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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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Movies

Ad Astra

If you like your space odysseys brimming with formula-filled blackboards and quantum mechanics, consider this a trigger warning: Ad Astra is not that kind of sci-fi. Unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey or Interstellar, two obvious points of parallel, there’s no Arthur C Clarke or Kip Thorne behind the scenes to bring Nobel-worthy science to the fiction. This is a movie where a man travels to Neptune, a distance of 2.7 billion miles, without aging a day—a reach even when that man is Brad Pitt. It features killer baboons in zero gravity. At one point, Pitt jacks a spaceship—while it’s taking off. On paper, at least, it’s just Moonraker with a PhD. Leave any disbelief at the door, though, and you’ll be rewarded with an often gorgeous, soulful sci-fi that’s charged with emotion and bursting with spectacle. It has meaningful things to say about letting go, dads and their sons, and the challenges of reconciling with the past. Sure, it’s set in “the near future” and mostly against the endless solitude of space – captured by Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema with lunar greys and Martian ochres – and it boasts possibly cinema’s first moon-buggy chase (as awesome as it sounds), but director James Grey and his co-writer Ethan Gross never lose sight of its intimate heart. They’re aided in that by a terrific, nuanced performance from Pitt. For the most part, Ad Astra wears its near-future-ness with a light touch. Exactly what’s happening on Earth is kept deliberately murky, beyond

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Photo: Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros.
Movies, Horror

It: Chapter Two

Even in our Stranger Things–dominated popscape, no one was expecting 2017’s It—a second attempt at a ponderous 30-year-old novel—to become such a huge phenomenon. A monster hit? Sure. No one likes a clown, evil or otherwise. But the highest-grossing horror movie of all time? To understand that outcome, one would have to consult the dark forces trapped in Stephen King’s typewriter. Finally, though, the hype is justified: It: Chapter Two improves on its predecessor in nearly every way. King’s book was bifurcated into halves, one hefty chunk going to its 1950s preteens living in a fictional Maine town, and the other to these tiny warriors grown up into equally haunted ’80s adults. It: Chapter Two follows suit, but the movie doubles down on the deeper, metaphorical nature of losing one’s innocence and discovering a world full of real-life pain. Disturbingly (and boldly), the film opens with a scene of vicious gay bashing, as modern-day Derry has become a place similar to so much of today’s hate-brimming America. Like autumn leaves, those menacing red balloons reappear—the movie does a beautiful job of bridging its natural and supernatural elements—and it’s up to an older, lonely Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), now the town’s librarian, to call his buds. They include Bev (Jessica Chastain, a persuasive sufferer), trapped in an abusive marriage; Bill (James McAvoy, a little stiff), now a Hollywood screenwriter and crafter of “bad endings”; a slimmed-down Ben (Jay Ryan); the hypochondriac

Time Out says
Good Boys
Universal Pictures
Movies, Comedy

Good Boys

Review by Joshua Rothkopf At this point, after Superbad and Booksmart, we’ve hit upon a formula: dorky, essentially sweet-natured kids getting into R-rated trouble scored to DJ Shadow’s “Nobody Speak.” Good Boys drops the age range to tween—though it’s certainly not meant to be watched by them, only by nostalgic adults—and makes the most of its disparity between life inexperience and oddly poised dialogue. (The biggest laugh comes when our sixth-grade hero drops the random slam: “Everyone knows your mom plagiarized her cookbook.”) It’s a one-joke premise, which might be best summarized as Kids Say the Fucking Darndest Things. (Hey, that child just swore!) Regardless, this movie is blessed with a cast of young actors who all seem to be in on the gag. Max (Room’s gifted Jacob Tremblay) and Thor (Brady Noon) are both on the verge of discovering girls; Max’s father (Will Forte, supportive to a degree that’s wince-inducing) is thrilled to learn that his son his masturbating. But their gang’s third member, Lucas (Keith L. Williams, who deserves his own spin-off), is still trapped in that squeaky, shrieky zone of easy tears, bruised emotions and instantaneous guilt. Good Boys saddles Lucas with divorcing parents, a wobbling speed walk and the keenest awareness of his being left behind in the sexual sweepstakes, and Williams plays it as expertly as Will Ferrell did in Step Brothers. The screenplay (cowritten by The Office vets Gene Stupnitsky, who directs, and Lee Eisenberg) isn’t

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Movies, Action and adventure

Joker

It's the laugh that gets you first: Joaquin Phoenix’s half cackle, half rasp has all the soothing aural balm of a vulture in a blender. It’ll be ratting around in your ears long after the old-school “The End” card flashes up on this unrelenting, grimly funny and brilliantly visceral reinvention of the DC supervillain. Joker is a truly nightmarish vision of late-era capitalism—arguably the best social horror film since Get Out—and Phoenix is magnetic in it. He runs Heath Ledger cigarette paper-close as the finest screen Joker. Like everything in this drum-tight movie, the title’s lack of pronoun is no accident: It’s not the fully formed Joker being introduced here, but Arthur Fleck, a man whose ambition to tell jokes for a living is at odds with the living he scraps as a clown-for-hire on Gotham’s grimy streets. Judging by the movies playing—Excalibur and Blow Out—it’s 1981, but it feels more like the ’70s of Death Wish. He lives with his frail mom (Frances Conroy) in a broken-down tenement, eking out a little joy watching a TV chat show hosted with oily relish by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). He’s on seven types of medication and has a neurological condition that causes him to laugh—okay, cackle—uncontrollably. In these early domestic scenes, Phoenix establishes Arthur as a man who sees himself less as an underdog than a mutt waiting to be put down. “I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore,” he says. And no wonder: It’s a seriously bleak world he inhabits, a cityscape

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