Edgy Thai films often take an age to appear at local cinemas. Take Kongdej Jaturanrasamee’s art-house opus P-047, which took more than a year to hit Bangkok screens after premiering at the Venice Film Festival. Now the same is happening with Yuthlert Sippapak’s (Friday Killer, Buppah Rahtree sequel) latest politically-charged production, Fatherland, whose release date has been pushed back from Dec 5, 2012, to sometime this year. We’re still excited, though, to see how the usually fun-loving director tackles the sensitive subject of political instability in the three southern-most provinces of Thailand as experienced through the eyes of two soldiers (big names Wier Sukollawat and Ananda Everingham). Whet your appetite by watching the trailer at tinyurl.com/c853wb2
Jan Dara 2
Sahamongkol Film kicks off 2013 with the sequel to last year’s Jan Dara. The buzz is already building for the second and final installment in the remake racy the controversial 90s film, based on the 1966 novel by Usana Plerngtham. With Mom Noi (M.L Pandevanop Devakul) presenting the erotic story in much more detail than Nonzee Nimibutr’s original, many are hanging out to see whether more is revealed (in terms of both plotline and skin). In cinemas Feb 7.
14 Games Amahit
Sahamongkol presents another movie to watch out for in the form of 14 Games Amahit, the sequel to the psycho-thriller 13 Beloved (2006) directed by Chookiat Sakveerakul of Home (2012) and The Love of Siam (2007) fame. Initially published as an online cartoon on www.commuan.com, the film version will be divided into two parts, Heaven Core and 14 Beyond, and is expected to hit cinemas sometime this year.
Pee Mak Prakanong
Hip film company GTH has announced four big projects for 2013, kicking off with the horror-comedy film Pee Mak Prakanong directed by Banjong “Tong” Pisanthanakun (Hello Stranger, Shutter). The film tells the classic ghost story of Mae Nak Prakanong (played by new actress Mai Dawika) but twists it so that the lead role is her husband, Pee Mak (Mario Maurer). The release date has yet to be confirmed, but the film is expected in cinemas in the first half of this year.
Vogue & Nylon
This February the Bangkok fashion scene welcomes the Thai edition of Vogue (www.vogue.co.th), arguably the world’s most influential fashion publication. The magazine will be run by the team behind the already successful Elle Thailand, headed by Kullawit “Ford” Laosuksri, who will become the only male editor-in-chief of all Vogue’s global editions. A month later, US pop culture magazine Nylon (facebook.com/nylonthailand) will arrive at newsstands nationwide. Edited by Thawinee Chantanakones, the fashion shoot for the first issue took place in New York. And we’re hearing there’s a lot more to follow.
Back in May 2009, the BTS Silom line was extended from Saphan Taksin to two more stations, Thon Buri and Wongwian Yai. Now in 2013, the line will finally expand further to BTS Pho Nimit and BTS Talad Plu (set to open this month) with another two, BTS Wuttakat and BTS Bang Wa, due to open in May.
Swedish Fashion retailer H&M welcomes 2013 with another branch at CentralWorld after making a splash with their first two-story store at Siam Paragon in October last year. The new location will be spread over floors 1-3 of the mall (occupying the space that used to be an ice rink) and is expected to open mid-June.
Phantom of the Opera
After bringing a screening of the Phantom of the Opera live at the Royal Albert Hall to Paragon Cineplex a couple of years ago, BEC TERO finally brings over the very same production crew to actually perform it live at Muangthai Ratchadalai Theatre this May.
Teerawat “Kage” Mulvilai, founder of the independent stage troupe B-Floor Theatre, recently told BK that after kicking off the year with their science-inspired Survival Games (See BK+, page 21), the team plans to launch another four projects throughout 2013 (details TBA). Another collaborative project will see Teerawat join forces with Thammasat students to direct political plays in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Oct 14, 1973 student demonstrations. The plays will be performed at Thammasat University, the site of the historic event, alongside a lot of other activities throughout October. The works of B-Floor, especially Kage’s, typically deal with political issues, making this collaboration a must-watch.
The businessman-cum-DJ shocked everyone with his decision to run for Bangkok Governor with a colorful campaign that sets out to make Bangkok just as colorful as he is. His policies, under the catchphrase “SURPRISE BKK FUN BKK SUHARIT RUN BKK!” range from the equally catchy “one district, one charming” to offering free public yoga classes and giving more power to cyclists in this car-dominated city. He has pledged to run the cheapest campaign on earth by making the most of digital tools and social media, while his latest plea is “Don’t judge me by my dress!”
Ku De Ta
The famous Balinese restaurant and lounge Ku De Ta finally makes its way to Bangkok in March, 2013 (barring any further postponements). The rooftop bar will sit atop the Sathorn Square Tower and adopt a prohibition-era style décor, following a trend we saw started in earnest last year.
