Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 24-30, 2015


The 1996 blizzard that killed eight climbers on the world's highest mountain is recounted in Everest, which in the grand tradition of Hollywood disaster epics boasts an expansive all-star cast.

Josh Brolin portrays adventuresome Texas medical doctor Beck Weathers. Jason Clarke is Rob Hall, the New Zealander leader of one expedition, with Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, head of another expedition group.

They are in a fight for survival when a freak blizzard blankets the mountain and leaves the climbers with no way to get down from the deadly heights they've reached. Chances of survival become slimmer and slimmer as oxygen-bottle supplies are depleted.

Others in the cast include John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright and Emily Watson. Keira Knightley is Hall's pregnant wife stuck back home in New Zealand, whom he calls while stranded on the peak. Transcripts of those calls provided the basis for some of the film, as does the work of Outdoors magazine writer Jon Krakauer, whose article about the disaster was adapted into the best-selling book Into Thin Air. He's played in the film by Michael Kelly.

Decades in development by Hollywood, Everest finally comes to the screen under up-and-coming Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (Two Guns).

Following high-profile premieres at fests in Venice and elsewhere, Everest kicks off the autumn-winter blockbuster season leading up to the Oscars. Critical reception is generally favorable.

In addition to conventional screens, it's also in converted 3D, including IMAX. Rated G

Also opening

Pawn Sacrifice – Tobey Maguire is positively unhinged as he portrays the eccentric American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer in this biographical drama, which portrays Fischer as a pawn of Cold War superpowers, coming under pressure as he prepared for the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, facing the formidable Russian master Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber). Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, Defiance) directs. Critical reception is generally positive. Rated 15+

Cooties – Tainted school-cafeteria chicken transforms children into zombie-like monsters, forcing a motley band of teachers to work together to survive. Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson and Jack McBrayer star in this indie horror comedy, which premiered at Sundance last year. The writers behind it are an odd couple, Leigh Whannell, who came up with the gory Saw and Insidious movies, and Ian Brennan, one of the creators of the TV series Glee. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+

The Green Inferno – Tarantino cohort and torture-porn purveyor Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) pays tribute to the cult Italian horror Cannibal Holocaust with this thriller about idealistic American college students hoping to stop deforestation in the Amazon. Their plane crashes in the territory of natives they hoped to protect – a primitive tribe that still practices cannibalism and ritual dismemberment. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+

Mard Payak: The Great Muay Thai Fighter (มาดพยัคฆ์) – Nation Multimedia Group’s Now 26 TV channel breaks into film with this documentary on boxer Samart Payakaroon. Winner of four national weight-class titles and the 1982 World Boxing Council featherweight champ, he was a fearsome fighter who was known as the "Jade Tiger". Made with Samart’s cooperation, the documentary includes dramatized scenes from his upbringing and career, with actors portraying him at various ages. Norachai Kajchapanont directs. You can read more about the film in an article in The Nation. It's at SF Cinemas.

Siam Yuth: The Dawn of the Kingdom (สยามยุทธ) – Two-fisted swordfighting shirtless youngsters fight for honor and country in this historical-action epic. It's been on the books for many months, but has been repeatedly postponed for reasons I'm not privy to. I guess now the time is right for a jingoistic war flick. The story, as far as I can make out, deals with a tight-knit group of friends who take up the fight against a local warlord in ancient Siam. Rated 15+

Boruto: Naruto the Movie – The 11th entry in the manga-based franchise has young Boruto, son of ninja leader Naruto Uzumaki, hoping to surpass his father’s heroic deeds. He engages his father’s friend, Sasuke Uchiha as his trainer. Most of these manga/anime movies are usually only Thai dubbed, but according to information I've been given, it's in Japanese with Thai subtitles at Apex, Paragon, Quartier Cineart, SFC Terminal 21 and SFW CentralWorld. Rated G

