The best things to do in Bangkok this weekend

Make the most out of Bangkok with our guide to the weekend's best events and activities
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There are a lot going on in Bangkok, from an art exhibition to edgy gigs and parties, and here are cool ideas to enjoy your weekend in the city to the fullest.

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Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
Movies, Science fiction

Alita: Battle Angel

Moviemaking juggernaut James Cameron doesn’t do boring. Loud? Sure. Epic? Definitely. Groundbreaking? Invariably. But boring? Never. But this enervating science-fiction blockbuster that he co-wrote and produced for director Robert Rodriguez (Rodriguez also co-writes, along with Shutter Island scribe Laeta Kalogridis), however, comes pretty darn close. Only its often bravura visuals and some sparky cyberpunk races keep it engaging, until its umpteen story threads and endless mythology-meets-tech-porn jargon finally pound the interest out of you. Adapted from a manga by Yukito Kishiro and set in 2563 in a post-apocalyptic metropolis called Iron City, the project has simmered away on one of Cameron’s many back burners for nearly two decades. It feels like bad timing that it’s finally arrived just as dystopian YA sci-fi is starting to feel played out. If you’ve seen The Hunger Games, Divergent, Mortal Engines or the similarly manga-inspired Ghost in the Shell, there’s nothing to surprise you in this story of Alita, a cyborg girl (Rosa Salazar, given an eerie CG makeover and cartoon eyes) reconnecting with her warrior past. Christoph Waltz—who can sleepwalk through stuff like this, and often seems to—plays a kindly scientist who takes her on as his personal Pinocchio. Meanwhile, a mysterious overlord called Nova rules this venal cityscape from a floating realm above. Although the story plays out in predictable ways, Rodriguez handles the combat sequences well enough as Alita’s k

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Movies, Animation

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Five years and two spin-off movies later, writer-producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller return to Bricksburg for a bigger, louder and brasher second Lego installment. But while it maintains the same level of playfulness, it doesn’t quite capture the novelty or fizz of the original. At the end of The Lego Movie, we learned that the characters’ adventures were a product of a boy named Finn’s imagination. Now, his sister is here to play and their rivalry has caused a downbeat change in Bricksburg. Everybrick hero Emmet (Chris Pratt) is still his glass-half-full self, while Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), his Master Builder girlfriend, has become more brooding as their town, now known as Apocalypseburg, takes a beating from Duplo invaders. When an alien kidnaps Lucy, Batman (Will Arnett) and pals, Emmet mounts a solo mission to rescue them. There are some hilarious new songs (look out for “Gotham City Guys”) and the jokes are more meta than ever, with Arnett’s Batman still invariably the funniest figure in the room. But the comedy feels like overcompensation for a story that gets more convoluted as it shifts back and forth between the human and Lego worlds. Still, if you’re willing to let the quantum mechanics slide, you’ll have a pretty awesome time.

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David Bloomer
Movies, Horror

Escape Room

Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and must use their wits to survive.

Movies, Drama

On the Basis of Sex

Thinkers debate with passion in Mimi Leder’s intellectual On the Basis of Sex, a knowingly old-fashioned (but far from dated) biopic of the inimitable Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Written by the 85-year-old Ginsburg’s nephew Daniel Stiepleman with affection for his aunt’s lifelong work on behalf of women’s rights—as well as her decidedly ennobled marriage founded on pure equality—On the Basis of Sex (like the stirring documentary RBG) is both a welcome cinematic dissent from today’s disastrous politics and a reminder that words, paired with meaningful action, can change the world. A winning, inspirational crowd-pleaser à la Hidden Figures, Leder’s film follows the early accomplishments of the young Ginsburg (an assured Felicity Jones, convincingly slipping into the trailblazer’s shoes), beginning in 1956. That’s the year in which the bouncy, opinionated Ruth marches into male-dominated Harvard Law School—at a dinner party, the handful of female students are asked to justify their academic seats, ones that could have gone to “Harvard Men.” It’s also where her devoted, ever-supportive husband Marty (Armie Hammer, lovably pragmatic) studies. Through Marty’s unforeseen health crisis and Ruth’s unfairly deterred professional aspirations (excuse after sexist excuse, law firms refuse to hire her), the film patiently advances toward the ’70s, focusing on the couple’s family life and Ruth’s career as a professor, leading sizzling feminist discourse among razor-sharp mi

