Let’s go to the movies – Friday June 22 – June 28, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Prometheus: US, Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi – An exceptionally well-done science-fiction film with a lot to think about amidst all the action.  A satisfying movie experience, which really must be seen in 3D.  There was one spot when the characters were exploring a cave, and with the sound of the water dripping from the stalactites seemingly all around me in the theater, I was transported into the scene more completely than I ever remember happening before; it was an amazing movie experience. 

It’s the story of a team of explorers who discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe.  There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.  Directed by Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, who with this film returns to the genre he helped define.  For me, many references to 2001: A Space Odyssey – including a walking, talking, joking HAL 9000 robot.  And he’s got his own personal issues to work out (again!).  Fine performances by Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender (as the robot).

Rated R in the US for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language; 15+ in Thailand.  Generally favorable reviews, but I think it’s much better than that.  I’d say it’s not to be missed, and (warning!) since it’s not doing too well at the Thailand box office, time to see it is limited.  In 3D (English) and 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 3D (English) at Major; and both 2D (English) and 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C – at least as of last Wednesday.

Snow White and the Huntsman: US, Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi – I saw the plain old regular 2D version, and thought it a fantastically beautiful film with superb art direction and a fully realized story.  It’s the old tale intact, with every moment, every twist and turn, given full due.  Visually and aurally it is without peer.  The direction is fine with the exception of the use of the shaky cam in a few places to cheat on the action scenes.  It’s a lazy way of doing things, just making a blur of action so you can’t tell what’s going on, and thus they don’t have to plan out the scene very much.  But it’s use is minimal, irritating because the film is so exceptional otherwise.

Probably you won’t love it much if you have an objection to fairy tales, but for me it is one of the most exciting and satisfying films I’ve seen in some time.  Seemed a never-ending dark feast of surprise after surprise, delight after delight, imaginative horror after bloody evil.  One could talk much about the excellent and imaginative costuming and art direction, and music/sound design.  It all ends in a truly huge battle, unexpected in magnitude and ferocity.  Research on medieval battles and the background of the fairy tale were provided by consultants from the University of Chichester and the University of Oxford.  All in all, just a very well-done film.

Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron; directed by Rupert Sanders, making his feature film debut.  Shot mostly in England, with impressive photography at Pembrokeshire with a computer-generated castle.  Mixed or average reviews, but I recommend it highly.  Now in regular 2D only, in English everywhere, except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: US, Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family – The Madagascar team of regulars – Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe – are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple.  Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.  Mixed or average reviews, which call it bright and breezy with fast pacing, bright colors, dazzling circus acts, a vigorous villain, and some new characters.  In 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach and Major; 3D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Antapal (Hoodlum) / Gangster: Thai, Action/ Drama – A gritty action film on the exploits of Thai gangsters in the 1950s, starring Krissada “Noi” Sukosol Clapp and  “Tao” Somchai Kemglad as a pair of young hoodlums who take on the old-time mafia to shake up the Thai underworld.  They then find themselves challenged by a pair of even younger hoodlums who are obsessed with the lifestyle of James Dean.

Directed by Kongkiat Khomsiri, it’s based on a true story about a Bangkokian Mafia that was formed during a time of social and cultural upheaval in Thailand.  Young people were listening to Elvis and aspiring to be like James Dean, breaking down cultural norms and, in the case of the men at the center of this film, breaking the law with a wild disregard for anything in their way.  Rated 18+.  With English subtitles at all locations.

ATM: (Scheduled) US/ Canada, Horror/ Thriller – On a late night visit to an ATM, three co-workers end up in a desperate fight for their lives when they become trapped in an enclosed area made up of an ATM booth and car park by an unknown hooded killer lurking outside.  Rated R in the US for violence and terror.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  At Major only.

Men in Black III: US, Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi – I saw the 2D version, and I enjoyed it all.  The writers and director and actors were having fun with the story, and the fun was infectious.  There’s a truly enjoyable chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, and as things develop in the story, the same chemistry works just as well between Smith and a younger version of Jones, played by Josh Brolin.

The story has a thoroughly disgusting alien criminal killing the young Agent K in 1969, which naturally alters the timeline, changes the Agency, and places the Earth in danger.  Will Smith as Agent J must travel back in time to 1969 before the murder and work with the young Agent K to save him, the Agency, the Earth, and humanity itself.  Some amusing comments on the year 1969 for those who can remember.

Mixed or average reviews, saying it does justice to the fun and whimsy of the original, and gives a surprisingly emotional insight into the characters; it’s a solid creature-feature filled with memorable performances and remarkable visual effects.  In Converted 3D (English) and 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (English) at Major; and 2D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Marvel’s The Avengers: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – Marvel Comics brings its greatest superheroes together in this film, hoping they’ll be enough to smash the evil super-villain Loki (and attract you to the cinema by strength of sheer numbers).  The film is a big hit here, and actually quite excellent for this type of film, and you may really enjoy it.

Generally favorable reviews, saying the film lives up to its hype with a script that never forgets its heroes’ humanity.  And that there aren’t many writer-directors around as talented as Joss Whedon.  Indeed, it’s the writing that sets this film apart from the crowd.  At Pattaya Beach and Major only, in English; no longer shown in 3D.

I Miss You: Thai, Drama – A film about a handsome surgeon whose fiancée dies in a car crash and comes back to haunt him when he starts to look at someone new.  Quite popular.  In Thai only (no English subtitles) at all locations.

Piranha 3DD: US, Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi – The “DD” in the title refers to the cup size of women’s bras, so you can tell what the movie is fixated on.  It’s a horror-comedy sequel to the 2010 film Piranha 3D and Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd reprise their roles from the first film.  The director has said that the film was shot in 3D, as opposed to being converted to 3D in post-production.  Shown in 3D (English) at Pattaya Beach; 2D (English) at Major; and 3D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C.

Generally unfavorable reviews, with many objecting to the film’s basic premise that women’s breasts are for the viewing pleasure of other people, and nothing else.  In Thailand, only viewers over 20 years of age allowed in.