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karu – Popular Indian stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma makes his film debut, playing four roles in this romantic farce about a guy who has married three times and is on the lookout for wife number four. It's in Hindi With English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – The club has a private event tonight but the month of directorial debuts wraps up tomorrow with Wes Anderson's quirky comedy Bottle Rocket, which features Anderson's Texas pals the Wilson brothers, Owen (who co-wrote the movie), Luke and Andrew. Saturday, it's Guy Ritchie's turn, with his crime farce Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Wish he still made movies like that. Sunday has one more Douglas Sirk film for the month, with 1955's All That Heaven Allows, starring Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. Tuesday has Wes Craven's Scream 2 and the month closes out with one more unusual sci-fi entry, the proto-science-fiction film, 1927's Metropolis. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the under-renovation Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. For more details, check the club's Facebook page.

Movies on Design – Part of the Bangkok Design Festival, Movies on Design has five documentaries screening at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center this Friday and Saturday and next Friday and Sunday. The selection consists of Microtopia, about tiny houses; The Startup Kids, about the founders of such Web-based initiatives as Vimeo, Dropbox and Soundcloud; Where Architects Live, featuring the living spaces of Zaha Hadid and other famous building designers; Koolhaas Houselife, which looks at the unexpected hassles of living in an architectural masterpiece; and Gamer Age, a study on the evolution of video games. These are ticketed shows. For the schedule and other details, please see the BACC's website.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdal wanted to prove his theory that Polynesia was settled from the West by indigenous South Americans. To do so, he built a balsa-wood raft, just like the sailors in pre-Columbian times used. The 4,300-mile, 101-day voyage became the subject of an Oscar-winning 1950 documentary by Heyerdal, and it serves as the basis for 2012's Kon-Tiki, an adventure epic that is Norway's most expensive film production yet. A gripping drama, it was a nominee for the Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Gutsy directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who ignored the advice of other filmmakers and actually made their film in the open ocean rather than a studio, have since been tapped to helm the upcoming next Pirates of the Caribbean movie with Johnny Depp. Kon-Tiki screens at 7pm on Monday at the FCCT as part of the club's Contemporary World Film Series. The screening is courtesy of the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Admission is 150 baht for non-members and 100 baht for anyone want the embassy's beer, salmon and other delicacies.

Alliance Française – An paroled thief is coaxed back into the life of crime by old cohorts who want to steal a priceless gem in Le dernier diamant (The Last Diamond). To do so, the thief must get close to a woman who is a gem expert. Eric Barbier directs and Yvan Attal, Bérénice Béjo, Jean-François Stévenin and Antoine Basler star. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, September 30, at the Alliance.

Sneak preview

Sicario – Here's another movie that's already attracting a fair bit of awards-season buzz. Emily Blunt stars has a hard-driving FBI agent who is recruited to join a top-secret anti-drugs task force on the U.S.-Mexico border. Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro and Victor Garber also star. It's directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy). Following its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, critical reception is extremely positive. Sicario is in a two-week sneak preview run, with shows from around 8 nightly in most multiplexes. It opens in a wider release on October 8. Rated 15+

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 17-23, 2015

Mae Bia (The Snake)

Giant snake aside, it's the same old story with veteran director and drama coach ML Bandevanop "Mom Noi" Devakula, who adapts yet another well-known Thai tale with his latest film Mae Bia (แม่เบี้ย, a.k.a. The Snake).

Based on a short story by the late writer Vanich Charoenkit-anant, it's the erotic tale of a married businessman returning to Thailand after many years overseas. Feeling the need for a refresher course in Thai ways, he signs up for a cultural tour and becomes smitten with the enchanting guide Mekhala. Sparks fly, but Mekhala has a symbiotic relationship with a supernatural cobra, which makes her deadly to would-be suitors.

Journeyman actor Shahkrit Yamnarm stars alongside newcomer "Oam" Karnpithchar Katemanee, a third-place winner of Thailand Miss World 2009.

