Thursday, November 11, 2010

Whats On starting November 11

European Union Film Festival in full swing! No Bangkok Film Fest this year!

Chiang Mai movies beginning Thursday, November 11, 2010


… through Wednesday, November 17


by Thomas Ohlson


Best Bets: Definitely, EU Film Fest.




This is Issue Number 2 of Volume 6 of these listings, the second issue of our sixth year!


EU Film Festival in Chiang Mai: Now underway until Nov 14. On the grounds of the “140-years Old Lanna Ancient House” on Charoen Prathet Road, between the Chedi Hotel and the small Iron Bridge. Open air, free.

World Film Festival in Bangkok: Now in progress until Nov 14.

Luang Prabang Film Festival in Luang Prabang: Dec 4 to 11. Open air, free, 30 films.


The Bangkok International Film Festival has been cancelled for this year.



European Union Film Festival


Held outside, on the grounds of the “140-years Old Lanna Ancient House.” 


The European Union Film Festival this year is being held outside, admission is free, and will run until this coming Sunday, November 14. The “140-years Old Lanna Ancient House” is on Charoen Prathet Road, between the Chedi Hotel and the small Iron Bridge. This edition of the annual event is showcasing 19 recent, well regarded, and award-winning films from 16 EU member nations.


The first film each evening will start at 6 pm. The schedule has been tightened up due to complaints from local authorities who would not let the films run past 11 pm. A revised schedule for the remaining films is given below, but there is the possibility of the films starting even earlier than what is listed – up to 10 minutes earlier for the second film of the night, and up to 20 minutes earlier for the third. Make allowances.


Plan ahead! There are no toilet facilities on the premises.

Remaining Schedule of the EU Film Festival, to November 14, 2010





Feature title




Thursday 11 Nov

Poker  (2010)



112 (1.52)


Kickoff  (2010)



94 (1.34)


The Heretic  (2005)



105 (1.45)

Friday 12 Nov

Draft Dodgers / Réfractaire (2009)



100 (1.40)


Lisbon Story  (1994)



105 (1.45)


Under the Stars  (2007)



108 (1.48)

Saturday 13 Nov

Letters to Father Jacob  (2009)



75 (1.15)


Venice  (2010)



110 (1.50)


Thesis  (1996)



125 (2.05)

Sunday 14 Nov

Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl  (2009)



64 (1.04)


The Heretic  (2005)



105 (1.45)


Loft  (2008)



118 (1.58)



At the Cineplexes!


Now playing in Chiang Mai    * = new this week


* Skyline: US, Sci-Fi/ Thriller – 1 hr 40 mins – After a late night party, a group of friends are awakened in the dead of night by an eerie light beaming through the window. Like moths to a flame, the light source is drawing people outside where they suddenly vanish into the air. It’s soon discovered that an otherworldly force is swallowing the entire human population off the face of the earth. With a cast of relative unknowns and shot independently of any major studio, this film is very much the vision of its two creators, the Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg) whose company Hydraulx has provided visual effects for Avatar, Iron Man 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 300, and who have worked as FX designers/supervisors on seemingly every other big-budget production to be released over the past decade or so. There are over 800 VFX shots in the film, more than most of the big-budget effects-laden epics of late. It looks at first glance like an exceedingly well-crafted movie with a new level of special-effects work. No reviews yet. English at Major, Thai-dubbed at Vista with no English subtitles.


* Charlie St. Cloud / The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud: US/ Canada, Fantasy/ Romance/ Drama – 1 hr 39 mins – Based on an acclaimed novel, Charlie St. Cloud is a romantic drama starring Zac Efron as a young man who survives an accident that lets him see the world in a unique way. He is a young man so overcome by grief at the death of his younger brother that he takes a job as caretaker of the cemetery in which his brother is buried. Charlie has a special lasting bond with his brother though, as he can see him. Charlie meets up with his brother (Sam) each night to play catch and talk. Then, a girl comes into Charlie's life and he must choose between keeping a promise he made to Sam, or going after the girl he loves. Generally unfavorable reviews: 37/44 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Zac Efron gives it his all, but Charlie St. Cloud is too shallow and cloying to offer much more than eye candy for his fans.

San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle: A delicate film - not flimsy, but fragile - that holds together on the strength of Efron's physical presence and performance.


