5 Killing Season Director: Mark Steven Johnson Stars: Robert De Niro, John Travolta, Milo Ventimiglia, Elizabeth Olin, Diana Lyubenova, Kalin Sarmenov, Stefan Shterev
Two veterans of the Balkan war play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the remote wilderness. Set in the Appalachian mountains the films sees a US officer (De Niro) and a Serbian soldier (Travolta) find themselves stranded in the remote environment as the Serb seeks out the American to settle an old score. A physical and psychological war between the two veterans ensues as old wounds are re-opened and secrets are revealed in this tense thriller. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,194,529 Weekly admissions: 30,750 Total box office: Dhs1,194,529 Total admissions: 30,750
4 Red 2 Director: Dean Parisot Stars: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Neal McDonough
The retired, extremely dangerous gang are back for another trigger-happy comedy. Former CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is happy with the quiet life, but his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) is bored. When it comes to Frank and Sarah, the attraction is action, suggests their buddy, Marvin (John Malkovich). So the trio embark on a mission to keep a next-generation weapon out of terrorist hands. This takes them to Paris (enter Catherine Zeta-Jones), London (hello Helen Mirren) and Moscow. It should be a zippy ride, but stale dialogue and a bored-looking Willis slow things down. Parker, Malkovich and Mirren wring a few laughs out of the script before scene-stealer Anthony Hopkins brightens the mood as a retired physicist who may or may not be insane.
Ultimately, it’s popcorn nihilism without the big laughs that helped distract from the casual approach to life and death in Red. To quote Austin Powers: ‘People never think how things affect the family of a henchman’. Now that was funny. Anna Smith
Weekly box office: Dhs1,532,081 Weekly admissions: 38,514 Total box office: Dhs4,990,096 Total admissions: 127,057
3 The Smurfs 2 Director: Raja Gosnell Stars: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays
The first big-screen Smurfs movie was a harmless Saturday-morning romp that earnestly catered to the youngest crowds. For the sequel, director Raja Gosnell sticks to the formula: Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) is again kidnapped by the Great Gargamel (Hank Azaria), this time taken to Paris, where the sorcerer has become a world-renowned magician.
Lost in the jump across the Atlantic is the original’s New York charm: The rest of the Smurfs venture off to save their blond sister; married couple Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) tag along for human support; and Gosnell finds a surprising balance between the wacky and the heartfelt.
The Smurfs 2 is lively but routine. Gargamel’s pair of artificial underlings, who take Smurfette under their wings for airborne joyrides through the towers of Notre Dame. Gosnell treats it like a Smurfified version of Avatar, but the antics wear thin. Matt Patches
Weekly box office: Dhs2,645,554 Weekly admissions: 60,772 Total box office: Dhs7,911,785 Total admissions: 180,706
2 Despicable Me 2 Director: Pierre Louis Padang Coffin, Chris Renaud Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
Children learn through repetition, something that Hollywood’s animation studios are taking to heart this year. With sequels to Monsters, Inc and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs also on the way, the multiplex is a veritable Sesame Street of cuddly familiarity. Quite what kids stand to learn from this loud, broad and disjointedly amusing follow-up to the 2010 surprise hit is open to question. But its repetitive qualities are beyond reproach. Every bit as amiable and disposable as its predecessor, it recycles everything from slapstick gags to its own voice cast (Kristen Wiig pops up again, but as an entirely different character).
The first film ended with Steve Carell’s reformed Russian super villain Gru settling down with his sickly-sweet trio of adopted daughters. Here, he’s still trying to go straight, with an unpromising business making jellies and jams in the pipeline. The MI6-style Anti-Villain League, however, has other plans. Enter goofy secret agent Lucy (Wiig) to whisk Gru into a madcap scheme to take down an unidentified despot with dastardly designs on Gru’s cute, cackling horde of canary-yellow minions. Right down to the closing-credits ‘audition’ for their upcoming spin-off feature, the frantic antics of these critters are scarcely disguised as the film’s raison d’être. The human activity, including Gru and Lucy’s appealing but half-baked romance, is strictly to get us from A to, well, A. Youngsters won’t mind. Their parents will be as charmed or annoyed – or, maybe, both – as they were the first time. Guy Lodge
Weekly box office: Dhs2,908,819 Weekly admissions: 68,057 Total box office: Dhs8,597,329 Total admissions: 201,439
1 The Wolverine Director: James Mangold Stars: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee
If it feels like yesterday that we last saw Hugh Jackman grim up to play Marvel’s fuzziest superhero, that’s because – in Wolverine years, at least – it was. In 2009, X-Men Origins: Wolverine excavated the backstory of the deathless, blade-fingered brute, but was received with enough indifference to send Hollywood scuttling into reboot mode. With jack-of-all-trades director James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted, Knight and Day) now in charge, Wolverine has gained a definite article but little else. This turgid return papers over the previous film’s narrative, but creates little in the way of a fresh character arc. A World War II-set prologue sees Wolverine escape from a prisoner of war camp while Nagasaki gets nuked in the background – setting the taste level for the rest of the film.
Fast-forward 70 years to find him camping in the Canadian wild and bonding with grizzlies while his dead girlfriend Jean (Famke Janssen) breathily haunts him from the beyond. That’s going nowhere, so it’s back to Japan, where a past acquaintance has a score to settle. Our hero is swiftly inveigled into a countrywide chase to protect comely heiress Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from sundry yakuza, a viperish – literally – vixen and this summer’s second sword-wielding robot. It’s the stuff of Saturday-morning cartoons, but Mangold – who, as in the appalling Knight and Day, edits all action sequences on the shaky frappé setting – hasn’t the visual pop or lightness of touch to make it bounce. Jackman, meanwhile, acts strictly from his chest outwards, evidently saving energy for his seventh appearance as Wolfie in next year’s all-too-aptly titled X-Men: Days of Future Past. Guy Lodge Weekly box office: Dhs5,113,852 Weekly admissions: 111,414 Total box office: Dhs5,113,852 Total admissions: 111,414