Let’s go to the movies – Fri 11 – 17 March 2011

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I hope you did heed my alert to be on the lookout for Black Swan, and that you saw it when it suddenly appeared at Major Cineplex last Thursday.  It is to my mind a superb film, and I urge you to see it, if by good luck it happens to still be playing.  This hugely artistic creation really needs to be seen in a cinema with a good sound system, like the one at Major Cineplex.  The music and the sound design are an experience to undergo.  I’m amazed at the craft of this film.  It’s pointless to argue with the film for not being what you would like it to be; it has its own vision, and fulfills it with incredible artistry and skill.  No use complaining about the hand-held cameras, that was expressly desired by the director, to give a documentary feel to it.

It’s as much a psychological horror film as an homage to the daily grind and pain a ballet dancer needs to undergo.  So many tightly controlled aspects to the film, it’s just a pleasure to see.  Do go, and do see it in a cinema with a good sound system.  See it at Major Cineplex.

Now playing in Pattaya

Black Swan: US, Drama/ Romance/ Thriller – One of the most superb films of recent years. Follows the story of Nina (Natalie Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance.  She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her.  When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice.  Directed by Darren Aronofsky.  Rated R in the US for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language, and some drug use.  Generally favorable reviews.  At Major Cineplex, if still playing.  Don’t miss it!

Rapunzel / Tangled (3D): US, Animation/ Comedy/ Family – For some reason, this film is known as Tangled in the English speaking world and Rapunzel here.  The baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from the palace in the middle of the night by wicked Mother Gothel, who knows that the golden hair of Rapunzel has magical powers within, and to stay young, she 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.  In Disney Digital 3D, and only at Pattaya Beach. Generally favorable reviews.

The Adjustment Bureau: US, Romance/ Thriller/ Sci-Fi – On the brink of winning a seat in the US Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (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.  David 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 David and Elise from being together.  In the face of overwhelming odds, 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.  At Pattaya Beach only.

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.  With Diane Kruger, January Jones, and Liam Neeson.  Mixed or average reviews.

Love Julinsee Rak Man Yai Mak: Thai, Drama/ Romance – Squeaky-clean teen love during a music festival.

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.  Also starring Billy Bob Thornton and Maggie Grace.  From the previews, it looks like unrelenting action, and lots of bloody killings, fights, automobile chases, and crashes.  And nothing 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.  Not at Big C.

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.  Not at Major.

The Eagle: US/ UK, Adventure – I rather enjoyed this.  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.

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, and at Pattaya Beach only.

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 determination and the support of his friends, he may just win.  Big C only.

The Rite: US, Drama/ Horror/ Thriller – Anthony Hopkins at his spooky best again as the filmmakers trot out the 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 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.  Major only, if still here.

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.  Matt Dillon as a thoroughly experienced cop determined to bring the gang down.  At Pattaya Beach only.  Mixed or average 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 a big hit.  Big C only.