Let’s go to the movies – Friday March 20 – April 26, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Titanic: US, Adventure/ Drama/ History/ Romance – Still the one film in town to see.  It’s grand entertainment!  I’m shocked by the poor reception it’s gotten in Thailand – seems few people are interested.  I’m saying: If you ever liked it, see it again in its 3D incarnation.  

You’ll love it.  If you’ve never seen it, now’s your chance.  This is made to be seen on a big screen with a good sound system.  And it’s even better in 3D.  I can’t encourage you enough to go see it.

It’s a brilliant reworking of the 1997 film, done under the fastidious eye of the director James Cameron, who as we know is a stickler for perfection – or at least as close to perfection as possible.  Here, his work is outstanding.  Even the 2D version now is sharpened and cleaned up in a hundred small ways: little errors fixed, some skies reworked (there are now bright stars in the sky in the aftermath of the sinking, and the stars have been corrected after an astronomer pointed out that the wrong stars were shown for that place on earth), also some anachronisms have been removed.  Some of the color has been changed.  The audio has been restored and enhanced.  Then the whole film was scanned digitally, as a necessary step before converting to 3D.  The conversion itself, as I saw for myself, is as good as it gets.

It’s thrilling – much more than I had expected or had hoped for.  I agree with the majority of reviewers who say that, in this very rare case, the 3D technology improves on what is one of the greatest motion pictures ever made.  Believe me, James Cameron’s epic creation shines, and the picture and sound conversion is a stunning achievement.  And those who are not moved to tears by the stories shown are those who are determined not to be, who have made that decision ahead of time.

Generally favorable reviews.  All low expectations and doubts can be thrown overboard.  Showing in glorious 3D and sound to match at Pattaya Beach and Major, sparkling-clear 2D and Thai-dubbed at Big C.  At least that’s the way it was this last Wednesday.  (More up to date I cannot be.)  See it!

Battleship: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.  It’s based on a game!  Hasbro’s classic naval combat game.  Just as the Hasbro game Transformers brought those toys to the screen, so this time the popular board game is realized onscreen, with hopes that you will want to see sequel after sequel.  Stars Liam Neeson and the star of John Carter, Taylor Kitsch. Viewers who fancy lots of pyrotechnics will have their money’s worth here.  I understand that the “flying yo-yo” weapons of the aliens are a must-see, but I wouldn’t know first-hand.  I haven’t convinced myself yet that I want to see it.  Early reviews: mixed or average.  Not opening in the US until next month – we’re a test case.  There’s a short scene after the closing credits which bring tidings of the first sequel.  It’s a 2D film; at Big C it’s Thai-dubbed.

Home: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – Here’s a Thai film I’m really looking forward to. The buzz is decidedly awesome, along the lines of saying it delves into Thai family relationships as deeply and as movingly as the director’s worldwide hit, Love of Siam.  That director is Chookiat Sakveerakul, and the three stories that make up this film are located in Chiang Mai, his home town.  Rated 18+ in Thailand – which is a very good sign indeed.  Scheduled to open yesterday.

Wrath of the Titans: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy – Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades, who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world.  A sequel to Clash of the Titans.  Stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Rosamund Pike.  Generally unfavorable reviews, mostly saying that its 3D effects are an improvement over its predecessor’s, but in nearly every other respect, Wrath of the Titans fails to improve upon the stilted acting, wooden dialogue, and chaos-driven plot of the franchise’s first installment.  Shown in both 3D (English) and 2D (English) at Pattaya Beach, 2D (English) at Major, and 3D (Thai-dubbed) at Big C – as of Wednesday.

The Hunger Games: US, Action/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – I found this to be tight, taut, creepy, exciting – and entertaining.  And food for thought.  The story: every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.  With Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.  Generally favorable reviews, saying that it’s thrilling and superbly acted, capturing the dramatic violence, raw emotion, and ambitious scope of its source novel.  Second film in the series already shooting.  A 2D film in English; not playing at Big C (as of Wednesday).

The Cold Light of Day: US, Action/ Thriller – After his family is kidnapped during their sailing trip in Spain, a young Wall Street trader is confronted by the people responsible: intelligence agents looking to recover a mysterious briefcase.  With Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver.  This is a 2D film; no reviews yet; won’t open in the US until September – but the buzz is not good.  Thai-dubbed at Big C; English elsewhere.

Ma Mha 2: Thai, Comedy/ Family – A sequel to 2007’s popular Mid-Road Gang, about a cute pack of soi dogs (if packs of dogs in Thailand can ever be considered cute).  Here, an adorable pooch has been adopted by a nice family and turns would-be hero when the family baby is kidnapped and the dog takes it as his duty to catch the kidnappers and return the kid.  The dogs speak, but only in Thai, and without English subtitles; not playing at Major.

Plon Naya 2: Thai, Action/ Comedy – Poj Arnon at it again, continuing the farce of his 2004 bank-robbery film Spicy Beauty Queens in Bangkok.  Colorful transgender cabaret dancers robbed a bank to pay for sex-change operations, and now they’re back so the ringleader can finally get his change.  But before that can happen, the hospital is stormed by a radical student group.  English subtitles at all locations.