Fame is fleeting! Now fled!
Chiang Mai movies beginning Wednesday, October 21, 2009
… through Tuesday, October 27
by Thomas Ohlson
Best Bets: G-Force (at Airport Plaza, for the fun of the 3D Digital). Surrogates. Michael Jackson’s “This Is It!” (Oct 28)
EU Film Festival in Chiang Mai: Nov 5 to 15. At Vista at Kad Suan Kaew.
World Film Festival in Bangkok: Nov 6 to 15.
EU Film Festival in Bangkok: Nov 19 to 29.
This is Issue Number 52 of Volume 4 of these listings, almost a complete four years! The first issue came out November 3, 2005. Wow! So as to not get too far out of sync with the calendar, Volume 5 will start in two weeks, on November 5, and we will have Issue Number 53 of Volume 4 next week.
Special note: Michael Jackson’s “This Is It,” a performance film comprised of rehearsal footage for the show Michael was working on at the time of his death, is being presented world-wide next Wednesday, October 28, for two weeks only. Here in Chiang Mai it will be at Major Cineplex at Airport Plaza in digital format in their new digital-equipped cinema. Tickets are on sale now, at 150 baht. In other cities, many showings are already sold out, but not here. I have my ticket for opening night, and I am really looking forward to it. From what I have seen of it, it will be a spectacular show with Michael at the top of his form, and an homage to his life and work.
Now playing in Chiang Mai * = new this week
* Surrogates: US, Action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – 104 mins – Previews look fascinating to me for this one. Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop (Bruce Willis) investigates the murder of the genius college student who invented the surrogates. As the case grows more complicated, the withdrawn detective discovers that in order to actually catch the killer he will have to venture outside the safety of his own home for the first time in many years, and enlists the aid of another agent (Radha Mitchell) in tracking his target down. Jonathan Mostow directs this adaptation of the graphic novel by author RobertVenditti and illustrator Brett Weldele.
* Slice / เฉือน: Thai, Crime/Thriller – 90 mins – “Slice” as in “slicing up your victims.” Sure enough, a string of homicides has occurred, and in each case the body of the victim wassliced into pieces. Thedetective on the case, desperately seeking the serial killer, releases from jail a former assassin for help in finding some clues to the killer’s identity. The film has created a stir because its blatant gore seems designed to test the limits of the new movie grading system.
* Haunted University / Mahalai Sayongkwan / มหา'ลัยสยองขวัญ: Thai, Horror/ Thriller – 90 mins – Based on various horror and ghost tales from universities, the film tells the stories of students who encountered paranormal events that haunted them in their university days, and their fight against their fears.
Bangkok Traffic Love Story / Rot Fai Faa Ma Ha Na Tur (I Ride the Skytrain to See You) / รถไฟฟ้า..มาหานะเธอ: Thai, Romance/ Comedy – 120 mins – A cute-looking romantic comedy about a 30 year old single woman who is suddenly forced to give up her car and ride the Bangkok public transportation system, where she falls for a maintenance engineer of the BTS electric train system.
The Ugly Truth: US, Comedy/ Romance – 96 mins – 18+ – The consensus seems to be that, despite the best efforts of Gerard Butler and Kathrine Heigl, The Ugly Truth suffers from a weak script that relies on romantic comedy formula, with little charm or comedic payoff. Rated R in the US for sexual content and language. Generally unfavorable reviews: 28/38 out of 100.
Roger Ebert: Katherine Heigl plays Abby, producer of the early morning news on a Sacramento station that is operated like no other station in the history of television. Anchored by a bickering married couple, the broadcast is tanking in the ratings, and so her boss forces Abby to bring in Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a macho local cable personality whose ideas about the battle of the sexes date back to about Alley Oop. Heigl and Butler are so pleasant in The Ugly Truth that it’s a shame to spoil their party. But toil and try as they do, the comedy bogs down in relentless predictability and the puzzling overuse of naughty words. Once the movies were forbidden to drop the f-word at all, but in this one, it’s only an opening salvo in a potty-mouth bombing run.
The New York Times, Manohla Dargis: A cynical, clumsy, aptly titled attempt to cross the female-oriented romantic comedy with the male-oriented gross-out comedy that is interesting on several levels, none having to do with cinema.
G-Force: In Digital 3D. US, Action/ Adventure/ Family/ Fantasy – 88 mins – A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world. Major Cineplex is showing this on their new Digital 3D in Cinema 3. This one should be a minor delight – the digital and the 3D worth checking out for this one, and even worth spending the extra dough for. Mixed or average reviews: 41/45 out of 100.
