Our pick of the biggest movies for the casual viewer
Time Out Dubai staff
1 12 Years A Slave Based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, this film tells the true story of a free African American in 19th century America, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Northup, alongside Brad Pitt and Star Trek’s Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s been critically well received by pretty much everyone who has seen it. Everyone, that is, apart from pop legend Madonna – she was banned from an American cinema chain after being caught texting during the film’s premiere. Screening: Dhs35. Monday 9 December, 4.45pm-7pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
2 Inside Llewyn Davis Inside Llewyn Davis is the Coen brothers’ newest film, about a struggling musician living in New York in the 1960s. He also has a pet cat. There’s not much more to say about the story – even Joel Coen admitted, ‘The film doesn’t really have a plot. That concerned us at one point; that’s why we threw the cat in.’ The cast – which includes Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan – all performed songs for the film, some of which were written by Marcus Mumford, of folk rockers Mumford & Sons. Screening: Dhs30. Saturday 14 December, 4.45pm-6.35pm. Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah.
3 American Hustle David O Russell’s latest film (after the Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook) sees him reuniting with Bradley Cooper for this one. Based on actual events, the 1970s-set flick tells the story of a con-man who finds himself working for the FBI, trying to bring down the Mayor of New Jersey. Christian Bale stars as the con man, Irving Rosenfeld, a role which sees him gain 40lbs and an impressive comb-over. Screening: Dhs80. Saturday 14 December, 7pm-9pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
4 August: Osage County Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, this is a dark comedy about a family reunion at a funeral. After poet Beverly Weston is found dead, his family return home, with arguments closely following them. Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch, amongst others, it won Ensemble of the Year at this year’s Hollywood Film Awards. Screening: Dhs80. Saturday 7 December, 7pm-9pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
5 Saving Mr Banks A film about the making of Mary Poppins, starring Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the magical nanny’s creator. Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney (who he’s distantly related to in real life), as he attempts to get the screen rights to her book and turn it into a movie. Spoiler alert – he does. As well as focusing on Travers’ trip to Los Angeles to meet Disney and the other filmmakers, it also has many flashbacks to her troubled childhood in Australia. Screening: Dhs80. Wednesday 11 December, 6pm-8pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
6 Champ of the Camp The first documentary filmed in the UAE’s labour camps, this film shows the lives of some of the men who work there, and is narrated entirely by the labourers. At the same time, it follows their progress in an X-Factor-style talent and singing competition. Although the competition started seven years ago, with people from three different camps competing, the film focuses on the latest contest between more than 70 different camps and thousands of singers. Screening: Free. Saturday 7 December, 8pm-9.45pm. Burj Park, Downtown Dubai.
7 Traitors Set in Tangier, this film gives a rare insight into Morocco’s youth culture. It tells the story of Malika, the lead singer in an all-female punk band, played by Chaimae Ben Acha (who’s already won the best actress award at the Morocco National Film Festival earlier this year). Needing money to stop her family from being evicted, and to keep her band going, Malika goes on a smuggling run in a car filled with drugs. It’s only on the way back when everything starts to go wrong. Screening to be announced.
8 Palestine Stereo/Falastine Stereo Palestine Stereo sees two brothers, Sami and Stereo, living in Palestine. They’re forced to live in a tent in a neighbour’s garden, and spend their days trying to save up enough money to leave the country and flee to Canada. It’s a comedy, as the director tries to show the absurdities of day-to-day life in Palestine. However, it’s also a very black comedy – both brothers work as sound engineers, despite the fact that a bomb blast has left Sami completely deaf. Screening to be announced.
9 Fish & Cat/ Mahi Va Gorbeh The second film from Iranian writer and director Shahram Mokri, Fish & Cat is inspired by a news story about a restaurant that is serving human flesh. The movie follows a group of university students on a camping trip in the countryside, where they find a restaurant with some strange cooks working there – and you can probably guess what happens next. At just over two hours long, the entire movie was filmed as one continuous shot. Screening: Dhs30. Saturday 7 December, 8pm-10.20pm. Vox Cinema, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha.
10 Void/Waynon Made up of seven separate shorts, each by a different first-time director, Void explores the lives of six Lebanese women. All of the women lost someone in the Lebanese Civil War – a husband, father, brother, or son. Following their lives as they prepare for a protest in downtown Beirut, the film sees them still struggling to come to terms with their loss, still waiting for them to return. Screening: Dhs30. Sunday 8 December, 6pm-7.20pm. Vox Cinema, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha.