The UAE box office top ten for October 29-September 4
Time Out Dubai staff
10 Paranoia Director: Robert Luketic Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Amber Heard, Lucas Till, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon
A wannabe tech hotshot (Hemsworth), seduced by fame and fortune is roped into an espionage battle between rival corporate Goliaths (Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford). The disillusionment that follows his Faustian bargain comes quickly, though not before the hunk can successfully woo a beauty (Amber Heard) while exuding repugnant smugness.
Director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) makes every action scene look as dreary as possible. The fact that Hemsworth is severely lacking in leading-man charisma doesn’t help the pervasive overall incompetence of the film, which fixates on the perils and panic of our modern surveillance culture while itself proving to be borderline unwatchable. Nick Schager
Weekly box office: Dhs401,479 Weekly admissions: 10,955 Total box office: Dhs401,479 Total admissions: 10,955
9 Nazareyet Amity (Arabic) Director: Islam Khairy Stars: Lebleba, Hassan El Raddad and Horeya Farghaly
This Arabic comedy is about a famous chat show presentor who finds fame is getting him into some increasingly sticky situations with his fanbase.
So he does what any sensible man would do – and runs away to abroad, leaving his aunt to wrap up his personal affairs.
Weekly box office: Dhs409,555 Weekly admissions: 11,567 Total box office: Dhs409,555 Total admissions: 11,567
8 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: Dhs510,954 Weekly admissions: 13,288 Total box office: Dhs10,666,261 Total admissions: 252,636
7 One Direction: This Is Us Director: Morgan Spurlock Stars: Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan
What’s the opposite of warts-n-all? ‘No warts’ doesn’t even begin to describe Morgan Spurlock’s fly-on-the-wall film about One Direction. No warts, no acne – there’s not even a pimple on this on-tour portrait of the reality-bred poster boys. The band comes across surprisingly well – un-brattish, hard-working, puppy-dog sweet, bit self-obsessed. There’s a priceless Zoolander scene, where Zayn shows off the graffiti room in his new house. The film is as harmless as the band. Until you reach the music. In Super Size Me, director Morgan Spurlock’s McDonald’s-only diet had him vomiting on screen. These songs test your gag reflexes in other ways. Cath Clarke
Weekly box office: Dhs738,055 Weekly admissions: 14,830 Total box office: Dhs738,055 Total admissions: 14,830
6 R.I.P.D. Director: Robert Schwentke Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, Marisa Miller, Robert Knepper
Even with the goodwill a playful Jeff Bridges performance can supply (he riffs on his ornery True Grit character as another Wild West lawman out of joint), the deadening elements of this instantly forgettable action comedy pile up like unburied corpses. First comes handsome stiff Ryan Reynolds, the blandest of Hollywood leading men, who once again can’t animate an expensive production swirling around him. Given a backstory of a shady Boston cop worried about letting down his doting wife, Reynolds takes too quickly to the movie’s zany purgatorial afterlife; his partner in crime (Kevin Bacon) shoots him in the face and suddenly there’s a new job waiting as a ghostly flatfoot rounding up ‘deados’. (Count up at least four more pesky bodies: the credited writers behind a clichéd script that belongs on top of Will Smith’s reject pile, itself a scant stack given the evidence of After Earth.)
Tired byplay between Reynolds’s mystified straight man and Bridges’s supernatural old pro will kill off any fond memories you have of zesty buddy films past and present. Unique wrinkles – a subplot involving Indian food, mainly – are scarce. But who’s the cadaver really stinking up the joint? It has to be that of hack director Robert Schwentke, whose featureless competency with Ghostbusters-styled chases and weightless PG-13 mayhem comes to feel like a choking vice of blahness. It’s really something when much of Beantown comes crashing down in a hail of digitally rendered comic wreckage, yet you feel nothing. R.I.P.D. only has significance in today’s conversation about our summer of unfortunate wanna-be blockbusters (White House Down, The Lone Ranger, etc.). All bow too slavishly to the stale popcorn of yore; how about starting with a killer script instead? Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs682,203 Weekly admissions: 15,834 Total box office: Dhs3,142,829 Total admissions: 69,740
5 Grown Ups 2 Director: Dennis Dugan Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock
Once again wrangling Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and various other ’90s Saturday Night Live alumni in need of work, the follow-up to the 2010 comedy constructs middle-aged malaise and Porta-Potty humour from Dazed and Confused’s nostalgia blueprints. Matt Patches
Weekly box office: Dhs651,094 Weekly admissions: 15,945 Total box office: Dhs2,557,307 Total admissions: 62,029
4 You're Next Director: Adam Wingard Stars: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Wendy Glenn, Nicholas Tucci, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran
Horror fans are having a terrific summer, between the mighty The Conjuring and the better-than-whispered-about World War Z. So if Adam Wingard’s devilishly funny home-invasion thriller gets lost in all the shrieking, chalk it up to bad timing. This indie is already two years old, so better late than never. Like those other movies, You’re Next is a throwback, this time to the smarty-pants verbosity of the Scream era: In a shadowy rural mansion, a wealthy, bickering clan and several house guests are brutally targeted by mysterious crossbow-wielding strangers. Wingard milks door-creeping suspense for all it’s got: Nothing here is new, but you can’t call expert craft like this warmed-over. Solidly satisfying with ruthless forward momentum, the film plays like a minor triumph. Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs672,440 Weekly admissions: 18,240 Total box office: Dhs672,440 Total admissions: 18,240
3 The Conjuring Director: James Wan Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver
So much is thrown at us by today’s hyperventilating horror that stillness has become the scariest move. Actually, that’s always been the case, but it takes a retro-fashioned winner like The Conjuring to remind us that if the creaky, old house ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Styled like a forgotten Nixon-era classic and set in the autumn of 1971, James Wan’s latest sheds all traces of Cabin in the Woods snark: no mobile phones and no sarcasm either, as based-on-real-life heroes Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson), a married pair of self-described demonologists, deliver a college lecture about possession. Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs1,143,819 Weekly admissions: 31,718 Total box office: Dhs3,328,485 Total admissions: 91,249
2 Turbo Director: David Soren Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph, Michael Peña, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader
Elation: That’s what Theo, a garden snail with dreams of race-car-driving glory, feels when, thanks to a nitrous oxide mishap, he becomes a speed demon and a serious contender in the Indy 500 in the process. Deflation: That’s what you’ll feel after sitting through this DreamWorks animated feature that laps the competition in being merely generic.
All Turbo does is give Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L Jackson and Snoop Dogg the easiest pay cheques they’ll ever make we imagine and its corporate overlords the chance to sell a few toys. David Fear
Weekly box office: Dhs2,336,902 Weekly admissions: 54,307 Total box office: Dhs2,336,902 Total admissions: 54,307
1 2 Guns Director: Baltasar Kormákur Stars: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Fred Ward, James Marsden, Edward James Olmos
In this star vehicle for Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, the headlights are on full beam but the engine is struggling in second gear. Some will welcome the very notion of an old-school cop movie which hasn’t been CGI-ed up the creek, but they’d welcome it even more if it had a plot we cared about and fresher car chases, shootouts and punch-ups. In Tex-Mex territory teeming with crime cartels, Washington and Wahlberg choose the wrong bank to rob. Complications escalate to a tiresome degree, leeching the fun from the movie, which is slung together with cold competence by Icelandic maverick Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykjavik). Final tally: 30 mins absolutely primo banter, 80 mins gubbins. Occasionally fun, but those numbers don’t quite add up. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs3,804,718 Weekly admissions: 89,799 Total box office: Dhs3,804,718 Total admissions: 89,799