Which film topped the country's box office charts last week?
Time Out staff
10 Snowflake, the White Gorilla Director: Andrés G. Schaer Stars: Claudia Abate, Pere Ponce, Joan Sullà
A Spanish kids’ film about Snowflake, the only white gorilla in the world. While he’s the star attraction in his zoo, he grows weary of how other gorillas treat him, and hatches a plan to change his colour. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs117,931 Weekly admissions: 3,264 Total box office: Dhs971,482 Total admissions: 27,305
9 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Director: Tommy Wirkola Stars: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Derek Mears, Robin Atkin Downes, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal
As kids, they shoved a ravenous witch into an oven. As adults, orphaned siblings Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) are the scourge of every spell-caster, hiring themselves out to rid the land of wart-encrusted enchantresses. No stranger to one-joke premises, writer-director Tommy Wirkola (of 2009’s Nazi-zombie ‘classic’ Dead Snow) populates this frenzied horror-satire with tons of incoherently staged bloodletting and curse-accentuated kiss-off lines. It’s a grim fairy tale, all right. Keith Ulrich
Weekly box office: Dhs261,775 Weekly admissions: 6,096 Total box office: Dhs3,796,394 Total admissions: 78,957
8 Bullet to the Head Director: Walter Hill Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Leaner and meaner than the Expendables’ escapades, Bullet to the Head makes a superior ode to Sylvester Stallone’s star power and ageing yet still mysteriously bulked musculature. The movie plays like a disposable but well-crafted action vehicle from the ’80s, right down to the buddy-cop banter. Or maybe its origins reach earlier, to the western.
New Orleans hit man Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) teams up with incorruptible, PDA-addicted cop Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) to solve a murder linked to a real-estate scam that stretches into the world of politics. Jimmy is out for revenge: these guys hired him for a job and then set him up, killing his partner. Kwon, furtively reporting to his superior officer, just wants justice. The question of what will happen when Law and Lawless are the last men standing gives their pairing an edge.
Veteran filmmaker Walter Hill (The Driver, The Warriors) directs with a brusqueness that’s exceedingly rare. Tongue-in-cheek humour is also an asset, with Christian Slater’s weasel lawyer hilariously eager to compromise and a showdown between Jimmy and a mercenary fought not with guns, but axes. ‘What are we, Vikings?’ Jimmy asks him before the brawl. No, just old-school – and proud. Ben Kenigsberg
Weekly box office: Dhs256,945 Weekly admissions: 7,118 Total box office: Dhs1,931,998 Total admissions: 50,040
7 Broken City Director: Allen Hughes Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez
Though just about anything would have been preferable to his warbling turn in last month’s Les Misérables, there’s real pleasure in watching Russell Crowe throw himself into the zesty role of a crooked New York politician. Crowe’s Mayor Hostetler is an oily, two-faced scoundrel, the kind of fat-cat foe Hollywood is churning out a lot these days.
A political thriller that’s never quite as smart as you wish it were, Broken City pits this scheming one-percenter against a working-class adversary: disgraced detective Billy Taggart (Wahlberg), who now works as a private eye. Hired to spy on Hostetler’s wife (Zeta-Jones), our hero uncovers a deeper conspiracy involving an upcoming election and a massive real-estate scam.
Noir in narrative if not aesthetic, Allen Hughes’s thriller trots out several familiar genre components, while the plot contains echoes of Chinatown. Broken City never asks its gumshoe to repent for the blood on his own hands, and the anti-corruption but pro-vigilantism ethics here are especially murky. AA Dowd
Weekly box office: Dhs372,654 Weekly admissions: 8,400 Total box office: Dhs1,760,677 Total admissions: 41,282
6 Gambit Director: Michael Hoffman Stars: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Cloris Leachman, Tom Courtenay, Senem Temiz, Anna Skellern
Comedy is hard, so they say. Fluffy, 1960s-style caper movies are tough too, if this mediocre remake of a far superior 1966 frolic is anything to go by. The original starred Michael Caine as a schemer teaming up with a nightclub dancer to part a wealthy Arab businessman from a priceless statue. The enticing prospect of the Coen brothers taking on the script of this version proves ill-founded: they’ve packed a re-tooled storyline with clunky stereotypes and botched the suspense in the climactic heist.
