See if you can guess this week's top movie. Didn't think so ...
Time Out Dubai staff
The Son of No One Director: Dito Montiel Stars: Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, James Ransone, Ray Liotta, Katie Holmes, Ursula Parker, Brian Gilbert, Tracy Morgan
Jonathan White (Tatum, who’s put on some Method pudge) is a dour member of New York’s Finest with some not-so-nice secrets. Flashbacks to his tenement-residing childhood reveal a murderous event that still haunts him. It involves a loaded gun, a strung-out drug addict and a sexually abused best bud who grows up into a shell-shocked Tracy Morgan. Now it’s 2002, the city is reeling from 9/11, and White’s past is threatening to catch up with him thanks to some anonymous letters sent to Juliette Binoche’s intrepid Queens reporter. What’s a conflicted copper to do?
Even the presence of heavy hitters such as Al Pacino can’t bolster Dito Montiel’s lurid and bathetic policier. The camera always seems to be in the wrong place, and the editing is frenetic and counterintuitive. By the time The Son of No One reaches its wannabe-tragic finale, you’d like nothing more than to kick this fatherless child to the curb. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs175,226 Weekly admissions: 3,596 Total box office: Dhs953,616 Total admissions: 25,161
Dr. Seuss The Lorax Director: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Betty White, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Nasim Pedrad
Dr Seuss’s environmental fable gets a suitably whimsical-looking treatment in this animation from Despicable Me director Chris Renaud. Zac Efron voices Ted, a boy living in a fantastical world who goes in search of a tree. In the book, these colourful trees are used to make garments and are thus felled, causing a food shortage and environmental lessons all round. Ed Helms voices the story-telling Once-ler, while Danny DeVito is The Lorax, a pint-sized harbinger of environmental doom. It’s all done in a fairly cheerful fashion, mind you, judging by the perky trailer. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs226,634 Weekly admissions: 5,849 Total box office: Dhs3,951,736 Total admissions: 90,788
The Awakening Director: Nick Murphy Stars: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Lucy Cohu, John Shrapnel, Diana Kent, Richard Durden, Alfie Field
There is more than a whiff of stuffy, Downton Abbey-style costume drama about Nick Murphy’s old-fashioned ghost story. It’s 1921 and England is reeling from the lives taken by World War I and a subsequent flu epidemic. Florence Cathcart (Hall), an obsessive debunker of those spiritualists who exploit bereaved relatives by staging fake seances, is invited to an isolated boarding school by schoolmaster Robert Mallory (West). A boy has died in mysterious circumstances, and several frightened pupils claim to have seen a ghostly child at night.
The storyline starts well, taking care to establish characters and events from their past that continue to ‘haunt’ them. However, when it is revealed that Florence was summoned at the behest of the school’s solicitous matron, the script (by Murphy and Stephen Volk) shifts its focus, and our suspension of disbelief immediately goes Awol. A ridiculous revelation undercuts all good sense, as fierce rationality gives way to absurd contrivance and hysteria. Nigel Floyd
Weekly box office: Dhs353,868 Weekly admissions: 10,158 Total box office: Dhs353,868 Total admissions: 10,158
Flypaper Director: Rob Minkoff Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd, Tim Blake Nelson, Mekhi Phifer, Matt Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, John Ventimiglia
What’s worse than finding yourself inside a bank during a daring daytime heist? How about being caught in the crossfire of two competing crews of robbers, who have coincidentally scheduled their gigs at the same location on the same day?
Rob Minkoff’s crime-comedy starts off promising, but it isn’t long before the film’s caricatured bad-guy shtick starts to wear gossamer thin, and an overabundance of ‘clever’ twists – no one is [yawn] who they seem to be! – begins to sap whatever little goodwill has been built up. You’ll be the one who ends up feeling ripped off. David Fear
Weekly box office: Dhs363,263 Weekly admissions: 10,266 Total box office: Dhs363,263 Total admissions: 10,266
A Thousand Words Director: Brian Robbins Stars: Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis, Kerry Washington, Emanuel Ragsdale, Jill Basey, Greg Collins, Robert LeQuang, Michael G. Wilkinson, Lyndsey Nelson
Ageing funnyman Eddie Murphy plays a motormouthed literary agent who gets a crash course in holding his tongue after a mystical Bodhi tree sprouts in his backyard. Every word he speaks (or writes) costs him a leaf; if all the leaves fall, he croaks. The high concept breeds lowbrow gags – our hero ingests herbicides (don’t ask) and conducts conference calls using talking toys – but before this star vehicle devolves into a soggy New Age sermon, Murphy’s manic pantomiming offers a few faint flickers of the mad comic genius from 1987’s Raw. His best shot at reviving those glory days would be to drop hack director Brian Robbins (Norbit) like a superfluous sentence. A Thousand Words? We have one – meh. AA Dowd
Weekly box office: Dhs424,533 Weekly admissions: 11,878 Total box office: Dhs3,624,145 Total admissions: 99,657
The Pirates! Band of Misfits Director: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt Stars: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven
Following the mildly disappointing Wallace and Gromit movie, rat-com Flushed Away and the sweet but slight Arthur Christmas, a case could have been made that Aardman Animation was losing its mojo. Well, said spark is back in this deliriously entertaining tale of a pirate crew and their efforts to become scientific boffins.
