10 The Descendants Directed by: Alexander Payne Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie, Grace A. Cruz, Kim Gennaula, Karen Kuioka Hironaga
George Clooney’s bedraggled basset-hound features have never been better exploited than in Alexander Payne’s perceptive and moving dramedy about a Hawaiian household in mourning. The Hollywood super-celeb effortlessly dials down the star-power wattage as Matt King, the apprehensive scion of an Aloha State brood that goes back generations. Matt’s now facing twin challenges: the potentially lucrative sale of a prime parcel of land and the impending death of his wife, Elizabeth (Hastie), who lies in a coma after a boating accident.
Elizabeth haunts every frame of The Descendants. In short, she’s no saint: Matt is quick to acknowledge their marriage had problems, but even he is shocked when his eldest daughter (Woodley) reveals that mum was having an affair. So begins a leisurely, island-hopping road trip as Matt and his children spread the word about Elizabeth’s terminal condition and seek out the illicit lover. As ever, Payne – adapting a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings – walks a fine line between caricature and compassion. This is an exquisite portrait of a family navigating the wreckage imparted to them by one of their own. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs174,128 Weekly admissions: 4,438 Total box office: Dhs673,816 Total admissions: 17,139
9 Underworld: Awakening Directed by: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley, Stephen Rea, Theo James, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance
In what you probably could call the action-thriller equivalent to the Twilight franchise, Kate Beckinsale returns as Selene, the slinky vampire warrioress who likes to do her hunting in a PVC catsuit. Having skipped lead-role duties in the previous instalment of the franchise (that would be Underworld: Evolution), KB escapes from prison at the beginning of this film, only to witness the two tribes of immortal species (vampires and lycans) in the crosshairs of a human army who want to destroy them forever. We can deduce that there will be ample firepower and lots of sharp objects, and Beckinsale will run, slide, leap and spin around various murky locations, kicking posterior like her life depended on it. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs275,511 Weekly admissions: 6,506 Total box office: Dhs3,475,699 Total admissions: 72,806
8 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Directed by: Brad Bird Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg
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: Dhs225,129 Weekly admissions: 6,516 Total box office: Dhs23,040,245 Total admissions: 637,669
7 Dream House Director: Jim Sheridan Starring: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Elias Koteas, Marton Csokas, Taylor Geare, Claire Geare, Rachel G. Fox, Jane Alexander
This psychological thriller bears the scars of its troubled history. The opening scenes, in which Will Atenton (Craig), his wife Libby (Weisz) and their two daughters luxuriate in their New England home, are a testament to director Jim Sheridan’s improvisational methods. But production bosses felt that Sheridan’s loose-wristed approach was ill-suited to the film’s mystery plot, so they put together their own edit. The idyllic house, it transpires, was the site of a grisly triple-murder. As Will investigates these killings, he learns some disturbing home truths. How much remains of David Loucka’s screenplay is hard to say, but this cut is a well-acted but ramshackle mess. Nigel Floyd
Weekly box office: Dhs300,669 Weekly admissions: 9,288 Total box office: Dhs300,669 Total admissions: 9,288
6 One For The Money Director: Julie Anne Robinson Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds, Debra Monk, Nate Mooney, Adam Paul
Star Katherine Heigl rehashes The Bounty Hunter’s squabbling ex-lovers action-romance with this leaden, visually drab affair, in which a rookie bail-bonds agent with a perpetually gawked-at chest (Heigl) is tasked with tracking down her former flame (O’Mara), a cop wanted for murder. Flirty bickering is rampant but, courtesy of Heigl’s inert performance, there’s no heat or humour to the proceedings, just an avalanche of grating big-hair-and-bad-accent ‘New Joisey’ caricatures. Nick Schager
Weekly box office: Dhs709,059 Weekly admissions: 20,491 Total box office: Dhs709,059 Total admissions: 20,491
5 Chronicle Director: Josh Trank Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan, Ashley Hinshaw, Anna Wood
Filmed found-footage style, this sci-fi thriller follows a group of high-school guys who find themselves endowed with superpowers after making a strange discovery. What starts off as innocent fun and games soon escalates into chaos as things get out of hand.Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs793,212 Weekly admissions: 21,512 Total box office: Dhs793,212 Total admissions: 21,512
4 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Directed by: Brad Peyton Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis, Luis Guzmán, Anna Colwell, Michael Beasley
More adventures for teen Jules Verne fan Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in this sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. With basic dialogue and predictable plotting, most pleasures are visual (especially in 3D), though some CG creations are better than others. It’s a harmless family film with an old-fashioned spirit of adventure, but the writing doesn’t live up to the promise of the premise. Anna Smith
Weekly box office: Dhs1,219,513 Weekly admissions: 26,195 Total box office: Dhs3,588,988 Total admissions: 75,941
3 Man on a Ledge Director: Asger Leth Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Patrick Collins, Jamie Bell, Genesis Rodriguez, Afton Williamson
Ex-Avatar grunt Sam Worthington stars as a mystery man who positions himself on the business side of a skyscraper window. Dragged to the scene once the media circus rolls in, a police negotiator (Banks) has a hunch that he doesn’t actually plan to jump. If not, what’s he really doing up there?
Man on a Ledge is simultaneously a wrong-man thriller, a heist movie and a down-with-the-fat-cats crowd-pleaser. Yet trusting Worthington to anchor the human drama is a fatal mistake, and it’s only a matter of time before the film plummets.AA Dowd
Weekly box office: Dhs1,058,731 Weekly admissions: 28,732 Total box office: Dhs1,058,731 Total admissions: 28,732
2 The Grey Director: Joe Carnahan Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Nonso Anozie, Joe Anderson, Ben Bray, James Badge Dale
Liam Neeson’s shift into marquee action-man territory has at best resulted in fun junk like Taken, at worst in Eurotrash drivel like Unknown. With The Grey, he’s broken the slump: the film was developed for Bradley Cooper, but it’s hard to imagine his pretty face at the centre of this terse, solid survival thriller.
Neeson is Ottway, a hard-bitten hunter stranded at an oil outpost. When his plane back to civilisation crashes in the frozen wastes, Ottway must lead a ragtag band of survivors to safety. But surviving blizzards and scaling ravines is one thing, dealing with timber wolves quite another.
After the excesses of The A-Team, this is Carnahan stripping it back to basics. The action sequences thrill, the shocks are effective and the film has a streamlined, Hawksian narrative drive which carries it through the rough spots. Best of all, though, is Big Liam: sharp, surly and mean, he’s as close as we’ll get to a modern John Wayne. Who saw that coming? Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs1,154,138 Weekly admissions: 31,012 Total box office: Dhs1,154,138 Total admissions: 31,012
1 Omar Wa Salma 3 Director: Mohammad Samy Starring: Tamer Hosny, May Ezzedine
In the second sequel to the popular Egyptian comedy, husband and wife Omar and Salma learn that their daughters have been kidnapped by the Mafia in South Africa, before getting caught up in a series of adventures in the country.
Weekly box office: Dhs2,652,833 Weekly admissions: 75,124 Total box office: Dhs2,652,833 Total admissions:75,124