Thursday, June 11, 2009

Whats On starting June 11

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 HellAngels & 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  



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/ Drama90 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 16Harry 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/ WarDirector 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.    



Alliance Française schedule

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm

The Alliance continues its series on Eric Rohmer for the first three weeks of June


At Alliance Française on Friday, June 12:  Ma nuit chez Maud / My Night at Maud's (1969) by Eric Rohmer – 110 mins – France, Drama/ Romance. Black and white. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 80 out of 100.


With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Françoise Fabian, Maris-Christine Barrault, Antoine Vitez.


After spending several years abroad, Jean-Louis, an engineer recently settled in Clermont-Ferrand, longs for some peace and quiet. At the church he attends every Sunday, he notices a young blonde woman he fancies and decides that she will become his wife. Then, while at local restaurant, he meets Vidal, an old-school friend, now a professor of philosophy at Clermont-Ferrand University. Vidal invites him to spend Christmas Eve at Maud's house. A doctor and a divorcee, the dark-haired Maud, a beautiful, fascinating and single woman, is not impervious to Jean-Louis' charms...

– Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes: The third film in Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series, My Night at Maud's is the story of Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant), an engineer for Michelin who, though a straitlaced, conservative, self-reflective Catholic, is nonetheless swayed by the wiles of the women who surround him. His motives are constantly unclear, and his actions contradict his moral preachings at every turn. As the film begins, Jean-Louis is living in a furnished rented apartment off the beaten path in Ceyrat, outside of a small suburb of Paris called Clermont. He spies a cute blonde in church and feels inspired to pursue her but is too shy. The rest of the film unfolds as a debate about morals, Catholicism vs. atheism, fidelity, and, of course, love. With his old high school friend, philosophy professor Vidal (Antoine Vitez), he passes an evening, then spends the night with the divorced, challenging, rebellious, yet ultimately adorable Maud. Though he is tempted by her provocations, he resists. That is, he resists long enough to go for the young woman he spotted among the pews. (And the earlier church scene is echoed in hilarious fashion with Jean-Louis and the blonde staring bleary-eyed up at an overwhelming sermon from an intimidating priest.) Overall, in classic Rohmer style, My Night at Maud's – which garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplayis a long, looping dialogue that never resolves itself.  



At Alliance Française on Friday, June 19:  Le beau mariage / A Good Marriage (1982) by Eric Rohmer – 100 mins – France, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 73 out of 100.


With Béatrice Romand, André Dussollier, Féodor Atkine, Arielle Dombasle.              


Sabine, whose family lives in Le Mans, studies Art in Paris. One evening, she breaks off with her lover who is already married and decides to find herself a husband…

– Alliance description


The secondof six films in Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series.

 Rotten Tomatoes: This, the second of six films in director Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series, paints a cute but embarrassing portrait of Sabine (Béatrice Romand), a headstrong young woman longing for love, maturity, respect, commitment, and "the real thing." She packages up her woes, boldly walks out on her married lover, impulsively quits her job in an antique shop, and proudly announces that she has found the solution to all of her problems: She is getting married. This news comes as a big surprise to her older, happily married best friend Clarisse (Arielle Dambasle), who quickly recovers from her shock and warms to the task of finding a husband for Sabine. When Clarisse introduces Sabine to her painfully dull cousin, Edmond (André Dussollier), Sabine is easily convinced that he will fit the bill as her speedily chosen spouse, but Edmond is not as gullible as Sabine would care to think. Despite her aggressive pursuit of Edmond, he manages to slip out of her grasp, leaving her looking like a pouting adolescent--which she basically is. The strength of Rohmer's film resides in his delicate feel for the wonderfully loyal, understanding bond between Clarisse and Sabine and for the way that even Sabine's most ludicrous ideas are acknowledged and accepted by her friends and family. A Good Marriage, which reads like a coming-of-age tale, fits perfectly with the thematically similar films in the series, all of which spotlight struggling, passionate characters like Sabine.


Available from


At Alliance Française on Friday, June 26:  Casque d'or / Golden Helmet / Golden Marie (1952) by Jacques Becker – 96 mins – France, Crime/ Drama/ Romance. B&W. English subtitles. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 84 out of 100.


With Simone Signoret, Claude Dauphin, Serge Reggiani, Raymond Bussieres, Gaston Modot, William Sabatier.              

1898. The magnificent love between Marie, nicknamed Casque d’Or, and a carpenter named Manda. Marie was the girlfriend of one of the hoodlums of Leca’s gang. Manda faces and defies the gang, kills Leca...

– Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes:  Starring international sex symbol Simone Signoret, Casque d'or is often considered director Jacques Becker's masterpiece. Becker was an assistant to the legendary Jean Renoir, and Renoir's influence on Becker is readily apparent in this poetic, impressionist film. Signoret plays Marie, the girlfriend of a minor gangster, who falls in love with a working man. Their love affair leads to a power struggle within the gang and speeds everyone inexorably towards tragedy. Casque d'or features a diligent and careful production design that recreates Paris of the late 19th century, and was based on actual criminal cases from that era. Though dismissed on its initial release in 1952, aside from a BAFTA acting award for Signoret, the critical reputation of Casque d'or grew in subsequent years and is now generally considered one of France's great artistic films


Film Space schedule

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm

June is “The Month of Cuisineat Film Space.


Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. For the roof, you might want to bring something to sit on or lie on. And, if on the roof, the start might be delayed while everyone waits for it to get darker. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.


At Film Space Saturday, June 13:  Udon / 饂飩うどん(2006) by Katsuyuki Motohiro – 134 mins – Japan, Comedy/ Drama.


A dramedy about the relationship between an aspiring comic and his stubborn noodlemaker father.


A Nutshell Review: Don't watch Udon on an empty stomach, or you'll be tempted to gorge on those Japanese noodles right after the screening. [See picture above.] Despite its simple presentation, watching bowls after bowls of noodles in your face, and the characters slurping them down with gusto, somehow leaves you with an imagined flavor in your mouth as they smack their lips, while you smack at nothing.


The film is as simple as a bowl of udon noodles [See picture above.], with prime ingredients being the fat noodles, the broth, a sprinkle of spring onions, and an egg.


YesAsia: A heartwarming comedy about family, life, and that perfect bowl of Udon [See picture above]. It’s an entire film dedicated to the magic of those chewy wheat noodles. [See picture above.]

Kosuke (Yusuke Santamaria), the son of an udon shop owner, is from a tiny rural town in Kagawa prefecture known for its udon noodles [See picture.]. Kosuke, however, is sick of his hometown, and even more sick of udon. He decides to try his luck in New York, only to return six years later in debt-ridden disappointment. Back at home, he meets a flighty food column editor, and the two happen upon a bowl of delicious udon noodles that will change their lives.


An udon enthusiast and Kagawa native himself, Motohiro did extensive field research to find the best shops and recipes to showcase on screen and help spread the love for the noodle. The filmmakers even took their mission abroad by opening an udon stand at the 2006 Cannes film market. An earnest yet tongue-in-cheek celebration of life and food, Udon is a mouth-watering joy to watch. [See picture.]


Available on DVD from YesAsia.



At Film Space Saturday, June 20:  Delicatessen (1991) by Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet – 99 mins – France, Comedy/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Romance. Rated R in the US for violence. Generally favorable reviews: 66/54 out of 100.


A post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who creates cannibalistic meals for his odd tenants.

IMDb viewer: Delicatessen is a very original comedy from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who also directed the great Amélie. It tells the story of Louison (Dominique Pinon) who is the new helper of a landlord named Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus). Clapet is a butcher and in a world where food is rare he prepares cannibalistic meals for the people in his building. Louison is the new meal and the people in the building wait for Clapet to kill him so they can eat. Clapet's daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac) falls in love with Louison and to save him she seeks help from an underground group.


You have read the above and you must understand Delicatessen is not a normal movie. Although its subject is close to very scary the movie is a comedy and to be honest it is very funny at times. Listen to the way people talk here. Especially the conversation between the butcher and a mailman is very funny. The underground group gets a lot of laughs as well. The movie hints at real horror images but never gives us that. Most of the time the tension is broken with something funny.


Delicatessen is not only pretty funny, it looks terrific as well. From the great opening sequence to the last shot it is visually perfect. The production design and especially the cinematography add a lot to the movie's whole atmosphere. May be it is not for everyone, some will find it ridiculous or the idea too lugubrious, may be it is, but the way the subject is handled is the right way. At least it is interesting and therefore already worth seeing. 





Available on DVD from


At Film Space Saturday, June 27:  Salmer fra kjøkkenet [Norway] / Kitchen Stories / Psalmer från köket [Sweden] / Psalms from the Kitchen(2003) by Bent Hamer – 99 mins – Norway/ Sweden, Comedy/ Drama. In Norwegian and Swedish with English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 73 out of 100.


Rotten Tomatoes: By turns touching and funny, this Norwegian import offers quietly absorbing commentary on modern life and friendship. A quaint story about the friendship between two aging men, Kitchen Stories is packaged as a comedy with a very strange premise. It is based on research conducted in Sweden in the 1950s when women were observed in the kitchen for a study to determine the best housework techniques. In the film, a fictional plotline concerns a team of Swedish scientists--all men--hired to observe bachelors living alone in Norway. Their methods are absurd. The observers live in funny little trailers outside their subjects' houses. They sit in high, intimidating chairs placed in the corner of their subjects' kitchens where they take notes on a clipboard. Finally, there is a strict rule that the observer and the subject must not speak to each other or make contact of any kind. This last rule is impossible to follow, and in the case of observer Folke (Tomas Norstrom) and subject Isak (Joachim Calmeyer) it is ignored. The two aging men become fast friends, passing wintry afternoons in the rural countryside sipping coffee, smoking pipes, and telling each other fantastic stories. Writer-director Bent Hamer has created a sweet and pleasing comedy with Kitchen Stories, using excellent photography, interesting colors, and great performances to make a success of an uncomplicated plot.



Movie Scores


The scores given, on a basis of 100, are from two web sources. The first, in bold, is from, and the other is from 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.