Jackass 3D: US, Documentary/ Action/ Comedy – The “Jackass” phenomenon started out as a long series on MTV. Then came the first film Jackass: the Movie in 2002, essentially an extended TV episode, shot on crummy-looking digital video. In 2006 came Jackass Number Two, and now finally the definitive 3D version. This group of nuts has had a long 10-year-run with their brand of performance art, and I missed it all, having left the US before they started doing their what-ever-it-is performances. It consists of gross compilations of gags and guffaws, likely to make you sick. But they say it’s also rather funny, it you’re into frat house humor. Rated R in the US for male nudity, extremely crude and dangerous stunts throughout, and for language. Or as the New York Times says: “Clothed, semi-naked, and naked adult men, all apparently stuck in what Freud termed the anal, oral, and phallic stages of development.” Mixed or average reviews.
Fan Mai: Thai, Action/ Thriller – Really lots of rain and blood. A girl calls it off with her boyfriend when she finds he’s been seeing someone else – who’s dead. Looks kind of intriguing as well as spooky.
RED: US, Action/ Comedy – A delight! I had more fun at this one than any movie in some time. It even made you muse over a few things as you sped along, but not too much and not too deeply. Mostly it’s just glorious nonsense, with actors that you have come to love to watch, doing their stuff. Just terrific fun. “RED” stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.” Starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, and Mary-Louise Parker – a great cast! They used to be the CIA’s top agents – but the secrets they knew now make them the Agency’s top targets for assassination. They must use all of their collective cunning, experience, and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. Rated 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews, but I loved it! Thai-dubbed at Big C.
My Best Bodyguard: Thai, Action/ Thriller – Starring HRH Princess Ubolratana as a dedicated reporter fighting a villainous pharmacy organization that secretly runs an experiment involving a deadly virus which can kill a whole city.
Red Eagle / Insee Dang: Thai, Action/ Thriller – Ananda Everingham is really terrific as the red-masked crusader in this re-launch of an action franchise from the 1950s and ’60s that starred the legendary Thai leading man Mitr Chaibancha. This one is set in 2016, and shows Bangkok as a city threatened by not only the usual crime and corruption, but also now in danger from a deadly nuclear plant about to be built. In the midst of the dismay, a mysterious hero called Red Eagle steps forward to do battle with the evildoers. However, he has to face his dangerous enemy Dark Devil, the elite killer hired to hunt him down. Rated 18+ in Thailand. At Pattaya Beach, it’s in Thai only; English subtitles at Major; not at Big C.
It’s quite an enjoyable Thai action movie. There are flashes of director Wisit Sasanatieng’s trademark wild use of color and wild imagination, all here in the service of a comic book masked crusader much along the lines of Batman. In fact his icon, the spread eagle, looks much like the spread bat-wings of Batman’s symbol. The film, really, is a sort of Thai Dark Knight. Be warned, the film is horrifically bloody, too much so for my taste.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (3D): US/ Australia, Animation/ Fantasy – The animation is superb: the textures of the feathers, the motions of the owls, and particularly the expressiveness of the faces and the life in the eyes. Quite marvelous, and with beautifully done voice work by excellent actors. It’s a dark and dense and highly detailed world these owls live in, and it fairly captured me. Some very scary parts, so young children take note!
The use of 3D is superb, and the scenes of flight are giddy with exuberance and excitement. Perhaps still in 3D for some showings at Pattaya Beach, and if so please note: the 3D is real 3D, and is a true step forward in the art. If you at all appreciate animation, don’t miss it! Probably no longer showing elsewhere. Mixed or average reviews by others.
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps: US, Drama – Oliver Stone directs this follow-up to the acclaimed 1987 film – 23 years later. There are some really good turns by a number of people: Michael Douglas, Eli Wallach, Frank Langella, Josh Brolin. Some of their scenes are well done with a lot of intensity in the execution. But without much point or purpose, for me, and it should have been angrier. Mixed or average reviews. Not at Big C.
Reign of Assassins / Jianyu: China, Action/ Drama – A martial arts film co-directed by John Woo. Set in ancient China during the Ming Dynasty, Michelle Yeoh plays a skilled assassin who finds herself in possession of a mystical Buddhist monk’s remains. Assassins had its premier in September at the Venice Film Festival where it met with general acclaim from the critics. Shown in a Thai-dubbed version only, and at Pattaya Beach and Big C only – but may have left town already.
E Hed Sod Pa Ded Suek: Thai, Comedy – Outrageous Thai comedy routines involving a bride who happens to have a penis, and is shown in the trailers raping her bridegroom by riding roughshod over his sensibilities with her inflamed member. Just the usual Thai hijinks. He is later challenged to lead a team to defeat a band of ladyboy terrorists, and they must disguise themselves as ladyboys in order to do the job. It’s noisy trash, to be blunt, but it’s served up with English subtitles for your pleasure at all three locales. Rated 18+ in Thailand.
Grown Ups: US, Comedy – This film, starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, is a comedy, or so it wishes, about five friends and former teammates who reunite years later to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach. I can’t imagine why anyone would deliberately want to see this picture. It’s pretty ugly, full of pretty ugly Americans, living ugly lives, tearing each other down in typically American ways. Looks sort of like home movies of the people involved. I find no real humor in it at all. However, it seems there are some people who actually like the humor of Adam Sandler. Not at Big C. Generally unfavorable reviews.
Yai Sang Ma Yai / I Am Grandmother: Thai, Comedy – Two brothers have been separated since childhood. One is brought up in a slum and gambles to live, and the other stays home to care for their grandmother. When an accident causes her to lapse into a coma, and much more money is needed for her treatment, the brothers join up to try to raise the money in a gambling house. In Thai only, and not at Pattaya Beach.
Devil: US, Horror/ Thriller – A group of people trapped in an elevator realize that the devil is among them. Produced by M. Night Shyamalan, which the directors and crew are desperately trying to live down, being that his name, post-Airbender, is as welcome as the devil himself. Mixed or average reviews. At Major only, but may be gone by time you read this.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (3D): US/ Australia, Action/ Comedy/ Family – The age-old battle between cats and dogs, in live-action with animated mouths that spout talk that’s meant to be cute. It offers little more than the spectacle of digitally rendered talking animals with celebrity voices, all in 3D – at Pattaya Beach, of course. In 2D elsewhere, and the Big C version is Thai-dubbed. Generally unfavorable reviews.