FILM: On the screen in 2013

  • Punishment for 10 days' notice 'unconstitutional'

    The nation's second highest court in a landmark decision today ruled Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), which punishes citizens who do not give 10 days' notice before they hold an assembly, to be unconstitutional. In a unanimous decision to strike out the charge against Selangor assembly deputy speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the three-member panel also declared the PKR Youth chief aspirant, who was charged under the PAA, as acquitted and discharged. The panel was led by …

  • Company boss denies ties with Najib, to sue Rafizi over RM100 million grant claim
    Company boss denies ties with Najib, to sue Rafizi over RM100 million grant claim

    A company named by PKR's Rafizi Ramli as recipient of a RM100 million research and development (R&D) grant from Putrajaya said it would sue the Pandan MP for defamation for making such allegations. NSE Resources chief executive officer Azhar Anuar, in an interview with Star Online, said he had "no choice" but to consider taking legal action... …

  • Son rejects calls to drop charge against Karpal

    DAP Puchong parliamentarian stirred up a round 3,000-strong crowd when he rejected calls to have attorney-general (AG) drop the sedition charge against his late father Karpal Singh. "They have tried to break him for years, but they couldn't, he was a man who stood up to defend the constitution and was convicted for that," Gobind Singh Deo said at a memorial held by DAP in tribute to its former chairperson in Kuala Lumpur last night. There were reports of calls to urge the AG to withdraw the …

  • Search for MH370 likely to take years, says US official
    Search for MH370 likely to take years, says US official

    The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is likely to drag on for years, a senior US defence official told Reuters today, as an underwater search for any trace of the plane's wreckage off west Australia appeared to have failed. The official, speaking under condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment on the... …

  • Widow sues after insurance declines cancer cover after husband gets cancer
    Widow sues after insurance declines cancer cover after husband gets cancer

    GEORGE TOWN, April 25 ― A widow is suing an insurance firm here for RM2 million after it declined to pay out on her husband’s policy against cancer when he was diagnosed with the disease six months... …

  • In Malaysia visit, Obama revisits the ‘Asia pivot’
    In Malaysia visit, Obama revisits the ‘Asia pivot’

    As the excitement swells ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Malaysia this weekend – if not on the closed-off streets of Kuala Lumpur then at least in the media – there’s also a burgeoning anxiety here inside the Washington beltway that the hope’n’change promised by the so-called “Asia pivot” may need some tempering during this... …

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) -Independent filmmakers reigned in 2012 but in 2013, the mainstream studios are aiming to fight back, pledging an exhilarating line-up of projects featuring superstars like Mario Maurer, Ananda Everingham and Nadech Kugimiya.

Veteran filmmakers are digging back into film history and bringing much-loved classics back to the big screen. Among them is horror master Banjong Pisanthanakun who's transforming the horror romance tale "Mae Nak Phra Khanong" into "Phee Mak Phra Khanong", a comedy that will tell the story through Mae Nak's husband Phee Mak and friends. Set in Phra Khanong 100 ago, the two protagonists in this version are played by luk krung stars Mario and Mai Davika Hoorne. The rest of the cast includes the hilarious quartet of actors from "Khon Klang" ("In the Middle"), Banjong's comedy segment for GTH's 2008 horror omnibus "See Prang" ("4Bia")

Moving closer to present but still a golden oldie is the romantic World War II drama "Khoo Kam" from M-Thirtynine's Kittikorn Liawsirikul. Scheduled for release in April, it has popular TV actor Nadech as the Japanese soldier Kobori who falls for the patriotic Thai woman Angsumalin (Oranate D Caballes).

Also due is "Young Bao the Movie", the biopic of the popular songs-for-life band Carabao, which originally cast Ativara "Toon Bodyslam" Kongmalai as Ad Carabao and Arak Amornsuphasiri as Lek Carabao. However, with producer Nonzee Nimibutr and Toon withdrawing from the project - Ad is now being playing by new actor Thana Iamniyom - there are concerns that the film will not live up to expectations.

Short filmmaker Pham Rungsri is all set to make his feature debut with "Menu Khong Pho" ("Daddy's Menu"), which depicts a chef in a TV cooking contest TV programme where the three finalists have different cooking styles.

