Let’s go to the movies – Friday August 10 – August 16, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Total Recall:  US/ Canada, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – This is a remake of the 1990 science fiction film which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.  This one stars Colin Farrell, with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, directed by Len Wiseman.  It’s set in 2084, and unlike the original contains no trip to Mars.  The plot involves a factory worker who suffers from violent nightmares, and takes advantage of the services of a corporation that provides its clients with implanted artificial memories of the lives they would like to have.

Mixed or average reviews, saying that it has some impressive action sequences but lacks the intricate plotting, wry humor, and fleshed out characters that made the original a sci-fi classic.  In 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach and Major; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Echo Planet: Thai, Animation/ Family – A Thai animated feature by the studio that gave us the hit cartoon Khan Kluay six years ago.  It’s about three youngsters determined to save the world from global warming, and how traditional folk wisdom can do more to tackle world-wide problems than high-tech devices.  At present it seems to be playing in Thai only at Pattaya Beach (in 3D) and Big C (in 2D); English subtitles only at Major (in 2D).

The Bourne Legacy: (Scheduled) US, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – Jason Bourne (played in the three previous films by Matt Damon), the cause of all the mayhem, is not in fact in this film.  It retains the name Bourne to identify it as a continuation of the franchise.  The protagonist here is played by Jeremy Renner, in yet another CIA black ops program that the CIA decides to terminate after the disastrous events depicted in the first three films.  It’s directed by Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter for the previous films.  Too soon for reviews.

Brave: (Scheduled) US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family/ Fantasy – Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, about an impetuous daughter of royalty.  It’s produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney, and is Pixar’s first fairy tale, and somewhat darker and more mature in tone than its previous films.  Generally favorable reviews, saying it offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a strong female protagonist, and surprising depth.

Step Up 4 / Step Up Revolution:  US, Drama/ Music/ Romance – If you like the Step Up films, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this one.  The dance sequences are lively and spectacular, and the 3D is great.  There is something endearing about this series that separates them from other dance flicks.  Most importantly, they don’t take themselves seriously.  Their predictable and moronic story lines are simply an excuse to showcase some mad dance moves that you’ll never get to see in real life.  These films know that they aren’t high art, and simply enjoy themselves.  Mixed or average reviews, but on the low side.  In 3D (English) at Pattaya Beach and Major; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Seven Something / Rak Jet Pee Dee Jet Hon: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Three love stories from three generations, designed to celebrate the seventh year of the film studio GTH, home of many Thai hits, starting with the 2003 childhood romance Fan Chan (My Girl), one of my most favorite of all Thai films.  In 2D with English subtitles at all locations.

The Dark Knight Rises: US/ UK, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Thriller – If you at all enjoyed the first two in this series, you will enjoy this one too.  All in all, it’s a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the series, with much to commend it.  This is without doubt one of the darkest mainstream films ever made, with an unrelieved depiction of the worst of human behavior.  Even though the film is rated “G”, the dark is so unrelieved that it really makes me question whether I can consider it entertainment.

It is well made, there are fine performances, the movie craft in every department is superb.  It’s directed again by Christopher Nolan, with Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, and Morgan Freeman.  The movie was shot in 2D on film, which the director prefers for its photographic qualities which he finds superior in so many ways to digital, with about half of it shot in IMAX format for added detail, but again using film not digital capture.  The director strongly insists that the movie be shown using film, not digital, and it does appear to be shown this way in Pattaya.  It’s presented in English, except Thai-dubbed at Big C.  Generally favorable reviews.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: US, Action/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Thriller – A film that I think desecrates history in its pretense to explore the supposedly secret life of one of the greatest presidents of the US.  Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and the well-known and knowledgeable vampire director Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted and the Night Watch/ Day Watch vampire studies) combine forces to wallow in the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history’s greatest hunter of the undead.

Starring the extraordinarily talented Benjamin Walker (as Lincoln), Rufus Sewell, and Dominic Cooper.  Mixed or average reviews, saying generally that it has superb visual style, but that the mashup of genres don’t jell in a coherent way, and the result is not satisfying.  Rated R in the US for violence throughout and brief sexuality; 18+ in Thailand.  Shown only in 2D (English) in Pattaya, and now only at Pattaya Beach (as of Wednesday).

The Amazing Spider-Man: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Thriller – I think it’s good, with some fine work in it, an intelligible story, and excellent special effects.  And I find that Andrew Garfield makes a tremendously appealing hero.  I found myself cool to it overall, and I don’t know why.  This time Peter Parker is played by the quite amazing Andrew Garfield (The Social Network).  He’s an outcast who was abandoned by his parents as a boy.  Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today.  Generally highly favorable reviews.  In 2D (English) and only at Pattaya Beach (if still around).

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift: US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth, and Diego the sabre-toothed cat embark upon a great adventure after a cataclysm sets an entire continent adrift.  Meanwhile, Scrat continues to chase his elusive acorn.  Mixed or average reviews, saying that the visually inventive film has moments of charm and witty slapstick, and the 3D looks terrific. In 3D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (English) at Major; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C. Very good family fare.