Let’s go to the movies – Friday December 2 – December 8, 2011

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Now playing in Pattaya

Reminder: see 50/50 if it should happen to open here; by far one of the best films around.  It’s a comedy/ drama without a chase in it.  Just a good-hearted film about a difficult topic – a 27 year old writer of radio programs diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer – that’s funny and sad and beautifully acted.

Puss in Boots 3D: US, Adventure/ Animation/ Comedy/ Fantasy – Long before he met Shrek, the notorious fighter, lover, and outlaw Puss in Boots became a hero when he set off on an adventure with the tough and street smart Kitty Softpaws and the mastermind Humpty Dumpty to save his town.  This is the true story of The Cat, The Myth, The Legend … The Boots.  With Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Zach Galifianakis.  Generally favorable reviews, which say it has an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm.  In 3D and English at Pattaya Beach, 3D and Thai-dubbed at Big C; not at Major.

Trespass (2011): US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – In a private, wealthy community, priority is placed on security.  Behind the walls and manicured gardens, a fast-talking businessman (Nicolas Cage), has entrusted his mansion’s renovation to his stunning wife (Nicole Kidman).  Then their home is invaded by thugs.  Just a note: With a budget of $35 million, the movie grossed only $24,094 in its first ten days; it was then pulled from theaters and eight days later showed up on DVD, now holding the speed record for theater to store.  And after all that, it opens in Thailand!  Rated R in the US for violence and terror, pervasive language, and some brief drug use; 15+ here.  Generally unfavorable reviews: “nasty and aggressive, more unpleasant than entertaining.”  “Cage gives one of his more demented performances.”  Don’t underestimate the drawing power of Nicolas Cage when he’s genuinely unhinged!  Not at Big C. (In Digital.)

Headshot / Fon Tok Kuen Fa: Thai, Action/ Thriller – A film By Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director of Last Life in the Universe, this is a modern film noir about a man trying to forget his past – but his past and his karma won’t forget him.  Adapted from the novel “Fon Tok Kuen Fa.”  Premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, then was shown at the Tokyo and Vancouver festivals; has created a bit of interest and anticipation.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.  Pattaya Beach and Big C only, and with English subtitles.

The Thing (2011): US/ Canada, Horror/ Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name: A paleontologist has traveled to a desolate region of Antarctica for the expedition of her lifetime.  Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago.  When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, she must join the crew’s pilot to keep it from killing them off one at a time.  Rated R in the US for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language; 15+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C, English elsewhere.

Vampire Strawberry: Thai, Comedy – Another one of those Thai combinations of horror and low comedy; this time the story is about two kids who unknowingly release a vampire from its box.  Naturally the vampire is now hungry, and starts hunting down young women, to drink their blood, of course.  Shown in Thai only, and not at Major at all.

In Time: US, Crime/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I quite enjoyed this film.  It has one of the most intriguing premises of recent movies: In a future where time is literally money, and aging stops at 25, the only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time.  You need to stretch your beliefs a bit to swallow all this, but once you do you’re in for a fun and stylish ride with a bit of social commentary.  It’s a quietly angry picture – an extended metaphor for the way corporations suck the life from the poor and the not-quite-middle-class.  A young man (the ubiquitous and ever more excellent Justin Timberlake) lives life a minute at a time, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy, where he teams up with a beautiful young heiress to destroy the whole corrupt system.  Also stars Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde.  An interesting style to it, and the art direction and cinematography are top notch.  Mixed or average reviews.  In English with Thai subtitles; not at Big C.

Paranormal Activity 3: US, Horror/ Mystery – Much like its immensely popular predecessors, this is a slow-building, stealthily creepy supernatural thriller that takes a teasing and indirect approach to generating suspense and dread, but surpasses the previous ones in terms of tension and scares.  In fact, they say it’s so spine-tingling you might just freak out.  Rated R in the US for some violence, language, brief sexuality, and drug use; 18+ in Thailand.  Digital but not 3D, and at Pattaya Beach only.  Generally favorable reviews.

Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night: Japan, Horror/ Thriller – Surely meant to confuse you with the title, this is not a part of the series at all, but is a Japanese variation.  In a secluded family home in a remote Tokyo residential area, the 27-year-old daughter is recovering from broken legs she received in a car accident while in America.  She is in the care of her brother while the rest of the family is away, and as luck would have it he has a video camera.  Apparently, that’s all the encouragement the ghosts need to act up.  At Major only and Thai-dubbed only.  No reviews, but you can guess what you’re in for.

Killer Elite: US/ Australia, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – The story pits two of the worlds’ most elite operatives – an ex-special ops agent (Jason Statham) and his longtime mentor (Robert De Niro) – against the cunning leader of a secret military society (Clive Owen).  Covering the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East, they are plunged into a highly dangerous game of cat and mouse – where the predators become the prey.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/ nudity; SF cinemas have a Thai rating of 18+, but Major has it as 15+.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

Mid Mile / Racing Love: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Racing-car drivers competing for love and glory in this pretty standard mix of slapstick and gross jokes.  Well-known Thai comedian Kohtee Aramboy stars as a tuk-tuk driver who joins the race.  Not at Pattaya Beach; Thai only.

Tower Heist: US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda lead an all-star cast in a comedy caper about ordinary working guys who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them in a Ponzi scheme.  I found it a fair low-key comedy with some amusing sequences and a touch of social commentary.  Should have been better, par for the course from director Brett Ratner, but it’s pleasant enough.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

30 Kam Lung Jaew: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – Currently the top film in Thailand, for three weeks now!  Ja, a beautiful woman, has everything a woman is supposed to dream of having: a successful career, a partying lifestyle, and a handsome sweetheart.  On her 30th birthday, Ja finds her perfect life changed when her boyfriend wants to halt the relationship.  Now, at thirtysomething, Ja accepts a happy single life until a new guy gets in her life – and he’s seven years younger than she is.  I’m led to believe it’s a charming tale.  Now Thai only everywhere.