Let's go to the movies - Fri 4 - 10 March 2011

Friday, 04 March 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 9 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

I Am Number Four: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Teenager John is an apparently average high school student.  Ah, but he’s really a secret alien on the run.  Taking a little of this and that from ten or so recent teen-oriented franchises, the movie hopes to start another series that will sweep audiences off their feet and into their cinemas in droves.  And if not all moviegoers, they’ll settle for teen-age girls, who alone make up a very lucrative market.  I found it okay and mostly enjoyable until producer Michael Bay’s destructive impulses take over at the violent end.  The fewer movies you’ve seen, the better you’ll like this one.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Faster: US, Action/ Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – An ex-con (Dwayne Johnson) sets out to avenge his brother’s death after they were double-crossed during a heist years ago.  During his campaign, however, he’s tracked by a veteran cop and an egocentric hit man.  With Billy Bob Thornton and Maggie Grace.  From the previews, it looks like unrelenting action, meaning plenty of bloody killings, fights, automobile chases, and crashes.  And not one bit of anything that makes sense.  If this is what you like, go!  Rated R in the US for strong violence, some drug use, and language.  Mixed or average reviews.

The Microchip / Chip Hai: Thai, Action/ Comedy – A group of friends try to find a missing microchip which they mistakenly believe is of vast importance and want to return to the owner.  Even the people who like it call it cheesy.

The Eagle: (Scheduled) US/ UK, Adventure – In Roman-ruled Britain, a young Roman soldier endeavors to honor his father’s memory by finding his lost legion’s golden emblem.  Along with his slave, he ventures beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest.  A pleasantly traditional action-adventure tale, well told.  With Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong.  Mixed or average reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Takers: US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – What the Takers take, is money, lots of it, in various skillful robberies of banks or armored cars.  You should like the film if you enjoy exciting and noisy action pictures with plenty of chases.  Also if you like rappers, because one major star is bad-boy rapper T.I., who is in real life fresh out of jail after serving a year and a day for attempting to purchase a small arsenal of assault weapons.  Definitely a cool character.  At the other end of the spectrum is Matt Dillon as a thoroughly experienced cop determined to bring the gang down.  At Pattaya Beach only. Mixed or average reviews.

Hereafter: US, Drama/ Fantasy – That redoubtable director and notable old man, Clint Eastwood, is still making terrific movies at age 80!  This is his latest effort, and it’s a good one.  Matt Damon is one of three people Eastwood studies, each with a different experience of an aspect of life after death.  What do these people believe, what causes them to think that way, and what is the truth?  Fascinating dramas on the topic, well done.  Mixed or average reviews, but I found it solid and fascinating.  Catch it while you can!  At Major Cineplex only.

The Green Hornet: US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – A thoughtless piece of fluff, and as such, it’s okay.  Seth Rogen as the Hornet is an unlikely and rather distasteful super-hero to my way of thinking.  Of special interest to Asians is the role of the hero’s sidekick Cato, played by Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou.  He acquits himself well in this – his slight acting skills and his shaky use of English is underplayed, and to cover we are served a number of funny sight gags and some impressive martial arts.  The whole thing is a bit of a mish-mash and slight, but if you approach it with a relaxed and uncritical frame-of-mind, you will find it entertaining enough.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Not at Big C.

Sanctum 3D: US Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ Thriller – Follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful, and least accessible cave system on Earth.  When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain, and creeping panic.  Not terribly competent, I’m afraid, and James Cameron didn’t really have much to do with it, despite the ads.  Rated R in the US for language, some violence, and disturbing images.  Mixed or average reviews.  In 3D at Pattaya Beach only; in 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Let the Bullets Fly: (Still scheduled) China, Action/ Comedy – Set in China during the warring 1920s, notorious bandit chief Zhang descends upon a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, and a deadly battle ensues.  With Chow Yun Fat and Wen Jiang, written and directed by Wen Jiang.  The film is hugely popular in China, and is on the verge of being China’s biggest box-office hit.

Panya Raenu: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – A story of friendship, and the dreams of a young boy named Panya who has a talent for singing, but is too poor to afford a local music contest. However, with his determination and the support of his friends, he may just win.  Not at Major.

The Rite: US, Drama/ Horror/ Thriller – Anthony Hopkins at his spooky best again as the filmmakers trot out the well-worn possessed/ exorcism/ priest scenario.  If one can believe such things, this is “inspired by true events.”  We follow a skeptical seminary student (Colin O’Donoghue) as he reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican, and while in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest (Hopkins) who introduces him to the darker side of his faith.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Teng Nong Jiwon Bin: Thai, Action/ Comedy – A comedy about a pilgrim and a wealthy jeweller whose destiny has brought them together on a plane where the unexpected happens.  Standard Thai comedy fare, but it seems to be tickling all the right funny bones, because it’s number one at the box office, and not only a hit, but a smash hit.

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