Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On DVD: Headshot, Mundane History, Dark Flight, The Kick, I Miss U

There have been several recent English-friendly releases of Thai films in various parts of the world.

Probably the most prominent is Headshot, Pen-ek Ratanaruang's unique and acclaimed hitman thriller. Thailand's submission to the Oscars, Headshot has been a fixture on the festival circuit this year and won a bunch of awards in Thailand. Released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. by Kino Lorber (which includes an English dub in addition to the original soundtrack), it's the first time in years Pen-ek's had a Stateside release of one of his films.

Indie director Anocha Suwichakornpong's debut feature Mundane History (เจ้านกกระจอก, Jao Nok Krajok) has been released in the U.K. by Second Run. The drama is about a paralyzed young man from a wealthy family forming a friendship with his nurse, a young man from the rural northeast. A story of Thailand's great class divide that eventually goes back to the very forming of the cosmos, it's taken awhile for this acclaimed 2009 film to find its way to English-friendly DVD. Now, reviews are comparing it to newer movies, like Terrence Malick's Tree of Life or the French blockbuster Intouchables.

Anocha has self-released Mundane History on DVD in Thailand, but, of course, there are no English subtitles. There's an English-friendly Region 2 Dutch release, but it looks like the U.K. version is the one to get thanks to such extras as a booklet featuring a long essay by critic Carmen Gray. There’s also Anocha's 2006 graduate-thesis short film Graceland, which was the first Thai film to be selected for the Cannes Cinefondation competition. And there's an interview with her.

Meanwhile, there are a bunch of Thai genre films, mainly horror titles, out in Hong Kong.

Five Star's bumpy airplane thriller Dark Flight, the first Thai film actually filmed in 3D, is offered on Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D. There's also a 2D DVD release. Directed by Isara Nadee, who was part of the Ronin Team that did the Art of the Devil movies, and scripted in part by Ronin Team member Kongkiat Khomsiri, the haunted airliner tale stars Marsha Wattanapanich as a veteran flight attendant who's troubled past causes problems for passengers and fellow crew on a short, stormy hop from Bangkok to Phuket.

The Kick is a fairly entertaining mix of Korean and Thai martial arts, with a family of taekwando experts clashing with gangsters who've stolen a treasured ancient Siamese dagger. Along with the South Korean cast, the film directed by Ong-Bak and Chocolate helmer Prachya Pinkaew also features Jeeja Yanin and funnyman Mum Jokmok and action choreography by Panna Rittikrai. It's on DVD and Blu-ray.

And there's I Miss U  (รักฉันอย่าคิดถึงฉัน, Rak Chan Yaa Khid Tueng Chang), director Monthon Arayangkoon's horror romance tale about a widowed, guilt-ridden chief surgeon (Jessadaporn Pholdee) who just won't let go of the memories of his dead wife (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee), and a plucky first-year resident doctor (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk) who finds herself haunted as she gets closer to the grieving guy. Inthira Charoenpura also stars. Controversially, studio M-Thirtynine released I Miss U in Thai cinemas with three different endings, which screened on different weeks during the movie's run. However, it appears there's only one ending available on the Hong Kong home-video release, even though the "alternate endings" gimmick seems tailor-made to be a bonus feature. It's on DVD and Blu-ray.

(Thanks Logboy!)


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