As with the other movies the veteran drama coach Mom Noi has made since his return to filmmaking a few years ago, Mae Bia is an old and often-adapted tale. It has already been made into a film at least twice, including a 2004 version that featured Napakprapha "Mamee" Nakprasert in one of her big break-out roles.

Mom Noi's other late-period efforts are Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity), U Mong Pha Mueang, Jan Dara and last year's Plae Kao (The Scar). Aside from the Rashomon remake U Mong Pha Meuang, all are slavish adaptations of well-worn and well-known stories from the canon of Thai popular literature. And to a certain segment of Thai society these stories never get old. Appearing to have been made in the bygone eras in which they are set, Mom Noi's movies feature unabashedly stagebound acting, sumptuous period costumes, lush backdrops and lots and lots of sex scenes. It's rated 18+

Also opening

Burying the Ex – Director Joe Dante looks to be capturing a little bit of the old fun B-movie flair he had with such movies as Matinee, Gremlins and The Howling. A low-budget effort, Burying the Ex stars Anton Yelchin as a fellow who is afraid of his manipulative and controlling girlfriend Evelyn (Ashley Greene). After she is killed in a freak accident, young Max moves on to a new girl (Alexandra Daddario), but Evelyn returns from the grave as a zombie and is more menacing than ever. It's at SF cinemas. Critical reception has been mixed. Rated 15+

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails – In part two of the latest franchise to be ripped from the pages of a young-adult novel, Thomas (Dylan OBrien) and his fellow Gladers, including Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Lee Ki-hong) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), find their way out of the Maze only to stumble on a confusing world run by the mysterious organization WCKD. Searching for answers, the youngsters decide to brave the Scorch, a vast expanse of post-apocalyptic desert. Among the stars in this new installment is Aiden Gillan from Game of Thrones and The Wire. Critical reception has been mixed. Rated 13+

The Case of Hana and Alice – In this animated prequel to Shunji Iwai’s 2004 live-action youth drama, Alice is a newly arrived student who becomes friends with the neighbor girl Hana. The two seek to solve the mystery surrounding the death of a classmate. The rotoscope method is used to animate this story, allowing actresses Anne Suzuki and Yu Aoi, who played Hana and Alice 10 years ago, to play younger versions of their characters. It's in Japanese with English and Thai subtitles at Apex, House and Quartier CineArt. Rated G

Jurassic World: The 3D IMAX Experience – Genetically enhanced dinosaurs are bigger and badder than ever as the record-setting blockbuster from earlier this summer returns for a one-week engagement at IMAX theaters. Worth noting, as I often have on this blog, the only honest-to-goodness IMAX screen in Thailand is at Paragon. There are several other IMAX theaters in Thailand now, and though the IMAX company refuses to distinguish any differences between them, these newer "IMAX Digital" outlets have smaller screens and in my book they are not real IMAX theaters. Accept no substitutes. Rated G

Katti Batti – Touted as an "anti-romance", this Bollywood comedy-drama has an architect (Imran Khan) falling head-over-heels in love with a quirky, free-spirited young woman (Kangana Ranaut). She's different, and that's what attracts the guy. But just as suddenly as she enters his life, she leaves. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – The month of directorial debuts continues with Christopher Nolan's Memento tonight, Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies and Videotape tomorrow and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs on Saturday. Douglas Sirk Sunday has Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall in Written on the Wind. Next Tuesday is the film that kicked off the revitalized career of Wes Craven, 1994's Scream. And next Wednesday is another showcase from last year's Shnit International Short Film Festival, in a run-up to this year's fest, which is set for October 7 to 18, and is held simultaneously in major cities worldwide, including Bangkok. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the under-renovation Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. For more details, check the club's Facebook page.

