cinema City Terminal 21 tonight and tomorrow at 7.30, Saturday at 7 and 8, Sunday at 3, 4 and 7 and Monday and Tuesday at 7.30. Call (089) 488 2620 or (02)225 7500 or visit

Also showing

Ashes by Apichatpong Weerasethakul is the opening film.
16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival – The annual festival of short subjects gets underway today with registration at 4 and then the opening film Ashes by Apichatpong Weerasethakul at 5.30. That'll be followed by Pitch Black Heist, starring Michael Fassbender and part of the festivals Bafta package, and Il Capo, one of this year's Best of Clermont-Ferrand programme. There are too many other highlights to mention. There's a lot to offer – not just Thai films, but shorts from all over the world, including animation, documentaries and special-interest programmes. Just show up and take a seat. If you don't like what you see, just stay seated quietly for five or 10 minutes and something else will come up that you might end up enjoying. The festival runs daily except Monday until August 26 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in the fifth-floor auditorium and in the fourth-floor conference room. Admission is free. For more details, search for "16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival" on Facebook or visit

Benda Bilili! screens today as part of the Chula film fest.
Chulalongkorn University International Film Festival – The twice-annual DVD screening series started on Monday and has already shown two movies, but as has been the case for the past few editions, I didn't find out it was going on until it was too late. Anyway, there's still lots of movies to see. On Friday it's a musical from Congo, Benda Bilili!, about a teenager working with disabled folks to form the best street band in all of Kinshasa. On Monday, it's 3 Idiots, a highly enjoyable Bollywood screwball comedy about college chums reuniting for a road trip to find their long lost friend. Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani and Sharman Joshi star. And next Wednesday it's cult director Takashi Miike's remake of the samurai epic Hara-Kiri. The series runs until August 31 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5pm on the ninth floor of the Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Building at Chula. Admission is free. All have English subtitles.

Le bal des actrices (The Actresses' Ball) – Maïwenn directs and stars in this 2009 comedy that also features Mélanie Doutey, Charlotte Rampling and Julie Depardieu. It's about a director making a documentary about actresses who falls in love with one of her subjects. It's in French with English subtitles at the Alliance Française on Wednesday, August 22, at 7.30pm.

Jism 2 – For the past month or more, Major Cineplex has been releasing recent Bollywood movies in limited screenings at various branches. They come out on Fridays, and I find out about them too late for this weekly update, which comes out on Thursday, the day most other films are released in Thailand. Last week's release was the controversial Jism 2, which has had tongues wagging in India because it stars Sunny Leone, a Canadian-Indian adult-film actress who is making a crossover into the legit movie business. Sunny stars as a porn star who is hired by a spy (Arunoday Singh) to be a "honey trap" for an assassin (Randeep Hooda). From now on, I'll aim to post more details about Major's Bollywood films whenever I hear about them. Jism 2 is rated 18+.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: 16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival

The 16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival gets underway this week at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, screening some of the best Thai independent and student shorts as well as special programmes of films from all over the world.

It all starts at 5.30pm on Thursday with the local premiere of Ashes, one of the latest by Cannes Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Premiered earlier this year on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, the 20-minute experimental work was shot with the retro hand-cranked Lomokino 35mm-film camera. It's politically tinged, with Article 112, the controversial lese majeste law, credited among the "stars". Also in the cast is King Kong, not the giant ape, but Apichatpong's dog.

Other shorts in the opening are Pitch Black Heist, starring Michael Fassbender, which is part of the Bafta shorts package sponsored by the British Council, Thailand, and Il Capo, a look inside an Italian marble quarry that's part of the annual Best of Clermont-Ferrand package from the French short-film fest that's the biggest in the world. The opening night will also feature shorts by French comedy legend Jacques Tati.

One of many special programmes is from Friends Without Borders, a Chiang Mai NGO that works with the migrant community. It includes the latest from director Supamok Silarak, The Assembly of the Samurais, a behind-the-scenes feature documentary on the Friends Without Borders Holding Hands filmmaking workshop that brought together five ethnic filmmakers. It premiered earlier this year at Chiang Mai's Fly Beyond the Barbwire Fence Festival.

