Let’s go to the movies – Friday October 7 – October 13, 2011

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Now playing in Pattaya

Cars 2 3D: US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race.  But the road to the championship becomes rocky as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.  As visually appealing as any other Pixar production, but the story for most is not that great.  I found it good fun.  Mixed or average reviews.  In 3D at Pattaya Beach, 2D at Major, and 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Contagion: (Scheduled) US, Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A scary story, tightly plotted and tensely told.  Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, a woman dies from what is flu or some other type of infection.  Her young son dies a few days later.  Her husband however seems immune.  Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection.  For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Center for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection.  They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months.  As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic.  Stars Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Matt Damon. Generally favorable reviews.

The Three Musketeers 3D: Germany/ France/ UK/ US, Action/ Adventure/ Romance – The hot-headed young D’Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down-on-their-luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.  An action-filled re-imagining of the Alexandre Dumas classic.  Christoph Waltz plays the villainous Cardinal Richelieu.  No reviews: not to be released in the real world until October 13.  In 3D at all three locations; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Doraemon: Nobita and the New Steel Troops: Angel Wings: (Scheduled) Japan, Animation – A Doraemon anime film is released nearly once a year in Japan – about 24 of them now – and is always ecstatically received.  This year, for the first time, the release is in both IMAX 3D and conventional 2D formats.  It’s actually a remake of the 1986 Doraemon movie of nearly the same name.  Doraemon, for those not in the know, is an earless robotic cat, and beloved by almost everyone in Japan.  Here he helps his pals battle an incoming Alien Robot Army, set to conquer Planet Earth and enslave the human inhabitants.

Love Summer: (Scheduled) Thai, Comedy/ Romance – A group of teenagers meet by chance, become friends, and fall in love in typical Thai teen fashion.

The Sorcerer and the White Snake: (Scheduled) China/ Hong Kong, Action/ Fantasy – Jet Li in a Chinese fable about the forbidden romance between a simple, kind-hearted man and a snake demon who takes the form of a beautiful woman.  It’s set in a fantasy world of striking beauty where both humans and demons exist, with the demons deceptively taking on human form.

Friday Killer: Thai, Action/ Drama – A professional hit-man (veteran comedian Thep Po-ngam ) is set free from prison with failing eyesight, and learns for the first time that he has a daughter.  Turns out she’s a tough policewoman, and out to get him.  First in the series but second to be released of Yuthlert Sippapak’s films pitting well-known comedians against young starlets.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins: US, Comedy/ Family – I’ve seen this, and though for a Jim Carrey film it’s bland, too inoffensive, and predictable, there is fun in it – particularly when the penguins are center stage.  Carrey tries to hide the whole flock (if that’s the word) in his New York City apartment.  Nice turn by Angela Lansbury.  Mixed or average reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only.

Johnny English Reborn: US/ France/ UK, Comedy – Rowan Atkinson returns to the role of the most unlikely intelligence officer in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where he must stop a group of international assassins before they eliminate a world leader and cause global chaos.  He is in truth a very funny man, and you may be surprised at how much you’re laughing.  Thai-dubbed at Big C; English elsewhere.

Abduction: US, Action/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – Hunk of all hunks, Taylor Lautner (the wolf from the Twilight movies) got his breakthrough chance with this movie, and apparently blew it!  I haven’t seen such bad reviews in a long time, like: “One of the worst films of 2011.  The script and editing is so horrific that it made Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina, two great actors, look bad.  Stay far away!”  Too bad, and I guess I’ll stay away.  It’s a story of a young man who has the uneasy feeling that he’s living someone else’s life.  When he stumbles upon an image of himself as a little boy on a missing persons website, all of his fears come true: he realizes his parents are not his own and his life is a lie.  Generally unfavorable reviews (and at the low end of that category).  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Apollo 18: US, Horror/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Decades-old found footage from NASA’s abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the US has never returned to the moon.  Basically The Blair Witch in outer space, with an ultra-low budget.  Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego makes his English-language feature debut. Generally unfavorable reviews – even lower than Abduction.  Now at Pattaya Beach only, if at all.

Baan Phee Pob: Reformation: Thai, Comedy/ Horror – The evil spirit of Phee Pob (or Phop) is revived again!  This is a long-running ghost-comedy series of some twenty installments so far, and is notable for the scenes of villagers running around and then hiding in large water jars.  You must have seen some of this.  Some in the audience need to see nothing more than a huge water jar and a hapless villager to start in with uncontrollable laughter.  Stars veteran actress Natthanee Sitthisaman as the gut-munching female ghost who disembowels her victims.  Must not be too ghoulish, though, as it’s rated G. At Big C only, with English subtitles.

Colombiana: US/ France, Action/ Adventure/ Drama – I liked this as an action flick and found it intriguing and exciting.  A young woman, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.  Stars Zoe Saldana (from Avatar) and she is a riveting presence onscreen indeed.  It’s chock-full of action, sex, and violence – so much so that’s it’s rated 18+ in Thailand (but only PG-13 in the US).  Mixed or average reviews. Pattaya Beach and Major only, as of Wednesday.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: US/ Australia/ Mexico, Horror/ Thriller — Produced and co-written by Guillermo del Toro.  A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend in Rhode Island discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.  They say it starts out being quite scary indeed.  Rated R in the US for violence and terror; 15+ here.  Mixed or average reviews.  Major only.

Shark Night 3D: US, Horror/ Thriller – A weekend at a lake house in the Louisiana Gulf turns into a nightmare for seven vacationers as they are subjected to fresh-water shark attacks.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Only 2D now, and only at Major.

Luer Lae: Thai, Comedy/ Musical – Veteran comic Note Chernyim collaborated with fellow comedian Yong Chernyim in this comedy aimed at raising awareness of folk music among a new generation, urging them to preserve it for future generations.  The story is of a three-man band, all of whom are crazy about ska music and hope to become famous.  After troubles that force them to disband, the three wander into a village where folk music is still being preserved.  Not at Pattaya Beach.