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Find the best things to do from the daytime to the nighttime in Bangkok with our events calendar of 2017’s coolest events, including parties, concerts, films and art exhibits.

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Photo: JoJo Whilden
Movies, Action and adventure

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Review by Joshua Rothkopf “I didn’t think I would have to save the world this summer,” says a near-terrified Peter Parker (Tom Holland, still charmingly dorky in an Anton Yelchin vein) near the front end of Spider-Man: Far from Home. Many viewers will feel heard: Little more than two months have passed since Avengers: Endgame crushed it with three hours of intergalactic pain, not to mention last December’s superb animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Can’t Marvel give it a rest for a season? Well, no. Almost aware of how thirsty it is, the new movie—meta, irreverent and nowhere near a bad time—works best when it plays like a vacation from MCU seriousness. An unexpected blast of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and a cheesy montage of fallen superheroes (it turns out to be a high-school AV club’s video tribute) brings us up to speed in a new post–Tony Stark world of people reckoning with the “Blip,” when half the world’s population disappeared and suddenly came back. Peter, meanwhile, a self-described “16-year-old kid from Queens,” hopes to reveal his true feelings to MJ (Zendaya, feisty while being quietly vulnerable, showing off big range between this and HBO’s Euphoria) while on a class trip in Europe. As Far from Home leans into this travelogue section, much of it shot on location (the exquisite gondolas and cozy back alleys of Venice require no CGI to be superheroic), you wish the film would remain a breezy teen comedy, one with a panicky best friend (J

Time Out says
Disney
Movies, Animation

The Lion King

Review by Joshua Rothkopf Something is off about this defiantly unmagical remake of The Lion King, a film that is both photorealistic—down to every artfully crafted lens flare and whisker on Simba’s chin—and the furthest thing from real. It’ll either mildly disturb you or make you feel like your skin is on backward. Granted, it’s still The Lion King: still a study piece of Hamlet-derived musical theater, only with 100 percent more Beyoncé, which is never a bad thing. (Look deep into the lemon eyes of her lioness, Nala, and you can swear you see her.) But Disney’s animated movies have traditionally been invitations to dream bigger than nature; even when you go to one of its theme parks, you submit to pretending. This new Lion King is an invader of the real world, its characters akin to stuffed trophies mounted on the wall. They’re lifelike, yes, but somehow not alive. Almost certainly, kids aren’t going to mind this, even as their imaginations get a little shortchanged. Set in one of Africa’s uncannier valleys, today’s Lion King remains a story about talking and singing animals; no amount of digital work is going to change that. And vocal talent is what semi-saves this remake from Jungle Book director Jon Favreau’s more computerized instincts. As the regal Mufasa, sensible leader of the Pride Lands, the rumbling James Earl Jones still has his Darth Vader sonority on tap. He remembers to give an actual performance, as does Donald Glover, voicing the cub who would be king with

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Movies, Horror

Ma

Trashy movies aren’t good for you, but sometimes they burn with an unexpected honesty that feels more earned than the stuff we’re supposed to prefer. Such is the case with Ma, a scuzzy and brutal revenge thriller set in some hard-luck, blue-collar town (never named) filled with uneasy stares and kids making dumb choices. It’s an unusually potent atmosphere for a quickie Blumhouse horror project; you can’t say this one is elevated by the presence of Octavia Spencer—it’s more that she allows herself to descend to the crazy-eyed pleasures of being monstrous. She plays Sue Ann, a never-not-suspicious local who buys the teens cases of booze and lets them party in her basement. There are ulterior reasons for her friendliness. You know exactly what they are from the start (the coy ’80s-set flashbacks to Sue Ann’s own high-school trauma are extraneous). Call it a welcome surprise that Tate Taylor, the director of Spencer’s brassy turn in The Help as well as the underrated James Brown biopic Get on Up, seems to be harboring an inner Wes Craven. When Ma breaks bad, it breaks bad hard, with some real wince-inducing moments of bodily harm. The film’s bland young hero, Maggie (Diana Silvers), doesn’t seem to have a chance in Sue Ann’s abattoir, but Taylor distracts us with juicier details on the periphery, like Maggie’s mother, a divorced cocktail waitress (Juliette Lewis, exuding abandonment). There’s an undertone of rage to Ma, a stink. It’s a film in which co-workers snipe at each oth