The shorts from the workshop will also be shown: Ja Daw's Choices, a romantic drama that's the first film by young Lahu Mo Tha, who is the main subject of The Assembly of the Samurais; A Comb and A Buckle, a family drama by Ja Bue, another young Lahu; Jabo Means the Man of Fortune, an action-drama by Lahu director Maitree Chamroensuksakul; Ta Mu La, a refugee's tale by Saw Shee Keh Sher, a Karen environmental activist and  When the Sky's Color Changes, a comedy by Hmong NGO leader Insree Khampeepanyakul about a district chief who unwittingly travels to a future in which the only safe places on earth are highland villages. Both Ta Mu La and Jabo were prize-winners at the Barbwire fest.

One of the Thai Short Film and Video Festival's annual programmes focuses on "queer" shorts, which this year takes a tuneful twist with Queer Musical! The programme offers five shorts focusing: Skallamann by Maria Bock from Norway; Boy Meets Boy by Gwang-soo Kim Jho from South Korea; Au Clair de la Lune by Dominique Filhol and Antoine Espagne from France; Slut the Musical by Tonnette Stanford from Australia and Put Your Fur Up by Thai filmmaker Phuwadon Torasint.

Spiritual matters are addressed in Dhamma Shorts, featuring three new works by well-known Thai filmmakers. Sang-Yen by Sivaroj Kongsakul; I Dreamed a Dream by Chookiat Sakveerakul and In the Farm by Uruphong Raksasad. All premiered earlier this year at the Buddhist International Film Festival Bangkok.

More pressing worries are examined in Apocalypse Now – not the Vietnam War epic, but a package of shorts by three filmmakers on the end of the world. They are Portrait of the Universe Napat Treepalawisetkun; L' Attaque du Monstre Géant Suceur de Cerveaux de l'Espace and Armadingen by Germany's Philipp Kaessbohrer.

Another compilation is this year's selection from the Digital Project of South Korea's Jeonju International Film Festival, featuring works by three Asian filmmakers: The Great Cinema Party by the Philippines' Raya Martin; Light in Yellow Breathing Space by Sri Lanka's Vimukthi Jayasundara; and When Night Falls by China's Ying Liang.

Another annual feature of the Thai Short Film and Video Fest is the S-Express packages of shorts from around the region. This year features programmes from the Philippines,Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Of course the main reason for the festival is the competition sections for new Thai indie shorts, student films, Thai animation, short documentaries and international filmmakers.

The festival runs daily from Thursday until August 26 except Monday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center.

Screenings will be in the fifth-floor auditorium and in the fourth-floor conference room. Admission is free.

For more details, search for "16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival" on Facebook or visit

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 9-15, 2012


Pixar Animation offers a Disney fairy-tale princess spin on the blue-in-the-face Celtic bluster of Mel Gibson's Braveheart with Brave. It's the story of the headstrong daughter of a Scottish king who finds herself cursed after she defies an age-old custom regarding the traditional female role. She embarks on an adventure in which she must discover the meaning of true bravery.

The voice cast is heavy on Scottish brogue, with Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire, No Country for Old Men, Trainspotting) in the lead as Princess Merida, a young woman who'd rather hone her archery skills than get married. Comedian Billy Connolly is her father the king with Emma Thompson as the queen. Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson also star.

With the heroine's fiery mane of red hair, Brave looks fantastic, but it has been derided as "minor Pixar" by critics who've been spoiled by the heights of Pixar storytelling perfection, such as the Toy Story series and The Incredibles. Though not as bad as the Cars movies, critical reception is mixed, but still mostly positive. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated G.

