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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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Shazam!
Shazam!
Movies

Shazam!

If you think most superhero movies are basically about overgrown kids, ‘Shazam!’ is here to prove you absolutely right. Be prepared, though, for it to win you over with its goofy, Tom-Hanks-in-‘Big’-ness: This is a story in which foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel) suddenly becomes a man with massive guns, a white cape and a giggly sense of invincibility. Director David F Sandberg (‘Lights Out’) gets the trippy origin nonsense out of the way fast: there’s an ancient cave and a benevolent, ultra-serious wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who needs to find a champion. One boy fails the test – he’ll become the villain (Mark Strong, doing his villainy thing) – before Billy steps up. ‘Gross,’ he says, when commanded to grab the wizard’s magical staff. Still, the transformation works, and the movie explodes into a riotous midsection, mainly thanks to Zachary Levi’s perfect, gleeful turn as the adult Billy and ‘It’ breakout star Jack Dylan Grazer as his painfully neurotic foster brother. Big emotions don’t tend to be common currency in the DC Universe, so I’m happy to report that this one comes with a heart-filled script, plus a richly developed surrogate family, a visible appreciation of Philadelphia and its heroic ‘Rocky’ iconography, and two expert jokes involving a strip club. Yes, there are some weighty moments near the end, and the usual splurge of cheesy CGI, but in the spirit of a spandexed Harry Potter, it’s a teen-centric flick that’s euphoric and playful. 

Time Out says
Dumbo
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Movies, Family and kids

Dumbo

Review by Phil de Semlyen Let’s tackle the baby elephant in the room first: How does Disney’s beloved Dumbo look in a live-action movie? Happily, the teeny pachyderm is a suitably heart-melting presence in Tim Burton’s relatively orthodox redo of the 1941 animation classic. All giant expressive eyes and beach-towel ears, he’s a computer-generated creation that exudes picture-book warmth. It’s only when flying that he seems a bit clunky. Then again, maybe that’s the point. He is, after all, the least aerodynamic character to fly in a movie since Brian Blessed wobbled through Flash Gordon.
 The fact that you know his story inside out presents a challenge that Transformers screenwriter Ehren Kruger tries to overcome by introducing swathes of new human characters. Danny DeVito plays pompous impresario Max Medici, whose traveling circus is going a bit Grapes of Wrath in the dust bowls of the Midwest. Money is short and his last hope is the magical baby elephant tended to by damaged WWI veteran Holt Farrier (an oddly forgettable Colin Farrell) and his two willing kids, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins). 
Both are grieving for their mom, providing an obvious connection with Dumbo when the baby elephant’s own mother is sold. In truth, Burton, that great lover of scrappy outsiders, struggles to mine much beyond ponderous sincerity from these sluggish early scenes. Even a cast of oddball circus regulars—strongman, mermaid, snake charmer, etc.—fails to fire the director's

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Photo: Claudette Barius/Universal
Movies, Horror

Us

Film review by Joshua Rothkopf You lean forward while watching Us, the new horror film from Jordan Peele, since his last one, Get Out, rewarded that kind of attention. So, when his movie tells us early on that there are thousands of miles of tunnels under the United States with “no known purpose,” you squirrel that away in your brain, knowing it’ll be important later. When Peele shows us a TV commercial for that weirdly faceless 1986 publicity stunt Hands Across America—or when there are a bunch of bunnies in cages or an apocalyptic Bible quote on a sign—those details get stored away, too. But none of it quite adds up to the nightmare in your head. Us is too confidently made, too expert in its scene-to-scene command, to call it an example of sophomore slump. Still, after the film reveals itself to be the home-invasion thriller it is (and then the lesser Invasion of the Body Snatchers it becomes), you feel a slight letdown. Peele, as ever, blends comedy and screams like a champ—muscles he toned on TV’s radical Key & Peele—and his actors are terrific. After a brief mid-’80s prologue in which a lonely kid (Madison Curry) in a Michael Jackson T-shirt encounters something awful in a beachside carnival fun house, she becomes the grown-up Adelaide (a finely haunted Lupita Nyong’o), now with two children of her own and a dad-joke–dispensing husband (Winston Duke). For some reason, they’ve bought a summer house by that same beach, and it’s where Adelaide must return—unless, of cours

Time Out says
Movies, Drama

Greta

A sweet, naïve young woman trying to make it on her own in New York City, Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) doesn't think twice about returning the handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends - but Greta's maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta's life is what it seems in this suspense thriller from Academy Award®-winning director Neil Jordan.

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©Impuls Pictures
Movies, Thriller

Cold Pursuit

In the glacially paced and undisciplined Cold Pursuit—director Hans Petter Moland’s remake of his own 2014 Norwegian thriller In Order of Disappearance—Liam Neeson doesn’t possess a “special set of skills.” And still, his character, Nels Coxman, a wholesome snowplow driver who digs out roads around the fictional ski town of Kehoe, Colorado, somehow follows Taken’s vengeful-dad playbook with staggering proficiency. Once his innocent son falls victim to a complex drug operation and sets off a fatal feud between two rival families, no criminal seems too intimidating or out of reach to Nels, a freshly crowned “Citizen of the Year.” The body count avalanches quicker than we can process—helpful title cards eulogize the amusingly nicknamed fallen (Limbo, Speedo, Dante, etc.), Six Feet Under-style—while a cartoonish, alienating air of implausibility hangs over everything. Not that Moland is after a realistic, philosophical interrogation of cold-blooded revenge anyway—and given Neeson’s own recent, deeply unfortunate racist remarks, that may be for the best. (At least his character isn’t driven by bigotry, though some of the other roles are casually plagued by racism and sexism.) Instead, Moland seems to lean closer to absurdity à la In Bruges or Fargo. But despite a fanciful score by George Fenton and fickle flourishes of deadpan humor, Cold Pursuit’s wit barely finds a target. Amid a crowded field of actors, only Tom Bateman and Tom Jackson (playing the leaders of competing cartels

Time Out says
Photo: Marvel Studios
Movies, Action and adventure

Captain Marvel

Film review by Joshua Rothkopf Superheroes save the world on a regular basis, but their movies aren’t nearly as courageous: For every ingenious Black Panther that departs from the billion-dollar formula, you get ten timid time-wasters. Captain Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-led installment, means a lot symbolically—especially to young girls who resonate with Gal Gadot’s confident portrayal of Wonder Woman. But you can’t help but wish the watershed moment arrived with a more richly imagined central character. Even within the MCU itself, you can locate fiercer, more complex women (Elizabeth Olsen’s tortured Scarlet Witch comes to mind), and while Room and Short Term 12 star Brie Larson is certainly capable of expressing wire-taut uncertainty, she’s a bit stranded in the rubber suit, playing a role that gives her scant opportunity to be human. It seems beneath her. That disconnect is too bad since Captain Marvel, co-scripted by Mississippi Grind directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (plus an army of story writers), tries hard to floor you with its freshness. Sometimes that effort is too obvious, as it is with the film’s utterly unnecessary first 20 minutes: a spew of Trekkian world-building that introduces planet Hala, the Kree, the Supreme Intelligence, the evil Skrull (maybe take notes) and, only slightly less mystifying, Jude Law as a martial-arts master. Eventually our hero (Larson), an alien supersoldier, plunges through the roof of a Blockbuster Video

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