Thursday, April 7, 2011

Update April 7

Source Code does open after all. Vista does have a schedule.

Chiang Mai movies update Thursday, April 7, 2011

… through Tuesday, April 12


by Thomas Ohlson


Best Bets:  Source Code. Naresuan.  The King’s Speech.  Rango. 


Intriguing and highly regarded!


Source Code was scheduled for yesterday at Major Cineplex/ Airport Plaza and then at the very last minute was cancelled. Then my newsletter came out. Then the movie opened yesterday after all. What can you do?


Vista at Kad Suan Kaew decided not to change its program until today (Thursday); but the schedule didn’t get published online until the day had fairly begun.


So here are descriptions of the movies not covered yesterday, plus movie times for today for both locations. Vista schedule should stay the same until next change next week. The Major Cineplex schedule should be good for today and tomorrow, and pretty much the same for Monday and Tuesday, but with a schedule generally the same but an hour earlier on Saturday and Sunday.

Source Code: US/ France, Action/ Mystery/ Romance/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – 1 hr 33 mins – This has the biggest buzz in the movie world of any film in a long time. Everyone seems to be raving about it, and from what I’ve seen in the trailers and in an extended scene, it looks simply terrific in all ways as a thriller and mystery. It stars an excellent Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. A lower-key younger brother to Inception, it has the complex infrastructure of top-tier science fiction cinema while toying with blockbuster formula. Seems to have appeared suddenly out of nowhere. Looks entirely gripping, well directed, well acted. Generally favorable reviews: 73/74 out of 100.

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Finding the human story amidst the action, director Duncan Jones and charming Jake Gyllenhaal craft a smart, satisfying sci-fi thriller.

The Oregonian, Shawn Levy: This is hair-raising, clever, and winning entertainment. A simple what-if and a simple puzzle, plopped into a ticking-clock narrative and giving rise to several fascinating insights into the human sense of the self.

San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle: The story is simple but charged with feeling, concerning a man trying to identify who committed a mass murder - so as to prevent an even greater disaster. Within five minutes, the movie lays it all out for us: The commuter train is not, strictly speaking, real. Earlier in the day, it was destroyed in a terrorist attack. What we're seeing, instead, is a kind of echo memory. In the world of Source Code, science is able, for a short time, to tap into the consciousnesses of the victims, so as to re-create the last eight minutes of their lives - and collectively to re-create everything that might have happened on that train.

Just that concept, in itself, has power. It's one thing to see people on a train. But to see those people and know that you're witnessing the last minutes of their lives gives everything they do significance and poignancy. What's more, knowing that what you're seeing isn't even real, that this isn't time travel but just waves of memory, creates a sympathetic awareness of the simplicity of human longing.

This is what Source Code has going for it before anything even happens. This is before the frame has been filled in with a good story, tense action, huge stakes, and touching and perceptive performances.

Tallahassee, Eric Jaffe: If you can look past the somewhat preposterous plot, I can almost guarantee that you will love this movie. It's occasionally funny, always thought-provoking, and for the most part, exceptionally original.

Directed by Duncan Jones (whose 2009 debut Moon is a science fiction masterpiece), Source Code establishes the up-and-coming director as a force to be reckoned with. The film takes very few missteps; the cinematography, acting, scripting, and sound are all top-notch. Sure, if one looks hard enough, plotholes can be found, but science fiction has always been about suspension of disbelief anyway. If you go into Source Code expecting cold, hard, scientifically backed realism, you are not going to find it.

At this point, I am confident in saying that Source Code is the best movie released so far in 2011. The high-end concept is executed brilliantly. This is a ride that starts out wild and accelerates until it's over.


Permanent Residence: Hong Kong,  Drama/ Romance – 1 hr 55 mins – Explores, in complete abandon and with full nudity, the life story of a young man who pursues an impossible love with his straight boyfriend and contemplates on the mortality of his loved ones. Shows understanding and sensitivity towards the important issues involved in loving, living, and dying. Unrated in the US; 18+ in Thailand. In English and Chinese (Cantonese) with English and Thai subtitles. No scores. At Vista only

The Hollywood Reporter, Maggie Lee: Permanent Residence is director Scud's semi-autobiographical film that deals with growing pains, gay sexual awakening, and unrequited love for a straight man. A stylistic oddity, it alternates between existential musings (on death and memory), unbridled narcissism, and homoerotica.

Scud's debut, City Without Baseball, was ostensibly a sports film about Hong Kong's only amateur baseball team. Strangely enough, the camera there was more often trained on full frontal nudes in the shower than on the diamond. Yet its stance about homosexuality was so coy that metaphorically, the film was like a queer with one leg in the closet.

Compared to City, Scud's sophomore effort is unambiguously out. For this reason alone, it is a welcome entry to the rather narrow circle of gay filmmaking in Hong Kong. ...

Ivan (Sean Li) is an IT professional who masks his indifference to the opposite sex by working so hard that he has no time for dating. One day, he is invited to a TV talk show, during which Josh (Jackie Chow), a guest speaker from Israel, suddenly asks him if he is gay. Flustered, he denies it. The episode makes him come face to face with his desires, giving him the courage to chat up hunky Windson (Osman Hung) at the gym. At their beach rendezvous, Windson suddenly confesses that he is straight.

Ivan sleeps with Josh instead, but after Josh leaves Hong Kong, Ivan and Windson begin a curious friendship that finds them cavorting naked all the time, even as Windson denies he's gay.

Ivan's quest for the meaning of love traverses Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, and Australia, providing a pretext for Scud to observe his leading men exposing themselves against different watery backdrops. There is some affecting social observations on the pressures of coming out, which could strike a chord with many Asian viewers.

Prolific cinematographer Herman Yau's competent lensing partly redeems the art direction, which fluctuates from pretentious to crude. As a director, Scud remains inexperienced with film language; his narrative approach is heavily literary, reflected in the wordy first-person voiceover and an ending that dabbles in futuristic, sci-fi elements. The cast puts in amateur but acceptable performances.

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