10 The Expendables 2 Director: Simon West Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Liam Hemsworth, Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews
Instead of a pension, the 66-year-old Sylvester Stallone has discovered a better way to reward the action-film icons of yesteryear: give them a franchise! The sequel gets even closer to his steroidal ’80s-movie ideal than the original 2010 commando-genre reboot, as Stallone heads a team of mercenaries that includes shoot-’em-up stars of the past (Dolph Lundgren), present (Jason Statham) and possibly future (Liam Hemsworth). Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a villainous character named Vilain, a mumbling gang leader out to steal six tons of plutonium. Only the crew known as the Expendables, with a geriatric assist from happy-to-be-there heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris, can stop him. These vein popping he-men proceed to blast away evildoers with howitzer-level firepower, bad puns and stare-downs – in short, the holy trinity of Reagan-era cheese. Thankfully, The Expendables 2 also inherits the physicality of that bygone decade’s fight scenes, as director Simon West stages battles with clarity and blunt impact. The highlight is a bruising pas de deux between Statham and direct-to-video star Scott Adkins, a sequence that channels yesteryear’s testosteronised cinema instead of exhuming it. You can only hope the inevitable third entry will use that as a model. R. Emmet Sweeney (Time Out New York)
Weekly box office: Dhs224,896 Weekly admissions: 6,410 Total box office: Dhs8,918,452 Total admissions: 242,335
9 The Dark Knight Rises Director: Christopher Nolan Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
It’s been a summer of expectations. There was The Avengers, which ticked all the right boxes and made a truckload of dosh, and Prometheus, which disappointed most but still managed to ring a few tills. Now here comes the biggie: can Christopher Nolan see out his Bat trilogy in style? Can he make that so-far-elusive five-star superhero movie, or at least live up to the eye-popping standard he set with 2008’s The Dark Knight?
The answers are yes, no, and mostly. As its running time suggests (165 minutes!), The Dark Knight Rises is a sprawling, epic feast of a movie, stuffed to the gills with side characters, subplots and diversions. Yet there’s nothing here to match the intensity of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and the movie feels weaker for it.
We’re reintroduced to Bruce Wayne, aka Batman (Bale), living as a recluse, holed up in the east wing of Wayne Manor. But when marauding, mask-wearing psycho Bane (Hardy) muscles in with the intention of kick-starting a popular revolution, Bruce must don the cape and cowl once again. There’s also Anne Hathaway as a slinky, burgling Catwoman and lots of confusing financial shenanigans with the shareholders of Wayne Enterprises.
But when the Bat flies, such considerations go out the window. Nolan creates a grand, dirty, engrossing world, and his action sequences just hum. Predictable perhaps, but as our heroes swoop off into the sunset, we realise we’ve been witness to something truly impressive: a seven-year cinematic adventure that combined the epic and the personal in dizzying, inventive, sometimes perplexing, often enthralling, always imaginative ways. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs265,292 Weekly admissions: 6,770 Total box office: Dhs13,476,847 Total admissions: 328,988
8 Teta Rahiba Director: Sameh Abdel Aziz Stars: Mohammad Hindi, Emme Samir Ghanem
Translates as My Horrible Grandma, this Arabic movie is a story about young man’s trials with his controlling grandmother. Stars Mohamed Heneidy, Amy Sameer Ghanem, and Samiha Ayoub, is written by Youssef Moaty, and is directed by Sameh Abdel Aziz. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs263,175 Weekly admissions: 7,491 Total box office: Dhs1,148,570 Total admissions: 32,847
7 Finding Nemo 3D Director: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton, Stephen Root
A 3D re-release of Pixar’s 2003 smash, a sentimental fable that surely wouldn’t stand up on dry land, but plays like a dream in its marine milieu. Marlin (voiced by Brooks) is an over-protective parent and a neurotic, self-absorbed widower who’s terrified of letting young Nemo out of sight. No sooner has small fry started school than he gets himself hooked and whisked off to a dentist’s fish tank in Sydney. It may be overlong, a bit wet and quite probably sexist, but even coasting, Pixar’s a sure thing. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs426,259 Weekly admissions: 8,880 Total box office: Dhs426,259 Total admissions: 8,880
6 Brake Director: Gabe Torres Stars: Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh, JR Bourne, Tom Berenger, Kali Rocha, King Orba, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Sammy Sheik, Kent Shocknek
A sure sign that the well of ideas has reached the watery muck at the bottom: multiple movies whose protagonists spend the entire running time inside a box. Where Ryan Reynolds was clapped in a pine box for Buried, this film’s star, Stephen Dorff, awakes in the trunk of a car – or rather, he comes to in a Plexiglas container placed within said trunk, presumably to seal in freshness.
Primarily a TV director, Gabe Torres lacks the chops to delineate Dorff’s claustrophobic quarters, and the actor spends most of the movie confusing tough-guy stoicism with simple inertness, despite the occasional Jack Bauer-style yell. His desire for escape is understandable, trapped as he is in a thesis-short gimmick padded to feature length and capped by a risibly contrived twist. Sam Adams
Weekly box office: Dhs456,396 Weekly admissions: 12,584 Total box office: Dhs456,396 Total admissions: 12,584
5 The Bourne Legacy Director: Tony Gilroy Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Donna Murphy, Michael Chernus
No offence to Matt Damon, whose sinewy physicality provides its own kind of charisma, but do action heroes come any duller than amnesia-stricken supersoldier Jason Bourne? The more this humourless cipher learned about his mysterious past, over the course of three brisk, mechanically efficient chase pictures, the less interesting he became. So it’s a relief, not a liability, that the titular operative makes only a photographic cameo in The Bourne Legacy, which passes the torch to a new CIA lab rat gone rogue.
