Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening June 16-22, 2016


Three award-winning Asian indie directors – Tan Shijie from Singapore, Xin Yukun from China and Sivaroj Kongsakul from Thailand – each take a crack at directing Taiwanese actor Chen Bo-lin in Distance
The three-segment drama has the actor in different roles in stories that explore the notion of "distance" and what it means in our societies.

The producer behind this ambitious indie project is Anthony Chen, the Singaporean filmmaker who won much acclaim for his 2013 drama Ilo Ilo. He's helped out by Thai producer Aditya Assarat, who also wrote one of the segments.

Distance previously was the opening entry in the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei.

It's in Chinese with English and Thai subtitles at SF World Cinema CentralWorld, SFX Cinema Central Rama 9 and SFX Cinema Maya Chiang Mai. Rated 15+

Also opening

The Nice Guys – Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe team up for this buddy comedy that is a throwback to a bygone era of Hollywood comedies. Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the neo-noir story has a down-on-his-luck private eye (Gosling) getting help from a self-employed enforcer (Crowe) in investigating the mysterious death of a porn star. Shane Black, the cult-figure screenwriter of Lethal Weapon, co-wrote the script and directs. Critics love it. Rated 15+

Central Intelligence – And Thai movie distributors and cinema chains double down on buddy comedies, with this one starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart. Johnson is a former fat kid who was bullied in school. He grew up musclebound and became a CIA agent. He attends his high-school reunion while claiming to be on secret mission. He and a motor-mouthed classmate (Hart) get up to adventures while they foil a terror plot. The director is Rawson Michael Thurber, who previously helmed the comedy masterpiece Dodgeball as well as We're the Millers. Critical reception is just starting. Rated G

Finding Dory – After more than a decade of enduring the endless pestering of talk-show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres to make a sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo, animators at Disney-Pixar finally gave up and made Ellen a movie featuring her forgetful blue tang fish Dory. She starts to have flashbacks to her family, and enlists her clownfish friends Marlin and Nemo to help her. She's then captured and taken to a marine research facility, where she has to make new friends to help her in her quest. Albert Brooks is back as the voice of Marlin with other voice talent including Ed O'Neill, Idris Elba, Dominic West and many others. Critics have all drunk the Pixar Kool-Aid. It's in 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX. Rated G

Udta Punjab – Four characters – a rock star, a migrant labourer, a doctor and a cop – fight the menace of drugs. Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh star. In Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

The Third Silent Film Festival in Thailand – One of the earliest vampire films, 1922's Nosferatu opens the festival at 8 tonight at the Scala. Live musical accompaniment will be by German composer and multi-instrumentalist Gunter A. Buchwald, with percussion by Thai classical musician Anant Nark-kong. Tickets are 200 baht. The fest then shifts over to the Lido for screenings from Friday until Wednesday. Tickets are 120 baht. They are all great films and are worth seeing on the big screen with live musical accompaniment – it is an experience that can only be had in the cinema. The line-up was profiled in a special post last week. For further details, check check or

Singapore Film Festival – The third annual Bangkok showcase of Singaporean cinema gets underway today at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Running until Sunday, the fest have five entries, ranging from 1997's 12 Storeys to last year's SG50 celebration 7 Letters. It was all covered in a special post last week. Tickets are free and will be handed out 30 minutes before the shows. For more details, check the SF cinemas' site.

Bangkok Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – The second edition of the BGLFF continues until Sunday at the Quartier CineArt. Lots of worthwhile stuff. The line-up and schedule were detailed in a recent special post. Tickets are 160 baht and 180 baht. Please note that there are no ads before the shows, so the films are generally starting on time, at least that was the case when I attended last weekend.

The Friese-Greene Club – American politics are still in focus tonight with Recount, an award-winning 2008 HBO drama about the 2000 presidential ballot recount in Florida. Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, John Hurt and Denis Leary are among the stars. Tomorrow, it's Wong Kar-wai's drama of unrequited romance In the Mood for Love, which had Bangkok locations standing in for 1960s Hong Kong. And Saturday has a "not-so-classic" foreign film made in Thailand, Sacrifice!, a 1972 Italian cannibal horror that's also known as The Man from Deep River. And Sunday's film from 75 years ago is the Josef von Sternberg thriller The Shanghai Gesture. Next Wednesday is a documentary on U.S. politics, 1960's Primary, which recalls the Democratic nomination fight between JFK and Hubert Humphrey. 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 – Tomorrow night's French film with Thai subtitles is Il était une forêt (Once Upon a Forest), a documentary by Luc Jacquet, who later did March of the Penguins. Next Wednesday's French film with English subtitles is Alda et Maria (All Is Well), in which a pair of teenage girls escape civil war in the Congo and land in Lisbon. Shows are at 7pm. Admission for the general public is 100 baht.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand – The Contemporary World Film Series has one more movie this month, with Le meraviglie (The Wonders) at 7pm on Monday. An Italian-Swiss drama, it's about a family of beekeepers in the Tuscan countryside who have their quiet lives disrupted by the arrival of a troubled teenage boy and by a reality-TV crew. Directed by Alice Rohrwacher, it won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. Admission is 150 baht for non-members plus 100 baht for anyone wanting the wine and cheese laid on by the Swiss Embassy.

Take note

House cinema is still closed for renovations. The place was to reopen today, but work is taking a bit longer than expected, now lasting until June 22.

The European Union Film Festival kicks off next week at CentralWorld, running June 22 to July 3.

And the oddball Thailand International Film Destination Festival has finally got around to simply stating when it will take place. Drumroll please: July 4 to 13 at Paragon Cineplex.

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