Posts tagged "Wisit Sasanatieng"

Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng

That’s right, it’s another episode of Infernal Brains, the podcast that doesn’t have a catchphrase yet.

In this episode, Tars and Todd discuss the 2010 Thai film Insee Daeng (Red Eagle) and thus get drawn into a discussion of all the prior Insee Daeng films, Thai pulp cinema, what was wrong with Insee Daeng 2010, and what wasn’t so wrong it could have been cool. We also stumble over the pronunciations of more Thai names than you can shake a brain at, but that’s the price we pay. Find out just how awesome Mitr Chaibancha is, learn about old Thai film showings, and the joys of watching unsubtitled films where people talk for most of the running length.

As usual, we got a boatload of choices for you: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link so you can just download right to your iPod and listen to people mispronounce Thai names while being bored at work.

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Movies discussed include:
Awasan Insee Daeng
Jao Insee
Insee Thong – Tars VersionTeleport-City version
Insee Payong – Tars VersionFourDK version
Insee Daeng (2010)

Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Dara Singh

Inkscape graphics via OpenClipArt

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Podcasts   Tags: , , , , ,

Tears of the Black Tiger (Review)

Tears of the Black Tiger

aka Fah talai jone aka ฟ้าทะลายโจร

Written and directed by Wisit Sasanatieng

Tears of the Black Tiger was one of those films that you’d hear about for years, buzz would be awesome, but it was impossible to find a copy. Between the Weinsteins sitting on their version (which they then drastically cut) and other international versions also being edited, the only real way to see it was via imported Thai DVD. But Tears of the Black Tiger is well worth the effort to track down, and thanks to the internet being much more developed than in 2000, it is also easier to locate copies to buy of the uncut version.

Wisit Sasanatieng wanted to do an homage to the films he loved, the 1950s and 1960s Thai films. As we learned from our travels through the Insee Daeng films (Awasan Insee Daeng, Jao Insee, Insee Thong, Insee Payong, Insee Daeng 2010), older Thai films have a color saturation that make them look unique. TotBT is both a tribute to the local flavor drama stories, and the action films featuring bandits. Set in post-World War 2 rural Thailand and featuring the bandit gangs that were a reality at the time (as also detailed in the Awasan Insee Daeng review), Tears of the Black Tiger has the look of an old west film, but it is unlike any western seen before. The vivid colors, painted backgrounds, and homages to stage productions make every frame a work of art. The editing is just the right mix of quick cuts versus longer scenes that it feels a part of the film.

TotBT is just so different from what else is out there, it is a perfect example of why people fall in love with cinema. While I think my recent foray into the Insee Daeng films helped give me more appreciation of older Thai films, I would have liked Tears of the Black Tiger no matter when I saw it. I’m only sorry I didn’t watch it sooner. TotBT excels with neat cinematography and sets, from the painted backgrounds and color coded rooms with pastels everywhere, to the random poetry and songs to play us through scenes. Thought he pace can seem to drag at times, even that isn’t much of a problem and it is similar to slower paced Thai films from the era it is emulating.

Dum (Chartchai Ngamsan) – Dum is a crack shot and never misses. He’s called Black Tiger (Dum means black, and the gang is the Tigers), hence the English title of the film. Lover of Rumpoey despite their different cultural backgrounds. Chartchai Ngamsan also appears in The Brutal River.
Rumpoey Rajasena (Stella Malucchi) – Rumpoey’s dad is the provincial governor, and she’s engaged to Captain Kumjorn despite loving Dum since childhood. Her life is a series of tragedies. Stella Malucchi is Italian-Columbian, but was raised in Thailand. She was deathly ill for months and lost a leg, but has recovered well.
Fai (Sombat Metanee) – The big gang boss, leader of the Tigers gang. doesn’t take any crap from swarms of police officers that try to kill him and his gang. But he also avenges the death of his friends. Sombat Metanee has been in Thai film since 1960, was frequently cast with Mitr Chaibancha, and became a top leading man after Chaibancha’s death. He eventually became known for villain roles, and has even been elected to office.
Mahesuan (Supakorn Kitsuwon) – Fai’s former right hand man and main rival to Dum, the new right hand man. Raises his eyebrow more than Mr. Spock! Supakorn Kitsuwon teamed with Chartchai Ngamsan before in Sasanatieng’s Dang Bireley’s and Young Gangsters (1997). He is also in 2008’s Rambo.
Captain Kumjorn (Arawat Ruangvuth) – Bland police captain dedicated to wiping out bandits, and also getting engaged to women who don’t love him. And he’s a jerk!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , ,

Insee Daeng (Review)

Insee Daeng

aka Red Eagle

Directed by Wisit Sasanatieng

Insee Daeng is a tragedy. Because it sucks, not because sad things happen in the film. It’s just terrible. An action flick with no heart, things just happen, you don’t care about any of the characters. It’s too busy trying to look cool to be cool. Insee Daeng is forcing me to rewrite my long-standing rule that The Matrix ruined cinema. The Matrix is so 1999. This is a new decade, and there is a new film that will cast a shadow over terrible action flicks for the next ten years as they attempt to emulate, but fail to duplicate the story and characterizations that made the film great beyond the effects. That is The Dark Knight, who shines over Insee Daeng like a batsymbol over some city with a hero who dresses as a bat in it.

Did we really need a brooding Insee Daeng? Wasn’t part of the reason we loved him because he was so jolly as he was blowing away bad guys? Mitr Chaibancha had presence, he would never be hanging out in an ice room feeling sorry for himself. He’d be so cool any room he entered became an ice room, and he’s so hot the ice would instantly melt. The freezing/melting ice is the Quantum Mitr Factor. It is an impossible standard that we can’t expect Insee Daeng to meet with its Insee Daeng, but it doesn’t even try.

Rome Rittikrai (Ananda Everingham) – Rome Rittikrai is just your average former special forces veteren who became a secret vigilante hero to clean up his country. Instead of being a lovable drunk like old school Rome, he’s a morphine addict thanks to a bullet in his brain
Insee Daeng (Ananda Everingham) – He’s Red Eagle, and that’s red enough for me!
Vasana Tienpradap (Yarinda Bunnag) – Vasana has a doctorate in geology and comes from a rich family, but devotes her time to helping those in need. She is the ex-fiancee of Prime Minister Direk Damrongprapa, and current love interest for Insee Daeng/Rome. Yarinda Bunnag is on Twitter and her sister makes cooking YouTube videos!
Black Devil (???) – It is a mystery who he is. A mystery you will solve before he even appears in the film. He isn’t Victor von Doom, so cut out that thinking right now!
Detective Chart Wuttikrai (Wannasingh Prasertkul) – He vows he’s gonna catch Insee Daeng, and he does…for like 1/8th of a second!
Chantaranantukam Singh (Jonathan Hallman) – Chart’s new partner is the strong silent type who also does heroic stuff to save kids. And he has to listen to Chart blather on all day long.
Matulee (various) – These guys are the secret society that decide what brand of toilet paper you use. Single-ply for you! Also they hate Insee Daeng.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 23, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , ,