The highest grossing films at the UAE box office this week
Time Out staff
10 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: Dhs217,421 Weekly admissions: 6,150 Total box office: Dhs4,866,754 Total admissions: 123,528
Hindi film directed by Subhash Kapoor. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs247,617 Weekly admissions: 7,329 Total box office: Dhs925,466 Total admissions: 27,828
7 Love and Honor Director: Danny Mooney Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Teresa Palmer, Aimee Teegarden
This romance is about a young US solider in Vietnam – played by The Hunger Games heartthrob Liam Hemsworth – who decides to ditch his comrades and country when his girl back home gives him the boot, going AWOL and heading home to win back her heart. How sweet. Or not? Your gut reaction to that premise will probably indicate whether this movie is for you. Director Danny Mooney is best known as a movie extra, and this represents his directional feature debut. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs332,255 Weekly admissions: 7,888 Total box office: Dhs332,255 Total admissions: 7,888
6 Side Effects Director: Steven Soderbergh Stars: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law
The final film from Steven Soderbergh is a slippery one. Channing Tatum stars as Martin, a former Wall Street hotshot about to leave jail. There’s Rooney Mara as his nervy wife Emily, Jude Law as Jonathan, a shrink who treats her after she drives her car into a wall, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as her psychiatrist, Victoria.
Set in a coolly observed New York of fractured grids and watching eyes, a world of careerism, materialism and one-upmanship, Side Effects is great fun: its characters are well acted without being entirely likeable, which makes their jeopardy all the more enjoyable while putting us at a clinical remove. The script barrels along at enough of a lick for us to forgive some clunky elements. And Soderbergh’s delight in technique is obvious, from masterfully attentive editing to a tendency to look skywards.
Given Soderbergh’s announcement of his retirement from filmmaking, it’s tempting to look at this as a collection of facets of his diverse career. There’s the queasy interpersonal tension with which he made his name (Sex, Lies and Videotape); the interest in mental illness (Kafka, Schizopolis, The Informant!); the delight in slippery genre storytelling (Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven); a concern for the impact of big forces on individuals’ lives (Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Contagion); and a willingness to flit between these things with speed. But this is also a movie that tells us not to count someone out too soon: rumours of his withdrawal might yet prove exaggerated. Ben Walters
Weekly box office: Dhs659,517 Weekly admissions: 15,817 Total box office: Dhs659,517 Total admissions: 15,817
5 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: Dhs832,210 Weekly admissions: 19,875 Total box office: Dhs5,008,328 Total admissions: 106,562
4 Jack the Giant Slayer (3D) Director: Bryan Singer Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson, Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner, Ian McShane, Christopher Fairbank
The title promises slaughtered giants, but director Bryan Singer’s lumbering adventure movie is really just a stop in the ongoing death march of cinema. Years from now, we’ll gather round to tell our children tales of a glorious narrative art form that was murdered by CGI spectacle, dim 3-D, poorly motivated action sequences and market-tested gimmickry. Taking a healthy swig from Lord of the Rings’ cup, this high-concept Jack and the Beanstalk dresses up traditionalism in expensive nothingness, much like the director’s Superman Returns.
Drained of colour, the action doesn’t skimp on projectile effects, but the geometry of who’s where often seems patched together in the editing room. If you’re watching a castle torn asunder and all you can think about is how fake the destruction looks, that’s not magic; it’s the movie-making equivalent of Miracle-Gro. Ben Kenigsberg Weekly box office: Dhs1,342,782 Weekly admissions: 29,584 Total box office: Dhs4,471,167 Total admissions: 94,265
3 The Last Exorcism Part II Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly Stars: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark
In 2010, The Last Exorcism put a welcome twist on the found-footage genre by featuring a phony exorcist protagonist – a con man forced to believe his own eyes when confronted with the creepy documentary-style images captured on camera. The curiously titled The Last Exorcism Part II abandons both the original’s found-footage conceit and its wit, instead bringing back Nell (Ashley Bell), the poor possessed girl of the first film, for another round of demon torment. Director Ed Gass-Donnelly spares no well-tested shock technique or voodoo cliché for his New Orleans-based sequel, but the results are more tedious than terrifying. Keith Phipps
Weekly box office: Dhs1,143,992 Weekly admissions: 32,253 Total box office: Dhs1,143,992 Total admissions: 32,253
2 The Croods Director: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone
Nicolas Cage voices a caveman in this comedy animation from the Dreamworks stable. Forced out of his home by an earthquake, Grug takes his family on the road (well, ‘path’, maybe) and encounters an imaginative nomad (Ryan Reynolds) whose forward-thinking manner unsettles him. His daughter (Emma Stone), however, has other ideas about the attractive stranger. The writer-directors of this movie have form with How to Train Your Dragon and Space Chimps, so there may well be family appeal. Time Out Dubai staff Weekly box office: Dhs2,646,628 Weekly admissions: 56,377 Total box office: Dhs2,646,628 Total admissions: 56,377
1 Olympus Has Fallen Director: Antoine Fuqua Stars: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
This promising thriller from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua has a less-than-promising-sounding plot: former Special Forces pro Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is demoted to a lowly desk job in the White House. So when a terrorist mastermind breaks in and holds the president (Eckhart) hostage, Banning/Butler goes all Jack Bauer for his country and, we suspect, singlehandedly saves the day. However, the all-star cast – Morgan Freeman is thrust in as an aid, while Rick Yune plays a North Korean baddie – and Fuqua’s strong track record mean this may be more compelling than it sounds. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs2,909,643 Weekly admissions: 70,982 Total box office: Dhs2,909,643 Total admissions: 70,982