Hugh Grant voices The Pirate Captain, whose attempts to become Pirate of the Year are thwarted because, well, he’s not very good. But when kidnapped naturalist Charles Darwin points out that the Captain’s parrot is in fact the last living dodo, the merry crew set sail for London to present their find to the Royal Society.
Movies such as the Shrek series have largely devalued the idea of a film aimed at both kids and parents, but The Pirates! gets the balance spot on. Kids will be enthralled by the slapstick and yo-ho-ho-ing, while the olds will get a kick out of the intricate visual detail, sparkling wit and wild historical inaccuracies: find us another movie in which Jane Austen chucks a mug at the Elephant Man. Glorious. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs935,100 Weekly admissions: 19,969 Total box office: Dhs935,100 Total admissions: 19,969
Titanic 3D Director: James Cameron Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
The film you hate to love returns in a refurbished 3D print. Mind you, we can’t think why anyone would wish to convert James Cameron’s soppy, sloppy but oddly likeable aquatic love story to this irritating format, but then again, the inherently darker and blurrier characteristics of the 3D medium might just smooth over the blemishes of the film’s truly dodgy CGI. Granted, it was 1997 when it was first released, but even then we all thought the ship looked like a cartoon. A re-viewing of the current 2D trailer for the first time in aeons confirms our original thoughts. Still, where there’s muck… TO
Weekly box office: Dhs1,110,190 Weekly admissions: 21,483 Total box office: Dhs1,110,190 Total admissions: 21,483
The Hunger Games Director: Gary Ross Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Willow Shields, Elizabeth Banks
The perils of allowing a successful author to adapt their own work for the screen are demonstrated once again in this absorbing but cluttered take on Suzanne Collins’s post-apocalyptic teen epic. This is a gripping, impressively mounted action movie – but its adherence to finicky details means there’s not enough time to fully explore Collins’s complex world.
Jennifer Lawrence excels as Katniss, a teen girl forced to take part in the televised Hunger Games, in which children from each of 12 districts fight to the death in tribute to the ruling Capitol. The central concept may be derivative, but as in the book, there are enough original ideas to make it feel fresh and involving.
But The Hunger Games is an oddly muted film. Director Gary Ross’s decision to avoid any sense of uplift or triumphalism may be appropriate for a story about children killing one another, but it leaves the film feeling a little one-note in its bleakness, which may harm its chances at the multiplex. This is a solid take on the material, but it could have done with a little less narrative incident and a little more cinematic sparkle. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs954,391 Weekly admissions: 24,744 Total box office: Dhs5,498,746 Total admissions: 143,872
Wrath of the Titans Director: Jonathan Liebesman Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, John Bell
Louis Leterrier’s 2010 Clash of the Titans remake was a pinnacle in will-this-do multiplex joylessness. This time, in a turn of events more surprising than the script, the results are rather good. The prospect of further additions to this franchise no longer sounds like divine punishment. Guy Lodge
Weekly box office: Dhs1,214,549 Weekly admissions: 27,625 Total box office: Dhs5,402,880 Total admissions: 116,054
The Cold Light of Day Director: Mabrouk El Mechri Stars: Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Jim Piddock, Joseph Mawle, Caroline Goodall, Rafi Gavron, Óscar Jaenada
Superman-to-be Henry Cavill stars in this action thriller about a man trying to save his kidnapped family, snatched while on holiday in Spain. He uncovers a conspiracy and must go on the run, forced to work against the clock. Bruce Willis – ever one to smell a kidnap plot – appears as Cavill’s father, while Weaver also has a key role. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,419,208 Weekly admissions: 37,053 Total box office: Dhs1,419,208 Total admissions: 37,053