Early last year was all about molecular cocktails with more and more bars adding technical twists to their drinks lists, not to mention the emergence of the first self-acclaimed “molecular cocktails bar,” WXYZ Bar at Aloft Hotel. But by the end of the year, the hottest trend in drinking was well and truly craft beers. Beervana kicked it all off by bringing out the US craft beer line Rogue Ales, first launched at Brew Beers & Ciders and made instantly hip with a food pairing event at Opposite (both in Oct, 2012). Since then, Scottish craft brewery Brewdog and Japanese brand Hitachino have also joined the fray, with beers available at some bars in Bangkok (top of the list being Brew Beers & Ciders and Beerology at CDC). We know you’re tired of seeing pints of Hoegaarden on Instagram, so this development makes for a refreshing change in more ways than one.
Hot on the heels of Fat Radio founder, DJ and music promoter Yuthana Boonorm launching his new music project, Godung, late last year, which asked fans to register on their website (www.godung.com) to receive a copy of the book 108 Bands to See Live Before You Die, one of the bands listed, The Vaccines, makes their way to Bangkok this week (Jan 12). Although the concert was initially organized by the Dudesweet crew, we’re excited at what else Godung has in the pipeline. The website asks the public to vote on which big-name acts they’d like to see come to Bangkok, from Radiohead and The Killers to Two Door Cinema Club. Go on, make your vote count.
Following on quickly from The Vaccines we get a big old dose of hip hop from a West Coast rap legend in the form of Snoop Dogg (recently reborn as Snoop Lion) who will look to set Bangkok ablaze as headliner at the Retox Sessions-organized Together Festival on Jan 19. He’ll be joined by other international guests like French house duo Justice, An21, Max Vangeli and Quintino and local acts like Thaitanium and Southside.
While the big-spending BEC TERO has been pretty tight-lipped about which acts it intends to bring out this year, it has let slip that 2013 will mark the return to our city of one of the world’s most iconic guitarists, the 10-time Grammy Award winner Carlos Santana, who will play Impact Arena Muangthong Thani on Mar 6. With the likes of Lady Gaga, Elton John and Maroon 5 coming to town last year, our expectations are high, very high.
Paramore and Sum 41
Rock Entertainment has been quick to give us something to look forward to this year, announcing gigs for two international bands in the coming months. First up, angsty pop-rock outfit Paramore, led by bright-haired frontwoman Hayley Williams, present tunes from their latest self-titled album at Centerpoint Studio on Feb 12. A month later, the same venue will host a blast from the early 2000s in the form of bratty Canadian punk-rockers Sum 41 (Mar 6), with locals Brand New Sunset and The Yers in support.
Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
Holiday Inn Sukhumvit 22 (Jun)
The formerly slightly seedy corner of Soi 22 will soon be home to the brand new Holiday Inn Sukhumvit 22, fitted out with 300 guest rooms and suites over 28 floors. Apart from two restaurants, a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool, there will be a lifestyle plaza on the lower floors of the hotel, where you can find popular chain stores such as Boots and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. 1 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 1800-656-888. www.holidayinn.com
Hua Chang Heritage (TBA)
The colonial-themed building standing next to Hua Chiang Bridge will finally open this year. Owned by the Baiyoke Group, the Huachang Heritage Hotel features a charming design inspired by the Rama V period, with wooden louvres and patterned walls complemented by Victorian furnishings and marble details. The hotel houses 80 rooms over seven floors, a classy lounge and dining room, as well as an outdoor pool. With a budget of B400 million, expectations are high. 400 Soi Kasemsan 1, Phayathai Rd., 02-656-3000 ext 72166. BTS Ratchathewi. www.huachangheritagehotel.com
Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
Opening in March, on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 57 just a short walk from BTS Thong Lo, is Bangkok Marriott Sukhumvit. The high-rise hotel features 275 guest rooms and 21 suites equipped with modern facilities, all complimented by five food and beverage outlets: the all-day dining restaurant 57th Street, The District specializing in grills, The Great Room lobby bar, the multi-level rooftop bar The Octave, and the Chocolate Cake Company. There will also be a spa, fitness center, business center, function rooms and 74 serviced apartment units. Sukhumvit Soi 57, 02-797-0000. www.marriott.com/bkkms
BK is always banging on about the city’s hip new openings and fine-dining mainstays—that’s what our Best Eats and Top Tables guides are for. But such lists don’t tell the whole story. Here is our guide to Bangkok’s most underrated restaurants, whether it’s the trusted neighborhood spots who rarely demand column inches, the once-hyped openings that trends have left behind, or simply those places we think deserve more love. Is your favorite spot missing? Tell us in the comments.
This month's hottest tickets include a steakhouse from the people behind Daniel Thaiger, modern Australian flavors served in a beautiful house, an Old Town deli and a spin-off from the best yakitori restaurant in town.