Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 25-31, 2012

Tai Chi Zero

A few more movies come out today, the usual day movies are released in Thailand, following the batch of new movies from Tuesday's Chulalongkorn Day holiday.

Jet Li produces but does not star in Tai Chi Zero , a "steampunk" martial-arts fantasy, which is directed by Stephen Fung and stars Yuan Xiaochao, William Feng, Eddie Peng, Angelababy, Shu Qi, Daniel Wu and Tony Leung Ka-Fai.

The story is set in "legendary" Chen Village, where everyone is a martial-arts master, using powerful tai chi in all aspects of their lives. A young man with a strange fleshy growth on his forehead arrives with hopes of learning the style, but it's forbidden to teach outsiders. Everyone, from strong men to young children, defeats him using their tai chi. But when a villain from the village's past returns with a frightening steam-powered machine and plans to build a railroad, the villagers realize they have no choice but to put their faith in the stranger who has a secret power of his own.

Tai Chi Zero is the first part of a new martial-arts movie series, with Tai Chi Hero soon to follow, according to Crave Online, which recently interviewed Fung.

Critical reception is mixed, with both praise and pans for its crazy visual style. Unfortunately, it's in Thai multiplexes with a Thai soundtrack only. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Silent Hill: Revelation – This is a sequel to the 2006 cult-horror hit that's based on a video-game series. Here, teenage girl Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) and her father (Sean Bean) have been on the run for years in a bid to escape supernatural forces they don't understand. On the eve of her 18th birthday, Heather's father disappears and it's revealed that her life has all been a lie. Her search for answers leads her to the alternate dimension of Silent Hill, which is ruled by a demonic cult led by Claudia (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Leonard Wolf (Malcolm McDowell). Heather must try and escape or be trapped forever. In 3D in some cinemas. Because this is opening in the U.S. just this week, critical reception is yet to be determined. Rated 13+.

Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker – The boy detective and his pals must solve a riddle in order to disarm a bomb that's been set at a crowded soccer stadium. This is the 16th animated feature featuring Conan, a popular children's figure in Japanese manga and anime. Weirdly titled in Thai-English Conan the Movie: The Eleven Striker, it's only at SF cinemas and is Thai-dubbed only. Rated G.

Also showing

Les revenants (They Came Back) – Robin Campillo directs this 2004 zombie drama starring Géraldine Pailhas, Jonathan Zaccaï, and Frédéric Pierrot. A great selection for Halloween, it's a twist on the usual zombie films that involve the rampaging undead wanting to feast on brains. Here, the dead, mostly elderly, return and seek to reintegrate with society and seem content to merely to go back to their former lives. Critical reception is generally positive. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 31 at the Alliance Française. No viewers under 12 will be admitted.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 23, 2012


Because of today's national holiday, Chulalongkorn Day, cinemas across Thailand are changing their programs on Tuesday this week instead of Thursday. It's something the Thai multiplex companies like to do on holidays, hoping to land a few more idle bums in their seats and pump up the week's box-office take.

Today, there's three movies opening, and plans are to release a few more movies this week on Thursday as usual.

Tim Burton's latest animated feature Frankenweenie opened last Thursday in a sneak-preview run before going to a wider release today. It's a remake of his 1984 short film – a parody of the Frankenstein tale in which boy scientist Victor Frankenstein reanimates his beloved pet dog. The experiment is a success, but not without dire consequences for Frankenstein and the townspeople.

Ironically, the original live-action Frankenweenie short got Burton fired from Disney because executives thought it was too scary for kids. But now Burton is back with Disney, which is is releasing this animated feature.

Frankenweenie is that return to form that critics have been waiting for after a string of lackluster efforts from Burton. An animated feature in the same gothic spirit as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie has been the best-received Burton film in a long time, with critics saying it harks back to his early efforts like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood – imaginative, oddball movies that are classics, and not at all like the rather forgettable films he's been churning out recently, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows.

Frankenweenie even sees Burton reuniting with some of his old stars, with Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Landau among the voice talents.

It's in 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX Digital at Ratchayothin and Pinklao. Rated G.

