Let’s go to the movies -Fri 1-7 April 2011

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Now playing in Pattaya

King Naresuan Part III: Thai, Drama/ War – The third chapter of the King Naresuan epic, continuing the story of Thai’s chivalric king and warrior in the Ayudhya era who fought against the invasion of Burmese troops that aimed to overpower the Ayudhya Kingdom.  This is the one that sparked a mini-scandal because of the unbelievable huge amount of money the Thai government gave this film for expenses.  What is less known is that the obscene sum of money was actually given for only one scene in the movie, the big battle scene.  No reviews yet.

Hop: US, Animation/ Comedy/ Family/ Fantasy – Blending state-of-the-art animation with live action, it tells the comic tale of an out-of-work slacker (James Marsden), who accidentally injures the Easter Bunny’s teen-aged son (voiced by Russell Brand) and must take him in as he recovers.  As he struggles with the world’s worst houseguest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up – it says here.  Actually, looks like fun.  No reviews yet.

Sucker Punch: US/ Canada, Action/ Fantasy/ Thriller – A young girl called Baby Doll is institutionalized – locked away in a mental asylum by her wicked stepfather – where she will undergo a lobotomy in five days time.  Faced with an unendurable life, she retreats into a psychosis – a fantastical world of her imagination where she and four other female inmates at the asylum plot to escape the facility.  Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her.  Baby Doll and her companions battle various creatures and enemies to retrieve five items they need that will allow them to break free from their captors forever.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  In English everywhere, and Big C has a Thai-dubbed version as well.

Okay now, before you reject this film completely, let me say that I liked it a lot, and am looking forward to seeing it again.  I know, I know.  And you probably won’t like it – most people don’t.  It’s underpinning, or one of them, is an adolescent boy’s sexual fantasy of scantily clad female warriors battling various comic-strip creatures.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to make fun of this movie.  But, it’s a truly imaginative film, doomed to be ridiculed for years to come, and yet I wager to have an influence on future films that will surprise everyone.

I thought it a lot of fun, resonating deeply with one’s fantasies and fears.  I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  It’s bizarre and a mish-mash, but wonderful.  Written and directed by Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300), and produced by his wife, and so it’s got a singular vision – a wild and wacky one.  And watch out for the sucker punch!

Vanishing on 7th Street: US,  Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – An apocalyptic thriller/horror about a group of people who must avoid darkness to stay alive.  The story follows a mysterious, seemingly global blackout that causes countless populations to simply vanish, leaving only their clothes and possessions behind.  A small handful of survivors band together in a dimly-lit tavern on 7th Street, struggling to combat the apocalyptic horror.  With Hayden Christensen and John Leguizamo.  Rated R in the US for language.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

Beastly: US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – A modern-day take on the “Beauty and the Beast” tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love.  Starring Alex Pettyfer, late of I Am Number Four, as the Robert Pattinson-look-similar (to appeal to the young girls again who like the Twilight series).  Widely divergent opinions, so “mixed or average” reviews with the emphasis on “mixed.”  At Pattaya Beach only.

SuckSeed: Thai, Comedy/ Musical – Tells the story of teenage boys who form a rock band called SuckSeed just to impress the girls.  But things get complicated when a girl joins the group.  A definite hit.

Rango: US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Western – It’s a thoroughgoing delight!  Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.  Directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) and starring Johnny Depp, it’s the first full-length work of animation created by the brilliant special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic.  Generally favorable reviews – but from reading what the reviews actually say, you’d think it was universal acclaim!  It’s a winner in my book.  Not in 3D, and some think all the better for it.  Not at Major.

Gnomeo and Juliet 3D:  (Shown in digital 3D) UK/ US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Fantasy/ Romance – A version of Shakespeare’s play, set in the world of warring indoor and outdoor gnomes.  Garden gnomes Gnomeo (voice of James McAvoy) and Juliet (voice of Emily Blunt) have as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes when they are caught up in a feud between neighbors.  Caution: has plastic pink flamingos and lawnmower races.  Mixed or average reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only.

Rapunzel / Tangled (3D):  US, Animation/ Comedy/ Family – Known as Tangled in the English speaking world and Rapunzel here.  Terrific old-fashioned Disney magic.  The baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from the palace by wicked Mother Gothel because the golden hair of Rapunzel has magical powers within it, and to stay young, Mother Gothel must lock Rapunzel in her hidden tower.  Rapunzel is now a teenager, has been in the tower her entire life, and her hair has grown to a length of 70 feet.  She plots her escape with the help of a passing bandit.  In Digital 3D at Pattaya Beach, 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C, and not at Major at all.  Generally favorable reviews.

The Adjustment Bureau: US, Romance/ Thriller/ Sci-Fi – An entertaining and fantastical puzzle of a thriller. On the brink of winning a seat in the US Senate, an ambitious politician (Matt Damon) meets a beautiful contemporary ballet dancer (Emily Blunt) – a woman like none he’s ever known.  But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart.  He learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself – the men of The Adjustment Bureau – who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent the two from being together.  He must either let her go and accept a predetermined path, or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her. Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

Unknown: US, Action/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – Dr. Martin Harris awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife suddenly doesn’t recognize him and another man has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run.  Aided by an unlikely ally, Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he’s willing to go to uncover the truth.  A well-done puzzler with Liam Neeson.  Mixed or average reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only.

Red Riding Hood: US/ Canada, Fantasy/ Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure.  Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (the first Twilight, and Thirteen), starring Amanda Seyfried, Julie Christie, and Gary Oldman.  Adds a Twilight influence and bloodthirsty twist to the old fairy tale.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  At Major only.

The Unborn Child / Sop Dek 2002: Thai, Horror/ Mystery – An opportunistic horror film based on last November’s scandal when 2002 aborted fetuses were discovered at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok after the temple’s crematorium broke down, and the resultant smell had neighbors complaining.  Directed by Poj Arnon (Bangkok Love Story).  At Major only.

Hug Na Sarakam: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Transvestite indie filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, director of the banned social drama Insects in the Backyard, goes commercial with her latest effort.  It’s a sunny comedy and countryside ode about the love lives of youngsters in Maha Sarakham, the predominantly rural province in Isaan, engaging in romantic shenanigans that have nothing to do with Isaan’s usual sorry image of pitiable farmers.  In Thai only.

Just Go with It: US, Comedy/ Romance – A RomCom with little rom and even less com.  Adam Sandler continues his fascination with kids, poop, and mammary glands.  I’d say don’t even think of going with it.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Not at Big C.