Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oppressive heat, depressing Thai summer movie lineup

The weather has been stifling for the past week or so in Bangkok, with temperatures soaring past the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark. It's usually hot as blazes this time of year, after all it is what's called the "hot season", but I'm not wrong in thinking it is inordinately hot this year. Backing up that claim is Absolutely Bangkok, which notes that the temperatures are above average.

A great way to beat the heat would be to camp out in one of the ultra-air-conditioned multiplexes and spent your days watching movies. But my past two forays into the world of commercial Thai cinema have left me feeling cold towards the domestic industry's output of late. And the upcoming lineup of Thai films is failing to get me fired up. Let's have a look at what's not exciting me:

Saranair Haao Peng (สาระแนห้าวเป้ง) -- Termed a comedy/documentary, this Punk'd-style reality-TV based movie stars Willy McIntosh, "Ple" Nakorn Silachai and "Sena Hoy" Kiatisak Udomnak. They challenge a couple of hapless young guys to pull pranks on well-known entertainment figures in order to win a spot on their TV show. Celeb victims include country-folk legend Ad Carabao, comedian Kotee Aramboy (poor guy -- they make him cry!), the Korean girl group Baby V.O.X. Re.V and Petchtai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkamlao. A scene involving Mum had a propane tank explode near a taxi he was riding in. It was filmed a couple of months back, and Mum was purportedly so scared and angry that Willy, Ple and Sena Hoy had to apologize. Of course Mum getting all worked up and the profuse apology were all captured by the Thai media, so I have to wonder if it was simply a publicity stunt. The trailer's at YouTube, and there's a website. Distributed by Sahamongkol, Saranair Haao Peng opens next Thursday, April 30. (Via Enjoy Thai Movies)

Mor 3 Pee 4 Rao Rak Naa (ม. 3 ปี 4 เรารักนาย) -- In this, ugh, teenage romantic melodrama, teens in Bangkok and Phuket chat on MSN, fall in love and then meet face to face. What can possibly go wrong? Haeman Chatemee directs and the stars include Sarocha Tanjararak, Kanin Bhatia and Suppasit Chinwinijkul. The trailer's at YouTube, and there's a website. Distributed by Avant/RS Film, Mor 3 Pee 4 Rao Rak Naa also opens next Thursday, April 30. (Via Enjoy Thai Movies)

2022 Tsunami (2022 สึนามิ วันโลกสังหาร) -- A humongous wave buries Bangkok underneath the ocean. This might not be so bad. But be forewarned and ready to head for high ground. It's from the controversially outspoken Toranong Srichua, who previously made Unhuman, which the usually enthusiastic folks at 24 Frames per Second hedge on wondering if it's so bad it's good. The trailer's been posted here before. Released by 20th June Entertainment, 2022 Tsunami opens on May 28.

Dek Khong (อนุบาลเด็กโข่ง) -- Okay, this cute kids' movie might not be so bad either. It looks to be trying for a Fan Chan vibe, and that turned out to be a classic. Released by Sahamongkol, Dek Khong opens on June 4. (Via Bangkok1080 and Deknang)

Roommate (เพื่อนร่วมห้อง...ต้องแอบรัก?) -- Another, ugh, teen-twenties romantic drama, Roommate involves three young women and two guys who all live together and play together in a rock band. What can possibly go wrong? It's going to be the music that draws audiences to this one. And I'll admit, I kind of like the look of this one. There's a website with music videos. Released by motif+ (formerly Mono Film), Roommate also opens on June 4. (Via Popcornmag)

Krasue vs. Pop (กระสือฟัดปอบ -- Holy crap. This ghost comedy looks so bad I think might I have to see it to believe it. Two of Thailand's most feared female ghosts are played by pretty young actresses. Krasue is Southeast Asia's gut-munching flying vampiric head that trails its entrails around. She's been depicted in lots of films, like 1981's Mystics in Bali, 2002's Krasue, Yuthlert Sippapak's Krasue Valentine and that recent award-winning Sylvania light bulb commercial. Pop is perhaps less well known. A demonic spirit that likes to eat people's livers and possess women's bodies, I am guessing she's been depicted on film many times in the past. Probably most famous film is 2001's Body Jumper (Pop Weed Sayong), which is actually quite a bit of fun. And the director of Body Jumper was none other than Haeman Chatemee -- so, darn it, I might be going to see Mor 3 Pee 4 Rao Rak Naa after all. Released by 5 4 3 2 Aekchan Film, Krasue vs. Pop opens on June 11. (Via Bangkok1080 and Deknang)

There's one other release I haven't included in this listing -- the angry foreigner stuntmen extravaganza Bangkok Adrenaline -- mainly because being an action-film fan I'm pretty excited about seeing it. Also, I don't want those guys to beat me up.

Heading into June and July there's a few question marks along the way, like Mum Jokmok's next directorial effort Wongkamlao. Involving largely the same cast as his Yam Yasothon, which I loved by the way -- just to show I don't hate all Thai comedies -- instead of a rural setting, Mum is taking on high-society urbanites for his romantic comedy, which looks to be a spoof of Thai soap operas.

But the biggie coming up on July 2 (tentatively) is Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Nang Mai (Nymph), which is in the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes Film Festival. That one I really am looking forward to seeing.

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