Let’s go to the movies – Friday 22- 28 April 2011


Note:  Major Cineplex has now upgraded Cinema 3 at their complex on Second Road to accommodate digital and 3D films.

Now playing in Pattaya

Source Code: US/ France, Mystery/ Romance/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A film everyone is raving about.  I think it’s simply terrific in all ways as a thriller and mystery.  It stars an excellent Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.  A younger brother to Inception, it has the complex infrastructure of top-tier science fiction.  Gripping, well directed, well acted, highly recommended.  Generally favorable reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Rio 3D: (Shown in digital 3D – even at Major!) US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy –  A simple and charming movie, big and bright.  Set in the city of Rio de Janeiro and the lush rainforest of Brazil, this comedy-adventure centers on Blu, a rare macaw who thinks he is the last of his kind.  With Jesse Eisenberg, late of The Social Network, as the voice of Blu.  From the makers of the Ice Age series.  Generally favorable reviews.  In 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C, 3D elsewhere.

Arthur: (Scheduled) US, Comedy – A re-imagining of the 1981 classic with Russell Brand as Arthur and Helen Mirren as his sensible lifelong nanny who tries to keep him out of trouble.  Could be a career-killing performance for Russell Brand.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Ironclad: (Scheduled) UK/ US, Action/ Adventure – A Medieval Magnificent Seven, this is a violent action thriller that tells the true story of a motley crew of tough, battle hardened warriors, who withstood several brutal and bloody months under siege in a desperate bid to defend their country.  It is the year 1215 and the rebel barons of England have forced their despised King John to put his royal seal to the Magna Carta, a noble, seminal document that upheld the rights of free-men.  Yet within months of pledging himself to the great charter, the King reneged on his word and assembled a mercenary army on the south coast of England with the intention of bringing the barons and the country back under his tyrannical rule.  Directed by Jonathan English, and starring Brian Cox, James Purefoy, and Paul Giamatti.  Most reviewers seem to think it’s too gory for its own good.  Rated R in the US for strong graphic brutal battle sequences, and brief nudity.  Early reviews: Mixed or average.

Hall Pass: (Scheduled) US, Comedy – Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis play best friends who have a lot in common, especially that they have each been married for many years.  When the two men begin to show signs of restlessness at home, their wives take a bold approach to revitalizing their marriages: granting them a hall pass, one week of freedom to do whatever they want.  At first, it sounds like a dream come true, but it isn’t long before they discover that their expectations of the single life and themselves are completely, and hilariously, out of sync with reality.  Mixed or average reviews.

King Naresuan Part III: Naval Battle: Thai, Drama/ War – The third chapter (of at least four chapters) of the King Naresuan epic, continuing the story of Thai’s chivalric king and warrior in the Ayudhya era who fought against the invasion of Burmese troops that aimed to overpower the Ayudhya Kingdom.  The filming of the story of King Naresuan began in 2002 and is still continuing on the huge set built in Kanchanaburi (and which is open to the public as a sort of theme park). Nearly the whole army garrison in Kanchanaburi is in the movie as extras, plus hundreds of elephants, horses, and other animals.  Sort of a 10-year public works project for the province.  The production aspects are superbly rendered: the costumes, the sets, the set decoration.  The details are superb and reflect a lot of research in the design, and much skill and craftsmanship in the execution.  If the emotions and plot seem wooden, remember the difficulty in creating a drama that offends absolutely no one (with the single exception of the Burmese; that’s allowed).  The film is rated “P” for “Promote” – meaning the Thai government has given it its seal of approval, and everyone should go see it.  I personally found the blood and gore of the endless killings at the climactic battle to be too much.  It is, to be sure, spectacular.  In Thai only at Big C, English subtitles elsewhere.

Hop: US, Animation/ Comedy/ Family – The funny and entertaining story of the Easter Bunny’s teen son and his quest to make a name for himself.  With a live-action James Marsden and cuddly-cute animated bunnies and chicks.  Mixed or average reviews. Not at Big C.

Let the Bullets Fly: (Thai-dubbed only/ no English subtitles) China, Action/ Comedy – Set in China during the warring 1920s, a notorious bandit chief descends upon a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, intent on swindling the populace.  He soon meets his match in the tyrannical local crime boss, leading to a deadly battle of wit and brutality.  Written and directed by Jiang Wen, and starring Jiang Wen and Chow Yun Fat, this clever and satirical film is hugely popular in China, and its biggest box-office hit ever.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.

Mindfulness and Murder / Sop-mai-ngeap: (Scheduled) Thai, Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller – When a homeless youth is murdered on the grounds of a Buddhist monastery in Bangkok, the police do little to investigate, leaving Father Ananda – a former homicide detective – to try and solve the crime.  With the help of an orphaned boy named Jak, Ananda travels the canals of the city to unravel the clues and catch the killer.  Written and directed by Tom Waller.  Nicely captures the mood and details of life in a temple in an interesting story.  At Major only, when it arrives.

Sucker Punch: US/ Canada, Action/ Fantasy/ Thriller – The most imaginative film since Inception.  A young girl (Baby Doll) is institutionalized – locked away in a mental asylum by her wicked stepfather – where she will undergo a lobotomy in five days time.  It’s an adolescent boys’ sex fantasy on top of an ugly story of a life so bad it drives the heroine into psychosis.  In this case, however, it’s a shared psychosis with four other girls, and the “quests” they have in the psychotic world have repercussions in their real lives.  It would be the easiest thing in the world to make fun of Sucker Punch, and I daresay it’s doomed to be ridiculed for years to come, and yet I loved it.  It’s bizarre, but unique and wonderful – a gritty, violent, fantasy-based, primarily female-driven story.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only, if still around.

World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles: (Scheduled) US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Here the invaders are aliens, and I guess the movie is designed to show how Marines would likely handle an attack from extra-terrestrials, if it were all up to them.  Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind and Marine staff sergeant Aaron Eckhart and his new platoon must draw a line in the sand and take on the enemy.  Marines from Camp Pendleton helped train the actors for their roles, educating them in the Marine way of doing things, and a number of actual Marines also appear as extras in the film.  I enjoyed Aaron Eckhart in this film – felt it was a very good performance indeed.  And I thought it was overall a fair action film.  Generally unfavorable reviews.

Nang Pee / The Cinderella: Thai, Horror/ Mystery – On a movie set, a hot-tempered superstar named Rashane has a quarrel with the movie crew, and it leads to the unexpected death of Rashane and an aftermath of horror when Rashane’s corpse comes back from the grave to get revenge.  The preview shows bloody scenes of the skin being ripped off a man’s back, and the top of a skull removed to get at the brain below.  Your move!  Not at Major, Thai only at Big C, 18+.

Scream 4: (Scheduled) US, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – Gentle, grandfatherly, scholarly Wes Craven revisits his horror franchise.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence, language, and some teen drinking. Rated 18+ in Thailand.  You know what you’re in for.

Ha Zard: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – When a university of comedians is facing a downturn and all its comedians are endangered, some comedy students team up to save everyone’s career.  Has at least a cameo from every comic in Thailand, plus excessive excrement and flatulence comedy routines – so very popular.  Some really gross stuff.