Angelina Jolie, Robin Williams and Mila Kunis on UAE screens
Time Out staff
Reign of Assassins Director: Su Chao-Pin Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Jung Woo-Sung, Wang Xueqi 3/5
Directed by Su Chao-Pin under the guidance of high-impact genre guru John Woo, this 2010 wuxia (Chinese period martial arts actioner) is a satisfying addition to the genre, which gained Western popularity with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That film’s star, Michelle Yeoh, plays an assassin-turned-housewife whose past – wait for it – comes back to haunt her thanks to intrigue involving a league of killers and the mystical mummified body of a Shaolin monk. The plot is of less importance than the impressively choreographed action scenes, which are distinguished by Yeoh’s mastery of a peculiarly wobbly sword, and a tricksy exploration of motifs around identity and karma. Everyone here has something to hide and something to atone for. The relationship between Yeoh’s Zeng Jing and her humble husband Jiang A-Sheng (Jung Woo-Sung) has its moments, though more of the sweetly domesticated kind than crackling chemistry.
Not, in the end, a film to linger in the mind but still a solidly enjoyable genre outing. Ben Walters
Maleficent Director: Robert Stromberg Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
After Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman and Oz the Great and Powerful, do we really need another revisionist fairy tale centring on the exploits of a not-quite-evil-but-just-misunderstood witch?
This time the fable in question is Sleeping Beauty, and Angelina Jolie plays the magical maiden whose heart is turned to stone following an act of betrayal. Director Robert Stromberg is a special-effects technician who worked on Avatar, and the film is reportedly 135 minutes long, both of which have got us worried. But with Jolie in the lead – plus an impressive supporting cast including Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Peter Capaldi – we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. TO
A Million Ways to Die in the West Director: Seth MacFarlane Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson
Whether or not you’re attracted to the idea of A Million Ways to Die in the West depends entirely on one thing: how do you feel about Seth MacFarlane? If you’re a fan of Family Guy, with its broad, scattergun gags, or foul-mouthed cuddly-bear comedy Ted, then this Western movie pastiche starring MacFarlane himself alongside Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfriend should be right up your alley. If, however, you find this mugging, charmless, self-satisfied creep with his crass Oscar-ruining jokes not only unfunny but offensive, you’ll want to stay a million miles away. We, of course, remain entirely objective. Honest. TO
Mariah Mundi & The Midas Box Director: Jonathan Newman Stars: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill
After his parents and brother are kidnapped, Victorian-era British teen Mariah Mundi learns about an artefact that can turn anything into gold. The film is also released as The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box. TO
Jappeloup Director: Christian Duguay Stars: Guillaume Canet, Marina Hands, Daniel Auteuil
That’s right, the legendary French show jumping horse Jappeloup de Luze gets his own biopic (his rider’s life story gets some screen time as well). TO
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Director: Phil Alden Robinson Stars: Robin Williams, Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage
After learning that a brain aneurysm will kill him in about 90 minutes, a perpetually unhappy man (Robin Williams) struggles to come to terms with his fate and make amends with everyone he has ever hurt. TO