10 Legends of Valhalla: Thor Director: Óskar Jónasson, Toby Genkel, Gunnar Karlsson Stars: Justin Gregg, Paul Tylak, Nicola Coughlan, Liz Lloyd, Alan Stanford
Kids’ film from Iceland about the eponymous Thor, a young blacksmith who lives happily with his mum in a peaceful village – until legend comes a-knockin’. Thor finds out he is the son of Odin, the King of the Gods. Hearing the news, an army of angry giants come calling on his sleepy town. We’re expecting a pleasant but unremarkable Medieval kids animation. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs78,327 Weekly admissions: 1,698 Total box office: Dhs349,485 Total admissions: 7,582
9 Here Comes the Boom Director: Frank Coraci Stars: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Greg Germann, Joe Rogan, Gary Valentine, Charice
A high school’s music programme is on the budget chopping block, though not if crusading biology teacher Kevin James, stripped down to his trunks, can help it. Knuckleheaded though this faculty-member-turned-MMA-fighter comedy is, there’s no denying the plot’s lefty credentials, snuck in among the popcorn. Repeatedly, we’re told of the value of the arts by kind-hearted conductor Henry Winkler. The passion of heroic educators is a theme, with the American flag making multiple cameos. And even though James gets to do his vaguely unsettling dance moves (and fall down a lot), he’s surrounded by true believers, including a foreign-born ring trainer (giddy former UFC champ Rutten) who aspires to citizenship. The movie thrums with social responsibility in between the barefoot canvas smackdowns – how current is that? Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs64,710 Weekly admissions: 1,852 Total box office: Dhs1,287,138 Total admissions: 32,490
8 Taken 2 Director: Olivier Megaton Stars: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, D.B. Sweeney, Luke Grimes, Rade Serbedzija
This makes the Death Wish sequels look like The Godfather Part 2. It is one of the laziest, most incompetent mainstream films ever released.
Where the first Taken began with a believably nightmarish scenario – ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Neeson) was forced to act when his daughter, Kim (Grace), was snatched – the sequel doesn’t bother with fripperies like plot or intrigue. The relatives of the interchangeable, jabbering baddies that Bryan bumped off in the first film now want revenge. They follow him to Istanbul. They try to kill him. They fail. The end.
While much of the blame must fall on scriptwriters Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the real culprit is director Olivier Megaton; the punch-up in a Turkish bath is marginally less interesting than watching someone else play Street Fighter.
Taken 2 is a cynical film whose sole reason for existing appears to be to squeeze the pockets of anyone who enjoyed the first movie. Don’t give it the satisfaction. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs67,148 Weekly admissions: 1,884 Total box office: Dhs9,405,002 Total admissions: 246,167
7 Sinister Director: Scott Derrickson Stars: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance and James Ransone
This so-so, occasionally effective horror film combines found-footage creepiness and haunted-house scares – but is stronger on mood than story. A believable Ethan Hawke gives it some grounding as Ellison, a struggling true-crime writer who moves into a suburban house notorious for an unsolved mass slaying. He immediately discovers a stock of 8mm movies which offer a distressingly vivid insight into the crime. Things start going bump in the roof space. A loopy final section exposes the flakiness of the film’s ideas. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs147,425 Weekly admissions: 4,216 Total box office: Dhs869,292 Total admissions: 24,707
6 Hotel Transylvania Director: Genndy Tartakovsky Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon
No one does saccharine like Adam Sandler. The man can be sharp, angry and funny – but when he lays on the sweetness, it’s like drowning in an avalanche of syrup. Even in animated form, as the voice of the world’s most famous bloodsucker, Sandler achieves sickening levels of ickiness and so sinks this otherwise pleasurable cartoon romp. He’s Count Dracula, owner of a hotel for ghouls, and on the eve of his daughter’s 118th birthday, he starts to fear that she’ll leave him for the big, bad world.
There’s plenty to like: the animation is crisp and the action well designed. But the script – co-written, astonishingly, by former The Day Today scribe Peter Baynham – is a mass of lazy father-daughter clichés, and it climaxes with the most stomach-churning song-and-dance sequence this side of High School Musical. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs338,590 Weekly admissions: 8,149 Total box office: Dhs5,659,083 Total admissions: 126,987
5 Wreck-It-Ralph Director: Rich Moore Stars: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Adam Carolla, Jamie Elman
Set in a universe of video games that sound real but aren’t, ‘sugar rush’ is an apt description for Disney’s latest, which has great highs but ultimately feels as undernourishing and frantic as an afternoon lost to Mega Man. Best to savour the visual gags: Especially in scenes depicting Felix (Jack McBrayer) and his family, the Pixar-less team has great fun mimicking a Nintendo-ish, herky-jerky animation style. Not retro enough? Wreck-It Ralph is preceded by Paperman, a romantic black and white short that seems aimed at parents nostalgic for The Apartment. Ben Kenigsberg
Weekly box office: Dhs450,457 Weekly admissions: 10,918 Total box office: Dhs2,093,781 Total admissions: 48,554
4 Al Anessa Mammy 2 (Arabic) Director: Wael Ihsan Stars: Yasmin Abdul Aziz, Soliman Eid, Saad El Soghayar, Hala Fakher
Light-hearted Arabic family comedy about a nanny and the four children she cares for. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs545,933 Weekly admissions: 15,665 Total box office: Dhs545,933 Total admissions: 15,665
3 Flight Director: Robert Zemeckis Stars: Nadine Velazquez, Denzel Washington, Carter Cabassa, Adam C. Edwards, Tamara Tunie, Brian Geraghty
Few things are worse than being jolted awake by a plane dropping into an uncontrollable nosedive – especially if you’re hotshot airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Washington) and have been sleeping off some illegal indulgence in the cockpit at 33,000 feet. Whitaker pulls a last-minute manoeuvre, turning the jet upside down to slow the descent, managing a crash-landing with minimal casualties. He’s declared a public hero. Yet it soon becomes apparent that, miracle move or not, Whitaker’s relationship with substances goes a little beyond the occasional indulgence.
Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis has always had a knack for staging white-knuckle set pieces involving free-falling aircrafts, and the disaster that launches this drama is a doozy. However Flight is not really about flying; this is a story of the self-destructive lengths people will go to in order to save their soul.
Despite Washington going the full nine yards ugly-wise, there’s little to distinguish this from other entries in the ‘cinema of addiction’ genre. Flight doesn’t quite soar past its narrative limitations. There’s plenty of virtuosity to go around here, just precious little transcendence. David Fear
Weekly box office: Dhs708,930 Weekly admissions: 18,900 Total box office: Dhs2,735,798 Total admissions: 68,793
2 Skyfall Director: Sam Mendes Stars: Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, Javier Bardem, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris
‘Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that any more.’ That’s Ben Whishaw’s Q to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in Skyfall, a Bond movie that struts forward while looking back over its shoulder to the past. That’s what the 007 films are all about – an evolving mix of tradition and progress – and here we have director Sam Mendes bringing to the franchise a stately look, sombre mood and ample room to breathe.
The Bond films are savvy magpies, smartly pinching the shiniest, newest jewels of movie-making for themselves. Quantum of Solace (2008) came a cropper by putting its hand too obviously in the till of the Bourne films.
But Skyfall much more subtly takes its cues not only from the current, moodier breed of superhero movies, but also from the world around us. There are nods to terrorism, data theft, hacking and even attention-grabbing government inquiries – but nothing is specific or exact enough to mean anything significant. This is a Bond movie: atmosphere is all. The appearance of contemporary relevance is enough.
The story sees Bond in an emotional crisis after a failed mission to Istanbul leaves the names of secret agents in the hands of an unknown villain. Trips to Shanghai and Macau follow as 007 pulls himself together and tries to find the culprit. Meanwhile, a delicious foe emerges in Silva (Bardem), a camp, creepy and smooth character who dares to challenge Bond’s masculinity.
Skyfall is a highly distinctive Bond movie. It has some stunning visual touches, and it mostly manages to convince us of Bond’s emotional life beyond this story: rooting his crisis in his relationship (or lack of) withhis parents. Mendes knows there’s a risk of coming over po-faced by omitting the traditional pleasures of a Bond movie, and its only in the second half of the film, which takes place entirely in the UK, that you get the feeling the director has played the compulsory 007 cards that any Bond director has to. Dave Calhoun
Weekly box office: Dhs949,518 Weekly admissions: 24,429 Total box office: Dhs16,160,145 Total admissions: 391,061
1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Director: Bill Condon Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz
There’s much talk of ‘forever’ in the fifth and final instalment (or so we’ve been promised) of ‘The Twilight Saga’, the screen’s most vanilla vampire chronicle. It’s an apt word to stress, signifying both the deathless devotion the series has inspired in legions of ferocious fans and the interminable tedium these rather inelegantly protracted films present to the unconverted. Neither camp’s minds are going to be changed by Bill Condon’s alternately thudding and thrilling closer, but that is as it should be: right down to the celebratory parade of every participating player across all five films in the end credits, ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ is less a freestanding film than a victory lap for a franchise that hasn’t wavered in its commitment to its fanbase.
That’s a gentle way of saying that ‘Part 2’ does little to prove the necessity of splitting Stephenie Meyer’s concluding novel, ‘Deathly Hallows’-style, into two halves. The bulk of the book’s most savoury action – sullen teen Bella Swan’s long-delayed sexual awakening, mutant pregnancy and conversion to the bloodsucking faith – was covered in last year’s gratifyingly bonkers exercise in junior Cronenbergia. That leaves the follow-up a rather talky affair for its first half: while the Cullen clan pad around their luxury woodland lodge, discussing intricate global vampire politics and wearing gilets, the film most resembles an underexposed Next catalogue.
By and by, however, an engaging sense of humour emerges, even flirting with self-parody when Taylor Lautner’s lupine Jacob – whose eerily marzipan-like consistency, even in wolf form, remains his sole interesting feature – perfunctorily gets his kit off before Bella’s horrified dad. Across both the ‘Breaking Dawn’ films, that playfulness has been Condon’s chief gift to the series. It pays off grandly in a riotous showdown between the heroes and the malevolent, Michael Sheen-led Volturi tribe, which finds an absurdly ingenious way both to preserve and subvert the contentiously passive climax of Meyer’s novel.
Most energised of all, for once, is Kristen Stewart, often unfairly maligned for a performance restricted by the maddeningly morose behaviour of Bella in human form. Reborn as a vampire, her newly red eyes visibly glint with the pleasure of finally getting to kick some ass, leaving all memories of Edward-Jacob love tussles for the inconsequential dust they are. If we learn anything from this silly but satisfying finale, it’s that everyone could stand to get some vampire in them. Guy Lodge (Time Out London)
Weekly box office: Dhs7,020,527 Weekly admissions: 178,571 Total box office: Dhs7,020,527 Total admissions: 178,571