What was the highest grossing film in the UAE this week?
Time Out Dubai staff
10 Love, Wedding, Marriage Director: Dermot Mulroney Stars: Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz, James Brolin, Jane Seymour, Jessica Szohr, Michael Weston, Richard Reid, Christopher Lloyd
The sudden failure of her own parents’ marriage so preoccupies couples’ counsellor Eva (played by Mandy Moore) that she begins to neglect her husband, Charlie (Lutz), mere weeks after their own storybook nuptials. Veteran character actor Dermot Mulroney unleashes his inner cornball for this directorial debut, a softly lit, wind-chimes-scored diversion for the herbal teas set.
Moore is as harmless as ever, but she’s awkwardly matched with yellow-haired Twilight stud Lutz, who seems ill at ease whenever he’s not parading his ample, shaven pecs. Only old pros James Brolin and Jane Seymour, as Eva’s colourfully squabbling parents, occasionally rouse the film beyond its fate as fodder for a Snuggie-wrapped slumber party. Eric Hynes
Weekly box office: Dhs159,811 Weekly admissions: 4,539 Total box office: Dhs159,811 Total admissions: 4,539
9 Playback Director: Michael A. Nickles Stars: Christian Slater, Ambyr Childers, Toby Hemingway, Johnny Pacar, Jennifer Missoni, Jonathan Keltz, Alessandra Torresani, Luke Bonczyk
Fact: Playback was the biggest movie flop of 2012, earning a pitiful Dhs970 upon release. Showing in just one screen in the US for one week, calculations suggest it was seen by fewer than 40 people. While we feel (just) a little sorry for leading man Christian Slater – a man who’s shared screens with the likes of Brad Pitt, Sean Connery and Tom Cruise – the signs don’t look good for this horror indie, about a (cliché alert) cop investigating a missing teen in a rural town. The only positive about this delayed UAE release is that the filmmakers might finally make back some cash towards the Dhs25 million spent on this caper. Although why Dubaians should be expected to cough up any more than the rest of the world, we simply don’t know. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs200,843 Weekly admissions: 5,665 Total box office: Dhs200,843 Total admissions: 5,665
8 El Hafla Director: Ahmed Alaa Stars: Ahmed Ezz, Mohamed Ragab, Jomana Mourad and Ruby
Arabic film directed by Ahmed Alaa.
Weekly box office: Dhs253,115 Weekly admissions: 7,070 Total box office: Dhs253,115 Total admissions: 7,070
7 Cockneys vs Zombies Director: Matthias Hoene Stars: Georgia King, Michelle Ryan, Alan Ford, Honor Blackman, Richard Briers, Harry Treadaway, Susan Fordham
This Zimmer zom-com is as subtle as a brick in the face, but it’s also a laugh riot. Nigel Floyd
Weekly box office: Dhs248,210 Weekly admissions: 7,093 Total box office: Dhs248,210 Total admissions: 7,093
6 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: Dhs295,479 Weekly admissions: 8,201 Total box office: Dhs3,735,827 Total admissions: 94,515
5 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: Dhs352,819 Weekly admissions: 8,261 Total box office: Dhs6,668,759 Total admissions: 160,969
4 Identity Thief Director: Seth Gordon Stars: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Amanda Peet, T.I., Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho
He was a decent sitcom funnyman; she was a bit player who, thanks to a bravura turn in Bridesmaids, was immediately added to Hollywood’s comic A-list. Put these two dynamos together and it would be virtually impossible to make a movie that wasn’t brimming with omigod moments of hilarity, right? Right?
From the famous-last-words department comes this comedic car wreck, which wastes not one but two major talents. It starts promisingly: no sooner has Melissa McCarthy’s scam artist bilked Jason Bateman’s financial-industry everyguy out of his social security number than she’s trashing a nightclub and charging the damage to his credit card. Watch McCarthy’s face as she injects wide-eyed glee into her character’s mania. Then listen to the deadpan way Bateman addresses his kids at a birthday dinner (‘Thank you all for coming’). Enjoy those brief guffaws, since once his disgraced hero decides to drag this credit-fraud criminal from the Sunshine State to Colorado – bring on the gratuitous bounty hunter – the silence that greets the desperate lunges at humour becomes deafening.
With Horrible Bosses, director Seth Gordon established that cringe comedy wasn’t his forte; this painful endeavour confirms he should stick to non-fiction. The film somehow fails as a star vehicle, a recession-era satire, a white-collar-grunt revenge tale, a Midnight Run-style buddy flick, a gross-out laughfest and a tale of broken souls. No amount of stolen guises can fix it. David Fear
Weekly box office: Dhs817,043 Weekly admissions: 20,182 Total box office: Dhs2,281,391 Total admissions: 56,409
3 Parker Director: Taylor Hackford Stars: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Bobby Cannavale, Patti LuPone, Carlos Carrasco
The smirk stays the same and his movies never transcend the merely serviceable, so how does British hard case Jason Statham keep in work? It’s not exactly a burning question, but with the title creation of crime-novel giant Donald E Westlake in the actor’s hands, it’s easy to yearn for the days when Statham stuck to Guy Ritchie projects. Based on 2000’s Flashfire, the tonally confused Parker puts Statham in the role of a ruthless robber, betrayed by nincompoop colleagues whom he eventually goes crazy on. Nothing burns in Statham: there’s no fire in those squints, nothing on the level of Lee Marvin’s relentless drive in 1967’s Point Blank, also based on a Westlake property.
After recovering from a left-for-dead roadside disposal, Parker heads south to Florida’s swanky Palm Beach. The smidgen of dramatic colour offered by Jennifer Lopez, as a real-estate broker drawn into Parker’s payback scheme, is offset by her character’s shocking naïveté, shedding her clothes on command and falling unconvincingly for Statham’s featureless cipher. When a well-appointed film only makes you want to crack the book, something’s amiss. Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs1,101,007 Weekly admissions: 28,494 Total box office: Dhs4,083,749 Total admissions: 101,979
2 Vehicle 19 Director: Mukunda Michael Dewil Stars: Paul Walker, Naima McLean, Gys de Villiers, Leyla Haidarian, Tshepo Maseko, Andrian Mazive, Welile Nzuza, Mangaliso Ngema
This low-budget US thriller is the second movie from South African filmmaker Mukunda Michael Dewil, whose last, Retribution, was only released on home soil. While he has American money behind him for this follow-up, it’s still set in his Johannesburg stomping ground, where a tourist unwittingly picks up a hire car that will tie him to a wave of corruption. Quite aside from taking the award for the dullest film name we’ve encountered, the lead goes to Paul Walker, who’ll be channelling the same machismo he brought to the role of Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious movies. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs1,561,897 Weekly admissions: 40,389 Total box office: Dhs1,561,897 Total admissions: 40,389
1 Oz the Great and Powerful Director: Sam Raimi Stars: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Joey King, Tony Cox
It’s been 28 years since Disney last followed the Yellow Brick Road – and given the critical and commercial whipping endured by 1985’s Return to Oz, you can hardly blame them for being cautious. Such is the cultural landmark status of MGM’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz that any attempt to adjoin it on screen, however laudable, seems a fool’s errand from the get-go.
The good news is that Sam Raimi’s long, lavish, somewhat lumbering prequel is a more respectful retread than we might have expected. From its engaging black-and-white prologue, introducing James Franco as Oscar, a Kansas conjuror set for a very unexpected journey, to the widened aspect ratio and saturated Technicolor-style palette as he’s carried to Oz by a tornado, Raimi’s film is far more in thrall to the Hollywood classic than the subversive Return to Oz was.
As Oscar is mistakenly embraced by the people of Oz as their leader, charged with settling the battle between good (as represented by Michelle Williams’s wholesome witch Glinda) and evil (vampishly wielded by Rachel Weisz’s Evanora), he’s effectively a smart stand-in for Dorothy, with the film treading a story path as indebted to the original as its explicitly referential production design.
What it lacks, rather like Oscar himself, is any authentic magic: the script’s post-Shrek wisecracks feel out of place, and the over-processed digital landscapes can’t match the beauty of handmade Hollywood artifice. We’re still left decidedly under the rainbow. Guy Lodge
Weekly box office: Dhs2,795,378 Weekly admissions: 57,379 Total box office: Dhs2,795,378 Total admissions: 57,379