8 movies to watch at the cinema this week

Denzel Washington makes a comeback, a huge shark wreaks havoc and our favourite honey-loving bear is as adorable as ever

The end of summer may be right around the corner, but that isn’t slowing down the amount of blockbusters hitting cinemas this weekend.

There’s a flick for all types of films fans opening over the next few days, with the action-packed (but hugely lacking) sequel The Equalizer 2, monster-horror movie The Meg, tear-jerker Disney’s Christopher Robin starring the adorable Winnie the Pooh, and many more.

Also, this weekend will give you a good chance to check out Reel Cinema’s brand-new ScreenX at The Dubai Mall, too.

Have a gander through what suits your fancy, along with a glimpse of what’s to come down the line…

Christopher Robin
(PG) Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael
Release: Thursday August 16
4/5

With just a single glimpse of the poster for Christopher Robin, you can immediately point out every cliché the movie will throw at you. Father losing touch with his family due to work? Check. Strange events that make him realise friends and family are most important? Of course. Does that all spoil it, though? Not even in the slightest.

With its adorable characters, witty script that will have the whole family chuckling and brilliant pacing, this sweet tale tugs on the heart strings enough to make you fall in love with Winnie the Pooh all over again. Prepare to shed a tear or two.

Christopher Robin tells the delightful story of the now working-class family man Christopher (Ewan McGregor) and his struggle to connect with his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael). His favourite bear has some troubles of his own back in 100 Acre Wood and reconnects with Christopher to help his friend find his way back home and rediscover the joys of life once more. While the familiar storyline does make the film stumble in spots, especially in its initial scenes, once the pace picks up, audiences are treated to a wonderful adventure brimming with charm – from the silly (but sometimes truly admirable) words of wisdom Pooh spouts, to the beautifully shot scenery that reflects the nature of the film. The cast, McGregor in particular, seem to have genuine fun from beginning to end, while the animals, while scruffy, look more believable (and cute) than ever. While it may be a lightweight tale, as Pooh’s saying goes “Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart”.

The Equalizer 2
(18TC) Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders
Released: Thursday August 16

Fun fact for you, this is the first sequel of Denzel Washington’s career. We’d rather he hadn’t even made the first one, but you can’t have everything. Washington’s action packed thriller seems to want to replicate the successes of the John Wick movies. The difference? No one was ever expecting a sequel to The Equalizer, and we’re not sure many people wanted one. The Equalizer is a decent action flick that put Washington firmly back in the action man fold, but as the old adage goes, let sleeping dogs lie... or they’ll end up like the Taken trilogy. After the events of the first instalment, Robert McCall (Washington) continues to serve his hard-hitting justice to the exploited and oppressed, even going abroad to save lives. When a group of highly-trained assassins take out his best friend and former colleague, McCall isn’t just out for justice, but for revenge. It’s quite intense, but also quite stereotypical. It’s a storyline that’s tried and tested, setting a platform for thrilling action sequences threatening thugs and henchmen, and Washington delivering gritty, quotable lines.

The Meg
(18TC) Director: Jon Turteltaub
Cast: Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, Jessica McNamee
Released: Thursday August 9

Ever since Jaws, killer sharks in movies have made for amazing (if sometimes fairly laughable) thrills. We’ve had Mega Shark, Deep Blue Sea, and, of course, the seemingly never-ending collection of Sharknado movies. While we happily welcome the return of our favourite ocean predator to the silver screen, it is nowhere near as fun or frenzied as you'll want it to be. It’s everything you love about shark movies, magnified, but finds itself stuck between having a good time and taking itself seriously. Starring Jason Statham and the rising star Ruby Rose, the film follows expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) as he’s recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao), to save a crew who have become trapped in a submersible at the bottom of the Pacific. He’s saving them from the stricken ship, but also from an unstoppable, pre-historic 75ft shark known as the megalodon. With a great cast and a bigger budget than many of its predecessors, we definitely expected a bigger bite, but audiences are still in for an entertaining sharkfest.

Check out our interview with Ruby Rose to see what she has to say about The Meg.

Also Showing
BlacKkKlansman

Director: Spike Lee
Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier
Release: Thursday August 16

Spike Lee’s latest, about a black police officer who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan is everything you want it to be and more. A fantastic, timely, watch for those looking to be shocked by a crazy true story and laugh along the way.

