Everyone’s favorite movie shows Up!
Chiang Mai movies beginning Thursday, June 11, 2009
… through Wednesday, June 17
by Thomas Ohlson
Best Bets: Up. Drag Me to Hell. Angels & Demons.
Here is my list of movies playing in Chiang Mai at Major Cineplex at Airport Plaza and at Vista at Kadsuankaew for the week beginning Thursday, June 11, 2009. There’s also information on film programs at the Alliance Française and CMU’s Film Space.
The most loved film of the year so far has arrived: Up. Not only does it rate high with reviewers, but with the public as well. It’s the top grossing film in the US by far. And also Drag Me to Hell has gotten the best reviews of any horror film in years; I thought it a hoot!.
This is Issue Number 33 of Volume 4 of these listings – halfway through our fourth year!
There’s now a blog for Pattaya, too, at http://thomatpattaya.blogspot.com/.
Now playing in Chiang Mai * = new this week
* Up: US (Disney/Pixar), Animation/ Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Family –96 mins – Everyone’s current favorite! An animated comedy/ fantasy adventure about a 78-year-old balloon salesman (voiced by Ed Asner) who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. Also starring Christopher Plummer, and a speech-assisted dog. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 88/86 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Another masterful work of art from Pixar, Up is an exciting, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure impeccably crafted and told with wit and depth.
* Dek Khong / อนุบาลเด็กโข่ง: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – 90 mins – The “King Kong Gang” is a powerful and invincible gang that rules and terrorizes all the kids in the kindergarten.
* Roommate / รูมเมท เพื่อนร่วมห้องต้องแอบรัก:Thai, Romance/ Drama – 90 mins – Two young people form a band named Roommate because they live together, as a way of getting to know each other better. Things become sticky however when a third party is invited to join the group. (In Thai only/ no English subtitles.
Drag Me to Hell: US, Horror/ Thriller – 99 mins – Director Sam Raimi started out making perversely entertaining horror fare like the Evil Dead movies before directing blockbusters like Spider-Man. Well, he's back, and in outstanding B-movie form. Alison Lohman stars as a loan officer who becomes the victim of a curse, with evil spirits on her trail and certain damnation in her future – unless she can break the spell. Drag Me to Hell is a wickedly good time: blood-curdlingly scary and ghoulishly funny, it's also taut and timely. It’s the best-reviewed horror film in years. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 83/78 out of 100. The Vista version is dubbed into Thai, with no English subtitles; in English at Airport Plaza.
Rotten Tomatoes: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Terminator Salvation 4: The Future Begins: US/ Germany/ UK, Action/ Sci-Fi – 130 mins – With Christian Bale, Moon Bloodgood, and Common; directed by McG. In this highly anticipated – in some quarters – fourth installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright, a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet's operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind. If you’ve seen any of the other three installments of this series, you know what to expect: Plenty of chases, explosions, and great effects. Mixed or average reviews: 52/51 out of 100. Vista has one version dubbed into Thai with no English subtitles; also an English version.
Night at the Museum 2: Escape from [Battle of] the Smithsonian: US/ Canada, Action/ Comedy – 105 mins – If you liked the first adventure, you’re sure to like this one even more – bigger, better, and with fantastic special effects. After a wacky night at the New York Museum of Natural History, the perpetually hapless Larry (Ben Stiller) must infiltrate the Smithsonian after some of his resurrected friends were shipped to Washington for storage. He finds himself in the middle of a vast conflict between many of the museum's most noteworthy historical figures. Mixed or average reviews: 42/50 out of 100.
Angels & Demons: US, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – 140 mins – A tight, taut thriller. The team behind the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code returns for the highly anticipated Angels & Demons, based on the bestselling novel by Dan Brown. Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who once again finds that forces with ancient roots are willing to stop at nothing, even murder, to advance their goals. Ron Howard again directs. Mixed or average reviews: 48/50 out of 100.
Blood: The Last Vampire: Hong Kong/ Japan, Action/ Horror – A remake of the 2000 movie of the same name. A vampire who is part of a covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons in a post-WWII Japan is inserted into a military school to discover which one of her classmates is a demon is disguise.Rated R in the US for strong bloody stylized violence. In English at Airport Plaza, in Thai only at Vista.
Twitch: Bottom line is, Blood: The Last Vampire is a straightforward action film. Forget the wafer thin plot and try to ignore the potential where certain scenes could have been made better. It’s nice to look at with plenty of style over substance, and unfortunately nothing more.
Scheduled for Chiang Mai cineplexes on Thursday, June 18
State of Play: A thriller about a principled investigative journalist in the midst of a vast conspiracy – engrossing, smart, unnerving, and surprisingly timely, and a tribute to the hardworking reporters that shed light on our political system. Russell Crowe stars as an old-school Washington beat reporter who's had a solid professional rapport with an up-and-coming congressman (Ben Affleck) – that is, until some of the congressman’s associates turn up dead. Crowe uneasily joins forces with Rachel McAdams, a blogger at the paper, to untangle a sinister web of secrets and lies. The film’s ensemble, which also includes Helen Mirren as an exacting editor, is unimpeachable, as is the immediacy and authenticity of the newsroom setting.
And looking forward:
Jun 23 (yes, a Tuesday) – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: US, Action/ Sci-Fi. It’s Autobots® versus Decepticons®, Round 2, in Michael Bay’s film based on Hasbro’s Transformers™ action figures. Look how we have to write about it! It’s all about trade names and merchandising! The action figures for sure will be on sale in the lobby. Start saving your money, they won’t be cheap. With Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro.
Jul 2 – Public Enemies: With Johnny Depp as Dillinger! Michael Mann’s latest film pits Johnny Depp against Christian Bale as the two star as career criminal John Dillinger and G-man Melvin Purvis, respectively, in Public Enemies, a Great Depression-era drama about the FBI’s attempts to shut down organized crime. The film features a strong supporting cast, including Billy Crudup, Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi, and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard.
Jul 16 – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Latest Harry Potter episode. As the boy wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) enters his sixth year at Hogwart's, danger is afoot thanks to the growing forces of He Who Shall Not Be Named. But that's not the only hazard Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to contend with, as another sort of fickle magic is in the air: teenage hormones. Expect director David Yates to serve up the usual brand of Harry Potter excellence (he directed the last HP film, Order of the Phoenix) although screenwriter Steve Kloves has taken some liberties with the material, so Potterites, beware! Voldemort (… oops! I named him!) is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds, and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. If, indeed, ever it was.
Aug 20 – Inglourious Basterds: US/ Germany, Action/ Adventure/ War – Director Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds with Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, and Mélanie Laurent, begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.
Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.
Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited tale of Jewish-American troops on the hunt for Nazi scalps in WWII France is unlikely to get usurped as the most bad-ass movie of 2009, thanks to the fact that, well, it's a Quentin Tarantino film. Inglourious Basterds stars Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, leader of the titular squadron that includes Samm Levine, Eli Roth, and B.J. Novak; along with German actress and Allied agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), they attempt to bring down the Nazis -- in the bloodiest way possible. Mike Myers, Cloris Leachman, and Samuel L. Jackson also star in the exploitation throwback, so look forward to a star-studded (and gore-filled) good time.