Alliance Française – The month of female-focused movies continues with L'homme qu'on aimait trop (In the Name of My Daughter). Catherine Deneuve stars in the fact-based drama as the owner of a casino in Nice, who has a strained relationship with her fiercely independent daughter (Adèle Haenel). Further stress comes when the daughter enters into a relationship with a womanizing lawyer (Guillaume Canet), and eventually disappears, prompting the mother to launch an epic search. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, September 23, at the Alliance.

Sneak preview

Everest – And the autumn-winter blockbuster season has officially begun, with the fall's first big Hollywood tentpole Everest hitting the screen in sneak previews before a bigger release next week, following its world premiere last week at the Venice Film Festival. Based partly on the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Everest recounts the 1996 disaster on the world's highest mountain, when a sudden blizzard blanketed the peak, killing eight climbers. Touted as a "3D epic" it is nevertheless in converted 3D. It's screening in sneak previews from around 8 nightly at most multiplexes and opens wider next Thursday. Rated G

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 10-16, 2015


Attendees of the now-defunct Bangkok International Film Festival in 2008 might remember a weird movie called Otto: Or Up with Dead People, an offbeat musical comedy about a gay zombie that featured explicit sex scenes.

And as far as I recall, that's the last time a Bruce LaBruce movie played publicly in Bangkok, until now. This week brings a light-hearted 2013 effort from Canada's taboo-challenging cult director, the romantic comedy Gerontophilia, which covers the sexual awakening of a young man (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie) as he discovers he has a fetish for elderly men. To nurture his new obsession, he takes a job in a nursing home and develops a special bond with one of the patients.

The film has been brought in by the new indie distribution shingle Doo Nang Took Wan, run by Ken Thapanan Wichitrattakarn, a public-relations professional who got into the movie business a few months ago when he single-handedly brought the Brazilian coming-of-age gay drama The Way He Looks to Bangkok.

Critical reception has been mixed. It's at the Lido. Rated 18+

Also opening

No Escape – Owen Wilson, not content to wait by the phone for his buddy Wes Anderson to call, stars as a water engineer who has moved with his family to an anonymous, strife-torn Southeast Asian country. There, wherever that is, a rebellion breaks out and the family become targets as anti-foreigner sentiments boil over. Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan also star. There have been at least a couple controversies over this production, which had the working title of The Coup when it was being made in northern Thailand a year or so ago. One was when Wilson posed for a photo with whistle-blowing anti-government protesters. There was also a fuss over the signage in the film, which in a desperate move by the country's film minders to strip any Thai identity out of the picture, so as to not harm tourism, was written in Khmer and turned upside down. That has led to No Escape being banned in the newly emerging cinema market of Cambodia, amid rumors that it would be banned in Thailand as well. No such luck. Critical reception has been mixed. It's by the writer-director pair of John Erick and Drew Dowdle, who previously did the found-footage thrillers Quarantine and As Above, So Below. Rated 15+

SPL 2: A Time for Consequences – Thai martial-arts star Tony Jaa makes his much-anticipated debut in a Hong Kong action film. He's a tough Thai cop who has taken a job as a prison guard while he tries to raise money to pay for his sick daughter's treatment. On the job, he's assigned to watch over a prisoner (Wu Jing) who is actually a Hong Kong police officer who has gone way undercover in a relentless bid to bring down the head of a human-trafficking ring. Louis Koo and Simon Yam also star. Cheang Pou-soi (Dog Bite Dog, Motorway) directs. This is a sequel-in-name-only to the terrific 2005 Hong Kong crime thriller SPL: Sha Po Leng, which had Donnie Yen throwing down with the formidable Sammo Hung. Wu Jing was in that one too, but played a different character. A box-office success in China, critical reception for SPL 2 has been fairly positive – much better than for Jaa's English-language debut Skin Trade, which I actually kinda liked. SPL 2 is Thai-dubbed only with English subtitles. Rated 18+

