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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It’s not easy to develop an appreciation for Thai cinema, especially in the States. Many titles are only released on VCD, which has an image quality comparable to VHS, and usually no subtitles. Many of the DVDs are in PAL format and/or coded to region 3, so require a multi-region deck. And most of the films are disappointing, with modest production values, overly-long narrative and a lot of off-screen action. But every once in a while one can find a gem.

I watched Ong Bak 2 last week. Some amazing action choreography. I tried for the third time to watch the first Ong Bak, but the English subtitles on the copy I bought in Thailand are so poorly translated, I find them more difficult to comprehend than the Thai language track. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t really have an ending. It’s more of a teaser for Ong Bak 3.

And I just watched Sita Sings the Blues, a funky, jazzy, fusion animated version of the Ramayana tale that, in addition to being very entertaining, actually makes some sense of the story for Western dullards like myself. It’s actually an Indian film, although the legend is part of Thai culture.

I’ve seen a couple of good Thai movies, including The Legend of Suriyothai, Sema the Warrior of Ayodhaya, Siam Renaissance, Overture and Hitman File. I’ve also seen some decidedly mediocre Thai films.

Any recommendations?
 

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It’s not easy to develop an appreciation for Thai cinema, especially in the States. Many titles are only released on VCD, which has an image quality comparable to VHS, and usually no subtitles. Many of the DVDs are in PAL format and/or coded to region 3, so require a multi-region deck. And most of the films are disappointing, with modest production values, overly-long narrative and a lot of off-screen action. But every once in a while one can find a gem.

I watched Ong Bak 2 last week. Some amazing action choreography. I tried for the third time to watch the first Ong Bak, but the English subtitles on the copy I bought in Thailand are so poorly translated, I find them more difficult to comprehend than the Thai language track. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t really have an ending. It’s more of a teaser for Ong Bak 3.

And I just watched Sita Sings the Blues, a funky, jazzy, fusion animated version of the Ramayana tale that, in addition to being very entertaining, actually makes some sense of the story for Western dullards like myself. It’s actually an Indian film, although the legend is part of Thai culture.

I’ve seen a couple of good Thai movies, including The Legend of Suriyothai, Sema the Warrior of Ayodhaya, Siam Renaissance, Overture and Hitman File. I’ve also seen some decidedly mediocre Thai films.

Any recommendations?
Tom Yum Goong (also Tony Ja/Mum from Ong Buk). OB1 was realeased in the west at cinemas, so you should be able to source a localy copy sans American subtitles (try Amazon).

Thai horror movies are usually rubbish, but the original Eye was great, much better than the American remake! Thai comedies are either based on the TV shows (stage set sit coms) or pretty good - doesn't seem to possible for them to be both IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes and No

I agree that the original version of The Eye, directed by the Pang brothers (who also directed the original version of Bangkok Dangerous), and starring Angelica Lee is better than the remake with Jessica Alba, despite the improved special effects. The sequel, starring Shu Qi, had a good premise, but the visualization was a bit ridiculous. But Shu Qi can just stand there looking cute and I’ll buy the DVD. I’ve had an adolescent crush on her (not that I’m an adolescent any longer) since watching So Close, which is the film that inspired my love for Hong Kong film. It’s not a great movie, certainly not the best of its gender-melding category, but it was the first I happened to see. The premise is ridiculous and some of the dialogue is unrealistic, to put it mildly. But I was blown over by the action choreography and how they merged the action and romance genres.

However, The Eye was actually a Hong Kong/Singapore production shot partially in Thailand, not a Thai movie. Many, if not most, of the new releases I see in Thai book stores are actually Hong Kong, Korean or Japanese productions with Thai packaging. If the cover has the title in Thai and English, it’s often an import.

I’m trying to plough through Invisible Waves, which got mixed reviews. It’s a Thai movie with a Thai director (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang), a Japanese leading man (Tadanobu Asano), a multi-cultural cast (including Eric Tsang); dialogue in Thai, English, Japanese and Korean; and multinational locations. Really nice packaging, but no English subtitles in my edition. It’s a bit slow and disjointed, but moody and nicely photographed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
องค์บาก

I got a copy of the Magnolia release of Ong Bak (องค์บาก) and and was pleased to the subtitles were coherent. With the subtitles as a crutch, I could actually follow some of the dialogue.

