Let’s Go to the Movies – Fri 14 – 20 Jan 2011

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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 doing a bit of fun together in an absolutely enchanting story and script, deceptive on several levels.  There is much more here than meets the eye.  See it!  Depp is an American tourist whose playful dalliance with a stranger leads to a web of intrigue, romance, and danger.  Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others – a very fine film!).  This is delicious, sensual, and light in a way that mainstream entertainments almost never are these days.  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.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Burlesque: US, Drama/ Musical/ Romance – A small-town girl ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer.  With Cher, Christina Aguilera, and Stanley Tucci.  It seems to be an attempt at a hybrid between Cabaret and Chicago, with mixed results.  Rated R in the US for language throughout, drug content, some violence, and sexuality.  Mixed or average reviews.

Megamind: US, Animation/ Action/ Comedy – Actually, believe it or not, I found this rather cute and funny.  But you do have to like animation.  About the unhappiness of the most brilliant and least successful supervillain the world has ever known.  Over the years, he 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.

Hereafter: (perhaps) US, Drama/ Fantasy – Matt Damon in a film by Clint Eastwood, which investigates what three people know about the afterlife.  What do people believe, and what is the truth?  Mixed or average reviews.  But it sounds fascinating to me.

Hor Taew Taek 3: Thai, Comedy/ Horror – More of this dreadful story that is so popular here, about the haunted dorm and its unfortunate owners.  After defeating the wicked ghost in Part 2, 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.  Both the title and the advertising posters have run afoul of the Thai censors at the Ministry of Culture, and have been toned down.

Tron: Legacy: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Garrett Hedlund as a rebellious 27-year-old, 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.  Father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.

In this film, 3D is an integral part of the experience, so yes, see it in 3D if you have a choice.  They used an updated version of the 3D camera system that James Cameron used to make Avatar, and I can tell you, the 3D version is spectacular and cutting-edge.  And I think Bridges is simply sensational.  Mixed or average reviews.  3D only at Pattaya Beach, also 2D there and elsewhere, Thai-dubbed at Big C.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: US, Adventure/ Family/ Fantasy – I found this an excellently crafted movie, and quite superlative of its type.  It’s a detailed fantasy about a magical land, and if you like that sort of thing, or your kids do, then you will love this. Overall, the special effects and the magic were just exceedingly well done, and the animated characters excellent.  Only in 2D now, and not at Big C; may have gone by now.  Mixed or average reviews.

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.

Sud Khet Saled Ped: Thai, Comedy – Kohtee Aramboy and Tukkie are among the ever-present Thai comedians in this film, engaged in comic antics much like all that has gone before in Thai comedies.

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.  Fun all the way through – if you’re in the mood for a runaway train movie, and who isn’t now and then?  Generally favorable reviews, and I say, “See it!”  Pattaya Beach only, but may have left by now.

Pu Chai Lulla: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Three fun-loving married guys always sneaking off to cheat on their wives.  Just an extended TV comedy show, with Mum Jokmok and the usual Thai comedians.  Only at Pattaya Beach.

Maybe?

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

Fair Game: US, Biography/ Drama/ Thriller – 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.

Due 20 Jan

Gulliver’s Travels (3D): US, Adventure/ Comedy/ Fantasy – Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.  With the usually very funny Jack Black.  This is live action, not animated, only remotely related to the famous book.  Generally unfavorable reviews.