Now playing in Pattaya
Super 8: US, Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – This is a true delight. It’s like discovering an unknown but classic early Spielberg film, in the vein of E.T. or The Goonies. In the summer of 1979, a group of childhood friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a Super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident.
Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined. The kids in the movie act like kids, there’s a plot, the action sequences are old fashioned in that you can follow them, there’s depth of emotion, and it’s just a fine experience. Finally there’s a fantastic train wreck! See it if you at all like this sort of thing. Steven Spielberg is producer, and the director J.J. Abrams apprenticed under Spielberg in a number of classic Spielbergiens. Not in 3D – it’s not needed or wanted. Generally favorable reviews. Thai-dubbed at Big C.
Green Lantern: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe. With Mark Strong, and relative newcomer Ryan Reynolds who becomes one of the six Green Lanterns patrolling Sector 2814, which includes Earth. Much action on another world, and it all looks like a lot of fun.
Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy: Hong Kong, Drama/ Comedy/ Romance – Ballyhooed as the world’s first 3D erotic film, it’s actually not – the honor of being the world’s first 3D erotic film belongs to the South Korean feature Natali. This is more comic than erotic to most reviewers, and with a disturbing violent streak that unpleasantly mixes the erotic with the painful, such as rape, and even death. Three minutes have been cut by Thai censors, though mainly through “trims” rather that “cuts.” The director says that even in Hong Kong, three minutes were trimmed. Key female protagonists are played by recognizable Japanese porn stars, and great rivers of pulsing flesh are apparently on view throughout. Rated 20 in Thailand, which means you must actually have ID with you that shows you are over 20. The 3D is judged to be fairly good; presented only in a Thai-dubbed version. Not at Big C.
Small Rule / Small Ru: Thai, Comedy/ Musical – Typical Thai comedy. English subtitles except at Major.
X-Men: First Class: US, Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Smart, spectacular, often thrilling, always incredibly entertaining – they seem to have done everything right with this one. Following the classic Marvel mythology, the film charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their extraordinary mutant powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world had ever known. Includes the gifted actor (in my opinion) Kevin Bacon in one of his too-rare film appearances. Also features President John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, in a re-imagining of that near-catastrophic standoff. Generally favorable reviews. Film was never planned for 3D; the director, Matthew Vaughn, prefers 2D. In English everywhere, and Big C also has a Thai-dubbed version.
The Lincoln Lawyer: US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – Very good! Matthew McConaughey as a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. He has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: defending a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. The seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly and twisting game of survival. I thought it a dandy thriller and a rock-solid entertainment, made with much care and given much personality. Rated R in the US for some violence, sexual content, and language. 13+ in Thailand. Generally favorable reviews. At Major only.
Something Borrowed: US, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance – Two women think of themselves as the closet friends possible, ever since childhood. But one always gives, and one always takes, as though it were the natural thing to do. Finally, at age 30, the “giver” pauses to question the arrangement. Generally unfavorable reviews, but given the requirements of the romantic comedy, I didn’t think it that bad at all. Pattaya Beach only.
Kung Fu Panda 2: US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – This is really good! The animation is great, in a couple of distinct styles, including shadow puppets. And it’s funny – I especially got a kick out of Dustin Hoffman this time around, voicing the local guru-mystic – hilarious!. Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan are among others in a stellar cast who lend their voices to the characters in this sequel to the very popular first installment. Po the Panda’s new life of awesomeness as the Dragon Warrior is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. Po and his friends must journey across China to face this threat and vanquish it. An awesome film, as much a hoot as the first film, but with a dark and adult side to it as well, dealing with serious personal issues, and a resolution that’s genuinely emotional and satisfying. Go see it! Generally favorable reviews. The 3D version is only at Pattaya Beach, 2D and Thai-dubbed elsewhere. The 3D is reportedly a solid and impressive job; I saw it in 2D.
The Hangover Part II: US, Comedy – Wheeo! Don’t know about this. You might find it amusing, but I didn’t like it at all, even though I have to admit I laughed a few times. In general I thought it just too crass to be fun. In this follow-up to the record-breaking The Hangover, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis – whose “acting” I am beginning to hate), and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel here to “exotic” Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned, and they have another alcoholic blackout and come to in Bangkok. They only slowly find out what they did. Rated R in the US for pervasive language, strong sexual content, including graphic nudity, drug use, and brief violent images; 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews, but the Bangkok Post’s reviewer, Kong Rithdee, is really angry over this film, calling it “vulgar and stupid, cinematically, geographically, and culturally.” I concur. Not at Big C.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy – The latest in this great pop series, with a shipful of grand scenery-chewing British star swashbucklers. Here, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (a delightful Penelope Cruz). Very enjoyable – the stars are terrific and the jokes and set pieces are funny and well done. If you liked the series before, you’ll like it again. In 2D only now, which is okay; viewers tend to bypass the 3D version anyway and see it in 2D. The version at Big C is Thai-dubbed. Mixed or average reviews.
Fast & Furious 5: US, Action/ Crime/ Drama – Still hanging on, Vin Diesel and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent. It’s a movie that’s proud of its brainless action thrills – sleek, loud, and over the top, and the most exciting of the series. Generally favorable reviews. At Pattaya Beach only, if still here.