Let’s go to the movies – Friday 29 – 5 May 2011

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Note:  Major Cineplex now has 3D capability.

Now playing in Pattaya

Rio 3D: (Shown in digital 3D – even at Major!) US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy –  A simple and charming movie, big and bright.  Set in the city of Rio de Janeiro and the lush rainforest of Brazil, this comedy-adventure centers on Blu, a rare macaw who thinks he is the last of his kind.  With Jesse Eisenberg, the central character of The Social Network, as the voice of Blu.  From the makers of the Ice Age series. Generally favorable reviews.  In 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C,  3D elsewhere.  I really enjoyed this one.

Source Code: US/ France, Mystery/ Romance/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I think this film is simply terrific in all ways as a thriller and mystery.  It stars an excellent Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.  A younger brother to Inception, it has the complex infrastructure of top-tier science fiction.  Gripping, well directed, well acted, highly recommended.  Generally favorable reviews.  Not at Big C.

Monsters: UK, Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A highly regarded and dynamite little film, loaded with atmosphere, intelligence, beauty, and courage.  An amazing achievement for a “first-time” filmmaker, which measures up to the finest indies for performance and character-work, and a rather special achievement.  It’s based on characters, relationships, fear, and mostly unseen menace.  The plot: six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system.  A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America.  Soon after, a new life form began to appear, and half of Mexico was quarantined as an Infected Zone.  Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain “the creatures.”  The film’s story begins when a US journalist agrees to escort a shaken tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.  Rated R in the US for language.  Generally favorable reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only.

Ironclad: UK/ US, Action/ Adventure – A violent action thriller about a motley crew of tough, battle hardened warriors in the middle ages, who withstood several brutal and bloody months under siege in the year 1215 in England in a desperate bid to defend their country.  The rebel barons of England have forced their despised King John to put his royal seal to the Magna Carta, a noble and vastly important document that upheld the rights of free men.  Yet within months of pledging himself to the great charter, the King reneged on his word and assembled a mercenary army on the south coast of England with the intention of bringing the barons and the country back under his tyrannical rule.  Directed by Jonathan English, and starring Brian Cox, James Purefoy, and Paul Giamatti.  Most reviewers seem to think it’s too gory for its own good.  Rated R in the US for strong graphic brutal battle sequences, and brief nudity; 18+ in Thailand.  Early reviews: Mixed or average.  Thai-dubbed at Big C, in English elsewhere.

King Naresuan Part III: Naval Battle: Thai, Drama/ War – The third chapter of the King Naresuan epic, continuing the story of Thai’s king and warrior in the Ayudhya era who fought against the invasion of Burmese troops that aimed to overpower the Ayudhya Kingdom.  The filming of the story of King Naresuan began in 2002 and is still continuing on the huge set built in Kanchanaburi (and which is open to the public as a sort of theme park).  Nearly the whole army garrison in Kanchanaburi is in the movie as extras, plus hundreds of elephants, horses, and other animals.  Sort of a 10-year public works project for the province.  The production aspects are superbly rendered: the costumes, the sets, the set decoration.  The details are superb and reflect a lot of research in the design, and much skill and craftsmanship in the execution.  If the emotions and plot seem wooden, remember the difficulty in creating a drama that offends absolutely no one (with the single exception of the Burmese; that’s allowed).  The film is rated “P” for “Promote” – meaning the Thai government has given it its seal of approval, and everyone should go see it.  It is, to be sure, spectacular.  I personally found the blood and gore of the endless killings at the climactic battle to be too much.  All have English subtitles.

Hop: US, Animation/ Comedy/ Family – The funny and entertaining story of the Easter Bunny’s teen son and his quest to make a name for himself.  Mixed or average reviews.  Only at Big C, and Thai-dubbed.

Let the Bullets Fly: (Thai-dubbed only/ no English subtitles) China, Action/ Comedy – Set in China during the warring 1920s, a notorious bandit chief descends upon a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, intent on swindling the populace.  He soon meets his match in the tyrannical local crime boss, leading to a deadly battle of wit and brutality.  Written and directed by Jiang Wen, and starring Jiang Wen and Chow Yun Fat, this clever and satirical film is hugely popular in China, and its biggest box-office hit ever.  At Major only, if still in town.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.

World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Here the invaders are aliens, and the movie I think is designed to show how Marines would likely handle an attack from extra-terrestrials, if it were all up to them.  Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind and Marine staff sergeant Aaron Eckhart and his new platoon must draw a line in the sand and take on the enemy.  Marines from Camp Pendleton helped train the actors for their roles, educating them in the Marine way of doing things, and a number of actual Marines also appear as extras in the film.  I enjoyed Aaron Eckhart in this film – felt it was a very good performance indeed.  And I thought it was overall a fair action film.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C, English elsewhere.

Scream 4: US, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – Gentle, grandfatherly, scholarly Wes Craven revisits his horror franchise.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence, language, and some teen drinking.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.  You know what you’re in for.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

Ha Zard: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – When a university of comedians is facing a downturn and all its comedians are endangered, some comedy students team up to save everyone’s career.  Has at least a cameo from every comic in Thailand, plus excessive excrement and flatulence comedy routines – so very popular.  Some really gross stuff.

Mindfulness and Murder / Sop-mai-ngeap: (Scheduled) Thai, Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller – When a homeless youth is murdered on the grounds of a Buddhist monastery in Bangkok, the police do little to investigate, leaving Father Ananda – a former homicide detective – to try and solve the crime.  With the help of an orphaned boy named Jak, Ananda travels the canals of the city to unravel the clues and catch the killer.  Written and directed by Tom Waller.  Nicely captures the mood and details of life in a temple in an interesting story.  At Major only, when it arrives.