The Assassin – Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien returns with his first movie in eight years, and his very first wuxia martial-arts drama. It's set during the olden days of the Tang Dynasty. Shu Qi stars as a young woman who returns to the village where she was born, and sent away from as child. Training since then as an assassin, she is out to redeem herself after botching a previous job. But this one isn't going to be easy, as her new target is the man she had been arranged to marry. Chang Chen also stars. After making a buzzworthy premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the best director prize, critical reception has been generally positive. It's in Mandarin with English and Thai subtitles at Apex, House, Major Ratchayothin, Major Rama III, Paragon, Quartier CineArt and SFW CentralWorld. Rated 15+

Assassination – Not to be confused with China's The Assassin, this South Korean period drama deals with a ragtag team of resistance fighters under Japanese occupation in the 1930s. Lifting a page from The Dirty Dozen, they are condemned criminals who have been let out of prison with top-secret orders to kill the Japanese army’s commander. Critical reception has been favorable. It's in Korean with English and Thai subtitles at Esplanade Ratchada, Major Ratchayothin, Paragon and Quartier CineArt. Rated 18+

Self/less – A terminally ill elderly billionaire buys a chance for eternal life through an underground experimental medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the cadaver of a younger man. He's played by Ryan Reynolds. Tarsem Singh, slumming it since the hyperstylishness of The Cell, directs. Critical reception has been mostly negative. Rated 15+

The Shamer’s Daughter – There's swords and sorcery in this adaptation of a best-selling Danish young-adult fantasy novel by Lene Kaaberbol. It's about a supernaturally gifted young woman who has to uncover the truth when her realm's heir to the throne is wrongfully accused of killing his family. Seems it is Thai-dubbed only. Rated 15+

Cub – Kids are in peril in this Belgian import about Cub Scouts camping in the woods becoming prey for a local poacher and his feral son. It's at SF cinemas only, and according to the soundtrack information I've been given, it's in Flemish and French with English and Thai subtitles.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Tonight, a mathematician becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessed as he tries to find meaning in a mysterious numerical sequence in Pi, the debut feature of Darren Aronofsky. And tomorrow it's the directorial debut of Robert Redford, 1980's Academy Award-winning Ordinary People. And another classic shows on Saturday, Terrence Malick's debut Badlands. It's still his best film. Sunday has a special screening of the 1997 comedy As Good As It Gets, with a member of the assistant director team, Robert Neft, sharing behind-the-scenes stories of working with director James L. Brooks, star Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear. And next Wednesday is Android, a low-budget 1982 robot drama that B-movie producer Roger Corman passed on. It went on to be a critically acclaimed sleeper hit. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the under-renovation Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. For more details, check the club's Facebook page.

Behind the Painting – Time to get out of the cinema and into the art gallery, as the interesting and talented video artist and filmmaker Chulayarnnon Siriphol offers his interpretation of the classic Thai story Behind the Painting. Set in Japan, the tragic romance involves a young Thai student who has been employed by an elderly Japanese man to look after his young blue-blooded Thai wife. Written in 1937 by popular author Sri Burapha, the novel has been adapted for film, television and stage many times, including a 2001 film version that was the last feature by the revered Thai auteur Cherd Songsri. In an homage to Cherd, his film is woven into the fabric of Chulayarnnon's entertaining experimental work, which has him hilariously portraying both the young man and, in the grand tradition of theatrical cross-dressing, the young woman. I've actually seen this, in a Film Virus retrospective last year, and I told Chulayarnnon afterward that I don't feel I need to see any other version. Definitely worth a look. It was created last year during Chulayarnnon's participation in the artist-in-residence program at the Aomori Contemporary Art Center in Japan. Organized by the Japan Foundation and curated by the Aomori center's Hiroyuki Hattori, Behind the Painting is at the Silpakorn University Art Center, opening tomorrow night (invitation only) and running until October 10. Directions to the gallery are available online.