* Paranormal Activity 2: US, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – 1 hr 31 mins – After experiencing what they think are a series of "break-ins", a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem. I’ve seen this, and if you’re up for another “found amateur film” where you’re asked to believe these things actually happened to regular people who happened to tape them, then this film will offer a few really off-the-wall scary moments, when you least expect them. And you’ll be asking yourself what did you really see happen in the last few minutes. But you have to really want to suspend belief and hang in there during the nights when the camera was taping and nothing happened. Great believable acting by the family dog. Rated R in the US for some language and brief violent material; only 13+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews: 51/61 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Paranormal Activity 2 doesn't cover any new ground, but its premise is still scary -- and in some respects, it's a better film than the original.


Due Date: US, Comedy – 1 hr 40 mins – A high-strung father-to-be, played by Robert Downey Jr., is forced to hitch a ride with a college slacker (and aspiring actor) on a road trip in order to make it to his child's birth on time. Rated R in the US for language, drug use, and sexual content. Mixed or average reviews: 52/52 out of 100.

The New York Times, Manohla Dargis: Like The Hangover, Due Date creates two oppositional spaces for the sexes — the giant playground in which men run riotously amok, and the domestic sphere of waiting women — you know, kind of like “The Odyssey,” but with masturbation jokes and vomit.

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Shamelessly derivative and only sporadically funny, Due Date doesn't live up to the possibilities suggested by its talented director and marvelously mismatched stars.

Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten: In its best moments, the film's duo of Galifianakis and Downey Jr. remind us of a bickering Laurel & Hardy digging themselves out of another fine mess. And we're happy to be along for the ride.

Water / Nam / น้ำ ผีนองสยองขวัญ: Thai, Comedy/ Horror – 1 hr 35 mins – The usual Thai slapstick, with the ever-present Thai funnyman, Kohtee Aramboy.

Eat Pray Love: US, Drama/ Romance 2 hrs 13 mins – Written and directed by Ryan Murphy, and starring Julia Roberts with James Franco. A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself.” Based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. Mixed or average reviews: 50/52 out of 100. At Airport Plaza only.

Studio synopsis: Liz Gilbert (Roberts) had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali.

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: The scenery is nice to look at, and Julia Roberts is as luminous as ever, but without the spiritual and emotional weight of the book that inspired it, Eat Pray Love is too shallow to resonate.

Fan Mai / แฟนใหม่: Thai, Action/ Horror/ Thriller 1 hr 35 mins – Really lots of rain and blood. A girl calls it off with her boyfriend when she finds he’s been seeing someone else – who’s dead. Looks kind of intriguing as well as spooky.

Scheduled for November 18

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I: UK/ US, Adventure/ Fantasy/ Mystery – Voldemort's power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore's work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go exactly as planned. The first of the two-part conclusion to the series; Part II due in July of 2011 – both directed by David Yates, who has directed the last two Harry Potter films. Both of the concluding movies (Part I and Part II) will be shown completely in 3D and in IMAX 3D.

Fair Game: US, Action/ Biography/ Drama/ Thriller – 1 hr 44 mins – Director Doug Liman’s fact-based drama of former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson; his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson; and the events of 2003, when her identity as a CIA operative was leaked after her husband wrote an op-ed piece criticizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Generally favorable reviews: 68/71 out of 100.


... and looking forward

Nov 25: Let Me In: UK/ US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Romance/ ThrillerA bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian. Chloë Grace Moretz (one of the nice things about the movie Kick-Ass; she played Hit Girl) stars as Abby, a mysterious 12-year-old who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school. In his loneliness, Owen forms a profound bond with his new neighbor, but he can't help noticing that Abby is decidedly weird! I’m really looking forward to this.

The original Let the Right One Inis a terrific 2008 award-winning Swedish film, and just played here at Film Space. I love the original, and they’re saying the remake is terrific too! For sure, it’s got an exciting and intriguing trailer, which you can see here. Rated R in the US for strong bloody horror violence, language, and a brief sexual situation. Generally favorable reviews: 79/78 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes: Similar to the original in all the right ways -- but with enough changes to stand on its own -- Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration.