MC Chatrichalerm "Than Mui" Yukol is finishing the epic "The Legend of King Naresaun" while his son MC Chalermchatri "Adam" Yukol will soon release his debut feature, the action-drama "Tamruad Puen Hode", starring Somchai Khemklad and Piyathida Worramusik.

A leftover from last year will be Yuthlert Sippapak's Deep South action drama "Pitupoom" ("Fatherland"), about police and soldiers working in the restive region. It stars Ananda and TV heartthrob Sukollawat "Weir" Khanares.

"Latitude Thee 6" ("Latitude 6") by rookie director Thanadon Naulsud from new film company UCI Media, is also about the South. It's the heartwarming story of a banker (Peter Corp Dylendal) who is sent to work in the southern provinces and takes along his orphan niece. He falls in love with her Muslim teacher and is forced to make a difficult decision when the time comes to move back to Bangkok.

Pantham Thongsang returns with the romantic comedy "Rak Ngo Ngo" starring singer turned actor Phakin "Tono the Star" Khumwilaisak.

GTH's other two projects are from "Dear Galileo" director Nithwat Tharatorn and Sophon Sakdaphisit, who helmed the 2011 hit thriller "Laddaland"

"Antapal" helmer Kongkiat Khomsiri has two projects in the works. At Sahamongkol, he's got the period action drama "Khun Phan" and a tentative project with the new studio Wave Pictures.

Owned by Channel 3's Pracha Maleenont and his daughter Tracy, Wave Pictures is new incarnation of Film Bangkok, a company that closed down years ago but which, under the capable guidance of Adirek "Uncle" Watleela and Sa-nga Chatchairungraung, put out such classics in the early 2000s as Wisit Sasanatieng's "Fah Tailai Jone" ("Tears of the Black Tiger"), Thanit Jitnukul's "Bang Rajan" and the Pang brothers' "Bangkok Dangerous".

Wave will kick off with "Thongsook 13", a horror drama about a group of friends trapped on a small island where strange things start to happen. Starring singers Chinawut Intarakusin and Cheeranat "Num Cha" Yoosanon, the film is directed by Taweewat Wantha ("Sars Wars").

Kongkiat, Yuthlert and Wisit are all said to be working on this and upcoming projects for Wave.

After years in hiatus, Kantana Motion Pictures returns this year with a remake of the well-known horror story "Hong Hoon", a popular TV horror drama from the late '70s which has been remade twice since. It tells the story of the man who makes human-sized marionettes. It will be set in present day Thailand and marks the directorial debut of Kan Kanjaruek, the second son of Kantana's president Jaruek.

Arriving in theatres on February 7 is Pen-ek Ratanaruang's highly anticipated political documentary "Prachathipatai" ("Paradoxcracy").

There's also the final chapter in the "Jan Dara" saga by ML Bhandevanov Devakula and starring Mario. With scenes even more explicit than last year's "Jan Dara: The Beginning", it's widely believed that part two will be rated 20-.

Even if "Jan Dara" bombs at the box office, Sahamongkol is expected cash in with the big-budget action drama "Tom-Yum-Goong 2", which will feature martial-arts superstar Thatchakorn "Tony Jaa" Yeerum for the first time in 3D. Directed by Prachya Pinkaew and with action choreographed by Panna Ritthikrai, "TYG2" also features Choopong "Diew" Changprung and Yanin "Jeeja" Vismitananda. Panna also has a new project titled "Rew Talu Rew".

Five Star Production, which entered the 3D realm last year with "Dark Flight 407" and "3am", will continue in the exclusively three-dimensional direction this year with a couple more horror tales, "Jit Sumphad" ("Second Sight") and "Tee Sam Khuen Song" ("3am: The Second Night".)

Meanwhile, "Love of Siam" director Chookait "Madiaw" Sakveerakul has decided again shelve his long-delayed big-budget thriller "14 Beyond", a sequel to 2006's "13 Game Sayong", in favour of a smaller project depicting high school life. "Krian Fiction" will hit the screens just in time for the long school break in March or April.

Movie buffs have plenty to look forward to from overseas too, with at least major film festivals - Hua Hin and the World Film Festival of Bangkok - and plenty more international showcases as the months roll on.

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  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …

  • In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle Associated Press
    In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192. …