Let’s go to the movies – Friday November 30 – December 6, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: US, Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – Okay, I broke my vow and saw it, and I have to say that if you’re at all a fan of the series this will prove a very satisfactory conclusion indeed.  It rather brilliantly solves the problem of how to have a violent ending and a peaceful ending both at the same time.

The scenery is fabulous, the wolves amazing, and though I shouldn’t go so far as to say that the trees are more interesting than the actors, they are (for me, at least pretty much).  Except for Michael Sheen, who once upon a time played Tony Blair so brilliantly, and who here plays the epitome of behind-the-scenes force and – with his fabulous robe – encapsulates all such wizards from Prospero to Frank Morgan.  Acting like a grand diva, he gives an acting lesson on how to chew up scenery, how to go over the top.  Just delightful, and at one point he utters the most fantastical semi-human speech sound that I’ve ever heard in a movie!

In this fifth film of the franchise, the existence of Bella and Edward’s child Renesmee has attracted the attention of the volatile Volturi, who seem to want nothing more than to take down the Cullen family and end their reign of looking fabulous in the sun.  Surely you know by now if this series is for you; trust your instincts.

Mixed or average reviews, saying though it might be the most enjoyable chapter in the series that won’t be enough to make the movie worth watching for those who don’t already count themselves fans.  One reviewer admitted, “The big action scene is so campily over the top – with one twist so unforeseeable – that it sent me out on a burst of grudging goodwill.”  A 2D film in English except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Skyfall: US/ UK, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Thriller – This is a truly enjoyable film for me, and I think probably the best James Bond film of all time, offering a thought-provoking examination of why 007 endures as an on-screen legend.  Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, and a fantastic Javier Bardem as a villain you won’t soon forget.  And, saints be praised, there is no “shaky-cam” used, but just good old-fashioned sturdy film-making.  All the more enjoyable for that.

Reviews: Universal acclaim, saying that from the opening in Istanbul to the final siege shootout in the Scottish Highlands, the film is a fine and even sentimental spectacle, giving us an attractively human Bond.  It’s a huge hit in Thailand, and an “unbelievable” overseas mega-hit according to the main industry box office tracker.  A 2D film in English; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Argo: US, Drama/ Thriller – Now at Pattaya Beach only, I urge you to take a look at this one.  A lot of Oscar talk about the film – seems to be one of the best picture front-runners at the moment – and it’s well worth your consideration.  Based on true events, the film chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis — the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades.

On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador.  Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country.

Directed by Ben Affleck and staring him and Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Victor Garber.  Rated R in the US for language and some violent images; 13+ in Thailand.

Reviews: Universal acclaim, saying it’s a crackerjack political thriller told with intelligence, great period detail, and a surprising amount of nutty humor for a serious look at the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81.  A 2D film (English) at Pattaya Beach only.

Premium Rush: US, Action/ Thriller – Wilee (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of my current favorites) is one of 1,500 bike couriers in Manhattan who rides on the edge – he has a bike with no brakes.  On this day, Wilee has a delivery that’s so valuable that a corrupt NYC Detective, who needs money, begins to chase him through the city to get it before the envelope is delivered.

Generally favorable reviews, saying it’s built out of familiar parts, but no matter how formulaic the storyline might seem, it’s elevated by high-octane action and enjoyable performances.  A 2D film, playing at Pattaya Beach only.

Red Dawn: US, Action – A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.  Starring Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, and Josh Hutcherson.

Generally unfavorable reviews, saying it lacks the topicality of the original 1984 semi-cult film, and although it features some decent action sequences, it gives a short shrift to character development and general logic.  “Could be fun, you might think.  No. Bad acting and worse dialogue quickly put an end to that notion.”  Has bargain-bin special effects, along with bad acting and bad politics.  A 2D film with English subtitles, except Thai only at Big C.

Rak Jab Jai: Thai, Musical/ Romance – A film of the popular stage musical/ romance which played in Bangkok last summer.  A story about a superstar who falls for a blind girl, starring true-life Thai superstar from Chiang Mai Sukrit Wisetkaew (better known as Bie).  In Thai only, and only at Major.

3 A.M. 3D: Thai, Horror/ Thriller – A chiller set in the middle of the night, when, the film believes, ghosts come out. Comprises three separate short stories of the spooky variety from three Thai directors.  In 3D (English subtitles) at Pattaya Beach and Big C; 2D (Thai only) at Major.

Cloud Atlas: (Scheduled for November 29) Germany/ US/ Hong Kong/ Singapore, Drama/ Mystery/ Sci-Fi – Schedule yourself to see this twice, as it’s perhaps the most complicated film of recent years.  Critic Roger Ebert says surely this is one of the most ambitious films ever made.  “But, oh, what a film this is!  And what a demonstration of the magical, dreamlike qualities of the cinema.”

Written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwerand, and Andy Wachowski, and starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.  Rated R in the US for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use.

Mixed or average reviews, saying its sprawling, ambitious blend of thought-provoking narrative and eye-catching visuals will prove too unwieldy for some, but the sheer size and scope are all but impossible to ignore.

The Impossible: (Scheduled for November 29) Spain, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – A husband and wife and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand in 2004, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise.  But on the morning of December 26th, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth.  The wife freezes in fear as a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her.  Thus starts the most harrowing disaster movie in many a moon, combining a tremendous feat of physical filmmaking with an emotional true story of family survival.

Stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor; directed by the Spanish Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage).

Early reviews: Universal acclaim, saying it is wrenchingly acted, deftly manipulated, and terrifyingly well made.  “Part of the appeal of this affecting and powerful drama is that it puts the viewer right in the moment at every stage, using authentic locations and tsunami survivors to hammer home the reality of this tragedy.”  Looks to be very good indeed.

Soob Ku Gu Loke: Thai, Comedy/ Sci-Fi – Two bikers are accidentally involved in a mission to save the world from an alien invasion.  With Mum Jokmok and Nakorn “Ple” Silachai.  It’s a lot of slapstick silliness with, I’m told, a solid string of toilet gags, all of which will painlessly kill off some of your brain cells.  English subtitles everywhere, except Thai only at Big C.