Let’s go to the movies – Friday October 26 – November 1, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Frankenweenie 3D: US, Comedy/ Animation/ Horror/ Sci-Fi – I have to list this first, as I am a fan and admirer of Tim Burton, the writer and director.  And of animation.  This is a moderately budgeted film rich in imagination: it’s in black and white, and it uses an animation format known as stop motion, which is modestly inexpensive but requires painstaking attention to detail.  Tim Burton used this format before, in The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride.  I have every expectation that this will be dark and delightful.  

The story: After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor Frankenstein harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life – with just a few minor adjustments.  Generally favorable reviews, calling it an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.

Looper: US, Action/ Sci-Fi – Now the top box office draw in Thailand.  A highly acclaimed Sci-Fi movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a mob hitman who assassinates targets that arrive blindfolded from the future.  For him it’s just a job … till a new target he receives turns out to be himself from the future.  He hesitates, resulting in the escape of his older self.  Also stars Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.

Rated R in the US for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content; 18+ here.  Reviews: Universal acclaim, calling it as thought-provoking as it is thrilling, and delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.  A 2D film playing in English at Pattaya Beach and Major; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D: (Scheduled) France/ US/ Canada, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand.  Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is.  The revelation leads her deeper into a strange and terrifying alternate reality – a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.

Director Michael Bassett states that this is a direct sequel to Silent Hill (2006) and that it combines that movie’s story with the mythology of the popular video game.  Rated R in the US for violence and disturbing images, some language, and brief nudity.

Finding Nemo 3D: Australia/ US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – The brilliant Pixar film, Academy Award winner in 2004 for best animated feature, updated with 3D and refurbished sound.  Critics say the new sound and 3D simply adds to the greatness that is Nemo.  Original 2003 reviews: Universal acclaim.  In 3D (English) and only at Pattaya Beach.  Another chance to see a classic as it was meant to be seen.  A funny and touching story, superb visuals, wonderful characters.  See it!

Yak: The Giant King: Thai, Animation/ Adventure – This Thai animated film is loosely based on the Ramayana epic, told through the adventures of a couple of tin robots.  Another large step forward for Thai animation. It’s from a highly successful pop-oriented producing company famous for fashioning numerous hit TV series that are usually derided by critics.  But Prapas Cholsaranon – one of the chief creative geniuses of the company – has a definite vision for Thai pop culture.  He is one of the two driving forces behind this film, the other being the chief animator, Chaiyaporn Panichrutiwong, trained at US animation studios, and the chief draftsman of the film.  An innovative and distinctly Thai film.  It’s in 2D, in Thai, with English subtitles everywhere.

The two creators have an interesting comment on the film’s suitability for children.  While “Yak” is an animation, both Chaiporn and Prapas admit that it might not be suitable for a very young audience.  “The tone is more ‘Harry Potter’,” says Chaiporn.  “The story has different layers of ideas that are suitable for adults but can entertain kids also.  Young children shouldn’t be brought to see it.  In any case, watching any film in a theatre is wrong for that age because the sound is just too loud,” Prapas says.

Sinister: US, Horror/ Thriller – Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity. Stars Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, and Juliet Rylance.  Rated R in the US for disturbing violent images and some terror; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, saying its plot hinges on typically implausible horror-movie behavior and recycles countless genre cliches, but nevertheless delivers a surprising number of fresh, diabolical twists.  A 2D film playing at Pattaya Beach only, in English.

My Name is Love: Thai, Drama/ Romance – A bad boy falls for the girl next door, but he isn’t sure if she would accept his love as he once rejected her love when they were young.  Stars Arak Amornsupasiri.  A 2D film in Thai with English subtitles at all locations.

End of Watch: US, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – I think probably the best cop-buddy film I’ve seen.  And it’s much more – could be considered a sociological study, raising questions about the shaky structure of society and the pros and cons of even having law enforcement.

It’s my upbringing for sure, but I truly felt assaulted by the language – there were a total of 325 uses of the “f” word (according to an organization that counts this sort of thing), nearly 100 uses of the “s” word, and scads of other obscenities, vulgarities, profanities, and epithets, in English and Spanish.

Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, some disturbing images, pervasive language including sexual references, and some drug use; 18+ here.  Generally favorable reviews, saying that thanks to its energy, devotion to characters, and charismatic performances, the film overcomes the familiar pitfalls of both its genre and its handheld format to become a fresh and exciting thriller.  As of Wednesday, playing only at Major, in 2D (English).  If you can stand the language, it’s really quite excellent.

Taken 2: France, Action/ Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – Liam Neeson returns as a retired CIA agent who stops at nothing to save his daughter from Albanian kidnappers. Directed by Olivier Megaton (Colombiana), it’s a sequel to the 2008 film of the same name.

Mixed or average reviews, saying it’s largely bereft of the kinetic thrills and surprises that made the original a hit.  A cynical, contemptuous film whose sole reason for existing appears to be to squeeze the pockets of anyone who enjoyed the first movie.  In 2D (English) at all locations, except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Stolen: US, Action/ Thriller – A former thief (Nicolas Cage) frantically searches for his missing daughter, who has been kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a taxi.  Rated R in the US for some violence and brief language; 15+ here.  Directed by Simon West (The Expendables 2).  Early reviews: generally negative, saying that the longest stretch of logical plotting lasts about forty seconds, and the deep-rooted silliness makes it hard to take anything in the film seriously.

But Nicolas Cage does do his thing about ordering people around, yelling that people’s lives are at stake, and lots of people always like that, because we can’t get away with that in real life, and it’s refreshing.  In 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C; not at Major.

Saranae Osekai: Thai, Comedy – Willy and Hoi, the two pranksters from the popular Thai prank show called “Saranae,” travel to Japan to seek new inspiration for their basically slapstick show.  In Thai only at all locations.