Also opening

Alex Cross – When talk first emerged of novelist James Patterson's African-American police detective Alex Cross being resurrected, the money was on Idris Elba to take over the role memorably played by Morgan Freeman in Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls. With Elba, a fine British actor best known for his work on The Wire as Stringer Bell and on his own BBC crime series Luther, it seemed there was promise for a new franchise. But then Elba bowed out and the producers replaced him with, of all people, Tyler Perry, the writer-director best known for his cross-dressing antics in his series of Madea movies. Here, the psychologist-sleuth Cox matches wits with a cage-fighting serial killer (Matthew Fox) who is turned on by torturing and slowly killing women. The story is loosely based on Patterson's novel Cross. Rob Cohen directs and Edward Burns also stars. Although the trailer has some good-looking action scenes, critical reception has been mostly negative. Rated 15+.

Hor Taew Tak Wak Mak Mak (หอแต๋วแตก แหกมว๊ากมว๊ากกก) – Director Poj Arnon brings forth a fourth installment of his provocative ghost comedy series featuring male comedians in drag. They are four katoey friends who run a boarding house for young college guys, and in this episode, a murder has taken place on the premises and made to look like a suicide. The only way to get rid of the victim’s ghost is to run around and shriek while trying to find the murderer. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Aiyyaa – It's star-crossed romance, Hindi-rom-com style as a Marathi girl (Rani Mukerji) from a middle-class family falls for a Tamil artist (Prithviraj). Part of Major Cineplex's "Bollywood Exclusive" series, it's screening at Major Sukhumvit and Rama III.

Take note

James Bond Movie Marathon – Every so often, Thai cinemas will hold a movie marathon in which they challenge viewers to watch as many movies back-to-back as they can without sleeping. Now, watching movies should be fun, but these "movie marathons", often held in a world-record attempt, quickly become punishing tests of endurance, even if the movies are entertaining. In the run-up to next month's release of Skyfall, marking the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise, Major Cineplex is hosting the James Bond Movie Marathon, in which 22 of the 007 movies will be screened. To qualify, you have to answer questions in a Bond trivia contest, and then you have to make it through all the movies without sleeping or talking or using your phone. The deadline for entries is October 25. For more details, see the Major Cineplex website or Richard Barrow's blog.

Stay tuned for another entry on Thursday, detailing the remaining releases this week in Bangkok cinemas.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 18-24, 2012


Director John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition) spins a violent tale soaked in booze and blood in Lawless, the fact-based account of the Bondurant brothers, moonshine kingpins of Prohibition-era Franklin County, Virginia.

The brothers are played by Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke and musclebound Tom Hardy (Bane from The Dark Knight Rises). They are threatened by a new lawman in town, played with evil relish by Guy Pearce. Out come the Thompson machine guns as an all-out war ensues. Gary Oldman is a Chicago mobster, and Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska also star.

The highly anticipated film is based on the book The Wettest County in the World by Matthew Bondurant, a grandson of one of the Bondurant brothers. Musician Nick Cave wrote the screenplay, marking his second collaboration with Hillcoat after the rip-roaring Australian western The Proposition.

Lawless premiered in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Critical reception is mixed, but leaning to positive. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Sinister – Ethan Hawke is a true-crime novelist who moves into a house where the previous residents were murdered. He finds a box of old home movies and comes realize he's put his family in the path of an evil supernatural entity. Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Dalton Thompson and James Ransone also star. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs. These "found footage" horror flicks aren't going away, and critical reception for this one, for now, is actually fairly positive. It opened in sneak previews last week, and moves to a wider release this week. Rated 18+.

Paranormal Activity 4 – That's right, another "found footage" movie is opening this week. More mysterious phenomena is captured on a home's security cameras and other high-tech gadgets in this fourth installment of the cult-hit horror franchise. Critical reception, so far, is mixed. Rated 18+.

The Moth Diaries – A girl, haunted by her father's suicide, enrolls in an elite boarding school where she keeps a diary to record her growing obsession with her roommate (Sarah Gadon) and her roommate's friendship with the dark and mysterious new student, Ernessa (Lily Cole), who might be a vampire. Mary Harron (American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page) directs. Critical reception is mixed – mostly negative. At Major Cineplex. Rated 18+.

Saranae Osekkai (สาระแน โอเซกไก) – The gang from Thai TV's Saranae prank show takes their juvenile shtick to Japan, where they join with the Japanese group Yoshimoto in poking fun of stereotypical Japanese pop phenomena like the Baby Cart movies, costumed superheroes and silly stunt TV shows. Willy MacIntosh and Kiattisak “Sena Hoi” Udomnak – minus their just-fired long-time partner "Ple" Nakorn Silachai – star, and rope in others, including Thai pop music's girl duo Neko Jump and comedians Kom and Jazz Chaunchuen. In addition dumping their partner Ple, the Saranae crew have also moved their Lucks 666 production shingle over to M-Thirtynine after their previous feature films were released by Sahamongkol. Rated G.

Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles – Animal Adventure – If there's one thing you can count on during a school break in Thailand, it's that the latest Doraemon anime adventure will crop up in local cinemas and have the little ones bugging their parents to take them. Thai-dubbed only. Rated G.

Rain – The Best Show 3D – Major Cineplex has booked the exclusive rights to show the concert film by South Korean pop star Rain from today until October 31, with a limited number of screenings per day at select outlets. Check the Major Cineplex website for further details.

Also showing

Jalsaghar by Satyajit Ray screens tomorrow at noon.

Centenary of Indian Film Festival – Eight classic Indian films are being shown in this festival at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, which opens to the public at noon on Friday with 1958's Jalsaghar by one of the great auteurs of world cinema – Satyajit Ray. Other highlights in the fest running until Sunday are 1971's Anand, starring Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, and 1965's Guide. Get there plenty early to queue up for the free tickets, which are handed out 30 minutes before showtime. Check the complete schedule in last week's special posting.

Home Movie Day – Amid this week's crop of fake "found footage" movies, here's a chance to see real found footage. Part of an annual worldwide celebration of home movies, the Thai event is being held on Saturday from 11am to 6pm in the FA Cinematheque on the second floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. This year's theme is Thai home movies from Southeast Asian countries, in line with the preparations for the Asean Economic Community 2015. According to Limitless Cinema, the movies will include footage shot by King Rama VII when he visited neighboring countries in 1929-30, a clip of artist Silpa Bhirasri (1892-1962) sculpting the monument of King Taksin the Great and Chun Suwannaboon's film of the opening ceremony of the Lam Tong Game (1959). From 2 to 3pm, Khonthaptip Veeraprawat will talk on her family's home movie collection. Film Archive Director Dome Sukwong will talk from 5 to 6 on "The Surprising Discovery in Home Movies".

Niño – This is the third screening in the Cinema Diverse series of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center and Films Forum. The much-acclaimed family drama is about an ageing opera singer who tries various ways to revive her comatose politician brother, including singing arias to him and dressing a 9-year-old boy up as St. Niño, the Child Christ. Meanwhile, other family members return home, all wanting a share of the estate, and secrets come tumbling forth. It's the debut feature by veteran stage director Loy Arcenas and stars 84-year-old Fides Cuyugan Asensio, one of the Philippines' most prominent opera singers. They will attend the screening, with support from Cebu Pacific Air. The Philippines Embassy will serve Filipino food and beer before the screening, which is also being supported by the Society of Filipinas in Thailand. The reception is at 5pm with the screening starting at 6.30pm in the BACC's fifth-floor auditorium. Admission is free. The organizers have also arranged for a special student showing at the Screening Room in the Centre of  Digital Media, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, on Monday, October 22 at 3pm.

English Vinglish – It's been really hard to track these "Bollywood Exclusive" releases by Major Cineplex because they don't seem to come out on Thursdays like all the other movies in Thailand and generally aren't listed on the chain's website until after I do my weekly posting. Or sometimes the films are listed on the website as "coming soon" then don't materialize when they say they will. Other times, another film will pop up by surprise. Anyway, English Vinglish, which opened last week, is a comedy-drama about a middle-aged housewife (Sridevi) who is ridiculed by other family members for her poor English skills. She's sent to New York to help with her niece's wedding and secretly enrolls in an English class, which is attended by a colorful group of characters from the various parts of America's melting pot. It's at Major Sukhumvit and Rama III.

La chambre des morts (Room of Death) – Alfred Lot directs this 2007 thriller starring Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), Eric Caravaca and Gilles Lellouche. The murder tale has a pair of men hitting and killing a guy with their car. He was carrying a bag of money, which they take and run. Turns out, the money was ransom for a kidnapped girl, who is found dead the next day. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 24 at the Alliance Française. No viewers 12 and under will be admitted.

Sneak preview

Frankenweenie – Tim Burton directs this animated horror tale, a remake of one of his early short films, about a boy who reanimates his beloved pet dog and in so doing, upsets the balance of nature. It's a return to form for Burton, who has had a string of lackluster live-action films of late, and is more in keeping with his early hit movies like Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. The voice cast even reunites him with some folks from this earlier movies, like Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Landau. Critical reception is mostly positive. It's in sneak previews this week, with screenings at most multiplexes starting around 8 nightly, including IMAX Digital at Ratchayothin and Pinklao. Rated G.

