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Phuket cinema – A film that makes you laugh and cry

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket cinema – A film that makes you laugh and cry | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Leave it to writer/producer Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and actor Seth Rogan (of the same films) to make a movie about cancer that is full of hilarious, raunchy comedy and still manages to possess heartfelt sincerity.

50/50 is a rare kind of film. Its themes of comedy and cancer play out much like a sickness does – calming yet anxious, funny yet heartbreaking. It’s an ambivalent experience to watch 50/50 and its steady back-and-forth exchange of these elements; yet it’s perfectly paced and expertly filmed.

For anyone who has ever had to battle a life-threatening disease – either alongside a loved one or being diagnosed with one themselves – there is an honesty to 50/50 that makes it one of the best comedy-dramas of the year.

You get the feeling that only a person who has actually lived through cancer could pull this off so successfully, which is indeed the case. The film is inspired by the true story of Will Reiser, who wrote the screenplay and is a survivor of the same cancer that the main character is diagnosed with. The dialogue between his characters flows effortlessly with the acting talents of Gordon-Levitt and Rogen, and is the core of the film’s wit and emotional punch.

In a scene that perfectly defines the film’s unique appeal, Kyle (Rogen) tells his just-diagnosed friend Adam (Gordon-Levitt) that his 50/50 chances of surviving cancer are actually quite favorable casino odds. He proceeds to name a number of celebrities who have survived cancer, and then unknowingly names one that died from the disease. When Adam calls him out, Kyle tells him to forget he mentioned the name.

Scenes like these drive 50/50 from a potentially awkward state of misplaced humor to an original and moving film for a younger generation. Adam is 27 years old, an age that treats a diagnosis of cancer like an impossibility at first. His best friend Kyle is more equipped to give advice on how to pick up girls for one-night stands than he is to handle his buddy’s serious illness.

But just as it often happens in real life – the illness becomes both the central conflict and the means by which each character reveals his true nature.

While the film focuses on Adam, it is full of colorful characters – both equipped and ill-equipped – who must confront the grim realities of cancer. Like most mothers of single twenty-somethings, Adam’s mom is so preoccupied with being worried that she forgets to see if there is anything she can actually do to help.

His girlfriend (Dallas-Howard) is from the start not quite the right girl for anyone, let alone a guy diagnosed with cancer. His fresh-out-of-school therapist (Kendrick) means well but struggles to grant Adam the honesty he needs to cope with the illness. The two old men who share a chemotherapy treatment room with Adam (played by Matt Frewer and Philip Baker Hall) – smoking pot and giving the enlightened wisdom of old people who are done with formality but not a sense of humor – steal every scene they’re in.

Some will go to see the film out of sheer curiosity, to see how a movie about cancer can actually be funny. Indeed, it is an achievement in its own to make a movie about cancer that is full of hilarious moments – and make no mistake; 50/50 has a lot of them.

Despite playing virtually the same character in just about every role, Seth Rogen is one of the few comedic actors who can actually pull off the type of humor needed for this role. His zero-restraint banter and signature deep-gut chuckle help give the film its exceptional tone.

At its worst, 50/50 is the latest raunchy comedy about life and love in the city. At its best, it is a thoughtful meditation on what it is to be faced with the possibility of dying too young – and how the worst things in life have a way of revealing the best things from the most unlikely places.

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Phuket Gazette Rating: 5/5

— Scott Phillips

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Bangkok

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market

The Thaiger

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Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | The Thaiger

Chinese condo buyers are veering their purchase power away from the Bangkok property market citing the strong Thai currency, overpricing and a supply glut.

  • 2015 – 5.8 Yuan to the Thai Baht
  • 2019 – 4.4 Yuan to the Thai Baht

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | News by The Thaiger

The rise of the baht and the weakening of the Chinese Yuan over the past four years, have culminated in a 25% softening in Chinese investment power in the Thai property market (chart from xe.com)

Property consultants say that Chinese buyers are now containing their investment risk by buying into the lower-end 2-6 million baht condo market instead of the 5-10 million baht condos they were previously purchasing.

