Let's go to the movies - Friday March 9 - March 15, 2012

Friday, 09 March 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 10 By  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

Hugo: US, Adventure/ Drama/ Family – I hope it’s still on so you can see it, if you haven’t already.  It’s a brilliant and magical film, which was nominated for eleven Oscars and won five.  I think it’s the best use of 3D I’ve seen, which is fitting for a film which celebrates film innovation and the magic of the whole process.  

It’s many things: a story of early filmmaking in France, a boy’s adventure story, a glowing homage to the wonder of ticking things and gears and automatons.  Directed by Martin Scorsese, who won the Golden Globes directing award this year for the film, and with excellent performances by Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, and Jude Law.  Whatever qualms one might have about the film, and I have a couple, the stupendous achievements in so many area – and the exquisite attention to detail – makes it really a film not under any circumstances to be missed.

Truly amazing set design and cinematography, for which it won Oscars.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.  In Digital 3D, and at Pattaya Beach only.  (Hopefully.)  See it!

The Grey: US, Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ Thriller – A surprise of a film – spiritual, frightening, heartfelt, and thrilling.  I highly recommend this.  Are you a wolf therian?  If so, you will truly enjoy this film.  For the rest of us, it’s an exciting tale of survival, populated with fleshed-out characters, and a surprising philosophical framework.

I was truly frightened at several points, with my heart (what’s left of it) pounding.  Full of astonishing sequences, spectacular cinematography, excellent performances, and heartfelt ruminations on mortality, faith, masculinity, hope, family, and existence.  It also has really cool wolves.  Stars Liam Neeson.  Rated R in the US for violence/ disturbing content, including bloody images, and for pervasive language; 13+ in Thailand.  Generally favorable reviews, some of which have been extraordinary in their philosophical reflections. In English; not showing at Big C.  (Warning: It’s essential that you sit all the way through the closing credits.  There’s one more shot at the very end.)

John Carter: (Scheduled.) US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi – 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 (Finding Nemo, WALL·E) in his first live-action film.

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.  In 2D and English everywhere, but shown Digitally at Major (not 3D).

Rak Sud Teen / The End of Teen Love (?): Thai, Comedy/ Romance – (That’s my attempt at an English title.)  A handsome playboy in a bike rider gang runs a jeans stall at the night market under Put Bridge.  He’s a womanizer (a new role for star Mario Maurer) and swears not to fall in love.  But – guess what?  Destiny has other plans and has him meet a beautiful girl, and despite his bravado, it’s love at first sight.  Mario Maurer is probably Thailand’s Number One heartthrob.  Here he’s pretty rough for a change, and not very polite.  English subtitles, except Thai-only at Pattaya Beach.

Haywire: US/ Ireland, Action/ Thriller – A beautiful freelance covert operative is hired out to perform jobs which governments can’t authorize and heads of state would rather not know about.  When an operation in Dublin goes awry and she finds herself victim of a double cross, she needs all of her skills, tricks, and abilities to escape an international manhunt, make it back to the United States, protect her family, and exact revenge on those who betrayed her.  Newcomer Gina Carano in the starring role is one tough cookie.  She is an American actress, television personality, fitness model, and retired mixed martial arts fighter.  Here she does her own stunts, and she has tremendous presence as an intriguing mix of muscular power and eye-catching femininity.  Also starring Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender, but all the males in the film are merely fodder for her kicks.  Directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Rated R in the US for some violence; 18+ in Thailand.  Generally favorable reviews.  Not at Big C.

Act of Valor: US, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation.  It’s an impressive film about professional warriors in the age of global terrorism.  Directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh collaborated with the US Navy and actual Navy SEALs to give the film an accurate sense of battle tactics and environment.  Though the SEALs’ lack something in the way of acting skills, this is more than made up for by honest performances from men who actually do this stuff for a living.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, including some torture, and for language.  Mixed or average reviews.  In English except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Ghost Day: Thai, Comedy/ Horror – After watching a clip of two supposed exorcists performing an exorcism on YouTube, an unprincipled TV producer invites them on his program hoping to raise the show’s ratings.  Though assumed to be tricksters, the two put on a show that turns out to be more real than anyone expected.  Starring Joey Boy, directed by Thanit Jintanukul.  With English subtitles; not playing at Major.

Safe House: US/ South Africa, Action/ Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller – A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house, but when the house is attacked he finds himself on the run with his charge.  With Denzel Washington, Robert Patrick, and Ryan Reynolds.  Rated R in the US for strong violence throughout and some language; 15+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, saying there are strong performances from Denzel and Ryan Reynolds.  Now only at Pattaya Beach.

Jack and Jill: US, Comedy/ Junk – Adam Sandler is back again in yet another stupid flick which will probably again make an obscene amount of money.  I saw this, to find out how really bad it could be.  It is, and I ask you please don’t encourage films like this.  Supposedly a comedy, it features Adam Sandler and his twin sister, also Adam Sandler.  Now only at Pattaya Beach, if at all.  Reviews: Utter disgust.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: US, Action/ Fantasy/ Thriller – Don’t underestimate the appeal of Nicolas Cage!  Here he is back again as the Ghost Rider in yet another impossible outing, and the film has been the top draw in Thailand both weeks it’s been playing.  This time the Ghost Rider is in Eastern Europe and must stop the devil, who is trying to take human form.  Generally unfavorable reviews, saying it has a weak script and uneven CG work, with Cage giving another loony performance that’s no longer much fun – except for your average moviegoer, who thinks he’s great.  In 3D (English) at Pattaya Beach and Major, and 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

The Melody: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – Thai multi-talented pop-star “Dan” Worrawech Danuwong plays a famous but depressed pop singer who goes into hiding in Mae Hong Son after his career goes down the tubes.  There, he meets a talented pianist and his life takes a turn for the better.  Now only at Major.

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