Monday, May 19, 2008

Cannes Film Festival roundup: Som Tum, 4bia

Twitch's Todd Brown continues his coverage at the Cannes Film Market, where he's seen the world premiere of the action comedy Som Tum and the international premiere of the four-part horror anthology See Phrang (4bia).

Som Tum is the latest action flick from the Ong-Bak/Tom Yum Goong franchise of action choreographer Panna Rittikrai and producer Prachya Pinkaew.

Nathan Jones, who played a heavy in Tom Yum Goong (as well as Troy, Fearless and The Condemned) gets to do some comedy, playing a timid, homeless Australian on the streets of a coastal Thai city. Taken in by a couple of little Thai girls and fed spicy som tum, he turns into a raging red monster. The action-packed trailer is playing in local cinemas now and has the audiences tittering. It's going to be fun, no matter how dumb it might be. In his Day 4 diary, Todd says:

Som Tum [is] daft beyond words and pretty inconsistent but Nathan Jones actually makes for a decently charming lunk and one of the young female leads is clearly being groomed as another female action star for the studio following the success of Chocolate. There are a number of good background fighters as well.

I'll just get this out of the way now: The young female lead Todd mentions is Sasisa Jindamanee, who's grown up some since her appearance in Born to Fight as a pint-sized Muay Thai fighter.

Som Tum opens in Thailand cinemas on June 5.

See Phrang (4bia) made its international premiere in the Cannes Film Market, and was received well by Todd, as I thought it might be. Here's what he has to say:

I expected the segments from the Shutter and Alone directorial duo Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom - making their solo debuts here - to be strong and both were - with Pisanthanakun’s entry showcasing a very strong sense of humor - but the best of the lot, in my opinion, came surprisingly from Iron Ladies director Yongyoot Thongkongtoon who puts together a remarkably effective and impeccably shot little piece of work.

Yep, yep, yep. I'm guessing that because he doesn't even mention it, he didn't care for the second segment by Paween Purijitpanya, since he didn't care for Paween's Body.

Since its release in Thailand on April 24, See Phrang has been performing well at the box office. It was No. 1 until the juggernaut of Iron Man arrived, then was No. 2, outperforming Theng's Angel, according to Box Office Mojo. I wonder if this is a sign that local audiences are growing tired of the cookie-cutter comedies? Even last week, behind Iron Man and Speed Racer, the four-week-old film was hanging in at No. 3, according to Box Office Mojo.

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