Out This Week: 24 September 2015

Eid means a bumper crop for U.A.E. cinemas. Here's our thoughts on nine of the new releases.

This weekend coincides with Eid al Adha, being one of the two largest release dates of the calendar year. Among the many new films out, here’s our take on nine of them. Consider our advice before you decide what to watch. Eid Mubarak!


Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
With: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro

Heads up: Denis Villeneuve is quickly fortifying himself as a modern master, and early reviews of this film from Cannes and Toronto seem to further cement it. If the director’s name or the fantastic trailer has not yet convinced you, look no further than the cast. Of the crowded releases this weekend,¬†Sicario is the one movie we look forward to the most.

Hotel Transylvania 2

Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
With: Selena Gomez, Adam Sandler, and Nick Offerman

Heads up: Even though it is an animated movie, Adam Sandler is involved. Which means we’re not interested. And neither are any kids around us. Go for it if you liked the first one, but if you just want a movie for a family day out, you could do better by watching Inside Out (again).

The Intern

Directed by: Nancy Meyers
With: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, and Rene Russo

Heads up: De Niro has accomplished it all, and it seems he now does movies as a favour for friends. It is a feel-good sugar-coated sunny Rom-Com, so you already know if this movie is for you or not. There’s little we can say except: with those two leads on the poster, you won’t get bored if you are forced into watching this film.

The Visit

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
With: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, and Deanna Dunagan

Heads up: Shayamalan‘s graph seems to have finally bottomed out. The Visit is his highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes since Signs (The Village is criminally underrated). With a middling score, it still isn’t expected to be the genius that his first three movies were, but this is promising. The trailer was designed to be misleading, hence watch this movie with an open mind. You might just find yourself…. not angry!

Pawn Sacrifice

Directed by: Edward Zwick
With: Liev Schreiber, Lily Rabe, and Tobey Maguire

Heads up: Director Edward Zwick hasn’t made a worthwhile film this century (yes, I know he made Blood Diamond). But this movie has been getting good reviews. So may just be worth it for a quiet afternoon visit to the nearest cineplex. Based on the true story of American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer’s challenge to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, look for a good performance from generally-good-but-spiderman-forever Tobey Maguire.

99 Homes

Directed by: Ramin Bahrani
With: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, and Laura Dern

Heads up: 99 Homes screened at the now-defunct Abu Dhabi  Film Festival last year where the Filmphoria crew watched it and loved it. If a slice-of-life movie is your cup of tea, then watch this movie and the other works of Ramin Bahrani. His 5th feature stars recognizable Hollywood talent, but still tackles the very real, very relatable problems that regular (American) people face.

Tale of Tales

Directed by: Matteo Garrone
With: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, and John C Reilly

Heads up: A visual scifi, fantasy, horror movie from Italian maestro Matteo Garrone, seek out this film if you are willing to explore cinema beyond the studio-churned weekend releases. Expect the absurd, but be aware: the theatrical release could suffer from censorship.

Pay the Ghost

Directed by: Uli Edel
With: Nicolas Cage, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Veronica Ferres

Heads up: A few years ago, we’d get a a B-grade Van Damme action movie every few weeks, badly-photoshopped poster included. That vacancy has been filled by Nicholas Cage and his “thrillers”. This is just another one of those releases, including the badly-photoshopped poster.

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon

Directed by: Abbas-Mastan
With: Kapil Sharma, Sharat Saxena, Arbaaz Khan and Elli Avram

Heads up: Comedy Nights with Kapil heads to the cinemas for jokes without a laugh-track. Atleast the women are real women in the movie. Watch it if you *like* the comedian at the center of the poster. While writing this bit, I realized who the directors are: makes you wonder what happened to the brothers who made such good unoriginal thrillers like Baazigar, Khiladi, Race, etc.

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.