Let’s go to the movies – Friday September 23 – September 29, 2011

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Now playing in Pattaya

The Outrage / U Mong Pa Meung: Thai, Crime/ Mystery – Adapted from the famed Japanese film Rashomon, this beautiful and brooding Thai version takes place in a wood during Thai’s Lanna period.  There’s a mysterious murder, and the event is told at a hastily convened court by the three participants, the victim speaking through a medium.

Later an eye-witness discusses the event with a monk who was present at the trial, and a grave-tender.  All the stories that are told are different, but each swears their version is the truth.  Beautifully acted by Ananda Everingham, Chermarn Boonyasak, Mario Maurer, and Mum Jokmok, directed by ML Bhandevanop Devakul and developed by him from his play of 20 years ago.  Highly effective; I’ve seen it twice now, and I recommend you see it.  With English subtitles at all locations.

 

Johnny English Reborn / Johnny English 2: 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.  Thai-dubbed at Big C; English elsewhere.

Friends with Benefits: (Scheduled) US, Comedy/ Romance – While trying to avoid the clichés of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) soon discover that adding the act of sex to their friendship really does lead to complications.  The chemistry between the two leads is excellent, and I found it enjoyable.  If you really need to see a Rom-Com, you could do much worse than this.  Rated R in the US for some violent content and brief sexuality; 18+ in Thailand.  Generally favorable reviews.

Abduction: (Scheduled) US, Action/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – Hunk of all hunks, Taylor Lautner (the wolf from the Twilight movies) has his own breakthrough possibility in this film, where he gets to strut his stuff aside an excellent cast (Alfred Molina and Sigourney Weaver) in an intriguing story.  It’s directed by the excellent John Singleton who came out with the fantastic Boyz n the Hood some twenty years ago.  This is the 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 darkest fears come true: he realizes his parents are not his own and his life is a lie, carefully fabricated to hide something more mysterious and dangerous than he could have ever imagined.

Apollo 18: (Scheduled) 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 ultra-low budget.  Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego makes his English-language feature debut.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: US/ Australia/ Mexico, Horror/ Thriller — Produced and co-written by Guillermo del Toro.  The original of this was a television thriller from 1973 which so bewitched the then 9-year-old del Toro that he then and there determined on a life of making fantasy horror films – which he has done.  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.  With Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes.  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.  Shown in 3D only at Pattaya Beach; 2D at Major; 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Fright Night: US, Comedy/ Horror – Strange how views can differ about a film: this has gotten generally favorable reviews, reviewers saying it’s smart and funny, as well as stylishly gory.  But I think it’s one of the most abysmally awful movies I’ve seen in some time — with abominable acting and directing, and a stupid script full of dirty talk and gratuitous vulgarity.  It’s a remake of the 1985 cult classic, in which a teenager (Anton Yelchin) guesses that his new neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths.  When no one he knows believes him, he enlists a self proclaimed vampire killer and Las Vegas magician to help him take down the evil creature.  Rated R in the US for bloody horror violence, and language, including some sexual references; 18+ in Thailand.  As of Wednesday it was in 3D at Pattaya Beach, 2D at Major, 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Colombiana: US/ France, Action/ Adventure/ Drama – 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.  I liked it as an action flick – I found it intriguing and exciting, and 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.  Thai-dubbed at Big C; English elsewhere.

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 Major.

Bad Teacher: US, Comedy – Cameron Diaz plays a foulmouthed, ruthless, altogether inappropriate teacher who drinks, gets high, and can’t wait to marry her meal ticket and quit teaching.  It’s a repulsive character, and I felt uncomfortable.  I know: it’s just a comedy, and I should lighten up.  I just don’t think we should have as a role model (for the first half of the film, anyway) an alcoholic doing everything a teacher shouldn’t.  With Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake (who is getting to be a very pleasant person to share a movie with).  Rated R in the US for sexual content, nudity, language, and some drug use; 18+ here.  Mixed or average reviews.  Not at Big C.

Zookeeper: US, Comedy/ Family/ Romance – I’ve seen this, and some of the animal antics made me laugh, and I dare say everyone will find them amusing to watch.  But I think your overall appreciation of the film will depend purely on how interesting you find the two human leads, Kevin James and Rosario Dawson, and their rocky road to romance.  I’m not enamored of either.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Playing as of Wednesday, but not at Big C.

Bangkok Kung Fu: Thai, Action/ Comedy – Five kids flee from underworld figures who turned them into beggars.  Taken in and taught by a kung fu master, they are now grown up and return for revenge for their destroyed lives.  With Love of Siam star Mario Maurer.  Still playing as of Wednesday: Thai-only at Big C; English subtitles at Pattaya Beach; not at Major.

Conan the Barbarian 3D: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy – The tale of Conan the Cimmerian and his adventures across the continent of Hyboria on a quest to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village. Relentless and gory violence which they say is faithful to the original books, but also has shallow characters, dialogue, and acting. Has a lot of unnecessary 3D effects.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence, some sexuality, and nudity.  Generally unfavorable reviews, and I’m skipping it.  In 3D only at Pattaya Beach; not at Big C.

Cowboys & Aliens: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Whatever were they thinking?  This is a film in which characters with ugly personalities do unpleasant things to each other – the characters being humans, semi-humans, and aliens.  Try as I might, I can’t think of one reason why anyone should want to see this.  Very mixed styles, very mixed messages, all of it uncomfortable.  Also, strangely, it feels like a cheap film to me – despite the high-priced help of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.  Looks like it was shot on a studio back lot.  Mixed or average reviews.  As of Wednesday it was in English everywhere, except Thai-dubbed at Big C.