10 The Great Gatsby Director: Baz Luhrmann Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Amitabh Bachchan, Steve Bisley, Richard Carter, Jason Clarke, Adelaide Clemens
The purists have had their knives sharpened for months, and now that Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s canonical novel is finally here, the dissection and disembowelment can begin. This bombastic super-production is certainly its own strange beast: bluntly effective as melodrama, vividly colourful in its stereoscopic grandeur, never a dull moment - you just have to accept that the themes undergirding Fitzgerald’s precise prose (the bracing critiques of wilfully blind idealism and Jazz Age excess) have been squashed by overproduced spectacle. That’s a bit of a backbreaking proviso.
A seductive skin remains: Embittered narrator Nick Carraway (Maguire), self-made romantic Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) and flighty flapper Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) move with great ease through the story’s tragic-romantic beats. Yet while the book’s metaphorical signposts all appear, and Fitzgerald’s text is often spoken verbatim, there’s something crucial missing. You can trace it to Luhrmann’s overblown aesthetic: The anachronistic pop-music cues, digitally augmented tracking shots and disco globe glittery production design don’t recreate the headiness of early 20th century New York so much as invent a billowy fantasy otherworld in the gauzy vein of Twilight. Shorn of its American roots, a biting tale of adult extravagance becomes insubstantially tween-aged. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs204,352 Weekly admissions: 4,582 Total box office: Dhs4,323,237 Total admissions: 87,842
9 I Give It a Year Director: Dan Mazer Stars: Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Alex Macqueen, Stephen Merchant, Jane Asher, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Nigel Planer
Nat and Josh enjoy a whirlwind romance and are looking forward to getting to know each better other as husband and wife. Nine months later, they are in marriage counselling. A depressed Josh seeks refuge in the company of kooky old flame Chloe, who has been abroad for years and clearly still adores him. Meanwhile, corporate high flier Nat is wooed by charming American businessman Guy, who can offer her the excitement and lifestyle she craves. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs201,190 Weekly admissions: 5,534 Total box office: Dhs201,190 Total admissions: 5,534
8 Iron Man 3 Director: Shane Black Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow
Calling Iron Man 3 a mixed bag doesn't really do justice to the heady peaks and interminable troughs. In the minus column, there's the tedious, talky first act, the script's uneasy attempts at psychological realism, and Robert Downey Jr's disastrously smarmy facial furniture. But they're balanced out by a handful of punchy one-liners courtesy of Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black, and a sprawling cast of reliable supporting players. Towering above them all is Ben Kingsley as one of comic book cinema's most astonishing and unlikely supervillains.
Despite his unimpeachable screenwriting CV, this is only Black's second film as a director and it shows. When he's in his element Black delivers the goods in style, but he seems out of his depth during the larger set pieces: the action sequences are busy and confusing, especially the misjudged, threat-free climax.
The result is a film which never settles into a comfortable groove. It tries to be an angsty Dark Knight-style game changer, an '80's-throwback action romp, a nudge-wink pastiche and a CG-fuelled spectacular. It's undeniably entertaining with the misfires never fully overshadowing the moments of glory. But Iron Man 3 still feels like something of a disappointment. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs228,677 Weekly admissions: 5,868 Total box office: Dhs20,764,598 Total admissions: 451,856
7 Hummingbird Director: Steven Knight Stars: Jason Statham, Lee Asquith-Coe, Vicky McClure, Ian Pirie, Benedict Wong, Senem Temiz, Siobhan Hewlett, Paul Blackwell
Cinema hardman Jason Statham takes a career left-turn in this role as an avid ornithologist on the hunt for a rare species of hummingbird… Oh, who are we kidding? In his third movie of 2013 Statham is, once again, lumbering around and knocking off bad guys who should know what’s coming to them by now. This time he plays an ex-SAS solider who’s fallen homeless, but following a brutal beating decides it’s time to ‘get his life back together’. Rather than taking a job in the local bakery, this means joining a Chinese gang and getting all fighty while wearing a suit, something Statham has had some practice at. Released in other territories as Redemption, there’s a ray of hope surrounding the project; making his directional debut is Steven Wright, the scriptwriter behind David Cronenberg’s enjoyable 2007 London-set mystery thriller Eastern Promises. Let’s hope Wright was able to inject some spark into this one. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs456,535 Weekly admissions: 12,788 Total box office: Dhs2,181,073 Total admissions: 58,790
Arabic comedy film directed by Sameh Abd Elazeez. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,266,795 Weekly admissions: 34,947 Total box office: Dhs3,683,305 Total admissions: 103,150
5 Epic Director: Chris Wedge Stars: Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé Knowles, Blake Anderson, Aziz Ansari, Allison Bills, Jim Conroy, John DiMaggio
An eccentric scientist (Jason Sudeikis, miscast) takes in his estranged teenage daughter (Amanda Seyfried), who comes to stay with him after the death of her mother. She’s convinced her old man’s theories about a race of tiny humanoid creatures that inhabit the nearby forest are proof of his departure from reality. Then a freak accident propels her into the world that dear old Dad described, where a once-in-a-century battle rages. Bring on the colourful-yet-kid-friendly carnage and celebrity voices: Josh Hutcherson, Chris O’Dowd, Aziz Ansari, Beyoncé Knowles and even Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
Like its nondescript title, Epic is so generic it might as well come in a black-and-white box: Animated Adventure Designed to Sell Toys. Despite obvious parallels between micro- and macro-storylines, director Chris Wedge (Ice Age) cuts awkwardly between the two worlds, derailing whatever piddling momentum the movie manages to accumulate. Though technology has made massive leaps in the 15 years since A Bug’s Life, this tiny-creature ’toon can’t muster anything like the Pixar classic’s sense of wonder. Wonder requires a point of view – and Epic has none. Sam Adams
Weekly box office: Dhs1,517,996 Weekly admissions: 35,777 Total box office: Dhs3,502,790 Total admissions: 80,937
4 The Hangover Part III Director: Todd Phillips Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Jeffrey Tambor
A surprise blockbuster hit, the original Hangover took a bro-tastic scenario then mined it for gross-out comic gold. Success breeds sequels, or in the case of The Hangover II, the exact same movie reset in Bangkok. This third – and we can only hope last – entry finds our unholy trinity returning to the original scene of the crime, Vegas. Wolf Packers Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms) and Alan (Galifianakis) are on the road again when they’re kidnapped by John Goodman’s mob boss; it seems Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) has stolen some gold bricks, and only the trio can find him.
