Let’s go to the movies – Friday December 9 – December 15, 2011

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Now playing in Pattaya

Twilight 4: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1: US, Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – Not bad at all!  Not at all!  Once you accept the setup (and you might as well, or you’ll get nowhere and shouldn’t be watching) you’ll find it fairly strong, and with perhaps the most disturbing and horrendous pregnancy and childbirth since Rosemary’s Baby.   Yes, Edward and Bella are expecting a child, and the Quileute and the Volturi are uneasy.  Who do these last two names refer to?  Why as any kid can tell you, they are a wolf pack and a vampire coven – currently the world’s most favorite vampires and werewolves.  There is certainly some real juice to the film, and I really did enjoy it.  By the way, the wedding night scene between Edward and Bella originally caused the film to receive an R rating, and the scene had to be re-edited to receive a PG-13 rating; so, it’s safe now, whew!.  Part 2 is due next November, and I’m looking forward to it.  Mixed or average reviews.  In Digital 3D and English at Pattaya Beach, 3D and Thai-dubbed at Big C; not at Major.  See it!  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Puss in Boots 3D: US, Adventure/ Animation/ Comedy/ Fantasy – An absolute delight!  Great animation, a lot of varied fun and songs and dance, and some of the best use of 3D I’ve seen.  Long before he met Shrek, the notorious fighter, lover, and outlaw Puss in Boots became a hero when he set off on an adventure with the tough and street-smart Kitty Softpaws and the mastermind Humpty Dumpty to save his town.  With brilliant vocal work by Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, and many other unsung artists.  Generally favorable reviews, saying it has an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm, and I completely agree.  In Digital 3D and English at Pattaya Beach, 3D and Thai-dubbed at Big C; not at Major.

Happy Feet Two (3D): (Scheduled) Australia, Animation/ Comedy/ Family/ Music – The story once again revolves around the colony of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, and especially around Mumble, the dancing penguin who’s now married and has a son.  While Mumble and son Eric are away, the colony gets trapped by shifting ice and faces starvation if they can’t find a way out.  Enlisting the help of Ramon’s penguin colony, which now includes a little puffin named Sven, and a herd of elephant seals, Mumble sets out to save them.  Mixed or average reviews, saying it’s too cluttered to have the charm of the original, but praise is generally given to the 3D use.

Trespass (2011): US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – In a private, wealthy community, priority is placed on security.  Behind the walls and manicured gardens, a fast-talking businessman (Nicolas Cage), has entrusted his mansion’s renovation to his stunning wife (Nicole Kidman).  Then their home is invaded by thugs.  Rated R in the US for violence and terror, pervasive language, and some brief drug use; 15+ here.  Generally unfavorable reviews: “nasty and aggressive, more unpleasant than entertaining.”  “Cage gives one of his more demented performances.”  Don’t underestimate the drawing power of Nicolas Cage when he’s genuinely unhinged!  Not at Big C. (In Digital.)

Headshot / Fon Tok Kuen Fa: Thai, Action/ Thriller – A film By Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director of Last Life in the Universe, this is a modern film noir about a man trying to forget his past – but his past and his karma won’t forget him.  Adapted from the novel “Fon Tok Kuen Fa.”  Premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, then was shown at the Tokyo and Vancouver festivals; has created a bit of interest and anticipation.  Rated 18+ in Thailand.  Pattaya Beach only, as of Wednesday, and with English subtitles.

The Thing (2011): US/ Canada, Horror/ Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name: A paleontologist has traveled to a desolate region of Antarctica for the expedition of her lifetime.  Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago.  When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, she must join the crew’s pilot to keep it from killing them off one at a time.  Rated R in the US for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language; 15+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews.  Thai-dubbed at Big C, English elsewhere.

Vampire Strawberry: Thai, Comedy – Another one of those Thai combinations of horror and low comedy; this time the story is about two kids who unknowingly release a vampire from its box.  Naturally the vampire is now hungry, and starts hunting down young women, to drink their blood, of course.  Shown in Thai only, and only at Big C.

In Time: US, Crime/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I quite enjoyed this film. It has one of the most intriguing premises of recent movies: In a future where time is literally money, and aging stops at 25, the only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time.  You need to stretch your beliefs a bit to swallow all this, but once you do you’re in for a fun and stylish ride with a bit of social commentary.  It’s a quietly angry picture – an extended metaphor for the way corporations suck the life from the poor and the not-quite-middle-class.  A young man (the ubiquitous and ever more excellent Justin Timberlake) lives life a minute at a time, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy, where he teams up with a beautiful young heiress to destroy the whole corrupt system.  Also stars Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde.  An interesting style to it, and the art direction and cinematography are top notch.  Mixed or average reviews.  In English with Thai subtitles; not at Big C.

Killer Elite: US/ Australia, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – The story pits two of the worlds’ most elite operatives – an ex-special ops agent (Jason Statham) and his longtime mentor (Robert De Niro) – against the cunning leader of a secret military society (Clive Owen).  Covering the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East, they are plunged into a highly dangerous game of cat and mouse – where the predators become the prey.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/ nudity; 18+ at SF cinemas.  Mixed or average reviews.  Pattaya Beach only.

Tower Heist: US, Action/ Comedy/ Crime – Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda lead an all-star cast in a comedy caper about ordinary working guys who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them in a Ponzi scheme.  I found it a fair low-key comedy with some amusing sequences and a touch of social commentary.  Should have been better, par for the course from director Brett Ratner, but it’s pleasant enough.  Mixed or average reviews.  Playing as of Wednesday; not at Big C.

30 Kam Lung Jaew: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – After three weeks as the top film in Thailand, it’s now in the second spot, displaced by Puss in Boots.  Still mighty popular.  Ja, a beautiful woman, has everything a woman is supposed to dream of having: a successful career, a partying lifestyle, and a handsome sweetheart.  On her 30th birthday, Ja finds her perfect life changed when her boyfriend wants to halt the relationship.  Now, at thirty-something, Ja accepts a happy single life until a new guy gets in her life – and he’s seven years younger than she is.  I’m led to believe it’s a charming tale.  Thai only everywhere.