Let’s go to the movies – Fri 18 – 24 March 2011

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Now playing in Pattaya

127 Hours: US/ UK, Drama – You do want to see this, believe me!  It’s fantastic!  Sounds grim, but actually not that bloody; the major action is performed with a modicum of taste, in my opinion.  And the musical score is a marvel, doing all sorts of things to help you keep things in perspective.  This film was nominated for the following Oscars: best picture, best actor (James Franco), best adapted screenplay, film editing, original score (the marvelous A.R. Rahman, composer for Slumdog Millionaire), and best original song.  This Danny Boyle film, based on true events, features James Franco as hiker Aron Ralston, who becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah, in the United States.  Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself whatever it takes, then scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finds help.  Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident, perhaps the last two people he will ever see.  Rated R in the US for language and some disturbing violent content/ bloody images.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.  At Major only.

Rango: US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Western – 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 and starring Johnny Depp, it’s the first full-length work of animation created by the special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic.  Generally favorable reviews – but from reading what the reviews actually say, you’d think it was universal acclaim!  Not in 3D, and some think all the better for it!  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

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, 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 Liam Neeson.  Mixed or average reviews.

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.

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).

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, but is really a secret alien on the run (“alien” in the planetary sense).  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, at least 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.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Not 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 At Pattaya Beach 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 the culturally distinct region of Thailand’s northeast, Isaan.  They engage in romantic shenanigans that have nothing to do with Isaan’s usual sorry image of pitiable farmers.  In Thai only.

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.  At Big C only, if still here.

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.

Maybe?

If this shows up, see it!

The King’s Speech: UK/ Australia, Drama/ History – Really a good movie experience, and the actors were given fun things to do.  Won Oscars for best picture, best director (Tom Hooper), best actor (Colin Firth) and best original screenplay – in fact, rather a sweep!  This is the story of the suddenly crowned King George VI of England, who suffers from a debilitating speech impediment.  With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.