March 02, 2007

Movie magazines in Thailand - spoilt for choice

Film & Stars - a movie magazine from Thailand

When I was in Japan in 2004, I had no luck finding any magazines that concentrated on the latest in Japanese cinema, even in the largest bookstores. Their only movie magazines seem to centre around Hollywood stars.

I've since found Newtype (which is now translated into the English and republished in the US), which at least covers anime and tokusatsu (special effects heavy TV - usually superheroes or monsters) series. But does anyone know of a Japanese mag that highlights Japanese movies? Or any from south Korea? Obviously I'm really interested in offbeat films and horror movies.

I can't read Japanese, but their magazines are so beautifully produced and laid out. I love the photos and get clues about DVD and cinema releases. There's usually a little English in there somewhere.

The UK is spoilt with the wonderful NEO magazine which is going from strength to strength and ambitiously aiming to cover anime, manga, cult movies from the Far East, with an emphasis on Japanese culture. It feels a little like it's aimed at teenagers sometimes, and it's limited to covering what's available in Europe. Therefore it's at least a year behind what's happening in Japan right now.

So anyway, Thailand. A country with a far smaller, far newer film industry than Japan, but gearing up for international success. Now they know how to produce good film magazines. Umm yes, I can't speak or read Thai either, but the photos are nice to have and very useful as guides as to what looks interesting. Again, there's only a smattering of English words and captions.

Here's the mags I found in Thailand, in alphabetical order...

Bioscope magazine covers international cinema, and includes arthouse films and retrospectives of classic world cinema. Their subtitle is "moving image, moving life". About 116 thick pages.

This February 2007 issue looked at the use of design in Pedro Almodovar's Volver, the films of Satayajit Ray, the films of Chan-Wook Park as well as the latest cinema releases, mostly from America. The accent is more on artists and film-makers. Fairly text-heavy, high-quality paper but no glossy pages. Bioscope website here.

Film & Stars magazine, like MovieTime, is about 80 pages long, glossy cover, and concentrates on pushing the latest movies and DVDs. Only the first 8 pages are glossy, and these can be mostly adverts. It's photo-heavy coverage and does always have marvellous spreads of all the different posters used in current campaigns. The photos of the stars are noticeably sexier too! Good for the poster layouts and edgier coverage.
MovieTime magazine just looks at the new releases and is relatively slim at 80 pages. But it's photo-heavy coverage, with the first 20 pages on glossy paper. There's a couple of pages of Hollywood gossip, a page on every film on release in Thailand and then in-depth coverage on the major films. This issue has a well-illustrated article on King Naresuan - Part 2 at the front, coverage of Blood Diamond, Flags of Our Fathers, and Perfume, as well as a retrospective look at De Palma's Scarface and a five page spread on the films of Hilary Swank.

Good for photos. Includes a fold-out double-sided poster page.

Pulp - the movie magazine is a more in-depth look at current films. 164 pages long, but a smaller format magazine (about comic book size). It includes in-depth articles as well as reviews. This 2007 issue includes a look at the actual history behind King Naresuan, the director of Babel's other films, current movie special effects, and censorship of Thai DVD releases. Over 100 pages are glossy and the mag is about half-and-half text and photos. There's a good DVD release section with cover shots.

Starpics, the February 2006 issue

Starpics magazine covers all the latest releases, with a better accent on Thai-produced cinema. About 164 pages. Interviews with cast and crew are well-illustrated and half the magazine is printed on glossy paper, providing good reproduction of stills, posters and one-page adverts for Thai, Japanese and other SE Asian releases. There is a whole section looking at Thai DVD releases, with useful cover shots. They extensively cover Thai film awards and the Bangkok International Film Festival.

Not as text-heavy as Bioscope, the 80 glossy pages are a big plus. Good for current poster art. Includes a fold-out double-sided poster page. Thick-carded cover, like Bioscope. Starpics website is here.

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