Sherlock stars top at box office

Downey Jr and Co spend second week as most-watched film

1 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

When Guy Ritchie’s witty, enjoyable reboot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective stories busted blocks back in 2009, a follow-up was unavoidable. Cynics would argue that a visit from that scourge of movie sequels, the law of diminishing returns, was equally inevitable. Here we find Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) already hot on the trail of his latest nemesis, ‘Napoleon of crime’, James Moriarty (Jared Harris). When the mad professor schemes to have Holmes’s on-off squeeze murdered, our hero spirals into depression – until the return of his trusty sidekick Watson (Jude Law) shakes him out of his torpor and sets him back on the warpath, following a trail of destruction that will lead to Paris, Germany and – inevitably – Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls. The best comparison to draw here is with the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels: the cast and crew remain unchanged, but a key ingredient is lacking. Perhaps it’s a sense of spontaneity: where the first film seemed genuinely sprightly and off-the-cuff, the outcome of every thunderous, whizz-bang, CG-fuelled action scene in the sequel feels – that word again – inevitable. Salvation arrives in the form of Stephen Fry as Holmes’s brother, Mycroft, and while his schoolmasterly demeanour and encyclopaedic intellect isn’t exactly a stretch for Britain’s favourite quizmaster, it’s a welcome distraction from the increasingly stale banter of the two leads. The result is a fitfully amusing but largely unsurprising and uninvolving action-movie-by-numbers: elementary, and not in a good way. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs1,921,767
Weekly admissions: 50,742
Total box office: Dhs6,394,540
Total admissions: 171,009

2 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

In its towering scope and ambition, it resembles Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, from which star Tom Cruise famously abseiled during filming. But the fourth instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise gets so tangled in its toddlers’ jigsaw puzzle of a plot that it barely scales the heights of a small skyscraper. The film begins with a parody-like assassination scene in Budapest, before cutting to Ethan Hunt (Cruise) being broken out of a maximum-security Russian prison. ‘Things must be bad out here, to get me out of there,’ he quips. Bad they are; his mission, should he choose to accept it, involves breaking into Moscow’s Kremlin to steal, well, something, before a suspected terrorist gets there first. When it goes awry and the Russian fortress is blown up, Cruise’s IMF team is blamed, forcing them to go awol to complete their (virtually) impossible mission. While the Bond saga is hopelessly trying to impersonate the gritty realism Bourne trilogy, in it’s fanatical stylings M:I is now playing catch-up to Bond, specifically Pierce Brosnan’s Bond – this movie’s ensuing shambles of a storyline about a nuclear satellite (recalling Goldeneye) and a fanatic’s inexplicable desire to cause the next apocalypse (Tomorrow Never Dies). It’s exhilarating to watch an increasingly-weathered Cruise dangling from a heavily-CGI’d Burj, but no one’s really sure why he had to climb out of the window in the first place. How he ended up moments later in the midst of an impenetrable sandstorm in Satwa is little more convincing. Perhaps sensing the self-parody it’s in danger of becoming, the ‘humour’ is ramped up this time around. Brit funnyman Simon Pegg is promoted from a bit part role in the last movie to a grating movie-long script of aching one-liners and cringey comic-book facial expressions. Any franchise that reaches its fourth instalment has lost its ability to fire on all four cylinders, but as a popcorn-munching rollercoaster ride this entertains enough, just. The film’s open ending worryingly points towards a fifth film that just may not. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs1,475,138
Weekly admissions: 38,681
Total box office: Dhs20,345,748
Total admissions: 559,860

3 Elephant White

The flick is about a hitman who racks up the body count before triggering a gang war, all set against the backdrop of bustling Bangkok. Hitman Curtie Church (Djimon Hounsou) is hired by a businessman to complete a number of hits and avenge his daughter – but who cares? It will inevitably be the vehicle for lots of high-adrenaline, drop-kicking fun. Rob Garratt
Weekly box office: Dhs766,067
Weekly admissions: 22,159
Total box office: Dhs766,067
Total admissions: 22,159

4 X Large

The story about overweight Magdy who is desperate for someone to love him for who he is on the inside. After meeting the beautiful Dina, Magdy pretends to be his cousin Adel to win her heart.
Weekly box office: Dhs666,003
Weekly admissions: 19,470
Total box office: Dhs2,655,868
Total admissions: 77,579

5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked

As the punning title suggests, the all-singing, all-dancing Chipmunks (Alvin, Theodore, Simon and the Chipettes) wind up on a desert island after a prank involving a kite aboard their holiday cruise ship goes awry. But they get more than they bargained for when they discover the island is also home to an obstreperous resident. With its slick combination of live action and CGI, a raft of contemporary tunes, some natty dance moves and those cute (read annoying) squeaky voices, chances are Shrek Forever After director Mike Mitchell’s effort will prove a big kiddie hit this Christmas. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs387,382
Weekly admissions: 11,944
Total box office: Dhs4,037,748
Total admissions: 123,691

