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Phuket cinema: ‘Friends with Benefits’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket cinema: ‘Friends with Benefits’ | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Friends with Benefits will appeal especially to those who have lived or would like to live under the circumstances implied by its title.

You can almost hear the echoes of Harry Burns from 1989’s When Harry Met Sally cautioning, “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

Thankfully for showbiz, the young crowd doesn’t heed the wisdom of their elders, so superstar hotties like Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis get to star in a film in which their characters try to have sex without any emotional attachment.

Never mind that the story itself is almost perfectly predictable from its title alone – it ends up being one of the better romantic comedies offered this year. It starts off fast, builds its characters with surprising insight, has a great soundtrack, and showcases two extremely attractive actors for 90 minutes of raunchy comedy and near-nude sex scenes.

It’s a film about the “emotionally unavailable”, a term that the characters themselves use within the first two minutes and keep as the thematic core throughout. To keep the film light and entertaining, the characters are otherwise satisfied with their lives – both have very lucrative jobs (considering the time and setting) and bubbly personalities.

Those two qualities alone make the movie an appealing form of escape – Friends with Benefits is stress-free entertainment that makes no effort to make any social or political commentary. Sometimes, that’s exactly what people need when they go to the movies.

Intellectuals might be upset, but hey, they aren’t breaking down the door to see JT and the hot girl from That 70s Show discover they have what it takes to be sex fiends.

Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) are both twenty-somethings who get dumped so frequently that it has become somewhat of a ritual. They aren’t down on their luck with the opposite sex – as they’re both too good looking to ever have trouble picking someone up – but they swear off the emotional side of relationships. This leaves room for emotionless sex – so long as they can each find someone who shares the same sentiment.

The film starts off as a romantic comedy for those with attention deficit hyperactivity issues. Both Dylan and Jamie talk a mile a minute and have a tendency to speak first and ask questions later. To this end, director Will Gluck made a clever move – he shot and edited the film to almost perfectly parallel the characters’ personalities. The scenes roll in at just a couple minutes apiece and never let any single moment last more than a few seconds – that is, until the central relationship becomes a bit more serious and a conflict starts to develop.

Under the guise of two people who “just want to work and [fornicate] – like George Clooney,” the film slowly sneaks in an emotional undercurrent that makes it worthwhile. Like most romantic comedies, the playful vices that initially attract the characters to each other end up causing a conflict that forces them to expose their insecurities.

Yes, it’s been done in a thousand romantic comedies before it – but though formulaic it may be, its characters are still witty and sincere enough to keep things entertaining.

Justin Timberlake has come a long way since he was plastered on 12-year-old girls’ bedroom doors with his heels up in the air alongside the rest of his NSync buddies. Now he’s the guy who brought “sexy back” just before launching a film career that is surprisingly solid. He has yet to branch out to very diverse roles, but more importantly he’s only had one or two bad movies, which is appalling for a star making the music-to-movies transition.

Mila Kunis has taken her career from supporting sitcom star to a leading Hollywood actress, thanks to a mix of smart decisions that keep her in the mainstream limelight as well as in critical favor. Her most recent performance in Black Swan earned her a Golden Globe nomination and was her first significant dramatic role that proved she’s got talent to go with beauty.

The third act of the film is when the story and the characters set themselves apart from average “rom-coms”. The film makes no effort to avoid romantic comedy clichés, but instead chooses to unapologetically embrace them. This self-awareness permits a completely over-the-top final act that is so shameless that it ends up being far more unique than one would expect.

If you’re in need of a solid date movie, go see this flick.

Director: Will Gluck

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Gazette Rating: 3.5/5

Opens: September 22

— Scott Phillips

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Bangkok

Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Thaiger

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Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport | The Thaiger

The Thai cabinet yesterday approved the construction of a third runway at Suvarnabhumi International Airport as part of the country’s ambition to become the aviation hub of ASEAN.

The 21.7 billion baht project will increase the combined capacity of Suvarnabhumi international airport’s runways to 94 arrivals and departures per hour from the current 64, said Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukonthapatipak, deputy government spokesman.

Suvarnabhumi Airport (aka. BKK) was opened in 2006 as Bangkok’s second airport. Initially it replaced the tired Don Mueang Airport but Don Mueang was later revamped as a low-coast airport to service the growing traffic demands.

Meanwhile Suvarnabhumi Airport was, and still is, operating above its designed capacity. An earlier bid to build a third terminal has been mired in controversy and is currently shelved pending a new brief from Airports of Thailand with a new round of design bids called for in the future.

Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport | News by The Thaiger

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

The Thaiger

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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