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Bohemian Rhapsody
Photo: Nick Delany
Movies, Drama

Bohemian Rhapsody

The afterlife has rarely been quiet for Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died young in 1991 after a flurry of creativity. First came Wayne’s World, with Mike Myers head-banging to Queen’s 1975 hit Bohemian Rhapsody. Then came a massive tribute concert later in 1992 and a globetrotting stage musical, We Will Rock You in the 2000s. Now, 27 years on, comes the authorized movie biopic to push the Freddie Mercury legend even further into the realm of the unreal. Bohemian Rhapsody is as brash, loud and mask-wearing as Mercury at his most playful. Another movie would try to get behind that mask—or play with the idea of it—but this does neither. Instead, it grabs the legend by the neck and gallops recklessly with it, climaxing in a wholesale extended re-creation of one of the most famous rock gigs of all time, Queen at Live Aid. Modest and inquiring it is not. It boasts a film-stealing, possessed performance by Rami Malek, who pouts, struts and quips as Mercury, turning the rest of the cast into bit players. The energy of Malek’s imitation helps to bind what amounts to a series of gossipy but harmless rock-world anecdotes into something vaguely coherent. The story starts and ends with Queen playing Live Aid at Wembley in July 1985. In between, we see how Farrokh Bulsara, born in Zanzibar, became Freddie Mercury and helped to transform a student band into a stadium-rock behemoth. The movie, though catchy and often seductive, is an act of brazen myth-making. Facts and chronology

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O Ben está de Volta
Mark Schafer
Movies, Drama

Ben Is Back

Onscreen drug addiction feels especially harrowing these days. That’s probably as it should be (living through the reality is much worse). Still, between Bradley Cooper crushing pills with his boot in A Star Is Born, Timothée Chalamet’s doomed gaze in Beautiful Boy and now Lucas Hedges dragging his suburban family through another round of relapse in Ben Is Back, you may feel like you’ve graduated from a 12-step program yourself. Hedges’s work is as impressive as the self-excoriation done by those other actors; indeed, by playing someone who’s better at hiding it—and still letting us into Ben’s weakness and guilt—Hedges may have eclipsed them in certain ways. It’s a tricky performance with many layers. Unfortunately, it comes in the most schematic and false-feeling of the three narratives, structurally speaking. Like an Albee-esque stage play, Ben Is Back occurs during a single event-filled Christmas Eve that would make even Macaulay Culkin’s head spin: A beloved dog will go missing, a pageant will be performed, drugs will be scored, a mass will be attended, parents will be pushed to their limits of patience, five golden rings. The miniaturization of scope ends up making everything feel intensely melodramatic, while the frenetic, breathless editing—capably realized by Ian Blume—transforms even the most innocuous kitchen argument into a drug-induced fit of mania. Julia Roberts, as Ben’s mother, Holly, should have be our conduit into the softer emotions of the screenplay, but s

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Photo: Jessica Kourkounis
Movies, Action and adventure

Glass

Nobody likes a spoiler. And when it comes to the twist-laden movies of M. Night Shyamalan, I would be dead in the water, unable to see the forest for the trees, if I even hinted at some of those big reveals. So consider this a warning—your only warning—about reading any reviews of Glass, the director’s new thriller. If you’re a Shyamalan fan, you should hold off on diving into this piece before you see it. Skip it afterward, too, especially if you’re the kind of viewer who confuses single-stringed cello scraping for seriousness. Critics are only going to harsh your happy existence, a hermetically sealed theme park of your own devising. We good? Good. Split, a 2016 comeback of sorts for the filmmaker, was a reasonably tight serial-killer drama starring James McAvoy as a teen-abducting psychopath—that is, until its final seconds, when it unmasked itself as a stealth sequel to Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, a fine-tuned bit of crazy that posited superheroes were real and living in Philadelphia. Glass is the follow-up to both movies, and the overindulged Shyamalan really wants to let us know how cool that is. The majority of his running time is dominated by dull, painfully verbal group-therapy sessions at a secret lab, where McAvoy’s captured cannibal, known as the Horde, sits alongside Bruce Willis’s somber avenging angel David Dunn (a.k.a. the Overseer) and Samuel L. Jackson’s Mister Glass, a brittle-boned villain in a wheelchair who’s prone to speechifying when he’s not behaving ca