Nov 25: The Social Network: US, Biography/ Drama/ History – 2 hrs – By David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, Panic Room). A terrific film in my opinion, though I think the main protagonist an ugly, amoral being who I would want to have nothing to do with. I think what comes off the worst in the film is Harvard University – including its president. Makes me feel rather happy I didn’t end up going there. Bunch of spoiled juvenile snobs! Anyway, the film is about the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook, and the main instigator is the lowest of the low human beings, a person nobody would want to be friends with. Yet he founds a gigantic enterprise based on friendship! No, wait! It’s not friendship – it’s fake friendship! Well, that explains it. Reviews: Universal acclaim (based on 42 critics): 95/95 out of 100.

They thought this film was the one to beat at Academy Award time, until it opened to tepid response. Now the field seems to be wide open. But see this mesmerizing film for its portrayal of the type of person you apparently have to be to make it in the world of internet marketing. You won’t be pleased, but you will be gratified at some of the turn of events. Excellent performances, and a very unsettling one from the lead.

Studio synopsis: “On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.

What’s amusing is that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to be all that upset at the way he’s portrayed. He says that sure they had to exaggerate a bit to make it dramatic, but other than that, what’s the problem?

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances, The Social Network is a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.


Nov 25: Unstoppable: US, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – Exciting thriller starring Denzel Washington taming a runaway train.

Movie City News, David Poland: It may be the most entertaining movie you will see this year.


* = Coming soon

AF = Alliance Française; FS = Film Space; GF = Gay Film Series

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm


The Alliance Française shows its series of French films in a small room in their building at 138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel. Tell your taxi "Samakhom Frangset" and/or "Wat Chaimongkhon." A contribution of 30 baht is requested; you pay outside at the information desk of the Alliance Française proper.

On Friday, November 12, 8 pm: Les Mauvais joueurs / Gamblers (2005) by Frédéric Balekdjian – 85 mins – France, Crime/ Drama. English subtitles.

With Pascal Elbé, Simon Abkarian, Isaac Sharry.

Vahé, Sahak, and Toros run a bonneteau game on the streets of Paris. They're Lebanese French. Vahé also works with his father, a cloth merchant, and is in love with Lu Ann, Chinese French, who's broken off their affair. Vahé wants to make things right: with Lu Ann, with his father's business, and with Yuen, Lu Ann's younger brother, who's on the edge of delinquency and owes money to the gang who arranged his passage from China. Vahé tries to be like a father to Yuen, teaching him a work ethic. When Yuen impetuosity puts his own life in jeopardy, Vahé tries to save him. Are Vahé's impulses and hopes to die on the streets of Paris?      

– Alliance description

efilmcritic: The setting is the Paris garment district, where low-end French criminals rub elbows with the teeming masses of illegal Chinese immigrants. One such "illegal," a snot-nosed and lazy kid called Yuen, wants nothing to do with his French "protectors," and will stop at nothing to escape their influence. Unfortunately, those thugs have a financial interest in Yuen remaining complacent, so it's only a matter of time before someone gets shot. Vahé is the one kindhearted crook who tries to keep the peace between his French colleagues and the Chinese youth, but his influence is minimal.

Angus Wolfe Murray, Eye For Film: The last time a French film exploded with such raw energy was when Mathieu Kassovitz debuted with La Haine in 1995. This is writer/director Frederic Balekdijan's first feature, also, and it uses the same neo-realistic style, with handheld cameras close in and on the streets. There isn't a whiff of falsehood, or evidence of a set designer's duster. Even the script has the rough-cut unpredictability of real life.

It deals with card sharks, street scams, petty crime, backed by an uglier, darker crowd of Armenian thugs. This is the Paris of immigrants, sweatshops, cafes, and illegals. Chinese, North Africans, Eastern European gangsters coexist in a barely sustainable truce. Sooner or later a spark will ignite the tinderbox and someone will be killed. Followed by revenge attacks. Followed by God knows what else. In this no-go, gendarmes are noticeable by their absence.    

Stories and characters move swiftly. There is no conventional plot, only the time it takes to rip the lid off the powder keg and somehow survive. Or not.

On Friday, November 19, 8 pm:  Travaux, on sait quand ça commence... / Housewarming (2005) by Brigitte Roüan – 95 mins – France/UK, Comedy. English subtitles.

With Carole Bouquet, Jean-Pierre Castaldi, Aldo Maccione, Didier Flamand.