Also opening

The Bourne Legacy – In a reboot of sorts for the Bourne movie franchise, The Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner takes over the lead from Matt Damon, and Tony Gilroy, writer on the first three Bourne movies, replaces director Paul Greengrass. Renner is Aaron Cross, another agent trained for black-ops using unorthodox brain-altering methods that were similar to those used to create the killing machine Jason Bourne. With the CIA rushing to close the books on the controversial program and eliminate the agents, Cross escapes and sets out to expose his corrupt superiors. Some scenes were filmed in Manila. Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, Oscar Isaac and Stacy Keach also star. Reportedly, there's still a chance Damon might return to the franchise, but only with Greengrass as the director. Critical reception, so far, is mixed. Rated 15+.

A Simple Life – Director Ann Hui's drama dominated the major Hong Kong and Chinese-language movie awards last year and earlier this year. Deanie Ip stars as a servant who's worked for four generations of a Hong Kong family and is with the last remaining family member (Andy Lau) when she suffers a stroke. Giving ever more time and attention to his servant's needs, the man comes to realize how much she means to him. It's a fact-based story, inspired by the experiences producer Roger Lee had with his own family's servant. There are many cameos by actual Hong Kong stars. See if you can spot them all. Winner of the best actress prize at last year's Venice festival, critical reception is glowingly postive. A Simple Life played in Bangkok earlier this year as part of the Hong Kong Film Festival, and it now opens for a limited run at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld and at House on RCA.

Always on My Mind (คิดถึงทุกคืน, Khid Tueng Took Khuen) – Sakchai Deenan, the director of the Sabaidee trilogy of romances that paired Thai leading men with a Lao actress, offers another cross-border romance in the same vein. Here, he pairs Thai actors Pawarith Mongkolpisit and Sirachat Jianthaworn with Lao actresses Nuta Rajwonglao and Sangdawee Malisomchai. It screens at 7.30 nightly at the Esplanade Ratchada.

Sat2Mon (คืนวันเสาร์ถึงเช้าวันจันทร์ , Khuen Wan Sao Thueng Chao Wan Jan) – Multi-hyphenate musician and actor "Dan" Worrawech Danuwong adds writer-director to his roster of titles with this romantic comedy released by Sahamongkolfilm International. Dan has been the star of seemingly dozens of romantic comedies and dramas that have been huge hits with his legion of young fans. Here, he directs and stars as a TV producer in love with an anchorwoman, and he convinces her friend to help him woo her, but things of course become complicated. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Les inséparables – Christine Dory directs this 2008 drama starring Guillaume Depardieu and Marie Vialle about a drug addict who falls in love with a co-dependant woman. Together, they find ways for their passion to give them strength. It's in French with English subtitles at the Alliance Française on Wednesday, August 15, at 7.30pm

Take note

Two Thai indie films, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit's 36, which I first mentioned last week, and Kongej Jaturanrasmee's P-047 are continuing their limited runs. Nawapol's 36, which is comprised of 36 single-shot scenes, is at House at 6 nightly until Sunday while P-047 is at the Lido. Both are well-worth seeing and supporting!

And clear your calendars for next week – the 16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival starts on August 16 and runs until August 26 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. I hope to hear more soon about the highlights of the longest-running Thai film festival, so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 2-8, 2012

Total Recall

I don't know why it's necessary to remake Total Recall. The 1990 original by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, still holds up today, thanks to practical special effects and miniatures that didn't rely on hokey CGI trickery. It's part of a canon of late '80s and early '90s sci-fi classics that also includes Verhoeven's Robocop (also with a remake in the works) and James Cameron's Terminator films.

But whatever. Now we have a new Total Recall, which puts Colin Farrell in the Schwarznegger role of a man who's had his memories of being a secret agent on Mars erased, and shadowy forces at work to keep him from remembering.

The setting is similarly futuristic, in a dystopian society where dreams, memory and reality are blurred, thanks to memory-implant technology by the Rekall company, which provides customers with virtual vacations.

Len Wisemen, helmer of the Underworld series of vampire movies directs, and he puts his wife and Underworld star Kate Beckinsale in the Sharon Stone role.

Bryan Cranston, Bookeem Woodbine, John Cho, Bill Nighy and Jessica Biel also star.

Kurt Wimmer, the writer-director of the dystopian drama Equilibrium as well as screenwriter of such films as Salt and Law Abiding Citizen, handles the screenplay. It's adapted from a Philip K. Dick story.