Take note

After two weeks at House on RCA, indie Thai director Wichanon Sumumjarn's docu-drama In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire is continuing there for at least another week and has added a venue. This week, it'll screen at 6 nightly at House and at 7 nightly at the Esplanade Cineplex Ratchada.

With everything going on this week, it's easy to lose sight of big events yet to come, like the 10th World Film Festival of Bangkok from November 16 to 25, which has set its line-up. Stay tuned for more details as the kinks in scheduling are smoothed out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene Special: Indian Centenary Film Festival 2012

One hundred years of India cinema will be celebrated in the Indian Centenary Film Festival running from October 19 to 21 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld.

Supported by the Indian Embassy, the festival features 10 films, from the first Indian feature Raja Harishchandra from 1913 to modern Bollywood blockbusters. In addition to the Hindi-language Bollywood movies, India's other film industries are represented as well, including Sandalwood (Kannada language), Kollywood (Tamil) and Tollywood (Bengali).

Highlights include the 1958 Satyajit Ray classic Jalsaghar, 1971's Anand with Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan and 1965's epic crime-and-romance drama Guide.

Admission is free. However, as is the routine for these "free" film festivals, the price you pay will be standing in line. So get ready to queue up at a table in the theater lobby for the tickets, which will be handed out 30 minutes before the showtime. If you aren't there early, you might end up with an uncomfortable seat in the very front row or perhaps even worse, no ticket at all. Given the popularity of Indian films and the devotion for cinema-going by Indian audiences, I would expect long lines to start forming perhaps an hour or two, or maybe more, before showtime.

Thursday, October 18 (opening night, invitation only)

  • Raja Harishchandra – The first Indian feature film, this 40-minute silent depicts a noble and righteous king who first sacrifices his kingdom, followed by his wife and eventually his children to honour his promise to the sage Vishwamitra. Showtime is 8pm.
  • Maqbool –  Irfan Khan stars in this award-winning 2004 Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. He's a lieutenant for a powerful Mumbai underworld figure whose ambitions could well be his own undoing. Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, Naseerudin Shah and Om Puri also star. Screens after Raja Harishchandra.

Friday, October 19

  • Jalsaghar (The Music Room) – This 1958 Bengali-language classic is by one of the great auteurs of world cinema – Satyajit Ray. His fourth film, it chronicles the last days of a zamindar, a class of aristocrats. He'd rather spend time listening to music and staging spectacles than managing his flood-ravaged lands and dealing with the government, which is abolishing the zamindari system. Screens at noon.
  • Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (Straight from the Heart) – Aishwarya Rai, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan star in this epic Bollywood arranged-marriage drama about an classical Indian musician who falls in love with his teacher's daughter. It won many awards, including National Film Awards for Best Music Direction and Best Choreography. Screens at 2pm.

Saturday, October 20

  • Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek) – This much-acclaimed 2002 Tamil-language romance, set partly in Sri Lanka, is about a husband and wife torn apart by the Sri Lankan unrest. Showtime is noon.
  • Gulabi Talkies – The life of a fiftysomething Muslim woman living in an island fishing village changes when a color television is introduced and her hut becomes a hub for the community. The actress Umashree won a National Film Award for her portrayal in this 2008 Kannada-language film from director Girish Kasaravalli. Showtime is 2.40pm.
  • Anand – Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan star in this 1971 drama that's been ranked by Indiatimes Movies as one of the "Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films". It's about a cancer patient (Khanna), who believes in living life to its fullest, and his relationship with his doctor (Bachchan), a bitter, pessimistic man. Showtime is 5.05pm.

Sunday, October 21

  • Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (The Journey of Dr. Kotnis) – This 1946 Hindi-language drama is based on the heroic life of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis, portrayed by V. Shantaram, who is sent to China during World War II to provide medical assistance to the troops fighting against the Japanese. Showtime is noon.
  • Corporate – Industrialists (Rajat Kapoor and Raj Babbar) tangle for dominance in the food-and-beverage sector in this 2006 drama, but their rivalry is intensified by romance between junior executives (best-actress winner Bipashu Basu and Kay Kay Menon). Screens at 2.30pm.
  • Guide – Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman star in this 1965 Hindi drama, which is based on a critically acclaimed novel by R.K. Narayan. Considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Indian cinema, it was India's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 38th Academy Awards. Told as a flashback, a released convict recalls how his life as a tour guide of historic sites became complicated when he fell in love with the married daughter of a courtesan. Screens at 5.20pm.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 11-17, 2012


Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a younger Bruce Willis in the time-bending sci-fi assassin tale Looper.