Alliance Française – There are two French film to list this week. First up is a family friendly animated feature at 2pm on Saturday, 2012's Moon Man, in which the Man in the Moon grows bored and goes sightseeing across the universe. Meanwhile, none of the children on Earth can fall asleep because the Moon Man is missing. And next Wednesday's usual screening is 2013's Un château en Italie (A Castle in Italy), written, directed by and starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. The semi-autobiographical yarn has a woman re-energized by love in her life. Meanwhile, her wealthy industrialist family is crumbling around her. It screens at 7pm on Wednesday, September 16, at the Alliance.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 3-9, 2015


Having honed his craft making award-winning short films and independent features and writing commercial screenplays, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit makes his much-hyped mainstream studio debut with Freelance Ham Puay Ham Phak Ham Rak More (ฟรีแลนซ์.. ห้ามป่วย ห้ามพัก ห้ามรักหมอ, a.k.a. Heart Attack).

A romantic comedy, it's about a stressed-out graphic designer who comes down with a skin rash and falls in love with the attractive female doctor who's treating him. The story, written by Nawapol, is loosely based on his own experiences as a struggling, stressed-out "freelance" filmmaker.

Freelance follows his much-acclaimed indie features, the low-budget experimental romance 36, the more-ambitious and more-overtly quirky Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy and the pirate-video documentary The Master.

Released by GTH, Thailand's most-successful movie studio, everything about Freelance is calculated to fill the multiplexes.

By his lonesome, Nawapol proved to be a one-man publicity juggernaut, putting buns in seats for his indie efforts solely through posts on Twitter and Facebook. Now he has the might of GTH's marketing machine behind him – the same machine that cranked out the box-office record breaker Pee Mak in 2013 and last year's No. 1 movie I Fine Thank You Love You.

Further interest in Freelance is guaranteed by the film's bankable stars, leading man Sunny Suwanmethanon from I Fine and Davika Hoorne from Pee Mak
Of course it also helps that Nawapol has actually been part of the GTH family for several years, having had a hand in the screenplay to the 2009 box-office smash Bangkok Traffic Love Story and writing 2011's entertaining young entrepreneur biopic Top Secret.

You can read more about Freelance in an article in The Nation. Owing to Nawapol's indie roots, Freelance is being screened at the indie theaters, Scala/Lido and House, which is unusual because those theaters rarely host first-run mainstream Thai commercial films. Rated 13+

Also opening

The Transporter Refueled – French producer Luc Besson reboots his automotive action franchise, with newcomer actor-musician Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones) suiting up for the role made famous by Jason Statham. It's the same set-up as always – he's an excellent driver with a mysterious past who takes delivery jobs for criminals while adhering to a strict set of rules. This time around, he tangles with a trio of female assassins (Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic) who kidnap his father (Ray Stevenson). It's directed by Camille Delamarre, who previously was film editor on Transporter 3 and Taken 2 and made his feature directorial debut with Brick Mansions, the Paul Walker vehicle that was a remake of the Besson-produced action flick Banlieue 13. Critical reception is just getting revved up. Rated 15+

So Very Very (จริงๆ มากๆ, Jing Jing Mak Mak) – In this indie South Korean romantic comedy, aspiring filmmaker Sung-hoon (Oh Chang-kyung) falls for a Thai lady named Pan (Cho Ha-young), and the two get married and set out to have a happy life in South Korea. Instead, their relationship is like a Korean soap opera, as Pan soon wearies of struggling with a husband who can only land minor jobs in TV and films, so she decides to return to Thailand. Directed by Park Jae-wook, it's in Korean with Thai (and English!) subtitles at House on RCA. Rated 15+

