Downey Jnr and Co the lead way at the UAE box office
Time Out Dubai staff
Guy Ritchie’s second Sherlock Holmes film is another smash hit at the box office, earning almost Dhs2 million more than its nearest rival. So how did he do it? ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation himself might say. If your name was Watson. Ritchie and Co simply re-teamed Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law and put the pair in more of the same action-packed problem-solving situations. If it ain’t broke, as they say ...
You, the film-going public, seemed to liked it, but did our critic agree? Check out the rest of the box office’s top 10 films by clicking here.
10 Cima Ali Baba
A Star Wars-ish spoof starring the funniest Arab actor of this moment, Egyptian Ahmed Mekky (who is also a rapper, apparently ...). Good gags and reasonable special effects.
Weekly box office: Dhs56,170 Weekly admissions: 1,799 Total box office: Dhs56,170 Total admissions: 1,799
Bulky brothers go head to head in this action drama aimed at the Rocky market. Joel Edgerton is Brendan, a father and fighter-turned-teacher struggling in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, former Marine Tommy (Hardy) trains for the same martial arts title. Both need the money and they have the same father, Paddy (Nick Nolte). Warrior has many things going for it, not least its cast. Edgerton is supremely sympathetic as the cash-strapped father, while Hardy is in his element as the strong silent type, and Nolte is on fine growling form as a repentant alcoholic. The fight scenes are well choreographed and suspenseful. Plot-wise, the film is on less solid ground, relying on cliché and coincidence with backstory holes that feel more like editing errors than subtleties. When someone orders Tommy to hand over his pills, that’s the first and last we hear of any drug problem. This doesn’t pack a punch like The Fighter – but it’s still a must for grapple fans. Anna Smith
Weekly box office: Dhs167,685 Weekly admissions: 5,413 Total box office: Dhs889,060 Total admissions: 27,767
8 Arthur Christmas
This smart and very British 3D animation from the Aardman stable opens with one of life’s great questions: how does Santa visit so many homes so quickly? The answer, it seems, is an army of elves dispatched, SAS-style, from a silent spaceship disguised as a cluster of stars. But it never used to be like this, not before Santa’s eldest son, Steve (Hugh Laurie), modernised the operation. Nevertheless, one parcel slips through the net, so it’s left to Santa’s sensitive younger son, Arthur (James McAvoy), and the retired, grumpy Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) to deliver the package using reindeers and sleigh. All of this inspires a frenzied inter-continental dash and one too many padded-out mishaps.
Yet what makes this festive fantasy engaging is the savvy way in which it debunks cold efficiency in favour of wholesome values. It’s just a pity Arthur is so bland. Derek Adams
Weekly box office: Dhs267,890 Weekly admissions: 6,238 Total box office: Dhs1,265,519 Total admissions: 28,561
7 New Year's Eve
Director Garry Marshall continues his systematic defilement of the calendar’s most romantic holidays with another rom-com built and executed like a ’70s disaster movie. Repeating the formula from last year’s Valentine’s Day, Marshall assembles an all-star cast including (deep breath) Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Seth Meyers, Sofia Vergara, Jessica Biel, Lea Michele from Glee and many, many more for a labyrinth of intersecting melodramas and love stories set in New York City on, naturally, December 31. The hypothetical advantage of such a massive ensemble is the assumption that, somewhere among the characters, there’ll be a few folks we actually like. Yet each plot thread is worse than the last: a welcome break from Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi’s interminable lovers’ quarrel simply means another trip to the hospital to watch Halle Berry console a cancer-ridden Robert De Niro. It all adds up to a celebrity-obsessed city symphony played on one painfully flat note. Matt Singe
Weekly box office: Dhs544,666 Weekly admissions: 14,477 Total box office: Dhs1,641,921 Total admissions: 43,110
6 Hugo (3D)
Well, this is unexpected. Marketed as though it were a saccharine Chris Columbus flick, Martin Scorsese’s eye-popping kids-lit adaptation turns out to be a bizarrely two-headed beast. As Dhs624 million essay films about Georges Méliès go, you can hardly do better. A wonderful Ben Kingsley plays the illusionist-moviemaker who made a reported five hundred features, including 1902’s seminal silent A Trip to the Moon, before going bankrupt during WWI. Méliès ended up running a toy shop in the Paris Montparnasse train station, which is the primary setting of Scorsese’s 3D feature (certainly one of the finest uses of the format). Méliès isn’t really the star of the story; this is largely the tale of an orphaned boy, Hugo Cabret (Butterfield, bland), who attempts to solve the mystery of a mechanical man bequeathed to him by his deceased father. But childlike whimsy doesn’t suit Scorsese; he’d rather sit Hugo to the side and school him (and us) in silent-film colour-tinting instead of playing out the slapsticky daddy-issues narrative. You still can’t help admiring the project’s ambition; an odd combo of Babe: Pig in the City and Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma, Hugo is the strangest bird to grace the multiplex in a while. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs899,674 Weekly admissions: 21,433 Total box office: Dhs899,674 Total admissions: 21,433
Diabolical even by the standards of Joel Schumacher, this home-invasion thriller went from US cinemas to DVD release in a zippy 18 days, though its true place in the world is the nether regions of late-night TV. Essentially a low-rent B-flick with A-grade ‘talent’ and budget, it follows the fun and frolics when the lair of diamond dealer Nic Cage and bored spouse Nicole Kidman is breached by armed thugs. As a scenario unfolds that starts by stretching credibility before morphing into full-on crazy mode, Cage gets to shout a lot (like, a lot!), villainous Ben Mendelssohn acts rings round the clunky script and Schumacher cranks the fast-cuts and thumping music cues up to 11. Kidman’s thankless presence is as mysterious as the film’s belief that we’re going to buy its dumb twists, though as terrible movies go, it’s not unentertaining – once you surrender to its trashmeister idiocy. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs777,362 Weekly admissions: 22,670 Total box office: Dhs 777,362 Total admissions: 22,670
4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked
As the punning title suggests, the all-singing, all-dancing Chipmunks (Alvin, Theodore, Simon and the Chipettes) wind up on a desert island after a prank involving a kite aboard their holiday cruise ship goes awry. But they get more than they bargained for when they discover the island is also home to an obstreperous resident. With its slick combination of live action and CGI, a raft of contemporary tunes, some natty dance moves and those cute (read annoying) squeaky voices, chances are Shrek Forever After director Mike Mitchell’s effort will prove a big kiddie hit this Christmas. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs804,954 Weekly admissions: 24,717 Total box office: Dhs3,650,367 Total admissions: 111,747
3 X Large
The story about overweight Magdy who is desperate for someone to love him for who he is on the inside. After meeting the beautiful Dina, Magdy pretends to be his cousin Adel to win her heart.
