Which colourful cartoon characters are top of the charts?
Time Out Dubai staff
10 21 Jump Street Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis, Dax Flame, Chris Parnell
The ’80s TV show that made Johnny Depp famous may not be an obvious choice for a big-screen follow-up, but casting Channing Tatum opposite Jonah Hill is a no-brainer. Tatum is Jenko, a jock-turned-cop who reluctantly teams up with his high-school contemporary, brainy misfit Schmidt (Hill). Together, they might just last it out in the LAPD – that’s if they can stop bungling arrests.
One such blunder lands them at 21 Jump Street, the resurrected ’80s programme that places puppy-faced cops undercover in high school. Posing as brothers, Jenko and Schmidt return to the halls. But it turns out times have changed. To Jenko’s horror, it’s now cool to be eco-friendly and wear your backpack with both straps. Added to that, the high-school pecking order puts Schmidt in with the popular kids and jock Jenko with the nerds.
It’s a shame that 21 Jump Street falls down both on plot and action – the car chases are a real bore. Save a cameo from a certain A-lister, the third act is vastly inferior. But thanks to charming leads and a smattering of laughs, this is still worth a punt for fans of buddy comedies. Anna Smith
Weekly box office: Dhs176,271 Weekly admissions: 4,709 Total box office: Dhs1,729,829 Total admissions: 45,869
9 El-Maslaha Director: Sandra Nashaat Stars: Ahmed el-Sakka, Ahmed Ezz and Zeina
Egyptian action movie tells the story of a hard-nosed police officer who goes after a dangerous-drug dealer. Stars Ahmed El Sakka, Ahmad Ezz, Hanan Turk, Kinda Alouch, Zeina, Salah Abdallah and Ahmad Al Saadani, written by Wael Abdallah and directed by Sandra Nash’at. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs214,760 Weekly admissions: 6,088 Total box office: Dhs2,342,032 Total admissions: 65,848
8 Iron Sky Director: Timo Vuorensola Stars: Julia Dietze, Peta Sergeant, Kym Jackson, Udo Kier, Stephanie Paul, Christopher Kirby, Götz Otto, Monika Gossmann, Yuki Iwamoto, Nick Dong-Sik
It should be a crime to waste a great idea. The concept behind this low-budget actioner – in 1945, a band of Nazi officers fled Germany to build a base on the moon – should have made for OTT bad-taste thrills. In the hands of a director who understands satire it could have been fun. But overseen by a bunch of Finnish fanboys whose first feature was unfunny sci-fi flick Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, it becomes a crude slapstick romp.
When the new US president dispatches astronauts to the dark side of the moon, they’re astonished to discover a swastika-shaped mining colony. These ‘Mondnazis’, led by Fuhrer Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Udo Kier), are putting the finishing touches to a 60-year project: to launch the Battleship Götterdämmerung and retake planet Earth.
The problem is the script, which feels at best like an irritatingly self-aware B-movie pastiche. The kind of satire at work here – essentially, comparing the might of America to that of the Third Reich – is best when underplayed. Instead, Iron Sky trades in crass slapstick, proving that even the silliest idea needs a smart mind behind it. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs265,710 Weekly admissions: 7,170 Total box office: Dhs265,710 Total admissions: 7,170
7 The Avengers Director: Joss Whedon Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner
It’s official: spring 2012 will forever be known as Joss Whedon season. Not content with co-writing and producing the best film of the year so far, the berserk horror romp The Cabin in the Woods, he’s now scripted and directed the season’s biggest. And if The Avengers doesn’t feel quite as Whedon-esque as Cabin, it retains enough of his ff-kilter wit and attention to character to set it high above your average multiplex crowd-pleaser.
For those unfamiliar with the Marvel canon, the Avengers comics unite superheroes from across the company’s roster who are together tasked with taking on Loki, who plans to flood the world with evil skeleton monsters from outer space. It’s not rare to see a blockbuster skimp on plot, but that tendency is taken to new extremes here: the story is just a bare frame on which Whedon hangs his characters and action sequences. But that – and a few dodgy CGI effects – is the only major fault. This is as close as cinema gets to a fairground ride: it’s shiny, noisy and exhilarating. Whedon directs with a sledgehammer, bashing the audience, with action piled upon action.
The Avengers may not be the Joss Whedon movie everyone remembers in 2012, but it does offer this hugely talented writer-director the opportunity (and the budget) to show what he’s capable of. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs324,865 Weekly admissions: 8,378 Total box office: Dhs23,489,095 Total admissions: 526,932
6 Lockout Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger Stars: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Jacky Ido, Tim Plester
The IMDB entry for Lockout credits Luc Besson as producer, co-screenwriter and ‘original idea’ – but rarely have those words been so wrongly applied. It’s the futuristic tale of a muscular, tough-talking convict who is offered parole if he busts the US president’s attractive, politically savvy daughter out of a maximum-security prison overrun by psychopaths and those guilty of crimes against acting. Sound familiar?
But if Lockout isn’t a patch on the countless other ’80s and ’90s action movies it references, there’s still fun to be had with this messy, trashy, frequently idiotic throwback. Yet first-time feature directors James Mather and Stephen St Leger have a lot to learn. Pacing and tone are all over the place, while tension is repeatedly squandered in favour of another sweaty punch-up.
