Let's go to the movies - Friday 24 June - 30 June 2011

Friday, 24 June 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 25 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

Green Lantern: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.  The personable and pleasing Ryan Reynolds becomes one of the six Green Lanterns patrolling Sector 2814, which includes Earth.  

Also starring Mark Strong and a delightfully evil Peter Sarsgaard.  Much action on another world, which is nicely detailed visually.  The film does everything right for a hero that is not exactly the world’s favorite (not even well-known), but he has a sizable fan base, and they should be pleased at this realization.  It’s good comic-book fun.

Peter Sarsgaard in Green Lantern. Peter Sarsgaard in Green Lantern.

Hidden in the closing credits is a scene from the sequel (in which a surprising character turns out to be evil!).  I guess they’re assuming this story will continue through at least one more film.  The use of 3D has gotten some high praise, especially for the space scenes and the alien landscapes.  I saw it in 2D.  Mixed or average reviews.  In both 2D and 3D versions at all locations (yes, even Big C has 3D now!); the 3D version at Big C is Thai-dubbed.

Kung Fu Panda 2: US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – Having seen this yet again, I feel I must emphasize that I think this is one of the finest animated films ever.  I’m astounded at the emotion it’s able to elicit, as well as the amount of exhilarating fun throughout.  The animation is great, in a couple of distinct styles, including shadow puppets.  And it’s funny.  Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan are among others in a stellar cast who lend their voices to the characters in this sequel.  Really, it’s an awesome film, as much a hoot as the first film, but with a dark and adult side to it as well, dealing with serious personal issues, and a resolution that’s genuinely emotional and satisfying.  See it!  Generally favorable reviews.  The 3D version is only at Pattaya Beach, 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C.  The 3D is reportedly a solid and impressive job; I saw it in 2D.

Super 8: US, Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – This is a true delight.  It’s like discovering an unknown but classic early Spielberg film, in the vein of E.T. or The Goonies.  In the summer of 1979, a group of childhood friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a Super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident.  Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth - something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.  The kids in the movie act like kids, there’s a plot, the action sequences are old fashioned in that you can follow them, there’s depth of emotion, and it’s just a fine experience.  Finally there’s a fantastic train wreck!  See it if you at all like this sort of thing.  Steven Spielberg is producer, and the director J.J. Abrams apprenticed under Spielberg in a number of classic Spielbergiens.  Not in 3D – it’s not needed or wanted.  Generally favorable reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night: (Scheduled) US, Comedy/ Horror/ Thriller – Brandon Routh stars as Dylan Dog, world famous private investigator specializing in affairs of the undead.  His PI business card reads “No Pulse? No Problem.”  Dylan seeks out the monsters in the backstreets of New Orleans, a city with a long and storied history with the supernatural.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Small Rule / Small Ru: Thai, Comedy/ Musical – Typical Thai comedy.  English subtitles except at Major .

X-Men: First Class: US, Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Smart, spectacular, often thrilling, always incredibly entertaining – they did everything right with this one.  Following the classic Marvel mythology, the film charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.  Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men – beautifully realized by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender – discovering their extraordinary mutant powers for the first time.  Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world had ever known.  Includes the gifted actor (in my opinion) Kevin Bacon in one of his too-rare film appearances – and note how brilliantly but casually he tosses off the dialogue in German and Russian!  Also features President John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, in a re-imagining of that near-catastrophic standoff.  Generally favorable reviews.  Film was never planned for 3D; the director, Matthew Vaughn, prefers 2D.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

The Lincoln Lawyer: US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – Very good! Matthew McConaughey as a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan.  He has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: defending a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder.  The seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly and twisting game of survival.  I thought it a dandy thriller and a rock-solid entertainment, made with much care and given much personality.  Rated R in the US for some violence, sexual content, and language. 13+ in Thailand.  Generally favorable reviews.  At Major only.

Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy: Hong Kong, Drama/ Comedy/ Romance – This is more comic than erotic to most reviewers, and with a disturbing violent streak that unpleasantly mixes the erotic with the painful, such as rape, and even death.  Three minutes have been cut by Thai censors, though mainly through “trims” rather that “cuts.”  The director says that even in Hong Kong, three minutes were trimmed.  Key female protagonists are played by recognizable Japanese porn stars, and great rivers of pulsing flesh are apparently on view throughout.  Rated 20 in Thailand, which means you must actually have ID with you that shows you are over 20.  The 3D is judged to be fairly good; presented only in a Thai-dubbed version, and now only at Pattaya Beach.

The Hangover Part II: US, Comedy – Wheeo!  Don’t know about this.  You might find it amusing, but I didn’t like it at all, even though I have to admit I laughed a few times.  In general I thought it just too crass to be fun.  In this follow-up to the record-breaking The Hangover, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis – whose “acting” I am beginning to hate), and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel here to “exotic” Thailand for Stu’s wedding.  Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch.  However, things don’t always go as planned, and they have another alcoholic blackout and come to in Bangkok.  They only slowly find out what they did.  Rated R in the US for pervasive language, strong sexual content, including graphic nudity, drug use, and brief violent images; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, but the Bangkok Post’s reviewer, Kong Rithdee, is really angry over this film, calling it “vulgar and stupid, cinematically, geographically, and culturally.”  I concur.  Not at Big C.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy – The latest in this great pop series, with a shipful of grand scenery-chewing British star swashbucklers.  Now only at Big C, 2D and Thai-dubbed.

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