6 Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd has played his fair share of clueless knuckleheads, but never one as sitcom-innocuous as the title character in Our Idiot Brother. His beaming baby face obscured by a bushy Jerry Garcia beard, the actor stars as Ned, a backwoods doofus so deprived of common sense he gets tricked into selling things he shouldn’t to a police officer. Rudd, as dopey-sweet as ever, remains impossible to dislike. There’s just nothing especially funny about this character, whose range of emotions is about as narrow as that of his beloved pet pooch. The movie surrounding him isn’t so hot, either. It suggests a one-joke Jack Black vehicle directed by Nicole Holofcener. After cheerfully doing time for his misdemeanour, Ned packs his bags and heads to New York City, where he becomes the shared burden of his three neurotic sisters. Predictably, Ned’s brand of diarrhoea-mouth honesty wreaks havoc on all of their lives – that is, until each sister learns to see his hippy-dippy world view as a guide to better living. While it’s great to see Rudd headlining his own comedies, he deserves better than playing the human equivalent of Beethoven the dog. Nicole Rivelli
Weekly box office: Dhs294,555
Weekly admissions: 9,067
Total box office: Dhs294,555
Total admissions: 9,067

7 Hugo (3D)

Well, this is unexpected. Marketed as though it were a saccharine Chris Columbus flick, Martin Scorsese’s eye-popping kids-lit adaptation turns out to be a bizarrely two-headed beast. As Dhs624 million essay films about Georges Méliès go, you can hardly do better. A wonderful Ben Kingsley plays the illusionist-moviemaker who made a reported five hundred features, including 1902’s seminal silent A Trip to the Moon, before going bankrupt during WWI. Méliès ended up running a toy shop in the Paris Montparnasse train station, which is the primary setting of Scorsese’s 3D feature (certainly one of the finest uses of the format). Méliès isn’t really the star of the story; this is largely the tale of an orphaned boy, Hugo Cabret (Butterfield, bland), who attempts to solve the mystery of a mechanical man bequeathed to him by his deceased father. But childlike whimsy doesn’t suit Scorsese; he’d rather sit Hugo to the side and school him (and us) in silent-film colour-tinting instead of playing out the slapsticky daddy-issues narrative. You still can’t help admiring the project’s ambition; an odd combo of Babe: Pig in the City and Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma, Hugo is the strangest bird to grace the multiplex in a while. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs341,217
Weekly admissions: 8,433
Total box office: Dhs1,240,891
Total admissions: 29,866

8 New Year's Eve

Director Garry Marshall continues his systematic defilement of the calendar’s most romantic holidays with another rom-com built and executed like a ’70s disaster movie. Repeating the formula from last year’s Valentine’s Day, Marshall assembles an all-star cast including (deep breath) Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Seth Meyers, Sofia Vergara, Jessica Biel, Lea Michele from Glee and many, many more for a labyrinth of intersecting melodramas and love stories set in New York City on, naturally, December 31. The hypothetical advantage of such a massive ensemble is the assumption that, somewhere among the characters, there’ll be a few folks we actually like. Yet each plot thread is worse than the last: a welcome break from Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi’s interminable lovers’ quarrel simply means another trip to the hospital to watch Halle Berry console a cancer-ridden Robert De Niro. It all adds up to a celebrity-obsessed city symphony played on one painfully flat note. Matt Singe
Weekly box office: Dhs202,849
Weekly admissions: 5,561
Total box office: Dhs1,844,770
Total admissions: 48,671

9 Trespass

Diabolical even by the standards of Joel Schumacher, this home-invasion thriller went from US cinemas to DVD release in a zippy 18 days, though its true place in the world is the nether regions of late-night TV. Essentially a low-rent B-flick with A-grade ‘talent’ and budget, it follows the fun and frolics when the lair of diamond dealer Nic Cage and bored spouse Nicole Kidman is breached by armed thugs. As a scenario unfolds that starts by stretching credibility before morphing into full-on crazy mode, Cage gets to shout a lot (like, a lot!), villainous Ben Mendelssohn acts rings round the clunky script and Schumacher cranks the fast-cuts and thumping music cues up to 11. Kidman’s thankless presence is as mysterious as the film’s belief that we’re going to buy its dumb twists, though as terrible movies go, it’s not unentertaining – once you surrender to its trashmeister idiocy. Trevor Johnston
Weekly box office: Dhs135,295
Weekly admissions: 4,390
Total box office: Dhs912,657
Total admissions: 27,060

10 Salvation Boulevard

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. An evangelical pastor (Brosnan) and an atheist professor (Harris) walk into a room. They chat over a couple of drinks, all but neglecting Carl (Kinnear) – a former Grateful Dead fan, now born-again Christian who’s just along for the ride. Then the antique pistol comes out, and before you can say ‘Praise be!’, the fire-’n’-brimstone cleric has accidentally lodged a bullet in the heathen academic’s brain. Uh… the other guy did it! So begins George Ratliff’s mostly laugh-free black comedy, which gathers an impressive cast – Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Connelly and Ciarán Hinds – for bad sitcom-level shenanigans. It’s a whirlwind of mistaken motivations, addled reveries, gun-toting baddies and Ridley Scott’s Legend, with all the actors trying their darnedest to sell the superficially shrill satire. ut only Tomei, as an ineffectual campus security guard and fellow Deadhead, makes a lasting impression. Listen to how she drawls ‘man-n-n-n’ or watch as she stares glazed-eyed into the distance, and you’re reminded why this supremely talented performer took home the Oscar for her scene-stealing role in My Cousin Vinny. A quick message to the movie execs: please pair Tomei and Anna Faris in a Smiley Face sequel. Keith Uhlich
Weekly box office: Dhs90,329
Weekly admissions: 2,850
Total box office: Dhs90,329
Total admissions: 2,850

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