Summer blockbusters that have you flocking to theatres
Time Out Dubai staff
10 The Avengers Director: Joss Whedon Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner
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: Dhs147,022 Weekly admissions: 4,231 Total box office: Dhs24,280,132 Total admissions: 547,572
9 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: Dhs252,032 Weekly admissions: 6,818 Total box office: Dhs8,691,973 Total admissions: 228,954
8 Graystone Director: Sean Stone Stars: Oliver Stone, Alexander Wraith and Sean Stone
What's sad is that Sean Stone didn't bother trying to come up with an idea worthy of daddy Oliver's name. Instead he 'broke into' an old psychiatric hospital and filmed himself and some mates getting freaked out. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs311,229 Weekly admissions: 8,741 Total box office: Dhs311,229 Total admissions: 8,741
7 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: Dhs655,366 Weekly admissions: 16,095 Total box office: Dhs14,281,926 Total admissions: 335,436
6 Bol Bachchan Director: Rohit Shetty Stars: Ajay Devgn, Asin and Abhishek Bachchan
Director Rohit Shetty returns with yet another action-packed comedy and the result is more laughs and even more agonising loud SFX-laden action sequences. All the familiar tropes from Shetty’s popular Golmaal series are here: fights with numerous flying and rolling bodies and cars, dialogues filled with puns, an ensemble cast and a screenplay so crammed with gags that the story takes a back seat. This time around, Shetty’s tried-and-tested formula has a bunch of new faces including Abhishek Bachchan.
Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) arrives in Ranakpur with his sister, Sania (Asin), and immediately lands himself in a mess when he hides his Muslim identity from his stern boss, Prithviraj (Ajay Devgn). Soon he’s spinning a whole web of lies with the help of his friend, Ravi (Krishna Abhishekh), cooking up a new mother (Archana Puran Singh) and a lookalike step-brother – Bachchan himself as a gay kathak dance teacher (original indeed). To give the ladies something to do, Prithviraj’s ex bears an uncanny resemblance to Sania, while Prithviraj’s sister Radhika (Prachi Desai) romances Abbas. The game of deception goes on until Shetty and his dialogue writers Farhad-Sajid run out of jokes.
Bol Bachchan is less concerned with weighty issues of secularism and more engrossed in tickling the funny bone at all costs. This is a Shetty film so the audiences will figure out the conclusion by the halfway mark but may well stay on to listen to the jokes, the best of which are allotted to Devgn, whose character spouts inane English translations of Hindi phrases. Suhani Singh
Weekly box office: Dhs737,335 Weekly admissions: 22,037 Total box office: Dhs3,259,207 Total admissions: 99,519
5 Game Over (Arabic) Director: Ahmed Badry Stars: Yousra, Iman El Sayed, May Ezz Eldin, Mohamed Nour
Disappointing Egyptian movie starring Yosra and Mai Ezdeen. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs836,296 Weekly admissions: 23,617 Total box office: Dhs836,296 Total admissions: 23,617
4 Red Lights Director: Rodrigo Cortés Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro and Cillian Murphy
A dollop of The X Files, a dash of The Sixth Sense and a whole lot of blah come together in Rodrigo Cortés’s supernatural suspense thriller. Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy play a pair of academic debunkers of paranormal hokum. Their routine is upended by the public comeback of a sinister Uri Geller-style medium (De Niro): cue electrical fires, creepy homeless people and dead birds.
Red Lights musters a few moments of unease but never really kicks into gear: it’s as lame as a thrill ride and inane as a wannabe critique of rational enquiry.
