Let's go to the movies - Friday November 4 - November 10, 2011

Friday, 04 November 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 44 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

The Lion King 3D: (Scheduled) US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Drama/ Family/ Musical – This is a superb animated film, seventeen years old now, newly minted for 3D, and as such an absolute smash hit currently in the US, and probably will be here as well.  It’s not only a phenomenon but a truly exquisite and moving film.  I loved it all over again.

Has an incredibly strong cast of voice talents, everyone from Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones to Nathan Lane and Whoopi Goldberg.  Simba, a young lion prince, is tricked into thinking he killed his father.  The guilt-ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.  Heavy stuff, and what legends are made from.  An emotionally stirring classic.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.  Major Cineplex only, in digital 3D.

In Time: US, Crime/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – One of the most intriguing of recent movies, with a unique premise.  In a future where time is literally money, and aging stops at 25, the only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time.  A young man (the ubiquitous and ever more excellent Justin Timberlake) lives life a minute at a time, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy, where he teams up with a beautiful young heiress to destroy the corrupt system.  Also stars Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde.  Mixed or average reviews.  In English with Thai subtitles everywhere, and Big C also has a Thai-dubbed version.

Killer Elite: (Scheduled) US/ Australia, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – The story pits two of the worlds’ most elite operatives – Danny, an ex-special ops agent (Jason Statham) and Hunter, his longtime mentor (Robert De Niro) – against the cunning leader of a secret military society (Clive Owen).  Covering the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East, Danny and Hunter are plunged into a highly dangerous game of cat and mouse – where the predators become the prey.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, language and some sexuality/ nudity.  Mixed or average reviews.

1911: (Scheduled) China/ Hong Kong, Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ History/ War– A historical drama based on the founding of the Republic of China when nationalist forces led by Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty.  Directed by and starring Jackie Chan.  A lavishly illustrated history lesson – even the irrepressible Jackie Chan (this is his 100th film) seems subdued.  Rated R in the US for war violence.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Tower Heist: (Scheduled) US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Casey Affleck lead an all-star cast in a comedy caper about ordinary working guys who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them in a Ponzi scheme.  No reviews yet.

Dream House: US, Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – A family unknowingly moves into a home where several grisly murders were committed, only to find themselves the killer’s next target.  Stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts.  Generally unfavorable reviews, describing it as slow and stuffy, and way too obvious to be scary.  Thai-dubbed at Big C; English elsewhere.

Paranormal Activity 3: (Still scheduled) US, Horror/ Mystery – Much like its immensely popular predecessors, this is a slow-building, stealthily creepy supernatural thriller that takes a teasing and indirect approach to generating suspense and dread, but surpasses the previous ones in terms of tension and scares.  In fact, they say it’s so spine-tingling you might just freak out.  Rated R in the US for some violence, language, brief sexuality, and drug use; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews.

Top Secret / Wai Roon Pan Lan: Thai, Drama – Based on a true story of a teenage boy – “Top” Aitthipat Kulapongvanich – who was wasting his time with online games until a twist of fate changed him from an ordinary teenager to a young billionaire at 27 by creating his Tao Kae Noi seaweed-snack company when he was just out of his teens.  “Top” is his nickname, so the title really reads “Top’s Secret (to success).”

The movie’s teen billionaire is portrayed by Patchara “Peach” Chirathivat, the young actor who made his scene-stealing debut in the rock ‘n’ roll movie SuckSeed earlier this year.  The director is Songyos Sugmakanan, one of the six directors of the legendary Thai film Fan Chan (My Girl), a film whose charm and influence on the Thai movie industry is incalculable.  It’s one of my very favorite Thai movies.  Songyos also directed another favorite of mine, Dek Hor (The Dorm), a brilliant and spooky coming-of-age story. .

30+ Single on Sale: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – A woman in her 30’s faces misfortunes in love and struggles to find her soul mate, but thinks her chances are nearly over now that she’s thirty – especially now that a fortune teller tells her that if she doesn’t find a man soon, she’ll have to wait 20 years before another one comes along.  A big hit in Thailand.  With popular Thai stars Arak (Pe) Amornsupsiri and Cherman Boonyasak.

The Sorcerer and the White Snake: China/ Hong Kong, Action/ Fantasy – I found this a richly entertaining brew of fantasy, romance, and CGI.  Superstar Jet Li stars in a Chinese fable about the forbidden romance between a simple, kind-hearted man and a snake demon who takes the form of a beautiful woman.  The rich production design of this fantasy is a treat, and the supernatural world is vividly realized.  Shown in a Thai-dubbed version only, which is a shame, and now only at Pattaya Beach. Mixed or average reviews.

Johnny English Reborn: US/ France/ UK, Comedy – Rowan Atkinson returns to the role of the most unlikely intelligence officer in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where he must stop a group of international assassins before they eliminate a world leader and cause global chaos.  He is in truth a very funny man, and you’ll likely be surprised to find out how much you’re laughing uncontrollably.  Mixed or average reviews – some people simply aren’t moved by his brand of humor.  Pattaya Beach only (as of last Wednesday).

The Smurfs 3D: US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Fantasy – The little blue people too cute for words, famed from a 421-episode Saturday morning television series in the US from 1981-90, have a New York City adventure in a hybrid live-action/ animated format.  Neil Patrick Harris is the main human character, Jonathan Winters and Anton Yelchin among the stellar voices for the cuddly creatures.  Generally unfavorable reviews, but though a bit mean-spirited, I thought it was nevertheless a fun riff on New York City.  Kids and fans of the characters will probably love it.  Only at Pattaya Beach, and it’s shown in 3D (as of Wednesday).

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World: US, Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Sci-Fi – A retired spy (Jessica Alba) is called back into action, and reluctantly involves her new step-children in her assignment, which is to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world.  Generally unfavorable reviews, most saying the series has fallen off sharply, but aside from the bathroom humor I didn’t find it more objectionable than most kid movies.  Fans of the series by director Robert Rodriguez, and most kids, will probably love it.  In 2D and only at Pattaya Beach, as of last Wednesday.

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