Introduced in the middle of Alaskan training, chemically enhanced field agent Aaron Cross immediately registers as a more vulnerable and sympathetic protagonist than his predecessor. Much of that has to do with the fact that he’s played by Hurt Locker headliner – and the Mission: Impossible franchise’s new leading man – Jeremy Renner, who lends a human heartbeat to a franchise that has long trafficked in coldly impersonal spy games.
After a crowded first act, partially set during the events of 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum and featuring enough global setting changes to give audiences jet lag, Cross discovers he’s a marked man. Going on the run from his makers, he eventually joins forces with a government scientist (Weisz) also on the execution list.
Director and series screenwriter Tony Gilroy makes these familiar plot points feel fresh again, staging the requisite set pieces – rooftop escape, metropolitan car chase – with a new-found clarity that’s a long way from the handheld incoherence of Paul Greengrass’s Bourne films. A too-abrupt ending lays the groundwork for more Bourne adventures, but that’s not such a depressing proposition, if we can expect future sequels to be as satisfying as this one. AA Dowd
Weekly box office: Dhs555,560 Weekly admissions: 14,119 Total box office: Dhs 5,115,933 Total admissions: 130,419
4 Stolen Director: Simon West Stars: Nicolas Cage, Malin Akerman, Josh Lucas
Will (Cage) is a con fresh out the clink who goes straight and burns thousands of dollars of dirty loot. But his old partner is less than happy, and kidnaps Will’s teenage daughter in a bid to get the money back. Our reformed hero has 12 hours to steal ten big ones before you-know-what, fighting against the law and the mob in pursuit of the greater good. Directed by Simon West (Con Air, The Expendables 2), you’re in safe hands. No alarms. No surprises. But plenty of silly action thrills. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs509,715 Weekly admissions: 14,335 Total box office: Dhs2,362,530 Total admissions: 61,081
3 ParaNorman Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tucker Albrizzi, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch
Soulfully voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Road), 11-year-old Norman sees dead people, though most of them are as friendly as Casper. His deceased grandmother, for example, is now a chatty green cloud that’s settled permanently in front of the TV. Norman’s real problem is that his ghost-whispering ways have made him a town pariah; like Coraline, which was produced by the same animation company, this is a 3D adventure headlined by an unusually lonely child protagonist.
It’s also a throwback to a bygone era of less-sanitised kiddie fare, when movies of this sort were allowed to be kind of gross and a little scary. Dense with verbal and visual humour, ParaNorman builds to a surprisingly moving climax that advocates letting go of your grudges and forgiving life’s bullies. It’s a vital takeaway for young viewers still battling the monsters of childhood, or for the adults still haunted by them. AA Dowd
Weekly box office: Dhs761,028 Weekly admissions: 18,330 Total box office: Dhs761,028 Total admissions: 18,330
2 The Campaign Director: Jay Roach Stars: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, Katherine LaNasa, Sarah Baker, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox, Karen Maruyama
In politics, the wisdom goes, we want a narrative – the one about the shining city on a hill or a town called Hope. In comedy, not so much. Director Jay Roach has two brilliant improvisers on hand, but The Campaign suffers from a compounded sense of fatigue, plotwise. First, you’ve seen these characters before, and better: Will Ferrell’s scruples-free North Carolina congressman is a shoutier version of his legendary take on George ‘Dubya’ Bush, and no old gag goes unhatched (schoolroom grammar errors?). Meanwhile, Zach Galifianakis is getting dangerously close to turning his twittering quasi-prig – here, an underdog contender for office – into a cliché, after two Hangover movies and Due Date.
The deeper, more discouraging problem; the time is ripe for a seriously funny Tea Party satire, and if these guys can’t do it, who can? The Will Ferrell Talladega Nights formula is beginning to seem watered down. Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs1,001,220 Weekly admissions: 24,463 Total box office: Dhs1,001,220 Total admissions: 24,463
1 Resident Evil: Retribution Director: Paul W.S. Anderson Stars: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Bingbing Li, Boris Kodjoe, Johann Urb, Robin Kasyanov
A cacophony of abstract action-horror mayhem, this fifth entry in the video gameinspired franchise finds superheroine Alice (Jovovich) massacring zombies as per usual as she attempts to escape an underwater complex. Retribution’s story brings back familiar places and faces, including Michelle Rodriguez’s resurrected angel of death, and makes little sense. No matter, though; from the opening viewed-in-rewind set piece to the sweeping final image of apocalyptic warfare, director Paul WS Anderson utilises slow-motion 3D to hyperbolic effect while again casting Jovovich as the epitome of badass femininity. It’s a late franchise entry that distills genre elements down to their beautiful-nightmare aesthetic core. We’re really not sure how long they can keep this series up, though. Nick Schager
Weekly box office: Dhs2,854,525 Weekly admissions: 60,591 Total box office: Dhs2,854,525 Total admissions: 60,591