Gordon-Levitt, a supporting star in such movies as The Dark Knight Rises and Inception, is an assassin in the year 2044, when hitmen use time-travel technology to get back to the past and erase their targets. But one day, he learns the mob wants to “close the loop” by transporting back Joe’s future self – none other than Bruce Willis – to kill him. Gordon-Levitt wore prosthetic make-up so he'd look like a younger Willis. He also spent a lot of time watching old Willis movies and listening to Bruce's voice read dialogue from the film, just to get down the tough-guy patter of the Die Hard star.

This is the third film by The Brothers Bloom director Rian Johnson, who made his debut with the quirky high-school film-noir saga Brick, which also starred Gordon-Levitt.

Looper premiered as the opener of this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated 18+.

Also opening

ArgoWag the Dog meets Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in this 1970s-set spy thriller about a CIA agent who poses as the location scout for a fake Hollywood film in order to enter Iran and rescue trapped Americans. It's a fact-based account of actual events that took place during the 1979 Iran revolution. Ben Affleck stars in and directs Argo. He has rocketed back to critical acclaim after directing the gritty crime dramas Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Other stars include Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin. This is just being released in the U.S. this week, and critical reception, so far, is generally positive. Rated 13+.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – An introverted outsider freshman high-school student (Logan Lerman) with a multitude of issues is befriended by two seniors (Harry Potter's Emma Watson plus Ezra Miller). Stephen Chbosky adapts his own critically acclaimed novel and directs it for the big screen. Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh and Joan Cusack are among the many other stars. Critical reception for this teenage comedy-drama is generally positive. Rated 18+.

The Watch – Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are back together along with Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade for this sci-fi comedy about four suburban slackers who form a neighborhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines. But they get more than they bargained for when they find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion. Critical reception is generally negative. Rated 15+.

My Name is Love (เค้าเรียกผมว่าความรัก, Khao Riak Phom Wa Khwam Rak) – Actor-musician "Pae" Arak Amornsupphasiri cashes another paycheck by starring in a goofy Thai romantic comedy. Here, the long-haired rock guitarist falls for an attractive woman (Tanyasuphang Jirapreechanan) who turns out the be the chubby girl he teased mercilessly back in school. With a few of the usual faces from these types of Thai comedies, it's directed by Wasin Pokpong, half of the director duo that helmed the critically acclaimed cult-hit teen romance Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa Rak (Crazy Little Thing Called Love), and is released by M Pictures. Rated 13+.

Also showing

Coupable – Mystery month continues at the Alliance Française Bangkok. Laetitia Masson directs this 2008 whodunnit starring Jérémie Renier, Hélène Fillières and Denis Podalydès. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 17 at the Alliance Française.

Sneak preview

Sinister — A true-crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) moves into a house where previous residents were murdered. Through "found footage", he comes realize that he's put his family in the path of an evil supernatural entity. Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Dalton Thompson and James Ransone also star. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs. These dreaded "found footage" horror flicks aren't going away, and critical reception for this one, for now, is actually fairly positive. It's in sneak previews this week, with showtimes from around 8 nightly in most multiplexes. Rated 18+.

Take note

The independent Thai drama-documentary In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire continues its limited run at House cinema this week. Entertaining with a wry sense of self-aware humor, it starts out as drama about a young jobless man returning to his northeastern hometown to crash on his father's couch. Then, about halfway through, the story is intercut with documentary footage of interviews with director Wichanon Sumumjarn's father and brother. It is followed by Overseas, a short film by Wichanon and his producer Anocha Suwichakornpong, about a problem encountered by a young Burmese woman in the seafood-packing industry in Mahachai. Showtimes are at 7 tonight and Friday, 12.30 and 7 on Sunday and 7pm on October 15 to 17 (no screenings on Saturday). There's a Q-and-A after the 7pm shows on Friday and Sunday. Check the movie's Facebook page for more details.

Also this week is the Amnesty International Human Rights Film Series: Movies for Life, which started on Wednesday and runs through Friday. It's detailed in last week's post.

Next week will be an extremely busy week for film-goers, with the Indian Centenary Film Festival at SF World from October 19 to 21, which I'll have more on in a bit. And, on October 20, there's Home Movie Day, put on by the Film Archive at BACC and the Films Forum screening of the Filipino drama Niño, also at the BACC.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 4-10, 2012

In April the Following Year, There was a Fire

Wichanon Sumumjarn directs this partly autobiographical experimental drama in which a young man is thrown out of his job by political instability and returns to his hometown in the Northeast.

