Let's go to the movies - Friday April 06 - April 12, 2012

Friday, 06 April 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 14 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

Wrath of the Titans / Clash of the Titans 2: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy – Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades, who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world.  A sequel to Clash of the Titans.  Not filmed in 3D, but the entire production was conceived as a 3D picture (unlike the first film), with a 3D stereographer on set.

(The 3D conversion of the original was an object of universal scorn, as a supreme example of how not to do a 3D conversion.)  Stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Rosamund Pike.  Generally unfavorable reviews, mostly saying that its 3D effects are an improvement over its predecessor’s, but in nearly every other respect, Wrath of the Titans fails to improve upon the stilted acting, wooden dialogue, and chaos-driven plot of the franchise’s first installment.  Shown in both 3D (English) and 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach, 3D (English) at Major, and both 3D (Thai-dubbed) and 2D (English) at Big C.

The Hunger Games: US, Action/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I enjoyed this – tight, taut, creepy, exciting.  And food for thought.  The story: every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.  One girl volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.  I found it gripping, with some really great things about it.  With Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.  Generally favorable reviews, saying that it’s thrilling and superbly acted, capturing the dramatic violence, raw emotion, and ambitious scope of its source novel.  Second film in the series already shooting. A 2D film in English, except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Titanic: (Scheduled.) US, Adventure/ Drama/ History/ Romance – This is a reworking of the 1997 film, all under the fastidious eye of the director James Cameron, who is a stickler for perfection – or at least as close to perfection as possible.  First off, even the 2D version now is sharpened and cleaned up in a hundred small ways: little errors fixed, some skies reworked (there are now bright stars in the sky in the aftermath of the sinking), some anachronisms removed.  Some of the color has been changed.  The audio has been restored and enhanced.  Then the whole film was scanned digitally, as a necessary step before converting to 3D.  The conversion itself, by all reports, is as good as it gets.  I have seen previews in 3D, and I found it thrilling – much more than I had expected.  The consensus of reviewers so far is that, in this very rare case, the 3D technology improves on what is one of the greatest motion pictures ever made.  They say that James Cameron’s epic creation shines, and the picture and sound conversion is a stunning achievement.

Generally favorable reviews.  All low expectations and doubts can be thrown overboard.

The Cold Light of Day: (Scheduled.) US, Action/ Thriller – After his family is kidnapped during their sailing trip in Spain, a young Wall Street trader is confronted by the people responsible: intelligence agents looking to recover a mysterious briefcase.  With Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver.  This is a 2D film; no reviews yet.

Mirror Mirror: US, Adventure/ Comedy/ Drama/ Fantasy – A retelling of the Snow White tale which I found generally quite amusing, with some surprising twists, and seasoned with a sinister side.  Julia Roberts is suitably outrageous as the Evil Queen, Lily Collins plays Snow White, Armie Hammer is the Prince, and famed comic Nathan Lane plays a long-suffering servant of the Evil Queen.  The seven dwarfs are played by ... seven dwarfs.  Directed by the Indian director Tarsem Singh, who did “The Immortals” last year.  He sees to it that the film ends with a traditional Bollywood wild dance.  Truly outstanding and inventive costume design; make a note to pay a bit of attention.  Mixed or average reviews.  This is a 2D film, in English.  Not playing Big C.

John Carter: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi – This film bombed in the US but It’s more popular overseas.  I was quite taken with it.  As an old-fashioned pulp-magazine adventure tale, it can’t be beat.  No science in this Sci-Fi film, just fantasy, and very well done indeed.  You need to let the kid inside you see this; park your maturity at the door.  It’s a richly imagined and often spectacular realization of a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians.  Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.  Directed by Pixar director Andrew Stanton in his first live-action film.  Mixed or average reviews.  In both 2D and 3D at Pattaya Beach (English); 2D at Major (English); 2D at Big C (Thai-dubbed).

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 3D: US, Adventure/ Animation – A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams.  To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. A mostly delightful plea for saving Nature, and it’s mildly cute and funny.  Mixed or average reviews.  3D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C; not playing at Major.

This Means War: US, Action/ Comedy/ Romance – Two CIA agents, best friends, find themselves falling for the same girl.  When they discover this shocking news, they agree to let her choose between them.  But both can’t help but use their spy skills to keep tabs on her and each other – and also sabotage each other’s dates with her.  Stars Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy.  Rated R in the US for some sexual content.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  This is a 2D film in English, Pattaya Beach and Major only.

407 Dark Flight 3D: Thai, Horror/ Thriller – Thailand’s first 3D horror movie tells of the shocking experience of a senior flight attendant who has a hidden secret, and who has to deal with a supernatural event and mystery on a flight: her passengers begin to die one by one.  Shown now only in 2D (English subtitles) at all locations.

She / Reung Rak Rawang Ter: Thai, Drama/ Romance – Lesbian love in two stories starring Veteran actress Penpak Sirikul, who appeared earlier this year in the transgender romance It Gets Better.  Shown only at Big C (English subtitles).

Chronicle: UK/ US, Action/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding.  As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.  Rated R in the US for some violence; 13+ in Thailand.  Generally favorable reviews, saying that though it arrives during a glut of found-footage films, this film transcends its gimmicks with a smart script, fast-paced direction, and engaging performances from its young, talented cast.  Major only.

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