It's not a bad story, although none of the guys at the Thai Cultural Center where I study claim to have engaged in the competition where they smear mud on their bodies and climb a tree while knocking their competitors to the ground.

For that matter, I've yet to meet a Thai who actually owns an elephant.

But some amazing fight and chase choreography. Tony Jaa doesn't have the comedic element shown by Jackie Chan or Jet Li and doesn't make as much use of props, but it's unfair to compare his early work to their more advanced work.

And the story thread with the pretty village girl who gave him her grandmother's ring was never resolved. Maybe she goes to Bangkok to get her ring back from the landlord in Ong Bak 4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Instant Watch?

What’s an instant watch list? Is that something like Evelyn Wood reading dynamics for viewing DVDs? Now you can watch a ninety-minute DVD in only four minutes with complete comprehension.

I haven’t seen Bang Rijan and it’s not one of the movies I picked up that are now collecting dust waiting for one of the rare occasions that I have time to devote my full attention to a movie with subtitles. I did watch Sema – The Warrior of Ayodhaya a few years back and thought it was pretty good.

After you watch Bang Rijan, which should be about five minutes from now, perhaps you can add a review to this thread.
 

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Instant Watch

This is a service that downloads broadcast, high-dev media to your DVR. You can watch it anytime. Of course, since it is broadcast, the stream can have issues at times and be choppy. I love it. Last night I watched Michael Collins. Last year for St. Patrick's Day I watched The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Perfect movies about the Irish.

Gino, I will check the movies you suggested.

Regards.
 

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I was ust watching House online. The problem here is the international pipe (from Singapore to USA) ; it has just been upgraded, but only for business accounts (I mean serioius business like interbank networks) and there are just too amny people trying to access international sites. As there is no European pipe from here, everything goes to the USA and hops back to Europe, which doubles the traffic. Watching streams can be a real pain with buffering. Torrent is the best way to go here and download the movies over night.

Also a lot of those services are not available overseas - BBCI, ITV, C4, SKY online, CBC, NBC, Fox, all block out of country access - so it requires a proxy, and yet another hop. You are spoilt in the States and UK.
 

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I was ust watching House online. The problem here is the international pipe (from Singapore to USA) ; it has just been upgraded, but only for business accounts (I mean serioius business like interbank networks) and there are just too amny people trying to access international sites. As there is no European pipe from here, everything goes to the USA and hops back to Europe, which doubles the traffic. Watching streams can be a real pain with buffering. Torrent is the best way to go here and download the movies over night.

Also a lot of those services are not available overseas - BBCI, ITV, C4, SKY online, CBC, NBC, Fox, all block out of country access - so it requires a proxy, and yet another hop. You are spoilt in the States and UK.
Is the Singapore - US line going to be available for the rest of us any time soon? I am a devoted xbox-gamer, and it is hard to find games with a decent ping. Most games available to this region are Californian. A latency test in the middle of the night gives me 271ms to LA. During primetime, god only knows, but it is atleast 500ms. It is to slow for my needs.
 

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The line is privately owned and bandwidth is rented out. Singapore gets the big end of the wedge and governments and big business much of the rest. ISP's get the thin end as they have less buying power and more users. It was recently updated, last year I think, and almost none of the extra bandwidth went to ISPs from what I hear. Really a S/E Asia to Eurpoe pipe is needed - that will take much of the pressure off the Sing/USA pipe.

Thailand, let alone individual ISPs, have no choice in the matter as its the only hardline infrasructure in place. As fast as it gets here locally, I think 10Gbit is the best ASDL now (though I've also heard rumours of a 20Gbit ASDL here some where) but as son as you go international, its down that pipe it goes.

In short, I wouldn't hold your breath at getting anything better for a while - at least until sat absed coms is used more, better and cheaper so ISPs can pick up alternatives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I shall have to be more observant in Thailand

I got Tony Jaa’s The Protector (ต้มยำกุ้ง; Warrior King; Thai Dragon; Revenge of the Warrior). The plot makes even less sense than the title, but some amazing stunt work and some amazing tracking shots.

Not only did I plop the first disc into the player without realizing the second disc has the uncut version, but I did not suspect for a second that one of the characters was a transsexual played by a transsexual actor.

But then I didn’t realize the guy at the airport was supposed to be Jackie Chan either.

For a film with very little subtlety in the plot, the mise-en-scène was subtly nuanced.
 
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