The top ten UAE film releases in the week of September 26-October 2
Time Out staff
10 Kikoriki: Team Invincible Director: Denis Chernov Stars: Vadim Bochanov, Sergey Mardar, Anton Vinogradov
Kids’ Russian cartoon character makes his big screen debut in this animation.
Weekly box office: Dhs192,428 Weekly admissions: 5,153 Total box office: Dhs192,428 Total admissions: 5,153
9 We're the Millers Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn
The problem with writing an accurate review of We’re The Millers is not trying to interpret the subtle nuances of Jennifer Aniston’s performance. Nor is it offering an informed critique of the film’s thoroughly American brand of multiplex humour. It’s simply finding a way to write about the movie that wouldn’t make your grandmother balk with embarrassment, or your grandfather unleash a torrent against modern-day morality.
David (Sudeikis) is something of a failed entrepreneur, peddling a particular product to the same clients he has had since he was in college. His neighbour Rose (Aniston), well let’s just say she works in a bar. When David is robbed by some teens, he’s left owing the kingpin of his supply chain big-time – and is asked (okay, forced) to take a trip to Mexico in comeuppance. He decides his expedition will attract less heat if he poses as a Middle American family going on their summer hols, and so grabs the neighbourhood teen dork (Will Poulter) and a homeless waif (Emma Roberts, yep, Julia’s niece), and hits the road in a lumbering motor home that provides their cover.
This central conceit is pure silliness, and what follows comes comfortably from the school of farce. But there’s enough brains to lift this above your typical post-Hangover road trip gross-out, and despite some misfires of taste, the script is littered with genuine laugh out loud moments. But what puts this a cut above the obvious is a great supporting cast – Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn make the movie as the fellow family of road-trippers they encounter – and the human beating heart at its core. There’s something resembling chemistry between Aniston and Sudeikis, and when the journey ends inevitably with Hollywood idealism, it feels like the satisfying conclusion of a familiar homecoming, rather than another road trip down Hackneyed Avenue. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs220,523 Weekly admissions: 5,842 Total box office: Dhs3,967,878 Total admissions: 94,921
8 The World's End Director: Edgar Wright Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Thomas Law, Zachary Bailess, Jasper Levine, Luke Bromley
Director Edgar Wright and his co-writer Simon Pegg get the band back together for one last bite of the apple. If the setting is familiar – small-town southern England, all cheery bobbies and Tudor frontages – the themes are even more so: this is another tale of emotionally stunted boy-men struggling to find their way in an unfriendly universe. But this is a tighter, smarter film than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, and buried beneath all the blue-goo aliens and terrible punning this flick is a heartfelt meditation on the perils and pleasures of nostalgia.
Like its predecessors, The World’s End is patchy – some of the goofier gags fall flat, and too many of the characters remain undefined. Meanwhile, Pegg flirts dangerously with bearability: yes, we recognise and understand Gary’s flaws, but it can still be hard to resist the temptation to punch the screen.
But the film is carried through on sheer, giddy energy. Wright has upped his directorial game in the wake of Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and after the halfway point the pace doesn’t flag for a moment. It all comes together beautifully in a last-ditch triple-whammy of shock revelations – the first surprisingly dark and moving, the next deeply silly and slightly questionable, the third simply barmy and brilliant. The film may dwell on the past – on youthful indiscretion, proper friendships, old-fashioned pubs, British teatime sci-fi and reckless behaviour – but it does so in the sober knowledge that, for Wright and Pegg, that world has indeed ended. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs426,652 Weekly admissions: 11,923 Total box office: Dhs426,652 Total admissions: 11,923
7 Planes Director: Klay Hall Stars: Carlos Alazraqui, Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese
This simple, amiable Disney animation is a spin-off from Pixar’s Cars films and, like them, features no humans at all – just talking planes with big eyes and grins, as well as the odd truck and train. It’s an endearing enough David-and-Goliath tale, aimed squarely at younger kids, as small town, crop-dusting plane Dusty (Dane Cook) leaves behind the day job to enter a global aerial race that takes him from the US to Iceland, from India to Mexico. Dusty is assisted by some long time mechanical buddies and coached by a retired warplane. His fellow contestants include Bulldog (Cleese), a Brit with a stiff upper nose cone, and Ripslinger, a sly American who can’t bear the thought of being beaten by Dusty. Planes isn’t a Pixar film, even if it’s related to one (Disney bought Pixar in 2006), and there’s nothing groundbreaking about the animation or script. That said, the characters and story still offer low-key charms. David Calhoun
Weekly box office: Dhs530,315 Weekly admissions: 12,365 Total box office: Dhs3,097,199 Total admissions: 73,566
6 Malavita: The Family Director: Luc Besson Stars: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D'Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo, Vincent Pastore
The Robert De Niro self-mockery train keeps on rolling! Everyone’s favourite Tribeca restaurant owner plays a New York mafioso boss hiding out in Normandy, France, along with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and family, courtesy of the witness-protection program. The quiet life doesn’t suit the clan, however, as they can’t stop indulging their degenerate impulses, be it Dad clubbing anyone who faintly disrespects him, Mom blowing up a grocery store run by rabid anti-Americans or their precociously criminal-minded kids scamming their schoolmates with vicious abandon.
