Thursday, December 24, 2015

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


Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 94-year-old style maven of the New York fashion scene, is profiled in Iris.

It is directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, himself a legend for his contributions to the "Direct Cinema" movement with Salesman and Gimme Shelter in the 1960s and '70s. He died last March at age 88, but not before his cameras recorded Apfel reflecting on her glamour-filled life and humble middle-class upbringing during the Depression.

Critical reception is mostly positive. This is another release from the Documentary Club, which closes out a strong first year bringing documentaries to mainstream Thai movie-goers. Stay tuned for more new documentary releases in 2016. It's at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld and SFX Maya Chiang Mai. For details, check

Also opening

Goosebumps – A boy is upset about his family’s move from the big city to a small town until he meets his neighbor, an attractive teenage girl, whose father happens to be the mysterious RL Stine (Jack Black), the author of the best-selling “Goosebumps” horror novels. When the monsters from those fantastic tales are accidentally unleashed, it’s up to Stine and the youngsters to return the beasts back to the books where they belong. Rob Letterman (Gulliver's Travels, Monsters vs. Aliens, Shark Tale) directs. Critical reception is generally positive. Rated G

Love the Coopers – Four generations of a wildly dysfunctional family rediscover the importance of kinship as they gather for the holidays. John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, June Squibb and Alan Arkin are among the huge ensemble cast in this comedy. Jessie Nelson, the writer of Stepmom, I Am Sam and Fred Claus, directs. Critics view this as a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings. Rated 15+

The Boy and the Beast – A lost boy in Tokyo falls into an alternate universe where he’s raised by bear-man, who acts as the boy’s spirit guide and trains him in martial arts. Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children) directs. Critical reception has been favorable, and there's even talk of The Boy and the Beast being among Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature. It's in Japanese with English and Thai subtitles. Rated G

Kyushu the Movie – Musicians Worawech “Dan” Danuwong and Pongjak “Aeh” Pitthanaporn star in this road-trip comedy about the Thai singing duo SanQ on a busking tour of Kyushu Island, Japan. They have 30 days to survive with no money; their only currency is 999 CDs of their songs, which they can sell or trade. At SF cinemas.

Bajirao Mastani – Romance develops between the fierce Maratha warrior Bajirao I and a plucky Rajput princess in this historical romance starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. This was originally scheduled for release last Friday, but was swapped at the last minute with Dilwale, which was supposed to come out here this week. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Paragon and Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Friese-Greene Club – Tonight, for Christmas Eve, it's Joe Dante's cinematic gift to the world, Gremlins, followed by the traditional Christmas Day screening of It's a Wonderful Life. There's more colorful cheer with the traditional Boxing Day screening of The Wizard of Oz on Saturday and The Bishop's Wife on Sunday. And there's one more movie for the year next Wednesday with a final "cool Britannia" entry, Jonathan Glazer's British gangster comedy Sexy Beast. The club then takes a break for the New Year. 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.

Sneak previews

Snap (แค่..ได้คิดถึง, Kae .. Dai Kit Tung) – Writer-director Kongdej Jaturanrasmee sharply observes contemporary Thai society with this romantic comedy-drama, which premiered in competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Set just as the military declares martial law, the story follows a young woman who is about to be married to a military officer. She returns to her provincial-capital hometown of Chanthaburi for a wedding of high-school friends and becomes nostalgic as she reconnects with her old boyfriend, who is the wedding photographer. You can read more about the film in an article in The Nation. There's also a review in the newspaper. It's in sneak previews from around 8 nightly at the Apex cinemas in Siam Square and most other multiplexes, then moves to a wider release next week. Rated 15+

Daddy's Home – Will Ferrell reteams with his Other Guys comedy pal Mark Wahlberg for this family romp about a mild-mannered radio executive (Ferrell) who is struggling to bond with his new wife's two children. Complications ensue when their drifter father (Wahlberg) turns up, kicking off a war of one-upmanship as the two men compete for the kids' affections. Critical reception is mixed, placing Daddy's Home somewhere in the middle of the canon of Ferrell's comedies. It's in sneak previews from around 8 nightly before a wider release on New Year's Eve. Rated G

Take note

There is no German Open Air Cinema nor free screenings at the Alliance Française to report this week. Both are on holiday break and will return after the New Year.

And looking ahead to the New Year, the Japan Foundation has announced the dates and line-up for the Japanese Film Festival. Under the theme "Shapes of Love", the fest will screen contemporary romance films from February 11 to 14 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld.

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