Let’s go to the movies – Friday November 9 – November 15, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

Skyfall: US/ UK, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Thriller – This is a truly enjoyable film for me, and I think probably the best James Bond film of all time, offering a thought-provoking examination of why 007 endures as an on-screen legend.  Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, and a fantastic Javier Bardem as a villain you won’t soon forget.  And, saints be praised, there is no “shaky-cam” used, but just good old-fashioned sturdy film-making.  All the more enjoyable for that.  Reviews: Universal acclaim, saying that from the opening in Istanbul to the final siege shootout in the Scottish Highlands, the film is a fine and even sentimental spectacle, giving us an attractively human Bond.  It’s a 2D film in English; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Frankenweenie 3D: US, Comedy/ Animation/ Horror/ Sci-Fi – I have to admit I am a fan and admirer of Tim Burton, the writer and director.  And of animation.  This is a moderately budgeted film rich in imagination: it’s in black and white, and it uses an animation format known as stop motion, which is modestly inexpensive but requires painstaking attention to detail.  Tim Burton used this format before, in The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride.  I have every expectation that this will be as dark and delightful.  One correspondent tells me the 3D is excellent and mostly unobtrusive, and that the object textures as shown off by the film technique are particularly satisfying.

The story: After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor Frankenstein harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life – with just a few minor adjustments.  Generally favorable reviews, calling it an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.  In black and white 3D (English), playing at Pattaya Beach only.

Looper: US, Action/ Sci-Fi – A highly acclaimed Sci-Fi movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a mob hitman who assassinates targets that arrive blindfolded from the future.  For him it’s just a job, till a new target he receives turns out to be himself from the future.  He hesitates, resulting in the escape of his older self.  Also stars Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.  Rated R in the US for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content; 18+ here.  Reviews: Universal acclaim, calling it as thought-provoking as it is thrilling, and delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.  A 2D film playing in English at Pattaya Beach and Major; no longer at Big C.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D: France/ US/ Canada, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand.  Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is.  The revelation leads her deeper into a strange and terrifying alternate reality – a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.

Director Michael Bassett states that this is a direct sequel to Silent Hill (2006) and that it combines that movie’s story with the mythology of the popular video game.  Rated R in the US for violence and disturbing images, some language, and brief nudity.  Early reviews: Overwhelming dislike, saying the film features weak characters, an incomprehensible plot, and a decided shortage of scares, and is a mediocre effort even by the standards of video game adaptations.  In 3D everywhere; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Alex Cross: US, Action/ Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller – A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain.  The Madea actor, Tyler Perry, playing a new character type for him of a super-brilliant detective, Alex Cross, a character created by the immensely prolific writer James Patterson and previously played in two genuine Patterson-based films by Morgan Freeman – Along Came a Spider being my favorite. This film just uses the character, with a connection to the Patterson books in name only.

Reviews: Generally unfavorable, saying it has a tasteless, lazily written screenplay, and is a mess in any traditional movie sense, though it does have its moments of preposterous fun.  A 2D film playing in English at Pattaya Beach and Major; Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Hortaewtak 4: Thai, Comedy – The fourth installment of the ladyboy horror-comedy series Hortaewtak, directed by Poj Arnon and starring Koeti Aramboy and other Thai male comedians in drag.  In Thai only at all locations.

Saranae Osekai: Thai, Comedy – Willy and Hoi, the two pranksters from the popular Thai prank show called “Saranae,” travel to Japan to seek new inspiration for their basically slapstick show.  In Thai only at all locations.

Sinister: US, Horror/ Thriller – Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.  Stars Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, and Juliet Rylance.

Rated R in the US for disturbing violent images and some terror; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, saying its plot hinges on typically implausible horror-movie behavior and recycles countless genre cliches, but nevertheless delivers a surprising number of fresh, diabolical twists.  A 2D film playing at Pattaya Beach only, in English.