Weekly box office: Dhs923,206 Weekly admissions: 27,117 Total box office: Dhs1,990,365 Total admissions: 58,123
2 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
In its towering scope and ambition, it resembles Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, from which star Tom Cruise famously abseiled during filming. But the fourth instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise gets so tangled in its toddlers’ jigsaw puzzle of a plot that it barely scales the heights of a small skyscraper. The film begins with a parody-like assassination scene in Budapest, before cutting to Ethan Hunt (Cruise) being broken out of a maximum-security Russian prison. ‘Things must be bad out here, to get me out of there,’ he quips. Bad they are; his mission, should he choose to accept it, involves breaking into Moscow’s Kremlin to steal, well, something, before a suspected terrorist gets there first. When it goes awry and the Russian fortress is blown up, Cruise’s IMF team is blamed, forcing them to go awol to complete their (virtually) impossible mission. While the Bond saga is hopelessly trying to impersonate the gritty realism Bourne trilogy, in it’s fanatical stylings M:I is now playing catch-up to Bond, specifically Pierce Brosnan’s Bond – this movie’s ensuing shambles of a storyline about a nuclear satellite (recalling Goldeneye) and a fanatic’s inexplicable desire to cause the next apocalypse (Tomorrow Never Dies). The spaghetti-hooped plot might befit the audience of director Brad Bird’s previous work – kids’ movies Ratatouille and The Incredibles – but here it’s little more than a cursory device to move from one thrilling set piece to another. It’s exhilarating to watch an increasingly-weathered Cruise dangling from a heavily-CGI’d Burj, but no one’s really sure why he had to climb out of the window in the first place. How he ended up moments later in the midst of an impenetrable sandstorm in Satwa is little more convincing. Perhaps sensing the self-parody it’s in danger of becoming, the ‘humour’ is ramped up this time around. Brit funnyman Simon Pegg is promoted from a bit part role in the last movie to a grating movie-long script of aching one-liners and cringey comic-book facial expressions. Meanwhile, a barely necessary sub-plot about the death of Hunt’s wife and introduction of new team member Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is dealt with in clown-like clumsiness. The finale in Mumbai – a chauvinistic nod to the original TV series which sees Paula Patton’s Jane seducing an Indian playboy before some blatant BMW product placement – sadly lacks the knockout punch of the second and third films. Any franchise that reaches its fourth instalment has lost its ability to fire on all four cylinders, but as a popcorn-munching rollercoaster ride this entertains enough, just. The film’s open ending worryingly points towards a fifth film that just may not. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs2,497,592 Weekly admissions: 70,359 Total box office: Dhs18,870,611 Total admissions: 521,179
1 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
When Guy Ritchie’s witty, enjoyable reboot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective stories busted blocks back in 2009, a follow-up was unavoidable. Cynics would argue that a visit from that scourge of movie sequels, the law of diminishing returns, was equally inevitable. Here we find Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) already hot on the trail of his latest nemesis, ‘Napoleon of crime’, James Moriarty (Jared Harris). When the mad professor schemes to have Holmes’s on-off squeeze murdered, our hero spirals into depression – until the return of his trusty sidekick Watson (Jude Law) shakes him out of his torpor and sets him back on the warpath, following a trail of destruction that will lead to Paris, Germany and – inevitably – Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls. The best comparison to draw here is with the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels: the cast and crew remain unchanged, but a key ingredient is lacking. Perhaps it’s a sense of spontaneity: where the first film seemed genuinely sprightly and off-the-cuff, the outcome of every thunderous, whizz-bang, CG-fuelled action scene in the sequel feels – that word again – inevitable. Salvation arrives in the form of Stephen Fry as Holmes’s brother, Mycroft, and while his schoolmasterly demeanour and encyclopaedic intellect isn’t exactly a stretch for Britain’s favourite quizmaster, it’s a welcome distraction from the increasingly stale banter of the two leads. The result is a fitfully amusing but largely unsurprising and uninvolving action-movie-by-numbers: elementary, and not in a good way. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs4,472,774 Weekly admissions: 120,267 Total box office: Dhs4,472,774 Total admissions: 120,267