The actors partly save the day. Colin Firth adopts a fallback style of clenched teeth and a pained look. His likeable performance as a London art expert plotting to turn the tables on his employer with a fake Monet keeps the movie on track, just. But Cameron Diaz overdoes her gee-shucks cowgirl routine as the Texas rodeo artiste at the crux of Firth’s plans, while Alan Rickman gets it all wrong in his shrill turn as the boss.
There’s an air of laziness here, with tired attempts at wringing laughter from Firth minus his trousers. This sort of light diversion should sparkle and fizz, but Gambit is like drinking cheap, warm bubbly from a plastic cup. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs373,067 Weekly admissions: 10,615 Total box office: Dhs373,067 Total admissions: 10,615
5 Safe Haven Director: Lasse Hallström Stars: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, Irene Ziegler, Tim Parati, David Lyons, Red West, Noah Lomax
Romance, loss, high emotions, low drama… the adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels (The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John) roll on with this latest one, the book of which was published in late 2010. Safe Haven tells of Katie (Julianne Hough), a mysterious young woman who arrives in a small coastal North Carolina town with a determination not to reveal her past or make personal ties in the area. Love conquers all, though, of course, and she ends up falling for the local hunk, Alex (Josh Duhamel). New love, dark pasts, high stakes – it’ll be a miracle if Sparks fans don’t need to bring tissues for this one. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs394,601 Weekly admissions: 11,156 Total box office: Dhs394,601 Total admissions: 11,156
Fast-rising photographer Vikram is deeply affected by the perplexing disappearance of his girlfriend Roshni. Eventually, he embarks on a relationship with pretty cocktail lounge waitress, Nisha, and she moves into his swanky residence on the outskirts of the city. The property is vast and steeped in history, and as Nisha explores her new surroundings, she unearths dark secrets about the house and Vikram. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs425,421 Weekly admissions: 25,003 Total box office: Dhs425,421 Total admissions: 25,003
2 Mama Director: Andrés Muschietti Stars: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat, Morgan McGarry
Andrés Muschietti’s three-minute fright flick Mamá (2008) fully delivered on the hair-raising horror of its premise: two young sisters try to sneak out of their house when an undead spectre comes to collect them. Though uneven, the first-time feature director’s expansion of the short is leagues better than its January-doldrums release date suggests.
After seemingly fending for themselves for five years, the feral Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse) are sent to live with their uncle, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and his metalhead girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), in an upscale house paid for by the local psychiatric hospital. But the girls have brought someone along with them, a jealously protective wraith who will stop at nothing to keep the siblings close to her.
As in the short, Muschietti displays a refreshingly keen visual sense that’s rare in modern horror movies; one gorgeous extended shot captures the sisters having a gravity-defying playdate while an oblivious Annabel does household chores. The co-writer-director is also well attuned to the story’s devastating emotional undercurrents, especially when the maternal allegiances of the attached-at-the-hip siblings diverge. It’s here that you can see the influence of executive producer Guillermo del Toro.
Too bad there’s a preponderance of idiot plotting to make sure certain people end up in certain places so that jump-scares can commence. Expertly conjured atmosphere only gets Muschietti so far, but there’s enough genuine promise here that you’re willing to cut this talented newcomer some slack. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs1,560,897 Weekly admissions: 44,015 Total box office: Dhs1,560,897 Total admissions: 44,015
1 A Good Day to Die Hard Director: John Moore Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yuliya Snigir, Radivoje Bukvic, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco
Maybe the old Bruce Willis Die Hard franchise is getting a little out of hand. John McClane. His son. In Russia. Allegedly fighting some terrorist outfit? According to the internet, this umpteenth sequel involves McClane (now older, probably wiser but surely less energetic) flying to Russia to bail out his son who’s in a spot of bother with the local police. Maybe McClane headbutts the police chief or spills a glass of bubbly over a politician. Whatever the kick-off, we can safely assume there’ll be a lot of running around, dodging of bullets and the uttering of such universally-recognised phrases as, ‘yippee ki-yay muthaf*****!’. Father, do watch your language. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs4,150,723 Weekly admissions: 99,628 Total box office: Dhs4,150,723 Total admissions: 99,628