Director Luc Besson treats his protagonists as likable cartoons yet never provides a single reason to view them as anything less than remorseless, repugnant psychos. That’s merely one of many missteps in this lurching misfire, which wastes copious time on mirthless bantering with a cantankerous government agent (Tommy Lee Jones) before a finale that abruptly trades jokey comedy for violent shoot-outs. Such tone-deafness still isn’t nearly as dismal as De Niro’s tired spoofery of his iconic onscreen mob persona, which – culminating with his expat admiringly watching Goodfellas – is now in dire need of a whacking. Nick Schager
Weekly box office: Dhs498,064 Weekly admissions: 12,391 Total box office: Dhs2,420,645 Total admissions: 57,336
French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has followed up his Oscar-nominated film Incendies with two English-language pictures starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Prisoners, an abduction thriller with a script placed on Hollywood’s coveted Black List, is the first of these to arrive on our shores. Hugh Jackman stars as an ordinary dad whose two daughters are suddenly abducted after a family lunch. Gyllenhaal, in an echo of his role in Zodiac, plays the detective on the case, but Jackman isn’t satisfied with his findings, and investigates the disappearances himself in vigilante mode. Villeneuve showed a nifty hand with a plot twist in Incendies, and looks in control of the melancholic elements, being well-assisted by British cinematography ace Roger Deakins’ atmospheric lensing. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs520,253 Weekly admissions: 14,038 Total box office: Dhs1,831,432 Total admissions: 45,970
4 Insidious: Chapter 2 Director: James Wan Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
Even if you succumbed to the dog-eared scares of The Conjuring, you’ll struggle to find magic in this calamitous sequel to director James Wan’s earlier, sillier haunted house movie, Insidious. Picking up exactly where the original left off, Insidious 2 simply moves Josh (Patrick Wilson), Renai (Rose Byrne) and their kids to Josh’s mother’s house, where the ghostly apparitions, spooky baby monitor sounds, deafening noises and laughable nonsense start all over again. Josh has returned from demonic parallel realm The Further, but has he inadvertently brought something evil back with him? Frankly, who cares? Wan’s cattle-prod shocks will have you jumping – but his box of tricks is running low. Prattling ghost hunters Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Simpson) are mildly less infuriating than last time, but the male medium who uses lettered dice to contact the spirits has inherited their idiot mantle. For all but the most forgiving horror fans, this is lazy and stupid. Nigel Floyd
Weekly box office: Dhs1,078,847 Weekly admissions: 30,495 Total box office: Dhs1,078,847 Total admissions: 30,495
3 Empire State Director: Dito Montiel Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Michael Angarano, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Ben-Victor, Jerry Ferrara, Greg Vrotsos, Michael Rispoli
The classic heist movie plot gets recycled as Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) and Liam Hemsworth go head to head in a crime thriller. Set in the 1980s, after failing to get into police academy, Hemsworth takes a job at Empire State armoured truck company, where his desperation leads him to participate in the an elaborate theft. Veteran NYPD cop Johnson is soon hot on Hemsworth’s trail. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,221,058 Weekly admissions: 30,734 Total box office: Dhs1,221,058 Total admissions: 30,734
2 Rush Director: Ron Howard Stars: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, Natalie Dormer
Given the love of on-screen car chases, you’d think more films would be made about the professionals who do it for a living. Scratching an itch, this Formula One drama has a lot going for it at the starting line: a real-life 1976 rivalry between magnetic competitors James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl); a burnished, commercial glow courtesy of inspired cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle; and the director of the original Grand Theft Auto, Ron Howard. Hunt, a playboy, and Lauda, severe and calibrated, make for obvious friction: Rush’s coleads could have used a few more moments of quiet intensity – they’re saddled with constantly delivering theses on the quest for victory – yet neither one embarrasses himself.
But something’s gone horribly wrong on the track, and not just the expected fiery spinouts. The plot lacks the grease-stained poetry of better gearhead clashes (such as the extraordinary 2010 documentary Senna). Joshua Rothkopf
Weekly box office: Dhs1,362,953 Weekly admissions: 31,185 Total box office: Dhs1,362,953 Total admissions: 31,185
1 Runner Runner Director: Brad Furman Stars: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, David Costabile, Diana Laura, Bob Gunton, Ben Schwartz, Sam Palladio
Justin Timberlake resumes his The Social Network guise as Richie Furst, a tech whiz who gets kicked out of Princeton for playing online games. He goes to confront the site’s corrupt owner Ivan Block, played by Ben Affleck, who then swiftly makes Richie his protégé. The FBI, headed by Anthony Mackie, quickly tails their illegal operation, bringing Ivan and Richie’s relationship to a boiling point. This tech-world-cum-outlaw thriller is director Brad Furman’s follow-up to his surprise success The Lincoln Lawyer, and the movie should provide a similar blast of smart mainstream entertainment. Time Out staff
Weekly box office: Dhs1,316,195 Weekly admissions: 31,397 Total box office: Dhs1,316,195 Total admissions: 31,397