Thursday, January 19, 2012

An ATM spitting out cash

A malfunctioning ATM that's disbursing too much money is in the backdrop of the GTH studio's latest romantic comedy ATM Er Rak Error (ATM เออรัก เออเร่อ)

"Ter" Chantawit Thanasevee from Coming Soon and Hello Stranger stars as an employee of the wonky automated teller's bank. His girlfriend ("Ice" Preechaya Pongthananikorn) works for the bank too, and they have to keep that a secret because it's against company policy. They agree to get married, but only if one of them resigns, so they race to be the first to fix the broken ATM. Whoever gets to it first can keep their job.

Mez Tharatorn directs. He previously co-directed the The Little Comedian and had a hand in co-writing a segment of Phobia 2.

Released today, ATM Er Rak Error had been slated for last year, but was postponed because of the flooding. There's an international English-subtitled trailer, embedded below.

The movie's cash-spewing ATM is an apt visual cue for the current state of the Thai film industry, which since the end of 2011 looks to be recovering nicely from whatever losses, if any, the floods might have caused. And romantic comedies from the big studios are what's putting bums in the seats.

The last Thai film of 2011 was released December 29. Just as they did in the previous two years, director Rerkchai Paungpetch and studio M-Thirtynine offered a year-end romantic comedy. Bangkok Sweety (Sor Khor Sor Sweety, ส.ค.ส. สวีทตี้) was the biggest effort yet, with a large ensemble cast that includes "Dan" Worrawech Danuwong, "Pae" Arak Amornsupasiri, Charoenporn "Kotee" Ornlamai, "Saipan" Apinya Sakuljaroensuk and sisters "Gypsy" Keeratee and "Yipso" Ramita Mahaphrukpong. It portrays different kinds of love, all culminating during Bangkok's New Year's Eve celebration. So basically, it's an M-Thirtynine version of Garry Marshall's star-studded Hollywood love offering New Year's Eve. It led the box office for two weeks in a row and is still raking it in, earning around US$2.5 million so far.

Last week, Sahamongkol and Lucks Film released another rom-com, Rak Wei Hei (รักเว้ยเฮ้ย!). From the same team that did the Saranair comedy films, Rak Wei Hei is about a nerd (Phongphit "Starbucks" Preechaborisuthkul) who falls in love with a young female DJ ("Ink" Chayanuj Boontanapibul from Channel [V] Thailand) and learns how to win her heart from a weird romance guru (Nakorn “Ple” Silachai). Directed by Kunchat Chitkhachorawanit (he previously directed the prison comedy 8E88 แฟนลั้ลลา), it debuted at No. 1 at the box office.

Another holdover from the floods last year is Friends Never Die (มึงกู เพื่อนกันจนวันตา, Mueng Gu Phuean Kan Jon Wan Tai), a teenage gangster movie. Moving from Bangkok to study in Chiang Mai, the new kid in town, Song ("Mouse" Nattacha Chantaphan), faces problems with senior students and copes by joining a gang led by a guy named Gun (Mario Maurer). Together, the schoolboys slick back their hair and don leather jackets. Written and directed by Atsachan Satkowit (previously directed Soul's Code) and released by Phranakorn, it debuted at sixth place at the box office.

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