Now playing in Pattaya
Super 8: US, Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – This is a true
delight. It’s like discovering an unknown but classic early Spielberg film, in
the vein of E.T. or The Goonies. In the summer of 1979, a group of
childhood friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while
making a Super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly
after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in
town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth - something more
terrifying than any of them could have imagined. The kids in the movie act like
kids, there’s a plot, the action sequences are old fashioned in that you can
follow them, there’s depth of emotion, and it’s just a fine experience. Finally
there’s a fantastic train wreck! See it if you at all like this sort of thing.
Steven Spielberg is producer, and the director J.J. Abrams apprenticed under
Spielberg in a number of classic Spielbergiens. Not in 3D – it’s not needed or
wanted. Generally favorable reviews. Thai-dubbed at Big C.
Green Lantern: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A test
pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly
powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping
peace within the universe. With Mark Strong, and relative newcomer Ryan Reynolds
who becomes one of the six Green Lanterns patrolling Sector 2814, which includes
Earth. Much action on another world, and it all looks like a lot of fun.
Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy: Hong Kong, Drama/
Comedy/ Romance – Ballyhooed as the world’s first 3D erotic film, it’s actually
not – the honor of being the world’s first 3D erotic film belongs to the South
Korean feature Natali. This is more comic than erotic to most reviewers,
and with a disturbing violent streak that unpleasantly mixes the erotic with the
painful, such as rape, and even death. Three minutes have been cut by Thai
censors, though mainly through “trims” rather that “cuts.” The director says
that even in Hong Kong, three minutes were trimmed. Key female protagonists are
played by recognizable Japanese porn stars, and great rivers of pulsing flesh
are apparently on view throughout. Rated 20 in Thailand, which means you must
actually have ID with you that shows you are over 20. The 3D is judged to be
fairly good; presented only in a Thai-dubbed version. Not at Big C.
Small Rule / Small Ru: Thai, Comedy/ Musical – Typical
Thai comedy. English subtitles except at Major.
X-Men: First Class: US, Action/ Adventure/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/
Thriller – Smart, spectacular, often thrilling, always incredibly entertaining –
they seem to have done everything right with this one. Following the classic
Marvel mythology, the film charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before
Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they
were two young men discovering their extraordinary mutant powers for the first
time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working
together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest
threat the world had ever known. Includes the gifted actor (in my opinion) Kevin
Bacon in one of his too-rare film appearances. Also features President John F.
Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, in a re-imagining of that
near-catastrophic standoff. Generally favorable reviews. Film was never planned
for 3D; the director, Matthew Vaughn, prefers 2D. In English everywhere, and Big
C also has a Thai-dubbed version.
The Lincoln Lawyer: US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – Very
good! Matthew McConaughey as a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who
operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. He has spent most of his career
defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career:
defending a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. The
seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly and twisting game
of survival. I thought it a dandy thriller and a rock-solid entertainment, made
with much care and given much personality. Rated R in the US for some violence,
sexual content, and language. 13+ in Thailand. Generally favorable reviews. At
Something Borrowed: US, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance – Two
women think of themselves as the closet friends possible, ever since childhood.
But one always gives, and one always takes, as though it were the natural thing
to do. Finally, at age 30, the “giver” pauses to question the arrangement.
Generally unfavorable reviews, but given the requirements of the romantic
comedy, I didn’t think it that bad at all. Pattaya Beach only.
Kung Fu Panda 2: US, Animation/ Action/ Adventure/
Comedy/ Family – This is really good! The animation is great, in a couple of
distinct styles, including shadow puppets. And it’s funny – I especially got a
kick out of Dustin Hoffman this time around, voicing the local guru-mystic –
hilarious!. Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan are among others in a
stellar cast who lend their voices to the characters in this sequel to the very
popular first installment. Po the Panda’s new life of awesomeness as the Dragon
Warrior is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use
a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. Po and his
friends must journey across China to face this threat and vanquish it. An
awesome film, as much a hoot as the first film, but with a dark and adult side
to it as well, dealing with serious personal issues, and a resolution that’s
genuinely emotional and satisfying. Go see it! Generally favorable reviews. The
3D version is only at Pattaya Beach, 2D and Thai-dubbed elsewhere. The 3D is
reportedly a solid and impressive job; I saw it in 2D.
The Hangover Part II: US, Comedy – Wheeo! Don’t know
about this. You might find it amusing, but I didn’t like it at all, even though
I have to admit I laughed a few times. In general I thought it just too crass to
be fun. In this follow-up to the record-breaking The Hangover, Phil
(Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis – whose “acting” I am
beginning to hate), and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel here to “exotic” Thailand
for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is
taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However,
things don’t always go as planned, and they have another alcoholic blackout and
come to in Bangkok. They only slowly find out what they did. Rated R in the US
for pervasive language, strong sexual content, including graphic nudity, drug
use, and brief violent images; 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews, but
the Bangkok Post’s reviewer, Kong Rithdee, is really angry over this film,
calling it “vulgar and stupid, cinematically, geographically, and culturally.” I
concur. Not at Big C.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: US, Action/
Adventure/ Fantasy – The latest in this great pop series, with a shipful of
grand scenery-chewing British star swashbucklers. Here, Captain Jack Sparrow
(Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (a delightful Penelope
Cruz). Very enjoyable – the stars are terrific and the jokes and set pieces are
funny and well done. If you liked the series before, you’ll like it again. In 2D
only now, which is okay; viewers tend to bypass the 3D version anyway and see it
in 2D. The version at Big C is Thai-dubbed. Mixed or average reviews.
Fast & Furious 5: US, Action/ Crime/ Drama – Still
hanging on, Vin Diesel and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law
once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a
relentless federal agent. It’s a movie that’s proud of its brainless action
thrills – sleek, loud, and over the top, and the most exciting of the series.
Generally favorable reviews. At Pattaya Beach only, if still here.