Let’s Go to the Movies

Tuesday, 26 October 2010 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

RED: US, Action/ Comedy – Oh, well, this is a delight!  I had more fun at this one than any movie in some time.  It even made you muse over a few things as you sped along, but not too much and not too deeply.  Mostly it’s just glorious nonsense, with actors that you have come to love to watch, doing their stuff.  Just terrific fun.

When his idyllic life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, a former black-ops agent (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive.  “RED,” by the way, stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.”  Starring Bruce Willis, who, as they say, is “Still Armed, Still Dangerous, Still Got It.”  Also with Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, and Mary-Louise Parker great cast!

“Frank, Joe, Marvin, and Victoria used to be the CIA’s top agents - but the secrets they know just made them the Agency’s top targets.  Now targeted for assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience, and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive.  To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-up in government history.” (Studio blurb).  Mixed or average reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

My Best Bodyguard: Thai, Action/ Thriller – Starring HRH Princess Ubolratana as a dedicated reporter fighting a villainous pharmacy organization that secretly runs an experiment involving a deadly virus which can kill a whole city.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (3D): US/ Australia, Action/ Comedy/ Family – The age-old battle between cats and dogs, in live-action with animated mouths that spout talk that’s meant to be cute.  It offers little more than the spectacle of digitally rendered talking animals with celebrity voices, all in 3D – in those cinemas with 3D, of course.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Red Eagle / Insee Dang: Thai, Action/ Thriller – Ananda Everingham is really terrific as the red-masked crusader in this re-launch of an action franchise from the 1950s and ’60s that starred the legendary Thai leading man Mitr Chaibancha.  This one is set in 2016, and shows Bangkok as a city threatened by not only the usual crime and corruption, but also now in danger from a deadly nuclear plant about to be built.  In the midst of the dismay, a mysterious hero called Red Eagle steps forward to do battle with the evildoers.  However, he has to face his dangerous enemy Dark Devil, the elite killer hired to hunt him down.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.  At Pattaya Beach, it’s in Thai only (but I’d check).

It’s quite an enjoyable Thai action movie.  There are flashes of director Wisit Sasanatieng’s trademark wild use of color and his antic imagination, all here in the service of a comic book masked crusader much along the lines of Batman.  In fact his icon, the spread eagle, looks much like the spread bat-wings of Batman’s symbol.  The film, really, is a sort of Thai Dark Knight.  Be warned, the film is horrifically bloody, too much so for my taste.  Several scenes got me to squirming, and there are way too many beheadings, and wild and extended beheading sprees they are – though I did find amusing the one head that continued smoking a cigarette.

For the whole, Wisit was mostly having fun and I found his enjoyment infectious.  There’s a lot of imagination at work, in a wild and impossible comic book style.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (3D): US/ Australia, Animation/ Fantasy – The animation is superb: the textures of the feathers, the motions of the owls, and particularly the expressiveness of the faces and the life in the eyes.  Quite marvelous, and with beautifully done voice work by excellent actors.  It’s a dark and dense and highly detailed world these owls live in, and it fairly captured me.  Some very scary parts, so young children take note!

The use of 3D is superb, and the scenes of flight are giddy with exuberance and excitement.  Shown in 3D at Pattaya Beach, and please note: the 3D is real 3D, and is a true step forward in the art.  If you at all appreciate animation, don’t miss it!  Shown in 2D at Major, and in 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C.  Mixed or average reviews.

Reign of Assassins / Jianyu: China, Action/ Drama – A martial arts film co-directed by John Woo.  Set in ancient China during the Ming Dynasty, Michelle Yeoh plays a skilled assassin who finds herself in possession of a mystical Buddhist monk’s remains.  She begins a quest to return the remains to its rightful resting place, and thus places herself in mortal danger because a team of assassins is in deadly pursuit to possess the remains, which legend says holds an ancient power-wielding secret.  Assassins had its premier in September at the 67th annual Venice Film Festival where it met with general acclaim from the critics.  Shown in a Thai-dubbed version only, and at Pattaya Beach and Big C only.

E Hed Sod Pa Ded Suek: Thai, Comedy – Outrageous Thai comedy routines involving a bride who happens to have a penis, and is shown in the trailers raping her bridegroom by riding roughshod over his sensibilities with her inflamed member.  Just the usual Thai hijinks.  The studio describes the plot thus: “Captain Muengman who suffers from losing his virginity to his ladyboy bride is assigned to do a challenging mission.  When the unusual ladyboy terrorists are rising, Captain Muengman is chosen to defeat them.  To complete the mission Captain Muengman and his team have to disguise themselves as one of the ladyboys in order to trick Golden Flower, the ladyboy leader of the terrorists who has painful memories about guys.”  That should clear it all up.  It’s noisy trash, to be blunt, but it’s served up with English subtitles for your pleasure at all three locales.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.

Grown Ups: US, Comedy – This film, starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, is a comedy, or so it wishes, about five friends and former teammates who reunite years later to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach.  I can’t imagine why anyone would deliberately want to see this picture.  It’s pretty ugly, full of pretty ugly Americans, living ugly lives, tearing each other down in typically American ways.  Enough, one could say, to re-emphasize why one would prefer to live in Thailand.  Looks sort of like home movies of the people involved.  I find no real humor in it at all.  However, it’s up to you.  Apparently, there are some people who actually like the humor of Adam Sandler.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Yai Sang Ma Yai / I Am Grandmother: Thai, Comedy – Two brothers have been separated since childhood.  One is brought up in a slum and gambles to live, and the other stays home to care for their grandmother.  When an accident causes her to lapse into a coma, and much more money is needed for her treatment, the brothers join up to try to raise the money in a gambling house.  Wise move, huh?  The usual Thai comedic nonsense.  In Thai only, and not at Pattaya Beach.

Devil: US, Horror/ Thriller – A group of people trapped in an elevator realize that the devil is among them.  Produced by M. Night Shyamalan, which the directors and crew are desperately trying to live down, being that his name, post-Airbender, is as welcome as the devil himself.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

Saturday Killer / Mue Puen Dao Phra Sao: Thai, Action/ Comedy – About a troublesome gunman who kills for money to cure his impotence, and a mysterious girl he has a crush on but whose heart he can’t seem to win.  This is the middle film in a trilogy of crime films, Friday Killer, Saturday Killer, and Sunday Killer, all with well-known Thai comics paired up with leading ladies. 18+.

Detective Dee: China/ Hong Kong, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – When the mysterious deaths of a series of loyal subjects threaten to delay the 690 A.D. inauguration of Empress Wu Zetian, she summons the infamous Detective Dee back from exile to solve the crime.  Based on a Chinese folk hero, and starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung.  Shown in a Thai-dubbed version only, and at Major only.

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