Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whats On starting October 21

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 As the case grows more complicated, the withdrawn detective discovers that in order to actually catch the killer he will have to venture outside the safety of his own home for the first time in many years, and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.


Law Abiding Citizen: US, Drama/ Thriller  – 108 mins 18+ – After his wife and child are murdered by two criminals, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is informed that one of the murderers will be sentenced to death but the other one will get off because of his cooperation with the police. Shelton decides to take justice in his own hands, including getting revenge on the murderers as well as those in the system responsible for setting the one murderer free. District Attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), one of those who helped set the murderer free, tries to stop Shelton. Rated R in the US for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language. In Thailand, 18+. Generally unfavorable reviews: 34/40 out of 100.


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/ ThrillerDirector 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."




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.



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 CineplexAirport 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”.]

Alliance Française schedule

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm


October continues the François Truffaut series at Alliance Française.



At Alliance Française on Friday, October 23:  Holiday! Chulalongkorn Memorial Day (Rama V Day). No showing.


At Alliance Française on Friday, October 30:  La femme d'à côté / The Woman Next Door (1981) by François Truffaut – 106 mins – France, Drama/ Romance. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 77 out of 100.


With Fanny Ardant, Gérard Dépardieu, Henri Garcin.


Bernard and Arlette live in the country with their young son. One day a couple comes to live next door. The wife turns out to be a woman with whom Bernard has had a passionate love affair in the past and she does everything she can to start things up again. But will their reunion be a happy one?

Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes: Bernard Coudray has established a comfortable and settled existence near Grenoble with his wife and child. However, everything begins to disintegrate when the house next door to the Coudrays' is purchased by Mathilde and Philippe Bauchard. Many years ago, Bernard and Mathilde had a tortuous love affair, and when the two meet again, they can't help but renew their desire. As their spouses become aware of the infidelity, they do whatever possible to separate the lovers... even if it may lead to death.


In November the Alliance Française turns to the work of Alain Resnais.


At Alliance Française on Friday, November 6:  Hiroshima mon amour / Hiroshima, My Love (1959) by Alain Resnais – 91 mins – France/ Japan, Drama/ Romance/ War. English subtitles. B&W. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 84 out of 100.


With Emmanuele Riva, Eiji Okada, Bernard Fresson.


For one day and one night, a French woman and a Japanese man love each other with a burning intensity. And her discovery of Hiroshima, the horror of atomic warfare, brings back to her the memories of a love affair in France with a young German soldier…

Alliance description


Rotten Tomatoes: In AlainResnais's artistic adaptation of Marguerite Duras's Hiroshima mon amour, a French actress working in Japan meets a Japanese architect with whom she has an affair. Their relationship consists largely of conversations about the bombing at Hiroshima, the horrors that he and his family endured, and her perception of it back home in occupied France. With a camera that operates sometimes like a slide show, other times like a space vessel--switching easily in and out of flashbacks and gently blending footage of both Japan and France--the story unfolds more like a collection of memories than a chronological narrative. Perhaps the most dramatic scene is the unforgettable opener: An impeccably beautiful close-up in black and white depicts lovers writhing first in the ash of bomb fallout, which is washed away by rain, then, as their skin dries, they begin to perspire from making love. She--the nameless female lead (Emmanuele Riva)--remembers everything of the war. But He--the nameless male lead (Eiji Okada)--challenges her to determine if what she remembers is real or just a projection. As with most Marguerite Duras novels, it's hard to determine exactly what happened and what didn't. Hiroshima mon amour is truly like a poem, using the emotional words of Duras to propel Resnais's ultra powerful images.


Film Space schedule

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm


October isThe Month of Crawly, Creepy, and Bestial at Film Space. November, The Month of Noir.


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. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.

At Film Space Saturday, October 24:  Multiple Personality Detective Psycho - Kazuhiko Amamiya Returns/ "Tajuu jinkaku tantei saiko - Amamiya Kazuhiko no kikan" / 多重人格探偵サイコ, (2000) by Takashi Miike – 6-part TV miniseries, each episode 54 mins; they will be showing episodes 3 and 4 Japan, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller. Extraordinarily bloody and sick, probably blur-censored in the Japanese manner.


Yes Asia: Based on OtsukaEiji's best-selling manga, the 2002 suspense mini-series MPD Psycho, or Multiple Personality Detective Psycho, follows a detective with multiple personality disorder who is called out of retirement to investigate a serial murder case. Hosaka Naoki takes on the challenging protagonist role who fluctuates between his identities as normal everyday family man Kobayashi Yosuke and cool-as-ice criminologist Amamiya Kazuhiko. But he may have a third and darker personality connected to the very case he's investigating. Directed by world-renowned filmmaker Miike Takashi.



At Film Space Saturday, October 31:  Rampo Noir / Rampo jigoku / 乱歩地獄  (2005) by Akio Jissoji, Atsushi Kaneko, Hisayasu Sato, Suguru Takeuchi – 134 mins – Japan, Fantasy/ Horror.


Yes Asia: Just when you thought J-Horror had nothing original left to offer, Rampo Noir (a.k.a. Rampo Jigoku) presents us with an intoxicating array of challenging and truly terrifying imagery. This horror anthology takes its cue from the short fiction of writer Taro Hirai, better known by his nomme du plume Edogawa Rampo - wordplay on the name of legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe. Acclaimed MV director Takeuchi Suguru begins proceedings with Mars Canal, which sees a naked man (Asano Tadanobu) collapse at the edge of a lake that descends, seemingly into the bowels of hell itself. This segment is used to effectively tie together the three main narrative segments of the film.


Mirror Hell, directed by Jissoji Akio, sees a detective (Asano again) following a trail of beautiful female corpses back to a mad mirror maker. The Caterpillar (by Sato Hisayasu) sees a limbless war veteran return home only to be systematically abused by his wife. And in Crawling Bugs, by manga artist Kaneko Atsushi, a chauffeur (Asano yet again) becomes obsessed with his actress employer.



November isThe Month of Noir at Film Space.


At Film Space Saturday, November 7:  Blood Simple (1984) by Joel Coen – 134 mins – US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 81/83 out of 100.


Rotten Tomatoes: When a bar owner discovers that one of his employees is having an affair with his wife, a complex web of deceit and double crosses ensues in a small Texas town. The Coen brothers' first picture is an intricately plotted film noir filled with surprises at each turn. The cast, largely unkown at the time, includes Dan Hedaya as the cuckolded bar owner, Frances McDormand as the cheating wife, John Getz as the adultering bartender, and the fabulously creepy M. Emmett Walsh as the slimy, sweaty private detective who should not be trusted. The film is a marvel to experience; director of photography Barry Sonnenfeld has created stunning compositions filled with open spaces, and the sound--from the slightest footsteps or dripping water to a sudden shotgun blast--reverberates ominously, as if it is a character unto itself. Directed by Joel Coen and cowritten by Joel and his brother Ethan, Blood Simple is an eerie testament to the limitless possibilities of low-budget filmmaking.