Posts Tagged ‘Ananda Everingham’

THE 4 MOVIE a.k.a. 4 PSYCHO [LUD 4 LUD a.k.a. LUD SEE LUD | หลุดสี่หลุด a.k.a. หลุด 4 หลุด]

2011/01/24

http://the4movie.com/

http://www.sahamongkolfilm.com/th/filmdetail.php?id=423

THAILAND 2010  Directed by: Ekkasith Thairatana, Chukiat Sakveerakul, Kongkiat Khomsiri, Phawit Panangkasiri Written by: Ekkasit Thairatana Produced by: Prachya Pinkaew Cast: Akarin Akaranitimetharat,  Alexander Rendel,  Chanon Rikulsurakann, Thanapon Arrunneth, Patrapisit Sappasawattichod, Alice Toy, ArttanunPiyaserth, Sirikarin Ployong, Janjira Chumneansiri, Ananda Everingham,  Peerapol Sehnakol, Thitti Vejchaboon, Pakorn Chatborirak,  Thema Kanchanapairin

If certain producers go on like this we will have more omnibus horror movies coming out of Thailand soon than feature films. Here we go again: LUD 4 LUD a.k.a. THE 4 MOVIE is one of the last productions to be finished end of last year and has just hit Thai cinemas in January.

The four segments are directed by writer and first-time director Ekkasith Thairatana, Chukiat Sakveerakul, Kongkiat Khomsiri and Phawit Panangkasiri. Mr. Thairatana’s segment is called CLEAN UP DAY (GRIAN LAANG LOK | เกรียน ล้าง โลก) and is merely an appetizer. The story revolves around a group of guys debating global warming and its causes, leading to the core of the story that identifies humans as the root of all evil and reveals a plot to kill all humans through a lethal virus.

The second film is the sarcastic THE GIFT SHOP FOR THE ONES YOU HATE (RAN KONG KWAN PEUA KON TEE KUN GLIAT | ร้าน ของขวัญ เพื่อ คน ที่ คุณ เกลียด) directed by Kongkiat Khomsiri (SLICE). A white-collar office worker is promoted to be the new manager of his department, but not everyone seems to be delighted. Soon he receives questionable gifts, all obviously sourced from a mysterious shop around the corner of his office called The Gift Shop For The Ones You Hate. Nomen nest omen.

The third entry is directed by Phawit Panangkasiri and called EERIE NIGHTS (KEUN JIT LUT | คืน จิต หลุด): a group of criminals is on the run and hides from the police in an abandoned hospital. There, things get quickly out of hand (literally) with the criminals beginning to fight and a ghost starting to haunt them.

The final episode then is a ghost comedy called HOO AA GONG (ฮู อา กง), telling the story about a Thai-Chinese family that has to watch over the body of the deceased grandfather. The family members feel awkward about the task, and so does the spirit of the grandfather who prefers to be rather active than lying dead in his bed.

Different from other horror anthologies in recent years LUD 4 LUD is mostly straight forward with only a little hint of Buddhist subtexts (as in EERIE NIGHTS) or references to the widespread belief in ghosts a.k.a. spirits. LUD 4 LUD isn’t really much of a horror movie, but mostly plays with our expectations towards the genre while in fact mostly not dealing with any supernatural ingredients at all: only the 4th segment is about real ghosts, while the segments 1-3 are trying to trick the protagonists as well as the audience into believing that something otherworldly is going on, which however is not. Since the last installment is a comedy I am not sure if I shall call THE 4 MOVIE a horror anthology at all.

Out of all entries THE GIFT SHOP FOR THE ONES YOU HATE is clearly the most original, creative and entertaining movie of the pack, leaving the others trailing behind. The first film starts interesting but turns out a lame duck, unsuccessfully trying to blend into the oh-so fashionable environmental debate, while formally kind of copying James Wan’s camera-moves-up-and-down-and-in-and-out-of-a-parking-lot set piece from DEATH SENTENCE. The conclusion then is totally random and renders the rest of the film meaningless.

Mr. Khomsiri’s movie stands out through its inventive idea, good script and proper execution, making it feel like a short feature film rather than a long short and delivering proper dramaturgy and character / story development while finding the right balance between paranoia film and horror-thriller, while embedding his scenario into a context that is very familiar to all of us. It could all happen to you, and that’s why this segment is the most terrifying after all.

The third segment feels too much like an adaptation of NAK PROK (THE SHADOW OF THE NAGA) and disappoints through predictable twists. However, it also features a great Ananda Everingham who looks like he just left the set of RED EAGLE (INSEE DAENG) and some uncomfortable gore (the only real on-screen violence of the quartet that has contributed to the film’s 18+ rating). EERIE NIGHTS is a one-man-show without ghosts, but has a touch of karmic lecture that makes it probably the most meaningful story here.

Lastly, LUD 4 LUD’s only real ghost story makes for a really funny finale, albeit for a stupid-funny one. Don’t expect anything remotely intelligent, HOO AA GONG is just for laughs and as tasteless as it gets, throwing in a big bouquet of masturbation scenes, gay jokes and corpse slapstick. Most of the humor works quite well however, and the ending is the most satisfying one of all films.

LUD 4 LUD is pure entertainment, free of the complexity or intellectual qualities of some of the other omnibus or contemporary horror films from Thailand. If your only concern is having a good time, then there is nothing to worry about.

J.


