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Wise Kwai's Bangkok Cinema Scene
What's playing in Bangkok cinemas?
Permalink : http://blog.nationmultimedia.com/wisekwai
Thursday , August 20 , 2009
Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening August 20-26, 2009
Posted by wisekwai , Reader : 5166 , 11:26:02   | Category : culture   cinema scene   Thai film   Censorship and ratings   Festivals and awards  

Buppah Rahtree 3.2: Rahtree's Revenge

Yuthlert Sippapak closely follows up his third Buppah Rahtree film, released back in April, with another incremental chapter in the horror-comedy franchise.

With April's Buppah Rahtree 3.1: Rahtree Reborn being a reboot of the series, a new character was introduced -- a little demon ghost girl who inhabits the spirit of Buppah Rahtree. It's a ghost inhabiting a ghost.

Played by "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak, Buppah Rahtree was a poor, lonely young college co-ed who died heartbroken after complications from an abortion and being used and dumped by a rich playboy. In the first two films, she was hellbent on revenge, scaring everyone in the apartment building where she continued to dwell after her death.

In the third film, Buppah had mellowed, resigned to her fate of living in limbo in the apartment. Then the spirit of an abused, razor-blade brandishing little girl came into the picture, somehow fused with Buppah, and gave the comedy-horror movie an even more confusing split personality.

Mario Maurer also stars, as does comedian Kom Chuangchuen and a now-iconic pair of comic policemen introduced in the first Buppah Rahtree. They are portrayed by "Uncle" Adirek Wattaleela and Boontthin Thuaykeaw.

What's significant about Buppah Rahtree 3.2 is that it's the first Thai film to come under the new motion-picture ratings system, which is supposed to replace the old censorship system. Now, theoretically, instead of cutting films, they will be given a rating. Buppah Rahtree 3.2 is rated 18+, suggested for viewers aged 18 and older. It's just an advisory rating though, so if you're under 18 you can still see this if you want.

Inglourious Basterds

A movie that rewrites history is also making history in Thailand as probably the first film to come under the new ratings system. Like Buppah Rahtree 3.2, this violent war comedy by Quentin Tarantino is rated 18+ for viewers aged 18 and older.

The spelling-challenged Inglourious Basterds stars Brad Pitt as the hillbilly leader of a secret Allied outfit of Jewish soldiers, tear-assing around German-occupied France during World War II, demoralizing the Nazis with a brutal and bloody campaign in which they aren't taking prisoners -- they are taking Nazi scalps. Aside from Pitt, the cast includes Eli Roth, Til Schweiger, Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender, Mélanie Laurent and Daniel Brühl. Christoph Waltz, who plays a Nazi colonel nicknamed "the Jew Killer", won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Basterds, and am hoping it is better than Tarantino's last effort Death Proof, which luxuriated for too long on scenes with people sitting around and just talking talking talking. No other screenwriter in Hollywood loves to hear his words spoken by actors more than Quentin Tarantino, and on Death Proof I felt like he was treading water, going over the same conversation ground that he'd explored in Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill movies.

Also opening

Coco avant Chanel -- Before she became a fashion icon, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel was the orphaned illegitimate daughter of a travelling salesman. Coming from a hardscrabble, impoverished background, she used whatever she saw around her -- nun's habits, buttons on a military uniform, a fisherman's sweater, etc. -- to create new fashions. Coco avant Chanel tracks her path to Paris, loosening seams, adapting mens clothing for her wardrobe, puffing away on cigarettes and using men to help her climb to the top. She's portrayed by Audrey Tautou, an actress who's nearly as iconic as Coco Chanel for her breakthrough role in Amelie. Coco avant Chanel is playing at the Apex cinemas in Siam Square and at SFW CentralWorld in French with English and Thai subtiles.

Ricky -- French director François Ozon's latest is an absurd-sounding comedy fantasy about a young couple who meet, fall in love and produce a child -- a baby boy who has wings like an angel. It's in French with English and Thai subtitles at House on RCA.

Orphan -- The latest entry in the the horror sub-genre of creepy-kid movies -- think The Omen and The Exorcist -- is about an orphan girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) who at first appears to be an angel. But as soon as her new parents (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) get her home, she starts making life hell for everyone. This was released in a sneak preview run last week, and now goes to a wider release. Because it was released before the ratings system came into effect, it has been censored.

Kaminey -- Identical twins (Shahid Kapur) hope to leave the squalor behind and move into a life of prosperity. But the similarity ends there as the brothers run to protect themselves, their dreams and their love, until a point where the brothers meet to realize that they only have each other. Priyanka Chopra and Amol Gupte also star. In Hindi with English subtitles at SFW CentralWorld at 8 on Friday and Saturday and 4 and 8 on Sunday. Call (089) 488 2620 or (02) 225 7500 or visit www.BollywoodThai.com.

Also showing

13th Thai Short Film & Video Festival -- There are many highlights as the festival roars to a close on Sunday. Tonight at 6.30, there's the Queer Relations program. Friday has All About Rhythm at 6.30, featuring shorts about music and dance. Saturday and Sunday features competition films for the R.D. Pestonji award for films from the general public -- mostly coming from accomplished independent Thai filmmakers -- as well as the International Competition and the Digital Forum for experimental digital movies. The big highlight on Saturday is the special Siam and a Century program, with Thai indie directors expressing their feelings about culture and society. The closing program on Sunday is the don't-miss Best Shorts from Clermont Ferrand, from the premier French short-film fest. Check my earlier entry for the schedule.

Chulalongkorn University International Film Festival -- Friday's show is You, the Living, an absurdist black comedy from Swedish director Roy Andersson, featuring several quirky characters. Monday is the Turkish coming-of-age drama about youths yearning to break free of their parents. The DVDs with English subtitles are showing at 5pm in Room 305 of CU's Boromrajakumari Building. Admission is free. A discussion by Thai critics follows. Call (02) 218 4802 or visit ChulaFilmFest.multiply.com.

Death in the Land of Melancholia: Lav Diaz Retrospective in Thailand: The Bangkok-area leg of the retrospective wraps up on Monday with Evolution of a Filipino Family, an 11-hour journey that explores an orphan boys connections to two families. It's showing from 9am at the Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom. If you missed the Diaz films in Bangkok, you can head to Phuket, where they will be showing at Bo(ok)hemian on August 29 and 30 and September 5 and 6. Check my earlier entry for details.

Take note

The film-ratings system mentioned earlier is now in effect. The ratings symbols shown in the chart above are tentative. They are expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Briefly, the ratings are:

  • Promote -- For educational films that the government encourages everyone to see.
  • General -- Appropriate for viewers of any age.
  • 13+ -- Suggested for viewers aged 13 and older.
  • 15+ -- Suggested for viewers aged 15 and older.
  • 18+ -- Suggested for viewers aged 18 and older.
  • 20+ -- Restricted to viewers aged 20 and older, with ID checks mandatory.

Films can also still be banned if they are deemed harmful to the nation's morals, security or institutions.

Aside from Buppah Rahtree 3.2 and Inglourious Basterds, other films already rated are Hayao Miyazaki's latest animated feature Ponyo, approved for general audiences (release on August 27); the South Korean romance The Naked Kitchen given the 15+ stamp (September 10) ; and the 2007 senior-citizens rockumentary Young @ Heart being promoted as educational viewing that everyone must see, as mandated by the government (September 3 at House).

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