Crazy Rich Asians
Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh
Release: Thursday August 16

Preview
Based on a popular novel of the same name, New Yorker Rachel Chu discovers her wealthy boyfriend is a much sought-after bachelor during her trip to Singapore. When she meets his family though, a whole lot of drama kicks in, and it’s up to Rachel to step up to fight for her man. Basically, they’re crazy! They’re rich! They’re Asian! Although, maybe they’re just crazy rich and Asian. Not crazy and rich. You know what, we’ll never find out until we go see it.

Last chance to see
First Reformed

Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Ethan Hawke, Cedric the Entertainer

Ethan Hawke stars in this moody meditation on life, hope and environmentalism from Paul Schrader. Not a flick that will please everyone, but a timely piece that others will appreciate.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Director: Ol Parker
Cast: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep

The first movie was so successful there just had to be a sequel. It’s exactly what you think it’ll be like. Exactly.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

An action film made just as they’re meant to be. Ethan Hunt and gang have now eclipsed James Bond in the spy stakes. If you still haven’t had the chance to watch Tom Cruise do jaw-dropping stunts on the silver screen, make time this weekend.

Look forward to…
Mile 22

Preview
(PG15) Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey, John Malkovich
Released: Aug 23
Things we learned from the Mile 22 trailer: There are lots of explosions in this movie; Mark Wahlberg is very Mark Wahlberg in it; John Malkovich has a distracting head of hair for his role and Ronda Rousey is indeed in the film. What it’s about? Not a clue, sorry, despite watching it three times.

We’re told that an elite intelligence officer, we’re guessing that’s Marky Mark himself, is trying to smuggle a mysterious police officer who has some sensitive information (not sure what about, apologies again), out of the country. Wahlberg is being helped by a crack command unit (that’s Rousey, we believe).

Okay, we’ve watched the trailer a fourth time and discovered that there’s the threat of an attack and one man who can help (Li Noor, played by Iko Uwais) wants to be smuggled out of the country (we’re just told it’s South East Asia) before he’ll give the US Government what they need.
Wahlberg is the man to do that, with help from Malkovich in the control room. Noor, however, is not happy with going quietly and makes things pretty difficult for the squad assigned to the case. So do the people trying to stop him from leaving.

Do we want to find out if he makes it? Not really, there’s so little dialogue to go on (apart from a very poor taste mental health ‘joke’) we know nothing about the characters, or understand why we should care about them.

If you’re a fan of Wahlberg is action man-roles, then try watching 2007’s We Own The Night with Joaquin Phoenix or Four Brothers from two years before that. Now those, we can vouch for.

Kin
Preview
(TBA) Director: Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker
Cast: Zoë Kravitz, James Franco, Dennis Quaid
Released: Aug 30
We can’t say we’d heard much buzz about this movie before hearing it was coming out here this month, but after a quick look after the stars (hot-right-now Zoë Kravitz, infurating-but-good James Franco and underrated Dennis Quaid among them), and the producers (people behind Stranger Things and Arrival), not to mention a soundtrack by indie legends Mogwai, our interest was piqued. Add in the hype around first-time directors, brothers Josh and Jonathan Baker, and we’re ready to give this a whirl.

The trailer, all neon lighting and dystopian city scapes, tells us that a bad lad (Jack Reynor, superb in Free Fire) is released from prison and goes back to see his younger, adopted brother Eli (Myles Truitt). Their father (Quaid) warns them to stay out of trouble, but after hooking up with criminal (Franco) things start to go wrong.

Pretty soon the brothers are on the run from Franco who’s out for revenge. So far, so standard. However, things are spiced up a little by the huge, powerful space gun that young Eli has found, and the mysterious spacemen that are trying to get it back.

It looks like great fun, without straying into silly territory, and could end up being a sleeper hit à la 2012 sci fi Looper.

Papillon
Preview
(TBA) Director: Michael Noer
Cast: Rami Malek, Charlie Hunnam, Tommy Flanagan
Released: Aug 23

Papillon is one of the greatest films ever made. It’s stars are two of the finest actors to walk the earth and its director not only made this classic, but is beind at least two other stone cold masterpieces.

Unfortunately for you, we’re talking about the 1973 version, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Planet of the Apes, Patton) and starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.

Of couse, you could still go and watch that version, and we recommend you do. You could even read the book by Henri Charriére as well. If you feel you still need to see a remake starring Freddie Mercury impersonator Rami Malek and former Byker Grove star Charlie Hunnam then you can come back to this new release.

If you aren’t aware, the film follows two convicts (one rich, one tough) trying to escape an island prison. Will they make it? We know, because we’ve seen the original.

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