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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: 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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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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Movies, Action and adventure

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

First, the good news: Dark Phoenix is a fairly watchable addition to a franchise that has felt stretched to breaking point. It boasts visual sass, the set pieces are mostly fun and the acting stands up as well as you’d expect with a charismatic cast well-grooved in the X-universe. In Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey and Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven, it has two nuanced female characters front and center—three, if you count Jessica Chastain’s ethereal alien-type creature Vuk, which is something that still can’t be said for too many superhero movies. It’s not nearly as good as Logan or X2, but it’s a whole lot better than the eyeball-poking affliction that was 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. On the flipside, it still feels like a fairly pointless retread of comis creators Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Dark Phoenix Saga, which we’ve already seen (and hated) in Brett Ratner’s 2006 disaster X-Men: The Last Stand. It bolts on a pallid alien invasion storyline that’s more X-Files than X-Men and is laden with lumpen dialogue about destiny and “controlling your inner power” that could have been lifted wholesale from a tai chi manual. Throw in a long delay of the release date and there’s the inescapable feeling of a franchise half-heartedly winding down before the inevitable reboot kicks in, with Disney (and the might of Marvel Studios) replacing 20th Century Fox at the wheel and meshing the mutants into its superhero pantheon. Dark Phoenix introduces the serving X-Men as a kind of global 911 serv

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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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Movies, Drama

Rocketman

Taking the old-fashioned highs of an MGM musical and pairing them with the deep lows of an addiction drama, Rocketman is a turbo-charged rock fantasia that pushes hard against the boundaries of the medium as it zips through the first four decades of Elton John’s life. The songs explode from the screen, time jumps catapult the story forward with exhilarating élan, and even the emotional stuff lands, for the most part. Sure, Elton John purists will be here until Christmas pointing out the flaws in the chronology and the liberties taken with real-life events, but they’ll be doing it while dancing in the aisles. It’s a credit to director Dexter Fletcher, who really comes of age as a filmmaker here, that any thoughts of Bohemian Rhapsody fade away in the first few minutes (Fletcher was parachuted in to help finish that Queen biopic). While there are some superficial parallels between the two films, he’s saved all his good ideas for Rocketman. From the opening blast of “The Bitch Is Back,” which thrusts a young Reginald Dwight (Matthew Illesley) into a glorious, sepia-tinged dance routine outside his northwest London home, the movie is filled with vividly choreographed, imaginatively staged, wow-isn’t-cinema-great? moments. If there’s one thing Rocketman does have in common with Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s a commanding central performance. Like Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury, Taron Egerton combats a lack of close physical resemblance by nailing John’s physicality in telling detail: He

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A Vida Secreta dos Nossos Bichos 2 (2019)
©Universal Pictures
Movies, Animation

Secret Life of Pets 2: Sensory Friendly Screening

Terrier Max is coping with some major life changes. His owner is now married and has a toddler, Liam. Max is so worried about protecting the boy that he develops a nervous tic. On a family trip to a farm, Max and mutt Duke encounter canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes and a terrifying turkey, all of which only elevates Max's anxiety. Luckily, Max gets some guidance from veteran farm dog Rooster, who pushes Max to ditch his neuroses, find his inner alpha, and give Liam a little more freedom.

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Movies, Action and adventure

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Hollywood’s Godzilla movies (multiplex-dwelling beasts driven mainly by commerce) have been forgettable affairs. But the fans still come in two species: those who thirst for some serious stompage, and those who’d prefer a little more irresponsible-science stuff, the subtext that made the Japanese 1954 original so ominous. Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to 2014’s cloudy, occasionally grand-feeling Godzilla, skews toward the first camp. It brings back all the beaky, shrieky supporting creatures—squawking Rodan, buzzy Mothra, Toho’s still-riotous triple-headed dragon King Ghidorah—that we wanted last time but didn’t get. If you go to these things to see cities flambéed and flattened, you won’t leave disappointed. At the same time—almost impressively—director and co-screenwriter Michael Dougherty is savvy enough to make the human drama epic and monster-shaped. (The 2014 outing starred Juliette Binoche, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen, yet still managed to make them all intensely boring.) Essentially, King of the Monsters stars a dysfunctional clan of misunderstood animals, and we’re talking about the people: Divorced hot-tempered ex-couple Emma and Mark (Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler) still grieve over the loss of their son during the last big Godzilla attack. Both are unpredictable advisors to military types with differing strategies. Their eco-minded teenage daughter, Madison (Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown), hates life, listens to the Pixies and unleashes w

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Photo: Niko Tavernise
Movies, Action and adventure

John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum

Review by Joshua Rothkopf “Prepare for war,” someone who knows Latin will tell you, if you ask about that subtitle, though it’s hardly necessary intel: In these gloriously dumb—but remarkably well-staged—gun-fu flicks, the war is already here, and it lasts for an entire film. Maybe others prefer it when Keanu Reeves talks; for me, he’s more effective when he moves. John Wick’s somber suit-clad NYC assassin has become his signature role, stripping down Speed and The Matrix into something John Woo sleek. Mob thugs killed his pet pit bull in the first installment. Those guys are long gone. Though this latest John Wick adventure brings on the usual distractions—Ian McShane’s fastidious boutique-hotel proprietor, Lawrence Fishburne’s booming king of the Bowery underworld, Halle Berry's lady with vicious dogs that leap straight for the crotch—mostly these characters stay out of the way of the main attraction. Instead, we’re here for the rigorously conceived, blessedly coherent action showdowns, the work of director Chad Stahelski (also Reeves’s longtime stunt double and choreographer). Stahelski is a fight-scene Fosse and Reeves is his Gwen Verdon: Parabellum takes the hall-of-mirrors high style of the second film and pushes it into overdrive. (Those who live in glass-walled galleries shouldn't throw anything at Wick.) The level of hard-R-rated bloodletting is so delirious, you’ll ignore how bad it is for you. A closed Manhattan Bridge is the perfect site for a sword duel on spee

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Pokémon Detective Pikachu
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Movies, Animation

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City - a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world - they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Free Solo
Jimmy Chin
Movies, Documentary

Free Solo

Who knows what makes mountain climber Alex Honnold—the daredevil at the heart of the so-terrifying-you’ll-hyperventilate Free Solo—risk his life thousands of feet high without ropes or securing gear of any kind. Maybe it’s a quest for perfection, or a death wish, or a unique biological inability to feel fear, or a pursuit of the “goddamn warrior spirit” (his own words). All of these possibilities are suggested during the documentary’s running time, but in a way, you won’t want him explained. Just like the sheer rock face El Capitan that looms like a one-kilometer-tall challenge, Honnold himself is a force of nature: shy, prone to solitude and potentially on the spectrum of autism. He memorizes the complex moves in his climbing journal and waits for the right moment to head out, and up. Already a gripping watch, Free Solo becomes extra special when it widens out to accommodate the people hanging on to Honnold’s vertical trajectory. We see him transition from a dude living in a van practicing pull-ups and frying up a mess of eggs and potatoes to—what’s this?—becoming a love object to a doting girlfriend. Sanni McCandless takes huge emotional risks in getting close to Alex, who might die because of a single misstep, but his evolution through their relationship is heart-meltingly romantic—and ominous. Will it destroy his concentration? Meanwhile, a crew of rappelling cameramen, led by co-director Jimmy Chin, wrestles with its own ethical questions. Are they enabling decisions th

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