Let’s Go to the Movies - Friday 28 - 3 Feb 2011

Thursday, 27 January 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 4 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

The Tourist: US, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – A thoroughly enjoyable espionage caper/ romance.  Highly recommended, if you don’t go expecting an action-packed film with Jolie kicking butt.  Here Angelina Jolie is demure, however deadly, and we don’t see her tattoos.  She and Johnny Depp come on as two stars having a bit of fun together in an enchanting story and script, deceptive on several levels.  Depp plays an American tourist whose playful dalliance with a stranger leads to a web of intrigue, romance, and danger.  It’s one of those movies that will leave some viewers scratching their heads, wondering why there isn’t more action, more snazzy editing, more obvious crackle between its stars.  But the people who get it will simply adore it: It’s a kind of espionage caper that’s visually sensuous, made with tender attention to detail, and an elegant, understated sense of humor.  See it!  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Not at Big C.

The Fighter: (scheduled) US, Biography/ Drama/ Sport – Highly praised film likely to be a serious contender for many Oscar honors.  A drama about boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s unlikely road to the world light welterweight title.  His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dickie, a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded in life after nearly being KO’d by drugs and crime.  With Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, giving two outstanding performances.  Rated R in the US for language throughout, drug content, some violence, and sexuality.  Generally favorable reviews.  Major Cineplex only.

Burlesque: US, Drama/ Musical/ Romance – A big, bold, brassy retelling of the old show-business story: A small-town girl ventures to Hollywood to become a star, starting off in a burlesque club run by a former dancer.  With true star turns by Cher and Christina Aguilera, refereed by the stable and sane Stanley Tucci.  Terrific music and dancing, and if that’s what you’re in the mood for, this will do very nicely.  Rated R in the US for language throughout, drug content, some violence, and sexuality.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

The Social Network: US, Biography/ Drama/ History – By David Fincher. A vastly entertaining account of Mark Zuckerberg and his founding of the social-networking website, Facebook.  A stellar film, impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances.  You definitely must see it.  Headed for Oscar contention for sure.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.  “A riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.”  Not at Big C.

Megamind: US, Animation/ Action/ Comedy – I found this rather cute and funny, and at times hilarious.  But you do have to like animation.  About the unhappiness of a most brilliant but unsuccessful supervillain who over the years has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way.  Each attempt, a colossal failure, thanks to the caped superhero known as “Metro Man,” until the day one of Megamind’s evil plans actually defeats him.  Generally favorable reviews.  In top notch 3D, and only at Pattaya Beach.

The Child’s Eye: (perhaps) Hong Kong, Horror – By the Pang twins, Danny and Oxide, and touted as Asia’s first digital 3D horror film!  Stranded in Thailand by the political uprising and airport closure (surely not in Thailand!), a group of friends are unable to return home.  Unwillingly, they stay in a shabby hotel (the film was shot in Bangkok), and come across three odd children and a puppy, and the beginnings of supernatural encounters.

The Warrior’s Way: New Zealand, Action/ Fantasy/ Western – Now here’s a shame: This film, admittedly weird, is being shown in Pattaya only in a Thai-dubbed version.  I’ve seen the English version here in Thailand, and loved it!  Maybe they’ll eventually come around to showing the English version here.  Certainly not for everyone, and for sure it will be either a delight or a torture, depending on how you react to surreal and over-the-top filmmaking.  It is visually stunning, and extraordinarily violent, with the violence lovingly photographed and choreographed.  This modern martial arts western stars Korean actor Dong-gun Jang playing an Asian warrior-assassin forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands.  With Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, and Danny Huston.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence.  Mixed or average reviews.  I say: fantastical!  Not at Major.

Lud See Lud / The Four: Thai, Action/ Drama – Anthology of four stories, a combination of action, thriller, comedy, and drama, but it looks to focus on the horror with some action and comedy thrown in.  Ananda Everingham (Shutter, The Red Eagle) stars in the more action-oriented segment.

Sud Khet Saled Ped: Thai, Comedy – Kohtee Aramboy and Tukkie are among the ever-present Thai comedians in this film with an untranslatable title, engaged in comic antics much like all that has gone before in Thai comedies.  Except that, well, it seems to be exactly what a great segment of the population wants to see.  It is an ungodly hit, probably at the 100 million baht mark by the time you read this.  That’s phenomenal.

Hor Taew Taek 3 / Oh My Ghost 2: Thai, Comedy/ Horror – More of this dreadful story that is so popular here, about the haunted dorm and its unfortunate owners.  The three owners face a new wave of horror and horrible comedy when they visit a mysterious fraternity house and meet a handsome vampire and a werewolf.  Another Poj Arnon directorial effort focusing on cross-dressing and gay characters and the laughs that can be got from them.

Tron: Legacy: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A rebellious 27-year-old is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father, played by Jeff Bridges, a man once known as the world’s leading video-game developer.  Looking into his father’s disappearance, he finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 20 years.  Unfortunately, 3D is an integral part of the experience of this film, yet it’s no longer being shown in 3D, except in Bangkok.  That would be a better bet, because the 3D is spectacular and cutting-edge.  Bridges is simply sensational.  Mixed or average reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C, English at Major.

Saranae Hen Pee: Thai, Comedy – Ghosts, mayhem, and Mario Maurer.  Two guys run afoul of a mobster and hide out at a Buddhist temple, which, wouldn’t you know, turns out to be haunted.  Not at Major.

Unstoppable: US, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – Exciting thriller starring Denzel Washington taming a runaway train, and it might just be the most entertaining movie you will see this year.  Seems everybody is enjoying this one, I certainly did.  Generally favorable reviews, and I say, “See it!”  Pattaya Beach only, but may have left by now.

Gulliver’s Travels (3D): US, Adventure/ Comedy/ Fantasy – A dreadful film in my opinion, one of the worst I’ve ever seen.  If you truly love Jack Black’s comedy, then you might be amused by this, otherwise stay away.  Live action, not animated.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  In cheesy 3D, and only at Pattaya Beach, if still around.

Maybe?

If either of the following arrives, grab the chance and see it:

Hereafter: US, Drama/ Fantasy – Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial 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.

Fair Game: US, Biography/ Drama/ Thriller – Taut and exciting tale of dirty deeds by the White House.  Director Doug Liman’s fact-based drama of former US ambassador Joseph Wilson; his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson; and the events of 2003, when her identity as a CIA operative was leaked in retaliation by the White House after her husband wrote an op-ed piece criticizing the US invasion of Iraq. Generally favorable reviews.

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