Thrills, spills, superheroes, sequels and more celluloid bliss
The coming weeks will see cinemas face an onslaught of thrills, spills, superheroes, sequels and more celluloid bliss as blockbuster season begins.
Summer is traditionally the season of big bucks blockbusters in Dubai, and 2014 is certainly not about to upset the applecart. Long-awaited, all-star action sequels, controversial reboots and hotly anticipated comedies are all set to hit the emirate's screens over the next couple of months, and with action and comedy flicks representing some of the city's biggest box office draws, prepare to find yourself in many a packed-out popcorn queue.
In true Dubai style, you can also now watch top new releases in an ever-evolving variety of unique settings – from Reel Cinemas' electronically reclining Platinum Suites armchairs to the motion-activated seats of Vox's 4DX, through to the new outdoor cinema lounge at The Beach. Spoilt for choice much? Read on to find out which films will have you gripping the armrests, exploding with laughter and sobbing in strangers' arms. Phones on silent, please!
Neighbors Stars: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne This raucous comedy pits a married couple (Rogen and Byrne) and their newborn baby against the boisterous fraternity (led by Efron) who move in next door. A conflict ensues between the two parties, with tactics growing increasingly underhand and ever-more hilarious. Directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek), the film is rumoured to hit on a particular stroke of comedy genius. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from May 8.
Godzilla Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston One of cinema's biggest and most popular monsters is back to terrorise the human race yet again. The radioactive lizard rises up after decades lying dormant in the sea near Japan. Presumed dead, Godzilla comes back bigger and badder than ever, unleashing its ferocity on the likes of Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, while humans throw everything they can at the beast. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from May 15.
X-Men: Days of Future Past Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender It has been three years since the last X-Men film, which saw all the mutant heroes together. With an all-star cast, this flick aims to satisfy waiting Marvel fans, as the old guard are suited up again and this time joined by a crew of new generation X-Men. In this latest instalment, Professor X sends Wolverine back in time to change the past in a last-ditch attempt to preserve the future for humans and mutants alike. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from May 22.
Maleficent Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley Angelina Jolie is always a guaranteed top draw at the cinema, and this summer she plays the villain Maleficent in a dark Disney production that is based on the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The film explores the until-now untold tale of the evil witch, the self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil, who, driven by power and revenge, puts a curse on the king's newborn daughter princess Aurora (Elle Ganning). Expectations for this Disney gamble are not currently high, with many predicting it will be the Mouse Factory's biggest flop of the year. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from May 29.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Stars: Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett This sequel picks up five years after Hiccup and his dragon companion Toothless' last adventure where the duo brought peace between dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. In this latest instalment, Hiccup and Toothless have taken to exploring new places – but soon they make a discovery that sees the dragons and Vikings pitted against one another once again. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from June 5.
Edge of Tomorrow Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt From the director of The Bourne Identity, expect drama and action aplenty in this futuristic sci-fi flick. Tom Cruise plays Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cage, a soldier caught up in a war against a sophisticated alien race attempting to annihilate the world. Through direct contact with an alien, Cage dies, but wakes up to relive the same day again. With a War of the Worlds meets Groundhog Day feel, the film sees Cage learn more about the aliens and how to defeat them with every repeated day. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from June 5.
22 Jump Street Stars: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill Fresh from his part in The Wolf of Wall Street, Jonah Hill returns to his old comedy stomping ground. In this sequel to 21 Jump Street he's back buddying up with Channing Tatum to play a pair of underachieving, undercover cops. The duo are sent back to college to find and infiltrate a gang bringing illegal substances onto campus. Ice Cube also stars as the pair's irate captain. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from June 19.
Jersey Boys Stars: Christopher Walken, Freya Tinley, Francesca Eastwood A musical biography of 1960s American rock and pop group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, charting their musical rise, challenges and clashes on and off stage. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood, so even if you're not familiar with the music of the group, you can expect a quality film under Eastwood's creative direction. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from June 19.
Muppets Most Wanted Stars: Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais The loveable furry bunch return to our screens with their distinctive brand of kid and adult-friendly humour. As ever, they steal the show from their human co-actors, and this new adventures sees the Henson creations caught up in a jewel heist caper in Europe. British comedian Ricky Gervais plays Dominic Badguy, who lures Kermit and co into his dastardly scheme. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from July 10.
Transformers: Age of Extinction Stars: Mark Wahlberg The fourth instalment in the Transformers series will surely see the metamorphosing vehicles continuing to delight. Breaking away from the previous storylines of Sam Witwicky and Bumblebee, we enter a time when the world no longer needs transformers to save it from the evil Decepticons. But just as they're ready to relegate the Transformers to the scrap heap, the Autobots come to the rescue against some pretty impressive foes. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from July 24.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Stars: Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis Set roughly a decade after 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this latest instalment in the sci-fi drama reboot sees Ceasar, the leader of the genetically advanced primates, prepare to go to battle against humanity. The human survivors of a Simian virus (which wiped out the previous film's cast members) threaten the smart chimps and Caesar rallies his growing army to fight for the dominance of Earth. The film is directed by Matt Reeves, who also directed horror flick Cloverfield so expect plenty of suspense and action. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from August 7.
Guardians of the Galaxy Stars: Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana A Marvel adventure that introduces a rag-tag looking bunch of intergalactic outlaws that call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy. There's plenty of special effects and comedy woven through the action scenes. Fans of Marvel's The Avengers will love the character play and superhero action, though those unfamiliar with the comics may find it an odd pick for an adaption. Expected across cinemas in Dubai from August 14.
Think Like a Man Too Stars: Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union The summer season is dominated by action films but one rom-com makes the list. Think Like a Man Too, is the sequel to the popular 2012 film about a group of couples and their relationships. This time they are all back together and heading to Las Vegas for a wedding while a series of events looks set to spoil the big day. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from June 26.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Stars: Megan Fox, William Fichtner One of the last big releases of the sweaty season is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Anyone who grew up in the eighties will remember the popular kids' TV animation series that told the stories of four turtles with some sharp martial arts skills and their rat mentor Master Splinter. The 2014 big budget movie sees the turtles surface from their subterranean home and fight for justice in the streets of New York. Expected in cinemas across Dubai from September 4.
Unique cinema experiences in Dubai Vox 4DX Be part of the action with 4DX as your film experience is enhanced with motion and even rain sensations. Dhs120, Vox Deira City Centre and Vox Mirdif City Centre, www.voxcinemas.com (600 599 905).
Friday Poolside Movie Night Enjoy a classic Friday night flick under the stars at Emirates Golf Club. It screens a family film and a blockbuster, and on Friday May 2 you can catch Puss in Boots and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Free. Fri. 6.30pm Until May 30. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills, www.dubaigolf.com (04 417 9999).
Community screenings at The Archive For films that inspire, head to Safa Park for monthly screenings of independent films, organised by Loco'Motion. Free. 7pm-9pm. Next film May 17. Safa Park, www.facebook.com/locomotionuae (04 349 4033).
Top 5 UAE films of all time: (attendance figures) 1. Avatar (635,633). 2. Avengers (554,167). 3. Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (650,853). 4. Fast & Furious 6 (554,385). 5. Iron Man 3 (3D) (459,717).