Time Out says
Photo: Courtesy of Pixar
Movies, Animation

Toy Story 4

Turns out, Pixar’s sentient toys can still make us cry: Nearly 25 years after their cinematic debut, the sweetly selfless plastic pals return in a fourth Toy Story, one charged by the animated series’ thematic essence of finding purpose in being useful to others. It’s a hopeful, immensely human chapter that echoes the franchise’s complex notions of loyalty, displacement and self-worth, doing so with humor and warmth. Working from a script by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom (as well as six other story contributors, including ousted ex-Pixar chief John Lasseter), director Josh Cooley successfully balances all of these elements—a noteworthy achievement considering the large cowboy boots he had to fill after the epic yet nuanced Toy Story 3, one of Pixar’s more perfect achievements. The reliable company of old friends certainly helps: Now happily living with a new kid, Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw), Tom Hanks’s pull-string pardner Woody, Tim Allen’s devoted Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack’s feisty Jesse and the rest of the gang are back. New to the clan is Forky (Veep’s Tony Hale, adding nervy personality and genuine weirdness), an existentially confused spork with low self-esteem that the ever-imaginative Bonnie creates as a kindergarten craft project. Convinced of his status as trash (an unusually raw class dilemma for a Pixar movie), Forky get a crash course on his toyness from Woody, himself thrown by a life crisis resembling that of a retiree. Bonnie has moved on to o

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Photo: Dan McFadden / Warner Bros.
Movies, Horror

Annabelle Comes Home

Review by Joshua Rothkopf The Warrens—Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson)—don’t scare easily. Even if you haven’t squirmed your way through the first two Conjuring movies (they make for a fun double bill with the lights off) or their increasingly diluted spinoffs in which these married demonologists sometimes appear, you can tell from the sluggish, mostly dull Annabelle Comes Home that the Warrens have seen it all. Taking custody of a creepy possessed doll like an early-’70s version of the Ghostbusters, they place it seated upright like a toddler in the backseat of their car as they drive through the moonlight. Maybe that’s the Warrens’ idea of funny. You wonder about their sex life. Now that would be a movie. Alas, this seventh, exhausted entry in the Conjuring-verse plays more like a made-for-TV throwaway: Here’s what happens inside the spooky Warren home—always with the motes of dust hanging in the dim light—when the parents are away and the kids get up to no good. (If 1972’s Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things hadn’t already claimed the perfect title, it would have been an obvious keeper.) In Annabelle Comes Home’s favor, it has McKenna Grace, a persuasive old soul in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, as the Warren’s ten-year-old daughter, Judy, already attuned to supernatural vibrations. She’s got a blond babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), who bakes cakes and listens to Badfinger, and, to make the plot more interesting, there’s another teenag

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Men in Black: International
Photo: Sony Pictures
Movies, Science fiction

Men In Black: International

Nobody wanted this one: a reboot of a series that now feels more redundant with every galaxy-guarding wisecrack coming from the theater next door. But how fun was it back in 1997, when CGI-heavy sci-fi first collided with salt-and-pepper buddy comedy? After three films, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are now AWOL—probably wisely on their part—leaving the dark suits and memory-wiping neuralyzers to Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, who may bring to mind their superior Thor: Ragnarok (which you probably saw and swiftly forgot about some lazy afternoon). They have little to do in a film that’s both whirlingly busy and stubbornly listless and uninspired. It won’t exactly make you hate movies, full stop, but Men in Black: International imposes such a generic dullness, it will have you seriously examining your entertainment choices. For a character that’s meant to be born and raised in Brooklyn, Thompson’s Molly, an often naïve trainee agent, represents a missed opportunity for toughness—or at least the endearing street smarts that this series used to supply on the regular. Meanwhile, if you ever wondered when Hemsworth’s surfer-bro charm would curdle into swagger, it’s now: As Molly’s new partner, Agent K, Hemsworth is almost shockingly unfunny. When, only 15 minutes in, you’re hearing boss Emma Thompson complain about their secret organization’s gendered name (“I’ve had the conversation,” she fumes), you have no idea you’re experiencing the film’s only funny line. She dispatch

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Photo Credit: Daniel Smith
Movies, Action and adventure

Aladdin

Twenty-seven years after the release of the animated classic, Aladdin gets the live-action treatment, with Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie at the helm. The well-known plot is the stuff of Disney magic: a rags-to-riches tale in which a common thief wins the heart of a princess with the help of a magic lamp that transforms him into a prince. If today's Aladdin is not quite a scene-for-scene remake, it’s pretty close. The plot is tweaked with some sensible improvements: Agrabah, a mythical Silk Road city, was once described in the original opening song as “barbaric.” It’s now simply chaotic, with a bustling population of people from as far as northern Europe (look out for Billy Magnussen’s hilarious Prince Anders) to China, and everywhere in between. It’s clear that this version of Aladdin celebrates the cultures from which the Arabian Nights folk tale emerged—a sensitivity no doubt learned (better late than never) from Black Panther, which provided an alternative to the typical white-savior motif. Canadian-Egyptian actor Mena Massoud perfectly captures Aladdin’s street-smart charm, while British-Gujarati actress Naomi Scott gives a fire-cracker performance as Princess Jasmine, showing she’s less concerned with finding a husband than learning the required skills to succeed her father (Navid Negahban) to the throne. Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar verges on pantomine villainy, but there’s no denying that he cuts a menacing figure. Best of all, the film is a proudly out-and-out mus

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