Cortés (Buried) writes, directs, produces and edits without showing much flair for any of them. His dreadful script in particular leaves the weirdly good cast stranded: Murphy is shouty, De Niro somnolent, Weaver valiant; Toby Jones, Joely Richardson and Elizabeth Olsen are similarly wasted. The clue’s in the title: don’t go. Ben Walters
Weekly box office: Dhs935,476 Weekly admissions: 24,577 Total box office: Dhs935,476 Total admissions: 24,577
3 Think Like a Man Director: Tim Story Stars: Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Jerry Ferrara, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Jenkins, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Gabrielle Union
When a quartet of women get their mitts on comedian-turned-author Steve Harvey’s best-seller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, they set out to put the book’s man-wrangling rules to practice in their respective relationships. Mya (Good) forces her new player beau (Malco) to wait for intimacy; Kristen (Union) makes her manchild boyfriend (Entourage’s Ferrara) get his act together; Candace (Hall) tries to wrest Michael (Jenkins) from his mother’s clutches; and Lauren (Henson) attempts to pressure her dude (Ealy) into a higher tax bracket. Don’t reach for the sick bag yet. These men eventually realise that they’re being manipulated, so they game the ladies right back – which naturally blows up in their faces. This mega-rom-com may feature a minor-celeb-studded ensemble cast, but there’s no mistaking its true star: Harvey’s real-life 2009 dating-advice tome. But for what essentially amounts to a feature length advertisement, Think Like a Man is surprisingly entertaining, thanks to the cast’s collective chemistry and the film’s balance of appealing elements for both sides of the gender divide. In the midst of all the candlelit dinners and happy endings, you almost miss the fact that the Gospel of Harvey offers a depressingly businesslike view of love. It’s fitting; at heart this movie is all about transactions, both romantic and commercial. Jenna Scherer
Weekly box office: Dhs986,313 Weekly admissions: 25,239 Total box office: Dhs986,313 Total admissions: 25,239
2 Ice Age: Continental Drift Director: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier Stars: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Nick Frost, Queen Latifah
Blue Sky Studios’ series of family-friendly cartoons about the adventures of three prehistoric chums – Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth and Diego the sabre-tooth tiger – gears up for a fourth instalment. Its predecessor, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, is currently the fourth highest-grossing animated film of all time, making this follow-up wholly inevitable. This time, the movie is setting out to sea, as the continents begin to shift and our heroes are set adrift on a floating iceberg, where they encounter pirates, sea monsters and discover a new country. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,542,076 Weekly admissions: 38,592 Total box office: Dhs10,315,365 Total admissions: 242,413
1 The Amazing Spider-Man Director: Marc Webb Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan, Campbell Scott
It’s web 2.0. Five years since Sam Raimi hung up his ‘I Love NY’ cap and Tobey Maguire ditched the Spandex in Spider-Man 3, it’s the turn of director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and British actor Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) to turn back the Spidey-clock and start again. Memories are short in Hollywood, and generations are measured in dog years.
This version of the Marvel Comics staple is an origin tale (dead dad, classroom bullying, spider-bite) which is low on psychological trauma and high on teen woes. Again we learn how Peter Parker (Garfield) lost his parents and gained a mask. But the evolution into a swinging city vigilante is framed by recognisable adolescent awkwardness and romantic troubles involving his schoolmate and new girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Stone), daughter of the city’s chief of police (Denis Leary). Garfield is more robust and charming than Maguire, and he forms a pleasing Brit-acting axis with Rhys Ifans, who plays his adversary Dr Curt Connors, later The Lizard.
Webb and the film’s writers have done a smart job of making a snappy blockbuster with few pretensions: The Amazing Spider-Man is light on its feet and feels both intimate and expansive, smoothly making the transition from hanging out in school corridors to hanging off the sides of buildings. Webb offers no radical rethink about how to craft a comic-book movie, but he delivers a enjoyable rush over a patchwork of genres – romance, action, sci-fi, horror and comedy – while avoiding bumps at the joins. The action sequences are gripping and have a bouncy, parkour-style giddiness to them. Garfield gets the best lines and is a comic, often slapstick, presence for much of the movie as he learns how to cope with his new powers.
Spidey is the ultimate New York superhero, and this is full of nods to the city’s movie heritage. There’s a touch of Woody Allen to some of Garfield’s twitchy scenes, while King Kong looms over Spidey’s skyscraper-top encounter with The Lizard. There’s even a scene where Parker mopes down the street with his shoulders hanging low like De Niro in Taxi Driver. This lone gun with a red sock over his head also feels an urge to clean up the streets – but his New York is mostly benign, a place where crane drivers and cops wave him on his way and the skyline sparkles in approval. Soft, yes, but also satisfying. Dave Calhoun
Weekly box office: Dhs4,049,031 Weekly admissions: 88,413 Total box office: Dhs14,564,899 Total admissions: 318,539