Roger Ebert: G-Force is a pleasant, inoffensive 3-D animated farce about a team of superspy guinea pigs who do battle with a mad billionaire who wants to conquer the earth by programming all the home appliances made by his corporation to follow his instructions. It will possibly be enjoyed by children of all ages. The film is non-stop, wall-to wall madcap action.
New York Post, KyleSmith: Thanks to an unexpected twist and a clever motivation lurking in the back story of the super-villain, G-Force has enough going on to more or less maintain grown-up interest, and there's plenty to please the kiddies.
Scheduled for Chiang Mai cineplexes on Wednesday, October 28
Michael Jackson’s This Is It: US, Documentary/ Music – A compilation of interviews, rehearsals, and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his series of never-to-be, sold-out shows in London. I’ve seen several short segments, and I think he looks great and moves in a way that is a wonderment. For a list of the musical numbers, go here. The film opens world-wide on October 28, and will be shown here in high-definition Digital format at Airport Plaza only, for two weeks only. Advance tickets on sale now at 150 baht. This is turning into a huge event in many cities throughout the world, though not here in Chiang Mai as yet, but Chiang Mai residents always seem to wait till the last minute. But in Bangkok lines of fans wrapped around the block at box office ticket counters throughout the city, and by the end of the first day it was reported that all tickets for the first showings across Bangkok were sold-out. In London, This Is It sold more than 30,000 tickets in its first 24-hours of sale, setting the biggest ever one-day sales record in the UK.
Kenny Ortega (director of the High School Musical series of films) was both Michael Jackson's creative partner and the director of the stage show, and he is also directing the film. He says, "It will also show Michael as one of the greatest entertainers in the world and one of the industry's most creative minds…I think the footage will show that the process was something that Michael deeply enjoyed and that it was clear he was on his way to another triumph."
And looking forward:
Nov 12 – 2012: US/ Canada, Action/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Director Roland Emmerich has given movie watchers several apocalyptic films in the past in Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, and he offers another look at the end of the world in 2012. This action film stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Amanda Peet. The film proves conclusively that the world will end on December 21, 2012, so let’s hope the studio recoups its investment before then. It’s the Mayan Long Count calendar that contains the proof, and it’s irrefutable. Don’t make any plans for Christmas that year! For further information, read John Major Jenkins, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date (1998).
Dec 17 – Avatar: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – From director James Cameron, his first feature film since Titanic. The story involves a band of humans pitted in battle against a distant planet's indigenous population. In December 2006, Cameron described Avatar as "a futuristic tale set on a planet 200 years hence... an old-fashioned jungle adventure with an environmental conscience... [that] aspires to a mythic level of storytelling."
The scores given, on a basis of 100, are from two web sources. The first, in bold, is from Metacritic.com, and the other is from RottenTomatoes.com. Both read a great number of critics and convert what is said into scores, which are then averaged. For movies released in the US only.
Movie Rating System
There are seven categories under the new system:
Category 1 covers educational films that all are encouraged to see;
Category 2 films are those deemed suitable for a general audience;
Category 3 films are suitable for viewers aged 13 years and over;
Category 4 for those over 15;
Category 5 for those over 18; and
Category 6 for those 20 and older.
And then there’s the invisible Category 7, which doesn’t need a symbol because it’s absolutely forbidden to be shown.
The ratings 1 to 5 are only a guide and will be enforced mainly by social pressure, according to Culture Minister Teera Salakpetch, but entry to Category 6 films would be strictly controlled, with fines of between Bt20,000 and Bt100,000 for cinemas that did not comply.
The new website redesign for MovieSeer
Major Cineplex – Airport Plaza
Schedule on MovieSeer (newly redesigned; not working too well)
[In the large form on the right side, select in the center box first Major Cineplex, and then Chiang Mai. If it’s not there, it's because it hasn't been entered yet – try again later. On the next line, make sure “By Theater Group” is checked. Then click “Search”.]
Vista – Kadsuankaew
Schedule on MovieSeer (newly redesigned, not working too well)
[In the large form on the right side, select in the center box – way at the bottom – “Other Group”, and then “Kadsuankaew”. If it’s not there, it's because it hasn't been entered yet – try again later. On the next line, make sure “By Theater Group” is checked. Then click “Search”.]