8 films in UAE cinemas this week
There are some seriously scary movies on the big screen
Moneyball, Any Given Sunday, Rocky… Mighty Ducks. If there’s one thing you can count on Hollywood for, it’s a good sports movie. More specifically, a sports story with a tortured protagonist facing overwhelming adversity or embattled in some kind of legal or moral dilemma. If any of that is your (sports) bag, Ridley Scott’s Concussion has it in spades, with Will Smith starring as real-life US doctor Bennet Omalu, who takes on the bastion of sporting Americana that is the National Football League.
Following an autopsy on former footballer Mike Webster, forensic pathologist Omalu detects a neurological deterioration that’s akin to Alzheimer’s disease. He makes his findings public, much to the chagrin of the corporate bods in the upper echelons of the NFL. Continuing to find connections between football and the fatal condition (then labelled chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a crusading Omalu joins forces with a former NFL doctor Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), a supporter of Omalu’s ethical cause. Together, they begin to raise awareness about the inherent, life-altering dangers the game’s players face.
As an outsider destabilising one of America’s most cherished pastimes, the consequences of Omalu’s altruistic lobbying become frightening, and faced with the threat, the seemingly omnipotent NFL bites back with, shall we say, slightly less-than-honourable means.
The Boy (18)
Following 2014’s creepy Annabelle, The Boy represents the latest in the “possessed doll” sub-breed of the horror genre, the one that Chuckie kick-started. Set in a gothic mansion – where else? – in the English countryside, The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan is tasked with what, at first, sounds like a perfectly simple nanny’s job – looking after an elderly couple’s small child, Brahms. Only Brahms turns out to be a porcelain doll with a penchant for moving around the house when no-one is watching. Despite the dangerously evil presence, Cohan stays in the house – apparently determined to find out what Brahms’ problem is. Are babysitting gigs really that hard to find?
When Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, it sparked the biggest human evacuation ever recorded. It’s this incredible event that takes centre stage in Airlift, with the story played out through the travails of wealthy businessman Ranjit Katyal (played by Akshay Kumar) who – following the anarchy and danger of the invasion – labours tirelessly with the Indian government to evacuate 170,000 of his fellow countrymen back to their homes in India.
Dirty Grandpa (15)
Robert De Niro’s recent widower, Dick coerces his straight-laced grandson Jason (Zac Efron) into a road trip to Miami ahead of the latter’s imminent wedding to a high maintenance, ever-controlling fiancée. What serves as a (somewhat inappropriate) last hurrah for Dick descends into an awakening of sorts for Jason, as his granddad opens his eyes to a life beyond the one that’s laid out for him. With the help of a few bikini-clad Spring Break revellers, of course.
The Forest (15)
Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer swaps the fictional lands of Westeros for the unsettling real-life environs of Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, an area located just beneath Mount Fuji that has become steeped in folklore due to the number of suicides that have taken place there. Upon learning that her twin sister has gone off alone into “Suicide Forest” – possibly to end her life – Dormer’s character Sarah sets about rescuing her from the haunted plains, with a little help from a horribly clichéd handsome travel writer, and a wise and timid Japanese guide.
Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter (PG)
The real-life story that’s already had critics from Sundance to Sydney waxing lyrical, Kumiko details the pseudo pilgrimage of a disillusioned Japanese office worker who sets out to North Dakota. She has become convinced that there are hidden riches awaiting her, as depicted in the famous fictional movie Fargo – that she mistakenly believes is a real story. The premise may sound a little silly, but trust us, this is one oddball arthouse effort you’ll feel all the better for having watched.
Screening January 20 at The Scene Club, Knowledge Village
The Hateful Eight
Tarantino’s latest work; a post-Civil War Western of sorts, starring the quirky director’s old pals Samuel
L Jackson, Tim Roth and Kurt Russell.
Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helen Bonham Carter star as the foot soldiers of the women’s movement, fighting for their right vote in 1900s Britain.