The resulting movie is sporadically enjoyable and, more often than not, infuriating. But for fans of sci-fi schlock, there are plenty of memorable moments to justify the ticket price. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs553,578 Weekly admissions: 15,730 Total box office: Dhs1,736,432 Total admissions: 50,315
5 Men in Black III Director: Barry Sonnenfeld Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mike Colter, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Chernus
It’s a truism that sometimes you enjoy okay-ish movies more than you expected, particularly if you were expecting them to be rubbish. Here’s a case in point. Fifteen years since the jaunty original, a decade since its diabolical cash-in sequel: ‘Men in Black 3’ – is anyone really bothered?
So, it’s more of the same smartly designed, slightly whimsical secret-agent alien-blasting nonsense, this time in 3D. What does bring a smile to the face, however, is Will Smith back on screen after a four-year break, not trying so hard to be serious or different, and seemingly happy to gambol his way through some entertaining fluff. As for his black-suited cohort, Tommy Lee Jones is now of pensionable age and looks like he’s here on highly paid sufferance. So the movie comes up with a time-travel plot whereby Smith flits back to 1969 to save his cranky partner from a fate worse than death at the hands of visiting extraterrestrial psycho Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). Oh, and save the world while he’s at it.
Josh Brolin may be nobody’s idea of a movie star, but he gives a witty, likeable and thought-through performance as the younger, pre-grumpy Tommy Lee, as we take a roundabout route to exploring the Smith & Jones chemistry that made the first movie more than just an effects extravaganza. Needless to say, there are plenty of wibbly-wobbly aliens, and they’re fine, though you can also sense Sonnenfeld really working the 3D with lots of playful perspectives evidently conceived for the format. Not much for Emma Thompson to do as the agency boss, but otherwise this freshens up the formula to amiable effect. I’m still not convinced anyone really needs it, but this is a respectable effort in the circumstances. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs812,933 Weekly admissions: 17,724 Total box office: Dhs9,917,256 Total admissions: 218,689
4 Soldiers of Fortune Director: Maksim Korostyshevsky Stars: Jon Barton, Sean Bean, Elena Beuca, Charlie Bewley, James Cromwell, Ryan Donowho, Colm Meaney
Taking its name literally, Soldiers of Fortune is about a group of rich boys who get bored of paintball, so decide to use their wads of cash to buy them the ultimate thrill – playing soldiers amid real-life military adventures. We’re warned things don’t go according to plan. Unknown director Maksim Korostyshevsky shipped a motley crew to the Ukraine countryside to film this bargain-basement flick, with turns from former US Marine Jon Barton, retired Bond villain Sean Bean, old man for hire James Cromwell and a fallen-on-hard-times Christian Slater. We’re not too surprised to find the film premieres in the Middle East, with a Western release yet to be confirmed.
Weekly box office: Dhs672,120 Weekly admissions: 18,602 Total box office: Dhs672,120 Total admissions: 18,602
3 Prometheus Director: Ridley Scott Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall
After all the hype, the leaked scripts, the rumours – is it an Alien prequel? Ridley says no, everyone else says yes. Yet Prometheus turns out to be… well, just another monsters-in-space movie. That’s not the whole story, of course – as sci-fi horror movies go, this is a pretty epic example. But it’s far from the game-changer some had hoped for.
It’s the year 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) stumble across a pictogram hidden in a cave. Matching it with etchings found across the globe, they conclude that the drawings constitute a star map. And when a dying multi-billionaire (Pearce) agrees to fund a mission, they head out into the cosmos aboard the starship Prometheus to find answers to the questions of life, the universe and everything. What they find is, of course, far slimier and less friendly.
There’s plenty to recommend in Prometheus: the photography is pleasingly crisp and the design is stunning. But its flaws are impossible to ignore. The script feels flat – a few pleasing nods to the original movies aside, the dialogue is lazy, while the plot, though crammed with striking concepts, simply fails to coalesce.
Perhaps more than any other film, Prometheus is reminiscent of Chris Nolan’s Inception: it’s slick, gorgeously designed and scattered with intriguing concepts. But there’s no real power behind it. It will make for a perfectly entertaining night at the movies – but we were promised so much more. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs904,360 Weekly admissions: 20,623 Total box office: Dhs3,205,113 Total admissions: 66,022
2 Snow White and the Huntsman Director: Rupert Sanders Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost
The casting of this Snow White story – about the fair maiden and the man ordered to kill her – was the subject of fierce rumours: the role of the huntsman was linked to Viggo Mortensen and Hugh Jackman before Thor’s Chris Hemsworth accepted. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,304,220 Weekly admissions: 34,576 Total box office: Dhs6,804,534 Total admissions: 178,709
1 Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon Stars: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen
The first two Madagascar flicks earned more than Dhs3 billion, so it’s no surprise that the creators of the third instalment have pulled out all the stops on this one, sending Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman on an adventure that spans three continents in eye-popping, neon-bright 3D. While it’s all very impressive, the story zips and zings so quickly from one clever set piece to the next – it’s a heist flick set in Monte Carlo! No wait, it’s a psychedelic circus romance! – that it’s impossible, especially for kids, to catch all the nuances and jokes. And unfortunately, the message of discovering yourself on life’s journey gets lost in the hubbub. Marisa Cohen
Weekly box office: Dhs6,939,264 Weekly admissions: 155,050 Total box office: Dhs6,939,264 Total admissions: 155,050