 

 

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RED EAGLE [IN SEE DAENG | อินทรีแดง]

2010/10/16

http://www.inseedangthemovie.com/

THAILAND 2010  Directed by: Wisit Sasanatieng Written by: Wisit Sasanatieng  Novel by: Sek Dusit Produced by: Saksiri Chantrarangsri Cinematography by: Chukiat Narongrit Cast: Ananda Everingham, Pornwut Sarasin, Yarinda Bunnag, Wanasigha Prasertkul, Prawit Kittichantera

A superhero movie. From Thailand? By Wisit Sasanatieng?? Interesting. The Red Eagle character isn’t new, in fact it’s Thailand’s only genuine superhero, created in the 50’s and made into a total of 6 movies starting in 1959, with the last sequel dating back to 1970 that ended with the tragic death of actor Mitr Chaibancha during filming. Times have changed a bit since then, and in its 2010 appearance (set in 2016) Red Eagle is fighting against multinational corporations and corrupt politicians instead of targeting communists. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed then that’s the fact that RED EAGLE is quite a political movie, confronting the popcorn-chewing audience with the harsh reality waiting outside the comfort of their multiplex Honeymoon Seats.

 

Even though Mr. Sasanatieng insists that the script and most of its storyline has been drafted years ago, it cannot be denied that the movie more than once draws obvious parallels to some of the latest developments in the Kingdom, from political protests, to certain prime ministers, to the Map Ta Phut issue involving a renown industrial development project that is in a dispute with the locals. RED EAGLE might very well be the most political, critical and in-the-face reality check for the Thai nation since a very long time, a courageous enterprise that commands respect and most certainly will not be everybody’s darling.

 

But RED EAGLE didn’t set out just to lecture us about the state of the nation. In essence, it’s a hard-boiled action flick for genre fans and the general audience alike, a film that, above all, is a milestone for Thai cinema, a movie that works well in so many ways, and with ease, that you can’t help but wonder why this level of craftsmanship is rarely achieved by the local industry. And I am not referring to the – very convincing – special effects, but to various aspects of the film.

 

From the title sequence onwards RED EAGLE defies all negative perception of Thai production standards: the James Bond-like exercise in how to make a grand entrance is a perfect example, and the gloss and glamour is followed by a contrasting, violent fight that is dipped in tantalizing primary colors, filmed with bravado and ease. RED EAGLE, with all its visual appeal, bloodshed and insane scale of product placement (I cannot think of any other movie featuring this much advertising) is an excessive film, any which way you look at it.

 

Most notably is the extreme bloodshed, as Red Eagle is nothing like your average superhero: he is much more a Punisher, someone who takes the law in his own hands and wastes one criminal after another. The storyline is loosely following a politician’s career and an environmental scandal, but here and there Red Eagle kills others that get in his way. Addicted to morphine due to an injury, he comes across as a psychopath driven by anger more than once, but with his arch-nemesis Black Death being an even more sinister fiend, Red Eagle’s character kind of gets away with it. He’s still the nicer guy.

 

However, Red Eagle’s personality is and remains the most problematic aspect of the film. The Character is more multi-dimensional for Thai audiences, as these are very familiar with Ananda Everingham and automatically associate his personality with that of Red Eagle, a smart shortcut Mr. Sasanatieng has chosen here, but it’s one that will backfire internationally as it becomes clear very early on that the main issue of RED EAGLE is the weak characterization of the hero whose motifs are only vaguely outlined without ever being satisfyingly rationalized, while at the same time we unfortunately get very little access to his state of mind or emotions. That is an even bigger problem in view of the hero being a cold-blooded killer.

 

If you are getting past that issue, you’ll have to deal with one more problem: logic is mostly absent, and is being replaced by magic. Like, for instance, time bombs appearing out of nowhere, the hero appearing out of nowhere, enemies appearing out of nowhere, it’s funny sometimes how they thought we couldn’t recognize a plot hole even when it’s as big as the entire screen. But RED EAGLE wouldn’t be such a fabulously entertaining movie if it wouldn’t make up for its shortcomings easily. Its entertainment value is right up there and never drops.

RED EAGLE’s most outstanding assets are its set pieces and its humor (and yes, it really works this time, most of the time). Take the long fight sequence on the roof for example: I cannot remember seeing anything like that in a while. Or the billboard crashing into the office floor; or the motorcycle stunt amid the explosion, and so forth. RED EAGLE features many memorable action scenes, and it’s fun, too (except for the racist jokes): Mr. Sasanatieng has a good sense of humor that is right in between witty and BS. No other Thai movie in recent years has managed to come even close to achieving this (just watch the scene when Red Eagle uses sanitary pads to stop his bleeding, and you know what Mr. Sasanatieng really thinks of product placement).

 

Saying RED EAGLE is a great movie would be an overstatement even Mr. Sasanatieng would dare to make. He of all people must know best why certain things are just not right and are sadly missed opportunities (he obviously had serious issues with the studio). But then he still manages to deliver a spectacle that takes the audience by surprise, being a big box of chocolate that we only come across once in a few years. It’s innovative spirit and no-holds-barred attitude should earn RED EAGLE a spot among the all-time cult movie favorites.

RED EAGLE is the best Thai action flick in years: RED EAGLE is indeed the hero Thailand needs. It’s an outstanding action movie by any standards. A superb superhero movie. And without any doubt the definitive anti-hero movie of the new decade.

J.

 

 

 

 

PAD THAI: ETERNITY [CHUA FAH DIN SA LAI | ชั่วฟ้าดินสลาย]

2010/09/18

http://www.sahamongkolfilm.com/

Based on a novel by Malai Choopinij, ETERNITY tells the story of a forbidden relationship between the wife of a timber tycoon and his nephew. When their affair is discovered, they are chained together (they asked for it, didn’t they?).

ETERNITY is directed by Pantewanop Tewakul and stars Ananda Everingham, Chermarn Boonyasak, Daraneenuch Pothipithi, Penpetch Penkul and  Theerapong Leowrakwong.

J.