Welcome Back – This sequel to the 2007 Bollywood action-comedy Welcome has the characters played by Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor and Paresh Rawal putting their criminal pasts behind them as they have become big businessmen. Conflict and hijinks ensue as everyone is under pressure to get married and start families. John Abraham and Shruti Haasan join the cast for this new song-and-dance romp. Anees Bazmee (Singh is Kinng) directs. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Horror-meister Wes Craven, who died on August 30 at the age of 76, is paid tribute this month, with a slate of some of his best-known films on Tuesdays. Next week is his 1984 classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street, which introduced the very scary steel-clawed dream invader Freddy Krueger to the world, and features an early appearance by Johnny Depp. Other features this month are "not the usual sci-fi" on Wednesdays, first features on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the films of Douglas Sirk on Sundays. Tonight, it's indie American director Noah Baumbach's 1995 debut Kicking and Screaming (not to be confused with the Will Ferrell soccer comedy). Steven Spielberg's white-knuckle 1971 debut Duel, starring Dennis Weaver and a Peterbilt truck, screens tomorrow. And Alejandro González Iñárritu's eye-popping first feature, Amores Perros, is on Saturday. Even after last year's astonishing Birdman, it's still his best film. Jane Wyman and a raw young Rock Hudson star in Sirk's 1954 romantic drama Magnificent Obsession on Sunday. And next Wednesday's offbeat sci-fi offering is Shane Carruth's low-budget Sundance smash Primer. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the under-renovation Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. For more details, check the club's Facebook page.

Cinema Diverse: Director's Choice – Thai director Banjong Pisanthanakun (Pee Mak, Hello Stranger, Shutter) will screen one of his favorite films at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center on Saturday. It's The Chaser, a terrific crime thriller from 2008 that was the feature debut by South Korean director Na Hong-jin. He'll be in attendance for a talk about his film with Banjong afterward. Registration opens at 4.30pm, with the screening at 5.30 in the BACC's fifth-floor auditorium.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – The FCCT's Contemporary World Film Series spins on, with the Embassy of Belgium bringing the beer and cheese on Monday night for a 7pm screening of Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit), the latest drama by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Marion Cotillard, an Oscar nominee for her role, portrays a woman in a fight for her job. Admission is 150 baht for non-members, plus 100 baht for anyone wanting the suds and snacks. Also next week at the FCCT is a documentary and panel talk, Thirty Years On: The Killing of Neil Davis and Bill Latch, which recalls the 1985 attempted coup by the "Young Turks", which was bloodily put down by government forces, resulting in 59 injuries and five deaths, including the two journalists. Reservations are required for this event, which is on the failed coup's anniversary, 7pm next Wednesday, September 9. Admission is 350 baht for non-members plus 350 baht for anyone wanting the buffet (hence the need to RSVP). Also this month is a screening of the gripping high-seas adventure, Norway's Kon-Tiki on September 28.

Alliance Française – A novice actor and a veteran director form an unlikely friendship during a film shoot in Maestro, a 2014 comedy-drama directed and co-written by Léa Fazer. Pio Marmaï and Michael Lonsdale star. Inspired by a real-life encounter by the late young actor Jocelyn Quivrin and French New Wave director Eric Rohmer, it screens at 7pm on Wednesday, September 2, at the Alliance.

Take note

Thai film studios and distributors have largely cleared the decks this week to make way for the big tentpole release of Freelance, because nobody wants to go up against a GTH film. Go see it at House or Lido and support your local independent cinemas.

Next week, there will be more than a half-dozen new films, among them the made-in-Thailand action drama No Escape, which has been torn to bits by critics.

There's also Thai martial-arts star Tony Jaa's well-received Hong Kong action debut SPL 2: A Time for Consequences, and a big title from this year's Cannes Film Festival, Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien's The Assassin. I'm holding out slim hopes that both the Chinese-language films will have at least one place playing the original soundtrack with English subs.

And an interesting release next week will be Gerontophilia, a weird new film by the taboo-challenging cult director Bruce LaBruce. Set for the Lido, it's being brought in by the new indie distribution shingle Doo Nang Took Wan, run by Ken Thapanan Wichitrattakarn, who single-handedly brought the Brazilian coming-of-age gay drama The Way He Looks to Bangkok a few months back.