Captain Jack is back and he's led his crew to the top
Time Out Dubai staff
Pirates of the Carribean 4
Johnny Depp is back in the headscarf and eyeliner as Captain Jack Sparrow, whose search for the Fountain of Youth has foundered for no specific reason.
Finding himself in London for no specific reason, he soon falls in with ex Angelica (Penélope Cruz), who is masquerading as Sparrow for no specific reason. Together they set off for the fountain, pursued by Geoffrey Rush’s peg-legged Barbossa, who has joined the British navy for no specific reason. Far be it for us to accuse the Walt Disney company of making a fourth Pirates movie strictly for the money. But the experience of sitting through this latest flogged cash cow in the already overexposed comedy adventure series feels more like tracking stock figures than watching a piece of family entertainment. Every frame feels laboured, every gag tired, every action set piece familiar, every performance phoned in. Tom Huddleston Weekly box office (May 19-25): Dhs8,217,114 Weekly admissions: 182,253 Total box office: Dhs8,217,114 Total admissions: 182,253
It’s been 10 years since Vin Diesel got behind the wheel of the Fast & Furious franchise, and he’s probably as surprised as anyone it’s still going. After busting out of prison, car thief Dom (Diesel) hatches a plan to rob Rio’s biggest drug baron. Meanwhile his sister Mia (Brewster) has a little boy/girl racer on the way thanks to cop-turned-robber Brian (Walker). The heist plot is enjoyable and doesn’t take itself too seriously, even if the finer details get muddied in exhaust smoke. Anna Smith Weekly box office: Dhs1,096,036 Weekly admissions: 34,238 Total box office: Dhs11,485,206 Total admissions: 345,396
Bolbol Hayran (Arabic)
Bolbol (Helmy) wakes up in a full-body cast after a mysterious accident shattered every last bone in his body. He’s lying in a hospital bed, where he’ll probably spend the next few weeks, and with him is Dr. Amal (Ghanem), a dedicated physician taking care of his needs 24/7. Bolbol Hayran (A Bewildered Lovebird) suffers a suffocating detachment from reality. The eye-popping colours and polished sets reflect a world far from the one that we inhabit. There is not a single moment where Bolbol shows any sign of genuine torment, where any of his love interests represent more than just props. His dilemma starts out as insignificant and develops into an insufferable one: it’s a placeholder for humorous miscommunications and frail idiosyncrasies. Weekly box office: Dhs725,981 Weekly admissions: 23,813 Total box office: Dhs2,144,246 Total admissions: 69,552
This gritty film sees Jason Statham as an un-PC, punch-happy cop investigating the murders of his colleagues. Based on a book by Ken Bruen, the film showcases the city of London beautifully. The cast members are slightly less slick-looking than their US counterparts, the violence slightly more affronting and the plot slightly more realistic. Nyree McFarlane Weekly box office: Dhs358,441 Weekly admissions: 11,807 Total box office: Dhs1,665,052 Total admissions: 52,821
Based loosely on a real-life Stanford University experiment from 1971, and more than loosely on 2001 German film Das Experiment, this went straight to video in the UK and US. It follows 26 men who are chosen to participate in a two-week psychological study, enacting the roles of guards and prisoners. The film explores the darkness of group mentality, showing how animalistic humans can be. The highlight is a creepy performance from Forest Whitaker.
Nyree McFarlane Weekly box office: Dhs337,785 Weekly admissions: 11,111 Total box office: Dhs337,785 Total admissions: 11,111
The Priest (3D)
Bettany plays the otherwise unnamed title character, one of a cadre of ass-kicking ascetics trained by the church to fight the scourge of eyeless, slug-like vampires that have almost tipped the world into chaos. And when the vamps bump off Priest’s salt-of-the-earth brother and kidnap his gingham-frocked, rosy-cheeked niece, our tattooed hero petitions his masters to let him off the leash to stamp out the plague. Tom Huddleston Weekly box office: Dhs380,288 Weekly admissions: 8,877 Total box office: Dhs2,103,960 Total admissions: 44,526
Although the premise – a man begins communicating with his family and friends exclusively through a beaver puppet – makes the film sound like a wacky comedy, context is everything. Literally on the verge of throwing himself out a window, successful but clinically depressed family man Walter (Gibson) instead escapes by becoming another person entirely. It just so happens that this ‘person’ is a Cockney-talking beaver. Foster, who plays Walter’s wife, isn’t above having some fun with this material (the bedroom scene had the screening audience doubling over), but she mostly treats its dark implications with the sincerity they deserve.
While Kyle Killen’s screenplay generally lacks subtlety, it’s to the movie’s credit that it never rationalises Walter’s depression, explaining it away as the result of a bad business decision or something similar. Perhaps by design, Gibson’s own problems colour the proceedings. Ben Kenigsberg Weekly box office: Dhs220,773 Weekly admissions: 7,312 Total box office: Dhs220,773 Total admissions: 7,312
With its big hair, blunt dialogue, swooning maidens, stoic heroes and shiny armour, had Thor been released a quarter of a century ago it would have had its own tie-in shampoo. It remains an endearing throwback to simpler times: when men were men, gods were gods and heroes looked like bodybuilders who’d just raided the dress-up box. Just don’t expect to remember much about it afterwards. Tom Huddleston Weekly box office: Dhs238,979 Weekly admissions: 6,991 Total box office: Dhs7,404,450 Total admissions: 172,937
EBN Qonsol (Arabic)
In the small and highly competitive Egyptian market, few filmmakers dare to take chances and foray into unconventional territories. Ebn Qonsol (Son of the Ambassador) is Ahmed El Sakka’s latest and most enjoyable offering to date. Not only does El Sakka step out of his usual action mould; he also takes a back seat in order to share the screen with Saleh so that the two of them can play a fun cat-and-mouse game. Although their efforts showcase refreshing humility and respect for their craft, it doesn’t fully translate into a coherent film. Ebn Qonsol is an audacious experiment; but not a great one. Weekly box office: Dhs181,948 Weekly admissions: 5,980 Total box office: Dhs523,818 Total admissions: 17,222
Animals United (3D)
There’s no point pondering how a lion, a meerkat, two Galapagos turtles, a polar bear, a kangaroo, a Tasmanian Devil and a cockerel could ever live in harmony, suffice to say that it allowed filmmakers to drum home their message that mankind is destroying the planet. This cautionary tale sports impressive animation and a worthy ecological message, but its method of execution is clumsy. Still, the kids at the screening managed to stay awake. Derek Adams Weekly box office: Dhs205,096 Weekly admissions: 5,270 Total box office: Dhs1,225,630 Total admissions: 29,522