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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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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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.

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.

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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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Vengadores: Endgame
Photo: Marvel Studios
Movies

Avengers: Endgame

Review by Joshua Rothkopf Arriving with the momentum that only 21 previous global blockbusters can provide, Avengers: Endgame is the multiplex-rattling and curiously emotional culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—at least until the next chapter. You know it’s going to be long (three hours, but there’s no need to sit out the end credits this time); you know it’s going to be high-level homework for even the most advanced fan. But what you don’t know is how deeply invested you may be in these 11 years of movies, a compendium of destruction and heroism that altered our culture but also reflected it, sometimes weightlessly, at other times grandly. Endgame often pays tribute to itself, which makes it as fascinating as it is self-serious. It taps into a live wire of doomy tragedy and phoenix-like rebirth that comics do so well. Working from an intricate screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely that sometimes finds a calm within the storm, the film begins (after a brief cold open for all you Hawkeye fans) just as the whole MCU did: with Robert Downey Jr.’s neurotic Tony Stark grappling with his responsibilities. Downey is the actor upon which the franchise was launched in 2008’s whiz-bang Iron Man, and there’s a symmetry to giving him the floor during Endgame’s downbeat early stretch—when it's an operatic grief drama in which half the world’s living creatures have blown away in clouds of dust. Cities are now ghost towns, dating is apparently a disaster and even

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Movies, Comedy

The Hustle

Seriously missing the memo in a cringe-inducing way, The Hustle takes a perfectly fine premise from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels—two predatory men get played by a savvier woman—and obliterates it by swapping genders and ultimately selling out its feminist credibility. Initially, the thrust of this stridently unfunny and obvious comedy is for Rebel Wilson, playing Lonnie, an uncouth catfisher, to glam up on a par with Anne Hathaway’s elegant con artist Josephine, who ruefully takes the former under her wing in a fake-feeling South of France. So little of this works, it’s frightening: not Hathaway’s unpersuasive posh accent, not Rebel Wilson’s constant flouncing around and falling down (somehow even more coarse than in the Pitch Perfect films). Director Chris Addison, a Veep vet, loses his touch in lowest-common-denominator slapstick. But you’ve seen bad movies like that before, right? Ones with silly “blind person” humor or toilet jokes or whatever. What you haven’t seen is an ostensibly pro-woman empowerment riff have both its main characters get played by their mark, a sweet tech billionaire (Alex Sharp) who even the slowest audience member will know is not what he seems to be. Are we supposed to thrill to how dumb these women are? Actual laughs would have gone a distance, but even still, The Hustle would forever serve as incontrovertible evidence that flipping the script to create opportunities for women can sometimes result in the creation of an accidental Pandora’s box, unlea

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Movies, Drama

Teen Spirit

Violet (Elle Fanning) is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story.

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Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Movies, Horror

The Curse of La Llorona

Review by Joshua Rothkopf If you’re looking for the scariest horror movies of recent years, they’ve been lurking in the shadows: Hereditary, The Babadook, The Witch, The Eyes of My Mother and the arrestingly weird Suspiria are all the products of indie visionaries spinning their relatively small budgets into gold. But 2013’s majestically creepy The Conjuring, a lavish studio movie assembled with floorboard-creaking precision by director James Wan, was an exception—a reminder that, when it wanted to, Big Hollywood could do the genre proud. So it’s been a shame to watch the Conjuring-verse (why must everything be a verse?) get diluted by unworthy follow-ups like the Annabelle and Nun spinoffs. This latest one, The Curse of La Llorona, may further the brand a bit, but it’s the opposite of frightening: a sludgy collection of tired jump scares, inexpertly mounted period décor—this time we’re in a too-shiny 1973 Los Angeles—and a continued slump into generic blahness. The presence of Annabelle’s chatty Father Perez (Tony Amendola) connects the dots, yet even with a tragic monster straight out of Mexican folklore and a largely Latinx cast (often speaking in untranslated Spanish), The Curse of La Llorona feels depressingly familiar and flat. Widowed social worker Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini, boringly dutiful) rescues two children locked in a closet by a mentally snapped mom—or so she thinks, until the kids turn up dead in a riverbed, and the culprit, according to their grief-str

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Movies, Drama

Five Feet Apart

A mushy-slushy romance about a pair of terminally ill teenagers who meet on a cystic-fibrosis ward would ordinarily leave me in a puddle on the floor. (I speak as someone who once choked up watching a detergent commercial.) But Five Feet Apart, with its phoney emotions and baloney contrivances—these love-struck kids can’t even hold hands let alone get to first base because two people with cystic fibrosis aren’t allowed to touch—just didn’t do the job for me. Columbus's Haley Lu Richardson almost gives you a reason to watch as Stella, who has cystic fibrosis and is super-positive about her chances of getting a lung transplant (itself not a miracle cure—new lungs will only give her another five years). She fills her days in hospital writing life-affirming to-do lists and doing yoga. Down the hall, brooding bad boy Will (a charmless Cole Sprouse) has stopped taking his meds. He agrees to start again only if Stella lets him draw her. Credit to the filmmakers for the unsqueamish illness details here, down to the stomach feeding tubes and bowls of spittle. Yet the script is weirdly coy about sex—Stella and Will risk passing infections with physical contact. But surely teenagers with smartphones can work out a way to bypass the no-touching rule? In the end Five Feet Apart jerked not a single tear from me.

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Movies, Drama

The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx)

At the age of 26, Karl Marx embarks with his wife Jenny on the road to exile. In Paris in 1844 they meet young Friedrich Engels, son of a factory owner, who's studied the sordid beginnings of the English proletariat. Engels, somewhat of a dandy, brings Karl Marx the missing piece to the puzzle that composes his new vision of the world. Together, between censorship and police raids, riots and political upheavals, they will preside over the birth of the labor movement, which until then had been mostly makeshift and unorganized. This will grow into the most complete theoretical and political transformation of the world since the Renaissance - driven, against all expectations, by two brilliant, insolent and sharp-witted young men from good families.

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