At the same time the annual returns for Bangkok condominiums is reported to have dropped from 6-7% five years ago to only 3-4% in some locations in the current market.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Simon Lee, President of property brokerage Angel Real Estate Consultancy, says overall sales volume of Bangkok condos bought by Chinese buyers will shrink by half in 2019.

He also notes that the current Thai government crackdown on investors renting out condos on daily or weekly leases, has scared a lot of new investment into the sector away  as the ‘law’ appears to be applied in a haphazard manner.

The Chinese investors are also expressing disappointment when they buy into a development at one cost, only to find that locals pick up the balance of the stock at a lower price as the developers clears the stock.

Bangkok’s soaring land prices, which should see the value of condos rise, is being balanced out with the sheer glut of stock available, pushing down values. Rental returns are also being pushed down by the volume of stock available to the rental market.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Here’s another report about signs of weakness emerging in the Bangkok condo market from The Thaiger.

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Business

‘Fast and Furious 9’ to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket

The Thaiger

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‘Fast and Furious 9’ to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | The Thaiger

The latest sequel of the ‘Fast and Furious’ movie franchise will partly be filmed in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani next month.

Yesterday Piya Petonji, the film’s production manager, met with Krabi Governor M.L. Kitibadee Prawit at the Krabi City Hall before the cast arrives and filming begins.

The filming will be from July 1-27 in locations around Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani. It is estimated the production will bring a 340 million baht benefit to Thailand and the local film industry.

'Fast and Furious 9' to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | News by The Thaiger

The Krabi Governor says this is a good opportunity for Thailand to present its beautiful nature, culture and history to the world through the film. There has been no announcement of when filming may be taking place around Phuket’s roads.

The Thaiger recommends the plot of the film as a race between a visa-run passenger van and a Chinese Tour Bus to the Malaysian border, with a feature muay thai face-off on Maya Bay beach between Vin Diesel and Leonardo DiCaprio (though the 45 year old might have to get some training in before returning to ‘The Beach’).

Here’s our Top Ten movies made around Phuket and Thailand.

'Fast and Furious 9' to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Leonardo in Phuket last year during a quick break

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People

From ‘Sawadee’ to ‘Pad Thai’. Who was Phibun?

The Thaiger

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From ‘Sawadee’ to ‘Pad Thai’. Who was Phibun? | The Thaiger

by Dan Brook

Thai culture is ancient and one can even see evidence of its beautiful bronze-age civilisation in Ban Chiang, near Udon Thani in Isaan, Thailand’s lesser-visited north-east region.

But not everything in Thai culture is quite so old. In fact, some major things closely associated with Thailand are relatively recent — and all of them are related to Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram.

Phibun – as he is often called in the West, though he is better known as Chomphon Por in Thailand — was one of the leaders of the coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932, creating the constitutional monarchy that Thailand has had since. He also exerted more state control over the economy through nationalisation.

Culturally, however, Phibun may have had even more influence. As Thailand’s longest serving prime minister, he supported fascism (though he later de-emphasised this and embraced a form of democracy), extreme nationalism, and a cult of personality focused on himself. His photos were ubiquitous and his quotes were regularly in the newspapers. He mandated that Thais salute the flag, know the national anthem, and speak Thai.

Phibun changed the country’s name from Siam to Thailand in 1939, changed the new year from the traditional Thai one on April 13 to the European Gregorian one on January 1, and codified, promoted, and possibly created Thailand’s signature eponymous dish, pad thai, by adapting a Chinese noodle dish. His law requiring Thais to wear hats in public, however, clearly did not endure.

Shortly after he simplified the Thai script, Phibun adopted the word sawadee (from svasti, the Sanskrit word for blessing or wellbeing) from a Chulalongkorn University professor and made it the “official” Thai greeting, starting in 1943, still commonly used.

Any one of these changes is huge. Combined, Phibun helped create modern Thai culture as we know it!

Dan Brook, Ph.D. teaches sociology at San Jose State University, from where he organises the annual Hands on Thailand (HoT) program. Dan has free ebooks on Smashwords. 

From 'Sawadee' to 'Pad Thai'. Who was Phibun? | News by The Thaiger

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