Let’s go to the movies – Friday June 8 – June 14, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Snow White and the Huntsman: US, Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi – I saw the plain old regular 2D version, and thought it a fantastically beautiful film with superb art direction and a fully realized story.  It’s the old tale intact, with every moment, every twist and turn, given full due.  Visually and aurally it is without peer.  The direction is fine with the exception of the use of the shaky cam in a few places to cheat on the action scenes.  It’s a lazy way of doing things, just making a blur of action so you can’t tell what’s going on, and thus they don’t have to plan out the scene very much. 

Probably you won’t be taken by it very much if you have an objection to fairy tales, but for me it is one of the most exciting and satisfying films I’ve seen in some time.

Seemed a never-ending dark feast of surprise after surprise, delight after delight, imaginative horror after bloody evil.  One could talk much about the excellent and imaginative costuming and art direction, and music/sound design.  It all ends in a truly huge battle, unexpected in its magnitude and ferocity.  Research on medieval battles and the background of the fairy tale were provided by consultants from the University of Chichester and the University of Oxford.  All in all, just a very well-done film.

Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron; directed by Rupert Sanders, making his feature film debut.  Shot mostly in England, with impressive photography at Pembrokeshire with a computer-generated castle.  Mixed or average reviews, but I think it’s much better than that.  In 2D only, in English everywhere except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Prometheus: (Scheduled.) US, Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi – A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe.  There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.  Directed by Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, who with this film returns to the genre he helped define.  Stars Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, and Michael Fassbender.  Early reviews: Generally favorable.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: (Scheduled.) US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – The Madagascar team of regulars – Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe – are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple.  Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.  Early reviews call it bright and breezy with fast pacing, bright colors, dazzling circus acts, a vigorous villain, and some new characters.

Men in Black III: US, Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi – I saw the 2D version, and I enjoyed it all.  The writers and director and actors were having a lot of fun with the story, and the fun was infectious.  There’s a truly enjoyable chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, and as things develop in the story, the same chemistry works just as well between Smith and a younger version of Jones, played by Josh Brolin.  The story has a thoroughly disgusting alien criminal killing the young Agent K in 1969, which naturally alters the timeline, changes the Agency, and places the Earth in danger.  Will Smith as Agent J must travel back in time to 1969 to before the murder and work with the young Agent K to save him, the Agency, the Earth, and humanity itself.  Some amusing comments on the year 1969 for those who can remember.  Mixed or average reviews, saying it does justice to the fun and whimsy of the original, and gives a surprisingly emotional insight into the characters; it’s a solid creature-feature filled with memorable performances and remarkable visual effects.  Converted to 3D in post-production.  In 3D (English) and 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (English) at Major; and 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Dark Shadows: US, Comedy/ Fantasy – Other than the pop music on the soundtrack, which I hated, the film was fun, and I really enjoyed myself.  It’s a gothic-horror tale centering on the life of a vampire (played by Johnny Depp) and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves, and ghosts; a reworking of the TV shows which ran from 1966 to 1971.  Mixed or average reviews, saying director Tim Burton, as usual, is great on atmosphere and comic timing (these are his weirdest moments since Ed Wood), but less so at reining in an overcomplicated plot and dimly lit action scenes.  I found it a bizarre combination of comedy, campy horror, and gothic melodrama, and the lead vampire, blood dripping from his chin, is a great role for the chameleon Johnny Depp.  Relax and enjoy its light, spoofy tone.  If you do, you might find it a ghoulish joy.  2D and English (Digital at Major), except not playing at Big C.

American Pie: Reunion: US, Comedy/ Raunch – I was really bored with this.  The script was just terrible – profoundly unfunny and uninteresting, and with attempts at treacly sentimentality on friendship and sex that sometimes reach the depths of such atrocities as Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups.  All the American Pie characters we met a little more than a decade ago are returning to East Great Falls for their high-school reunion.  In one long weekend they reminisce about the memories of their hormonal teen selves, who once upon a time launched this disgusting comedy legend.  Have they grown up?  What do you think.  Rated R in the US for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use, and teen drinking; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, saying in general that it will provide sweetly nostalgic comfort food for fans of the franchise, but fails to do anything truly new or interesting — or even very funny — with the characters.  It’s in 2D, showing now only at Pattaya Beach.

Marvel’s The Avengers 3D: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – Marvel Comics brings its greatest superheroes together in this film, hoping they’ll be enough to smash the evil super-villain Loki (and attract you to the cinema by strength of sheer numbers).  Looks like their strategy is working, as the film is a big hit.  It’s really quite excellent for this type of film, and you may really enjoy it.  Generally favorable reviews, saying the film lives up to its hype with a script that never forgets its heroes’ humanity.  And that there aren’t many writer-directors around as talented as Joss Whedon.  That indeed it’s the writing that sets this film apart from the crowd.  The film was converted to 3D during post-production, and along with most reviewers I think it’s quite well done.  Shown in 3D and 2D at Pattaya Beach, 2D at Major; not playing at Big C.

I Miss You: Thai, Drama – The film about a handsome surgeon whose fiancée dies in a car crash and comes back to haunt him when he starts to look at someone new is in Thai only (no English subtitles) at all locations.

Art Idol: Thai, Drama/ Romance/ Comedy – About young love and following your dreams.  In Thai only; not showing at Major.