Which movie have film fans been flocking to this week?
Time Out Dubai Staff
10 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: Dhs200,079 Weekly admissions: 5,657 Total box office: Dhs999,976 Total admissions: 27,360
9 Coriolanus Director: Ralph Fiennes Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Ashraf Barhom
Long ranked as one of the least accessible entries in the Shakespearean canon, Coriolanus arrives on the big screen for the first time in this ferocious 21st-century interpretation, marking Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut.
While the play’s saga of political leadership at odds with the populace is set in Roman times, the film unfolds in a modern city still called Rome, but shot in Belgrade and drawing on the visual iconography of recent Balkan conflicts – all grey combat fatigues, suffering civilians and rolling satellite news. As always, when the Bard is transposed in such a way, the game is partly about how far the makers can push the modernity, yet the smartphone-shot assassinations and audience-baiting TV debates stay on the witty side of incongruous.
The key, though, is that the themes still feel relevant: Fiennes’s eponymous general is just the man to save the city from the Volscian assault force. Fiennes the performer attacks it with such vivid urgency we reluctantly forgo a certain emotional resonance. As a director, he knows when to keep it simple and let the actors rip. A committed and worthwhile celluloid version of a play so few of us really know. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs238,889 Weekly admissions: 7,344 Total box office: Dhs238,889 Total admissions: 7,344
8 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Director: George Lucas Stars: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd
The Phantom Menace is generally regarded as the nadir of the Star Wars saga, and rightly so, with its dull narrative about trade and taxation, its spotty characterisation and wildly annoying lead performance by Jake Lloyd. Even the title is rubbish – and we haven’t mentioned the walking CGI travesty that is Jar Jar Binks.
That said, there are two good reasons to see this 3D-enhanced version of Lucas’s low point: the furiously intense pod race sequence will look completely amazing in three dimensions, and the closing three-way lightsabre battle, ground war and spaceship dogfight will really pop. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs375,820 Weekly admissions: 7,583 Total box office: Dhs375,820 Total admissions: 7,583
7 The Iron Lady Director: Phyllida Lloyd Stars: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant, Iain Glen, Alexandra Roach, Olivia Colman, Harry Lloyd
The calculation is fairly obvious: you’re doing a film about Margaret Thatcher, a huge figure, so you need an actress who can deliver on that scale. The imperious Meryl Streep seems like an apt choice. When she talks, men listen, and she has always excelled at portraying women who know their own worth. Who better, then, to take on Britain’s most divisive post-war prime minister, a woman who remodelled the political landscape and was both lionised and reviled for doing so?
Much as you can argue the case for Streep, it’s a casting decision that brings its own problems. We expect a biopic of Maggie, but what we get is a showcase for Streep’s impersonation of her. It’s an impersonation startling in its bravura technique (and doubtless bound for awards season garlands), yet it essentially boils down to Streep doing another of her amazing turns. Yes, there’s some acting to admire here, and you have to give the whole production credit for having the balls to take this on in the first place, yet the lack of a clear controlling vision deprives the drama of genuine cumulative impact.
Streep’s Mrs T is at various times an ambitious Tory firebrand, a leader who makes tough decisions, an aloof egomaniac, a doddery old dear. The film is often for, sometimes against, ultimately a bit wishy-washy. Certainly, it’s worth seeing and arguing over, but our personal take on Thatcher remains unchanged, Streep’s virtuoso ministrations notwithstanding. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs288,063 Weekly admissions: 8,204 Total box office: Dhs288,063 Total admissions: 8,204
6 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: Dhs390,409 Weekly admissions: 11,548 Total box office: Dhs1,449,140 Total admissions: 40,280
5 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: Dhs553,438 Weekly admissions: 12,126 Total box office: Dhs4,142,246 Total admissions: 88,067
4 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: Dhs506,305 Weekly admissions: 13,806 Total box office: Dhs1,660,443 Total admissions: 44,818
3 The Vow Director: Michael Sucsy Stars: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange, Jessica McNamee, Wendy Crewson, Tatiana Maslany, Lucas Bryant
Credit the appealingly paired McAdams and Tatum for making this Valentine’s hokum watchable. They’re photographed like gods descended to earth and have a sweetly tentative chemistry that is unfortunately overwhelmed by a number of ridiculously half-baked story complications. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs875,800 Weekly admissions: 23,953 Total box office: Dhs857,800 Total admissions: 23,953
2 Omar Wa Salma 3 (Arabic) 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: Dhs1,173,170 Weekly admissions: 35,015 Total box office: Dhs3,826,003 Total admissions: 110,139
1 Safe House Director: Daniel Espinosa Stars: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard, Brendan Gleeson
Daniel Espinosa’s slick, hacky thriller alternates between hyperactive skulduggery and moody men-on-a-mission existentialism. A going-through-the-motions Washington acts the conveniently prescient Zen master to Reynolds’s colourlessly strapping tenderfoot. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs2,208,181 Weekly admissions: 56,370 Total box office: Dhs2,208,181 Total admissions: 56,370