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Movies, Animation

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Thought we’d reached peak Spider-Man? Think again. After what seems like umpteen movie versions, here’s one that embraces the most out-there elements of Spider-Man lore and forges something new from them. Yes, it rips through yet more origin stories and sets up another villain with an evil, multiverse-opening thingamajig. But by the time it’s chucked in a Spider-pig (yes, really), a no-crap-taking Aunt May, a Banksy joke and buckets of Day-Glo–bathed spectacle, resistance will be pretty much futile. “It can get weirder,” points out one character. And it really does. Inevitably, those two giddy Hollywood animation mavericks, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie), are involved. The former is cowriter and the latter produces, and their stamp is all over an oddly endearing movie that’s supercharged with charm and just a bit unhinged. This time, the story throws the spotlight onto the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man: an Afro-Latino teen voiced by Dope’s Shameik Moore. A likable, ungainly high-schooler, he’s bitten by a radioactive spider—the filmmakers know you’re bored of this bit and speed right through it—and then reluctantly tutored by an older, jaded Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), who’s been dropped into Brooklyn from a parallel dimension, complete with a broken heart and a burger belly. Aside from the welcome sight of a superhero of color, we’re treated to a clutter of other Spider-people joining the fray. Also hailing from parallel universes, they include Spider-M

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Movies, Comedy

Green Book

Call this actors’ duet sentimental and simplistic at your own peril. Green Book may well move you, possibly to tears, at the thought of real social change and kindness (at a time when we need it badly). Something of a reverse Driving Miss Daisy, it charts a road trip into racism shared by two well-worn stereotypes, characters that, almost surprisingly, come from real life—a true tale that happened in 1962. “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (a pizza-chomping Viggo Mortensen) is a brutal NYC club bouncer prone to howyadoins. On the hunt for work, he gets an unlikely gig at the invitation of Don Shirley (cryptic Mahershala Ali, superb), a finicky black jazz pianist who requires a tough driver to escort him on a tour of the Deep South. Tony’s no bleeding heart, but for the right price, he’s willing to swallow his pride. The mouth, however, can’t be closed: Tony cuts loose with deliriously rude arias about Little Richard, fried chicken and the proper way to write a love letter, and both actors shade their roles with unexpected nuance and a generosity of spirit. They widen the already spacious Cadillac into a stage for some of the most relaxed banter of the year. If you recall the movies that Green Book’s director Peter Farrelly made with his brother Bobby (There’s Something About Mary, the Dumb and Dumber saga), you won’t be surprised by the crassness or the unexpected heart, both Farrelly trademarks. The new film creates a beautiful friction eased by conversation—somewhat calculated, yes, b

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Movies, Action and adventure

Aquaman

If you’ve ever wanted to watch a five-course seafood dinner have an epic battle before your eyes (as infantile and wonderful as that sounds), Aquaman’s final 20 minutes will be your new favorite thing. Gargantuan lobsters and crabs—hailing from the “Kingdom of Brine,” of course—rumble against weaponized sharks and an armada of creatures that swim by in a blur of bubbles. Howling above the din with his trident and golden armor is mega-tattooed Arthur (Jason Momoa, wearing this superhero stuff extremely lightly, and all the more charming for it), or, as he’ll come to be known, Aquaman. As helmed by director James Wan, who has grown from 2004’s rough-and-ready Saw into a playful steward of big-budget ridiculousness (Furious 7), Aquaman seems inspired by some of the more psychedelic panels devoted to DC Comics’s water-breathing warrior—pages filled to the brim with gob-smacked fascination with the world below, in all its colorful diversity. But getting to that delirious showdown feels like holding your breath for two hours. Certain audience members will care deeply about who becomes “Ocean Master,” the ruler from among the warring factions of the mythical city of Atlantis and elsewhere, just as there must be those who wonder about who will win Game of Thrones. But all the exposition is deadening, even with brave actors like Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe delivering it. “The king has risen,” Dafoe intones, answering the film’s least suspenseful question (and possibly remembering

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