You’d think that a Vegas reprise might channel some of the first film’s gonzo energy, but other than an early giggle-inducing shocker (two words: giraffe decapitation), Part III has curiously little interest in being even remotely funny. Instead, director Todd Phillips inexplicably aims at making a standard action movie, complete with car chases and break-ins that compound the sense of creative bankruptcy. Galifianakis’s clueless manchild act feels pitifully DOA, while Cooper and Helms, having realised they could play their roles in their sleep, proceed to do just that. It’s only in an end-credits coda that the envelope-pushing of the series is displayed. After a 100-minute wait, it’s too little too late. David Fear
Weekly box office: Dhs1,676,629 Weekly admissions: 42,546 Total box office: Dhs6,855,497 Total admissions: 169,480
3 Fast & Furious 6 Director: Justin Lin Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano, Sung Kang
Episode six in this overcooked cars ’n’ girls franchise offers no surprises, although British expats might feel a frisson of excitement when watching their capital city being trashed, for a change, raced around in by V8 saloons and souped-up Mad Max-style single seaters. It opens with brawny diplomatic security service agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) handing Vin Diesel’s retired con Dom Toretto a dossier. The folder relates to a ruthlessly efficient gang of military equipment hijackers fronted by an ex-SAS operative-turned-bad-guy-felon (Luke Evans) and also to Dom’s former lover, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), now presumed dead. Before long, we’re on the streets of a grimy, dimly lit London for another fusillade of mind-numbing automobile bedlam, all of it staged with the usual risible disregard for any of the laws of physics.
With its puerile dialogue, daft performances, flat comic repartee and ear-rupturing loud sound levels, the experience of watching Fast & Furious 6 is like listening to death metal pour out of 500-watt speakers while being strapped to a pneumatic drill. Apart from Diesel’s likeably mild-mannered persona, there’s little here that we haven’t seen before. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,890,798 Weekly admissions: 49,757 Total box office: Dhs19,786,698 Total admissions: 512,152
2 After Earth Director: M. Night Shyamalan Stars: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoë Kravitz, Glenn Morshower, Kristofer Hivju, Sacha Dhawan, Chris Geere
How the mighty have fallen. We’re not just speaking of warrior-class father-son team Cypher and Kitai Raige (Will and Jaden Smith), the last survivors of a spaceship crash on a devastated, human-abandoned future Earth. We’re also talking about director M Night Shyamalan, whose name has been all but scrubbed from the marketing for this competent, occasionally stirring science-fiction adventure.
Fortunately, the very real lows of The Last Airbender (2010), the Sixth Sense director’s most previous foray into YA-fantasy territory, are relegated to a hilariously nonsensical opening voiceover. Instead, After Earth is primarily a fleet, focused two-hander that sidelines Smith père in a voice-of-God role, while Smith fils runs, jumps and flies. What undoes the film is its rather rancid parent-child sentimentality and a charisma-free performance from the younger Smith that suggests the apple has fallen very far from the tree. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs3,713,607 Weekly admissions: 91,368 Total box office: Dhs3,713,607 Total admissions: 91,368
1 Now You See Me Director: Louis Leterrier Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
Movies about magic rarely work – a good trick requires the gasp of a live audience – and the unsubtle hands behind this abracadabra heist film aren’t the ones to prove otherwise. Right from the get-go, we doubt the skills (heavily buttressed by CGI) of our heroic quartet: Daniel (Eisenberg) seduces with card tricks; wild-eyed Merritt (Woody Harrelson) can hypnotise strangers at a touch; Henley (Isla Fisher) mysteriously escapes a glass box swarming with piranhas; and Jack (Dave Franco, James’ clonelike younger brother) boosts wallets on the ferry. Drawn together by a mysterious invitation, they become the Four Horsemen, raining millions of dollar bills on thrilled Vegas crowds and perhaps committing crimes in the process.
Nothing about their antics is remotely believable or, worse, charming in the slightest; the camera leaps across the stage, slinging our eyeballs around as the lights swivel. It’s not like we’ve ever turned to Louis Leterrier (the French hack-for-hire behind 2010’s Clash of the Titans) for psychological realism. But shouldn’t someone have warned him that his hyperventilating technique might kill the mood? When Mark Ruffalo shows up as a crumpled detective, you expect a dose of reality, yet on his heels come twin hams Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, whose solemn presences (as Christopher Nolan knows well) prove wonderful distractions from silliness. Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs3,660,953 Weekly admissions: 93,061 Total box office: Dhs3,660,953 Total admissions: 93,061