Time Out reveals the highest grossing films in the UAE last week
Time Out Dubai 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: Dhs101,098 Weekly admissions: 2,831 Total box office: Dhs1,072,579 Total admissions: 30,136
9 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: Dhs149,865 Weekly admissions: 3,070 Total box office: Dhs1,910,542 Total admissions: 44,352
8 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: Dhs110,815 Weekly admissions: 3,194 Total box office: Dhs483,881 Total admissions: 13,809
7 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: Dhs115,345 Weekly admissions: 3,243 Total box office: Dhs509,946 Total admissions: 14,399
Starring comedian Ahmed Helmy, this Egyptian comedy tells the story of Raouf, an interior decorator who falls into a coma.
Weekly box office: Dhs283,353 Weekly admissions: 8,013 Total box office: Dhs4,080,380 Total admissions: 113,916
5 6 Bullets Director: Ernie Barbarash Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Joe Flanigan, Anna-Louise Plowman, Uriel Emil Pollack, Louis Dempsey, Kristopher Van Varenberg, Bianca Bree, Mark Lewis
Is Jean-Claude Van Damme still going? Over the past few weeks we’ve already had Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to romp about with fists and guns on our screens – now the ‘Muscles from Brussels’ is getting in on the action with what appears to be a far inferior product. Teaming up again with director Ernie Barbarash following 2011’s underwhelming Assassination Games, JCVD this time plays an ex-mercenary who is hired by a martial arts pro to track a kidnapped child. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs366,130 Weekly admissions: 10,171 Total box office: Dhs366,130 Total admissions: 10,171
4 Beautiful Creatures Director: Richard LaGravenese Stars: Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Alden Ehrenreich, Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Eileen Atkins
Mere months after tween-lit vampire franchise Twilight ended its popular cinematic run, along comes Richard LaGravenese’s occasionally inspired, mostly slack adaptation of the first of four South Carolina-set fantasy witch novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Only don’t call Lena Duchannes (Englert) and her brethren ‘witches’; they’re ‘casters,’ a race of magical beings who have lived alongside us humans since time immemorial.
Once these conjurers hit age 16, they are claimed by the ‘Light’ or the ‘Dark,’ which causes some issues between Lena and her mortal inamorato, Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), who narrates this mystical romance with rural insouciance.
As with many young-adult book-to-film series, Beautiful Creatures plays like an illustrated compendium of scenes from the novel, as opposed to a finely tuned narrative of its own. LaGravenese’s few good ideas, such as a running gag involving Leonardo DiCaprio movies, or the stunning reveal of the interior of Lena’s decrepit abode, can’t make up for the perfunctorily portentous nature of the storytelling: supernatural power as metaphor for adolescent travails has about run its thematic course. And while Ehrenreich and Englert have a pleasing chemistry, the rest of the cast are instead given free rein to cash their pay cheques slicing the ham cringingly thick. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs471,614 Weekly admissions: 12,222 Total box office: Dhs471,614 Total admissions: 12,222
3 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: Dhs842,571 Weekly admissions: 23,682 Total box office: Dhs2,403,467 Total admissions: 67,697
2 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: Dhs1,506,181 Weekly admissions: 37,061 Total box office: Dhs5,656,903 Total admissions: 136,689
1 Snitch Director: Ric Roman Waugh Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Barry Pepper, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rafi Gavron, Melina Kanakaredes, Benjamin Bratt
This action thriller stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as a law-abiding guy who agrees to infiltrate a crime cartel as part of a police deal to save his son from a wrongfully convicted prison sentence. Director Ric Roman Waugh is best known as a reformed stuntman who worked on Arnie movies, including Total Recall and Last Action Hero, and hasn’t directed a feature since 2008’s Val Kilmer vehicle, Felon. We’re not quite sure what allure the script had for Susan Sarandon, who appears in a supporting role. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs2,730,663 Weekly admissions: 66,465 Total box office: Dhs2,730,663 Total admissions: 66,465