Let’s go to the movies – Fri 11 – 17 Feb 2011


Now playing in Pattaya

The Green Hornet: US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – A strange piece, designed to be nothing but a thoughtless piece of fluff.  As such, it’s okay.  Seth Rogen as the Hornet is an unlikely and uncomfortable super-hero, and rather a distasteful gent.  Cameron Diaz serves up the romantic interest nicely, and the unrestrained pleasure is the arch-villain played by Christoph Waltz, the Austrian actor who took the film world by storm by his marvelous portrayal of a Nazi officer in Inglourious Basterds.  Of special interest to Asians is the role of the hero’s sidekick Cato, played by Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou.  He does acquit himself well in this – his slight acting skills and his shaky use of English is underplayed, and to cover we are served a number of funny sight gags and some impressive martial arts.  The whole thing is a bit of a mish-mash and slight, but if you approach it with a relaxed and uncritical frame-of-mind, you will find it entertaining enough.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  In 2D everywhere, and at Pattaya Beach there’s also a 3D version (but it’s nothing exceptional); the Big C version is Thai-dubbed only.

The Rite: (scheduled) US, Drama/ Horror/ Thriller – Anthony Hopkins looks to be at his spooky best again as the filmmakers trot out the well-worn possessed/ exorcism/ priest scenario.  If one can believe such things, this is “inspired by true events.”  We follow a skeptical seminary student (Colin O’Donoghue) as he reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican, and while in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest (Hopkins) who introduces him to the darker side of his faith.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

No Strings Attached: (scheduled) US, Comedy/ Romance – To gauge from the previews, this film is likely to get the blatant smut award of the year, but at least the raunch is clever and cheerful.  Starring Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, and Kevin Kline.  Rated R in the US for sexual content, language, and some drug material.  Mixed or average reviews.

The Fighter: (scheduled) US, Biography/ Drama/ Sport – Highly praised film up for Oscar best picture, director (David O. Russell), actor in a supporting role (Christian Bale), two actresses in a supporting role (Amy Adams and Melissa Leo), best adapted screenplay, and best editing.  A drama about boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s unlikely road to the world light welterweight title.  His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dickie, a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded in life after nearly being KO’d by drugs and crime.  With Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, giving two outstanding performances.  Rated R in the US for language throughout, drug content, some violence, and sexuality.  Generally favorable reviews.  Apparently at Major Cineplex only, if it shows.

Shaolin / New Shaolin Temple: Hong Kong/ China, Action/ Drama – A story of Shaolin monks who protect and shelter civilians during war, this is a beautifully photographed, finely acted big budget spectacle that doesn’t rely on star power and action to deliver the goods, but actually is a thinking man’s film on the philosophical aspects of Buddhism.  Unfortunately, it’s shown in Thailand only in a Thai-dubbed version.  Starring Jackie Chan and Andy Lau.

The Tourist: US, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – A thoroughly enjoyable espionage caper/ romance.  Highly recommended, if you don’t go expecting an action-packed film with Jolie kicking butt.  Here Angelina Jolie is demure, however deadly, and we don’t see her tattoos.  She and Johnny Depp come on as two stars having a bit of fun together in an enchanting story and script, deceptive on several levels.  Depp plays an American tourist whose playful dalliance with a stranger leads to a web of intrigue, romance, and danger.  It’s one of those movies that will leave some viewers scratching their heads, wondering why there isn’t more action, more snazzy editing, more obvious crackle between its stars.  But the people who get it will simply adore it: It’s a kind of espionage caper that’s visually sensuous, made with tender attention to detail, and an elegant, understated sense of humor.  See it!  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Not at Big C.

Teng Nong Jiwon Bin: Thai, Action/ Comedy – A comedy about a pilgrim and a wealthy jeweller whose destiny has brought them to meet on a plane and then encounter unexpected events.  The formula for your run-of-the-mill Thai comedy – of which this looks to be a prime example – seems to be: Assemble a cast of popular TV and cafe comics, have a grain of an idea for a plot or a genre (horror, romance, or farcical action, or all three), and then say “action!”

Bangkon Care: Thai, Drama/ Romance – A girl is separated from her first true love, and then desperately tries to find him again using today’s modern tools: Facebook and Twitter.  In Thai only; not at Major Cineplex.

Meet the Parents: Little Fockers: US, Comedy/ Family – These people are still around, and I still don’t want to meet them.  In this third installment of the series, the test of wills between Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller escalates to new heights – or would that be depths?  Generally unfavorable reviews.  Not at Big C.

Sud Khet Saled Ped: Thai, Comedy – Kohtee Aramboy and Tukkie are among the ever-present Thai comedians in this film with an untranslatable title, engaged in comic antics much like all that has gone before in Thai comedies.  Except that it seems to be exactly what a great segment of the population wants to see.  It’s been a phenomenal hit, but now at Major Cineplex only.


If any of the following arrives, grab the chance and see it:

Hereafter: US, Drama/ Fantasy – Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, and it’s a good one.  Matt Damon is one of three people Eastwood studies, each with a different experience of an aspect of life after death.  What do these people believe, what causes them to think that way, and what is the truth?  Fascinating dramas on the topic, well done.  Mixed or average reviews.

Fair Game: US, Biography/ Drama/ Thriller – Taut and exciting tale of dirty deeds by the White House.  Director Doug Liman’s fact-based drama of former US ambassador Joseph Wilson; his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson; and the events of 2003, when her identity as a CIA operative was leaked in retaliation by the White House after her husband wrote an op-ed piece criticizing the US invasion of Iraq.  Generally favorable reviews.

The King’s Speech: UK/ Australia, Drama/ History – One of the top contenders for best picture and 11 other Oscars, this is the story of the suddenly crowned King George VI of England, who suffers from a debilitating speech impediment.  With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.