Chantal Letellier is a “wonderful woman.” She's a lawyer and she always wins her cases. In her professional life she's a heavyweight, but in her private life she's a pushover. She's divorced - and didn't even litigate - and is saddled with two teenage kids who are very well brought up in a bad kind of way. When it comes to love, think “desert” - she's got no time. But flesh is weak and one night she lets loose with a client. He falls madly in love with her and settles in. To get rid of him, she undertakes major renovations with the intention of making the house unlivable. To top it all, she employs a young Colombian architect, an immigrant worker whose illegal status she's just rectified. Eternally grateful, and taking advantage of the situation to spruce up his press-book, the architect gives her house an entire makeover with the help of illegal workers. She didn't request that much!

– Alliance description

Variety: Anyone who has ever had workmen over to remodel their home will instantly identify with Housewarming, a madcap, mile-a-minute French comedy starring Carole Bouquet as a liberal lawyer and single mom who hires Colombian immigrants to do the job. Good social intentions and high-spirited direction widen the appeal of this infectious, rather silly comedy. Brigitte Rouan certainly rolls out the laughs in a breezy, ironic film.

The lovely Chantal (Bouquet), who is introduced in her black counselor's robe literally dancing around the judges, is unbeatable in court. She marches in pro-immigrant demonstrations and takes on social cases, while cheerfully running a household with two teenagers. Everyone is in love with her, even her ex-husband. The only thing is, her upstairs apartment needs to be joined to a downstairs apartment with a staircase.

Choosing from her immigrant contacts, Chantal hires a motley crew of Colombians lead by a mad architect to do the work. They proceed to demolish the place. Through it all, Chantal remains optimistic -- until they accidentally set the building on fire. She fires them and rehires them and, surprisingly, all ends splendidly. Until the police come.

Rouan directs the unruly ensemble cast like a lion tamer, keeping the level of chaos high.

Original title quotes the wise old adage, "Remodeling: You know when it starts but not when it'll be over."

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm


November is “The Month of Mathematicsat 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. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave at least 20 baht. Well worth supporting. All films not in English are shown with English subtitles.

At Film Space Saturday, November 13, 7 pm:  A Beautiful Mind (2001) by Ron Howard – 2 hrs 1

5 mins – US, Biography/ Drama After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish. With Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, and Jennifer Connelly. Generally favorable reviews: 72/82 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.

IMDb synopsis: Biopic of the famed mathematician John Nash and his lifelong struggles with his mental health. Nash enrolled as a graduate student at Princeton in 1948 and almost immediately stood out as an odd duck. He devoted himself to finding something unique, a mathematical theorem that would be completely original. He kept to himself for the most part and while he went out for drinks with other students, he spends a lot of time with his roommate, Charles, who eventually becomes his best friend. John is soon a professor at MIT where he meets and eventually married a graduate student, Alicia. Over time however John begins to lose his grip on reality, eventually being institutionalized diagnosed with schizophrenia. As the depths of his imaginary world are revealed, Nash withdraws from society and it's not until the 1970s that he makes his first foray back into the world of academics, gradually returning to research and teaching. In 1994, John Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Rotten Tomatoes synopsis: From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experiences it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery once he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over this tragedy, and finally, late in life, received the Nobel Prize.


At Film Space Saturday, November 20, 7 pm:  Proof / {proof} (2005) by John Madden – 1 hr 40 mins – US, Drama An all-star cast consisting of Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis. The story: The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician (recently deceased) tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs. Generally favorable reviews: 64/64 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins give exceptional performances in a film that intelligently tackles the territory between madness and genius.

Roger Ebert: An extraordinary thriller about matters of scholarship and the heart, about the true authorship of a mathematical proof and the passions that coil around it. It is a rare movie that gets the tone of a university campus exactly right, and at the same time communicates so easily that you don't need to know the slightest thing about math to understand it. Take it from me. ...The film centers on two remarkable performances, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Hope Davis.

Film Threat, Phil Hall: Paltrow gives the performance of the year, and perhaps of her career, in this extraordinary and powerful dissection of genius, jealousy, madness, and serenity.



At the Gay Film Series


Next showing November 28, skipping the week of Loi Kratong. Showing will be Coffee Date (2006). Films with a gay theme shown generally every two weeks, with very limited seating, in a private home. Reservations a must to attend films in this series. To reserve: send email to:, mark in subject area “reserve” with the number in your party. For example, “Re: reserve 2.” A confirmation will be sent. To be placed on the mailing list for advance notice of movies just put in the subject line: “mailing list.” 

No comments: