An animated take of the classic fairy tale, with the twist of being transported to the Wild West. Complete with gorilla pirates, this wacky kids flick still finds time to pack in the obligatory royal ball. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs223,359 Weekly admissions: 4,788 Total box office: Dhs223,359 Total admissions: 4,788
8 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: Dhs178,831 Weekly admissions: 5,018 Total box office: Dhs752,864 Total admissions: 21,015
7 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: Dhs190,587 Weekly admissions: 5,424 Total box office: Dhs2,926,385 Total admissions: 74,217
6 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: Dhs229,858 Weekly admissions: 5,743 Total box office: Dhs2,323,638 Total admissions: 54,297
5 Silver Linings Playbook Director: David O. Russell Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham
When stars put on their no-make-up, serious faces to play characters with mental illness, you can’t help getting a bit cynical. They might as well tattoo ‘Nominate me for Best Actor, pretty please,’ on their foreheads. In David O Russell’s new comedy, two of Hollywood’s new favourite actors, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, have recently suffered breakdowns. Oh, and they bond via the medium of modern dance. Sounds like a textbook case of actors rattling the worthy tin for prizes? Funnily enough, not this time. The movie zips along on its offbeat energy and fast-paced wisecracking script.
It’s undemanding, but funny, honest even, about mental health without being patronising (most of the time) and best of all, it’s brilliantly acted – Cooper proves there’s more to him than flashy good looks. As for Lawrence, she acts every role like there’s a soulful storm raging inside of her. If awards glory comes the way of this pair, it will be deserved. Cath Clarke
Weekly box office: Dhs504,375 Weekly admissions: 12,915 Total box office: Dhs504,375 Total admissions: 12,915
4 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: Dhs533,673 Weekly admissions: 14,392 Total box office: Dhs16,866,991 Total admissions: 409,378
3 The Man with the Iron Fists Director: RZA Stars: Russell Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu, Rick Yune, Dave Bautista, Jamie Chung, Byron Mann, Daniel Wu
Former Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA directs, co-writes (with Eli Roth) and stars in this chopsocky pastiche; he even narrates the proceedings with a voiceover so flat you wonder if his metalworker character has shot himself with a poisoned dart. The plot finds RZA’s blacksmith joining forces with an outcast heir (Rick Yune) and a British visitor (Russell Crowe) who at first shows more interest in Lucy Liu’s women than in taking on Byron Mann’s usurping clan leader. As befits a Tarantino-endorsed production, the anachronisms, one-liners and clashing acting styles are part of the fun, but both the martial arts and the slightly dull narrative patchwork are too choppily edited to gain much of a foothold. Ben Kenigsberg
Weekly box office: Dhs1,047,421 Weekly admissions: 28,766 Total box office: Dhs1,047,421 Total admissions: 28,766
2 Argo Director: Ben Affleck Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy
It’s a little-known fact that Ben Affleck has a degree in Middle Eastern affairs. It’s a qualification he puts to good use in Argo, a nail-biting thriller based (fairly loosely) on real events that manages to mostly avoid expected Hollywood clichés and promote a balanced view of America’s dealings with the Middle East.
For 100 minutes, Argo is close to flawless. Modelling his directorial style on the stark, serious ’70s thrillers of Alan J Pakula and Sidney Lumet, Affleck cranks up the tension expertly. The script is witty and insightful, contrasting US and Iranian popular reactions to the 1979 hostage crisis. There’s not enough attention paid to character development – Mendez, in particular, never comes into sharp focus – but that was true in the Pakula/Lumet films, too, and it’s mitigated by a superb cast, notably Alan Arkin as a Hollywood old-hand.
But the film’s most abiding pleasure lies in the period detail: using multiple film stocks and reportedly blowing up some of the 35mm footage for a grainier texture, Affleck achieves the look, feel, and almost smell of the late ’70s. So it’s a shame he bottles it in the home stretch, bowing to the demands of the multiplex to offer an action-packed climax, and ending on a note of odious sentimentality. It’s almost enough to erase what’s gone before – but that would be to undervalue the skill, intelligence and craft that have gone into this oh-so-nearly brilliant political potboiler. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs1,638,178 Weekly admissions: 37,280 Total box office: Dhs1,638,178 Total admissions: 37,280
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: Dhs2,304,607 Weekly admissions: 60,041 Total box office: Dhs9,325,134 Total admissions: 238,612