It could actually be ok. However, Total Recall doesn't come out in the U.S. until tomorrow, so there's not yet many reviews. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Echo Planet (เอคโค่ จิ๋วก้องโลก, Echo Jew Kong Loke) – It was back in 2006 that the Thai movie industry entered the age of computer animation with Khan Kluay, the tale of a little tusker who would become the brave war elephant of King Naresuan the Great. Despite its very nationalistic historical storyline, Khan Kluay attracted overseas buyers, spawned a sequel and made a name for Kantana Animation. Now Khan Kluay director Kompin Kemgumnird, a veteran of animated features at Disney and Blue Sky Studios, aims for even broader international appeal with Echo Planet (เอคโค่ จิ๋วก้องโลก, Echo Jew Kong Loke). The environmentally themed story is about a gifted Karen boy who can talk to animals and his tough older sister. They rescue a foreigner boy scout who is the son of the president of Capital State. The three of then set off on an adventure in which they have to stop a project that will cause environmental havoc. Read more about it in a Nation article today. It's in 3D in some cinemas. Rated G.

Ka Nam Nom (ค่าน้ำนม) – Social-problem dramas used to be a large component of the Thai film industry back in the 1970s and '80s, but have mostly been relegated these days in favor of horror, comedies and weepy romantic melodramas. Ka Nam Nom, literally "mother's milk", comes out just before the August 12 Queen's Birthday and Thai Mother's Day holiday, and seeks to get back to the roots of social-problem movies. Chudapha Chanthakhet stars as a widowed single mother who struggles to raise her boy and girl, and hopes they will rise from their hardscrabble, small-town roots and have better lives. Full of promise, brother and sister head to Bangkok for schooling, but end up getting caught up in all the various problems that come with life in the big city, such as gang fights and drugs. Teerapat Yamsri and Uttama Chiwanichpan star as the brother and sister and Nati Phunmanee directs. Rated 15+.

The Son of No One – Channing Tatum. He's so hot right now. With recent critically hailed starring roles in such movies as the action drama Haywire, the comedy spoof 21 Jump Street and the strip-dancing drama Magic Mike, based partly on his own life, Thai distributors dip into Tatum's recent backlog of work and pull out The Son of No One, a police drama that saw only a limited release in a few territories last year and mostly went direct to video. He's a rookie cop assigned to the precinct in the working-class neighborhood where he grew up, and where an old secret threatens to destroy his life. Al Pacino also stars, along with James Ransone, Ray Liotta, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes and Juliet Binoche. Critical reception is mostly negative. It's at Major Cineplex branches, including Paragon, Mega, Esplanade and EGV. Rated 18+.

Also showing

36 – Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit is a well-known independent filmmaker who's done several award-winning shorts. In the past few years, he's broken into the mainstream industry as a screenwriter on several projects with the GTH studio, including the romance that's currently in cinemas, Seven Something. He also has his own project going, the medium-length feature 36, an experimental effort composed of 36 shots that is described as a "relationship movie that touches on melancholic memories and old buildings". He's been self-releasing the film for the past month or so, organizing screenings at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, the Alliance Francais and now at House. He's been promoting the screenings through the social networks and the Thai media, and most sessions have sold out. It's at House on RCA, showing at 1.45pm and 5.15pm until Sunday.

La tête de maman – Carine Tardieu directs this 2007 comedy-drama starring Karin Viard, Kad Merad and Pascal Elbé. It's about a 15-year-old girl who wants to bring happiness back into the life of her ailing mother, so she sets out to locate her mom's old boyfriend - now a middle-aged veterinarian. It's in French with English subtitles at the Alliance Française on Wednesday, August 8, at 7.30pm.

Take note

Director Kongej Jaturanrasmee's trippy psychological drama P-047 (Tae Peang Phu Deaw, แต่เพียงผู้เดียว) is continuing its limited release for a third week at the Lido and Esplanade Ratchada. I don't want to explain much more about the movie. Just go see it.