Here's the synopsis for In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire (สิ้นเมษาฝนตกมาปรอยปรอย, Sin Maysar Fon Tok Ma Proi Proi), from the movie's Facebook page:

Nuhm is a construction foreman working in Bangkok. The political instability in Thailand has made its presence felt in all business sectors. Nuhm suddenly finds himself out of jobs. He decides to leave Bangkok to go back to his hometown in the northeast of Thailand to attend his high school friend’s wedding during the Thai New Year in April, which also happens to be the hottest month of the year.

Nuhm reunites with his old friends at the wedding in Khon Kaen. He also runs into Joy, a senior from his high school whom he used to have a crush on, and is now an office woman. They exchange their phone numbers.

Suddenly, the film turns into another direction. Some interview footage of the director’s father and brother is included, and we learn that the film is a semi-autobiography of the director’s life. The character of Nuhm is, nonetheless, as much a construct as it is real.

From this point on, the film becomes the voyage of a young man into the labyrinths of thereal and the imagined, the documentary and the fiction, the past and the present – and notonly of his self but also of the Thai society writ large.

Produced by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Mundane History) and Electric Eel Films, it's the debut feature by Wichanon, who made his mark with the award-winning short film Four Boys, White Whisky and Grilled Mouse.

In April premiered this year at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and has played at many, many festivals since then. In addition to it's limited release in Bangkok this week, it's also one of several Thai films at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

It's in a two-week release at House on RCA, with showtimes for this week set at 3.45 and 7pm with Q-and-A sessions after the 7pm shows Friday to Sunday. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Yak: The Giant King (ยักษ์) – Here's another animated feature about robots, but this one has a Thai twist, with the Ramayana serving as the main inspiration. It takes place a million years after a war between Rama's robot army and the giants, with the giant king waking up to find himself chained to one of his former enemies, a little Hanuman robot. Neither remember who they are, and so they become friends and set off on an adventure to free themselves. Released by Sahamongkolfilm International, this is the second Thai animated feature film this year following Echo Planet. There's even an English soundtrack with Thai subtitles at CentralWorld, Emporium, Esplanade Ratchada and Paragon. Rated G.

Taken 2 – Liam Neeson is back to kick more butts in this sequel to the hard-hitting 2008 kidnapping thriller. Four years ago, he took brutal action after his daughter was abducted by a white-slavery ring in Paris. Now, he and his ex-wife are taken hostage in retaliation. Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace and Rade Serbedzija also star. Critical reception, so far, is mixed. But if you liked what you saw in the first Taken, then you'll probably like this. Rated 15+.

Won’t Back Down – Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis star in this fact-based drama as two determined mothers who risk everything as they battle an entrenched bureaucracy in an effort to transform their children's failing inner-city school. Holly Hunter also stars. Critical reception is mixed, though there's praise for the way this social-problem movie highlights hot-button issues. At Major Cineplex. Rated 13+.

Finding Nemo – You'll have to wear special glasses if you want to see Pixar's much-acclaimed 2003 talking-fish tale again. It’s the story of a neurotic little single-dad clownfish who sets out on an epic quest to find his missing son around Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneres are among the main voice cast. In 3D. Rated G.

You're My Pet – This South Korean romantic comedy is based on the manga by Yayoi Ogawa, which was previously done as a hit TV series. Kim Ha-neul stars as a young single woman on the rebound from a bad relationship. She comes across a young injured homeless man (Jang Keun-suk) living in a cardboard box and decides to adopt him as her pet. She names him Momo, after her beloved pet dog from childhood. Eventually, she develops strong feelings for the unusual young man, and also struggles to keep her "pet" a secret from co-workers and friends. At Apex Siam Square.

Also showing

Roman de gare (Crossed Tracks) – Claude Lelouch directs this critically acclaimed 2007 thriller starring Fanny Ardant, Audrey Dana and Dominique Pinon. It follows a novelist whose books may have been ghostwritten by a serial killer. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 10 at the Alliance Française.

Human Rights Film Series: Movies for Life – Amnesty International Thailand has organised a movie series to mark the 10th World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10. The series, running October 10 to 12 at the Alliance Française, will consist of four films, the 2011 death-row documentary Into the Abyss, the Kevin Spacey drama The Life of David Gale, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark starring Björk and the woman-on-death-row documentary Crime After Crime, along with other activities. See the Facebook events page for the schedule (in Thai).