The films hitting cinema screens in the Middle East this week
Time Out staff
Edge of Tomorrow Director: Doug Liman Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton 3/5
It’s not summer until you’ve eaten your first ice cream or Tom Cruise has saved the planet. At 51 (but looking like a man of 35), Cruise is battling a spidery race of aliens called Mimics in Doug Liman’s action sci-fi blockbuster. The film’s Groundhog Day-meets-Independence Day plot is actually pretty genius. Cruise is Bill Cage, the army’s top PR guy – a total coward with a salesman’s smile. After winding up the wrong general, Cage finds himself demoted and on the frontline, where he’s killed in two minutes flat. But (and here is where it gets Groundhoggy) he wakes up in a loop, forced to fight the same battle over and over again. Each day, it takes a little bit longer to die, and Cage teams up with the army’s toughest fighter, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).
Liman directed The Bourne Identity and goes for gun-metal realism here too. As for Cruise, he’s on to a winner for approximately half the film. In coward mode it almost looks like he’s taking the mick out of Tom Cruise, action hero. He sweats and squeaks, looking petrified. Then he starts with the search-for-the-hero-inside-yourself routine and goes on to autopilot like he’s barely got a thought in his head. Cath Clarke
All the way back to Donnie Darko, Jake Gyllenhaal has had an inchoate sense of evolution about him, a tricky quality that better actors can’t pull off half as well. So it’s hard to say if splitting the star into two doppelgängers – Adam, a mousy college professor, and Anthony, a rising actor with a healthy ego – is the best dramatic plan. Enemy goes for it, even though division isn’t Gyllenhaal’s strong suit. You wait for the counterparts to clash, to morph into each other and begin to blur (as in José Saramago’s original novel), but the movie is too literal and compartmentalised to take the psychological plunge it seems to constantly be intimating.
Director Denis Villeneuve (who directed Gyllenhaal to superior, underrated work in Prisoners) does an expert job in creating a yellowed, washed-out Toronto, an almost abstract place, perfect for his Hitchcockian blondes (Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon) to swan around in, alluringly. The mood is hypnotically quiet, tinged with surreal flashes such as a huge Louise Bourgeoisian spider dangling over the cityscape. Your crowd will exit in a spooked jumble after witnessing Enemy’s final shot, and though the moment certainly adds fangs to the mind games, it feels just as detachable as its leading man. Joshua Rothkopf
A Case of You Director: Kat Coiro Stars: Peter Dinklage, Evan Rachel Wood, Sam Rockwell
Justin Long (New Girl) plays Sam, a writer looking for love and inspiration when he meets his ideal woman and tries to be her ideal man. Problem is, it’s easy enough to write a fake profile but when she falls in love with him, he has to keep up the charade he’s created. Long and his brother Christian co-wrote the rom-com alongside Kier O’Donnell, and if you like You’ve Got Mail or Yes Man, then this sweet, social media romance flick will float your boat. Time Out staff
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Director: Dean DeBlois Stars: Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrera
Returning to the island of Berk, this sequel sees Hiccup and his dragon best friend Toothless reunited and discovering new lands. But a journey to the edge of the island sees the pair discover a secret ice cave and hundreds of wild dragons, as well as the intriguing Dragon Rider. Fans of the first animation will enjoy the fast-paced dragon flying scenes, witty script and inspired animation. Time Out staff
If you like your horror movie full of handheld shaky shots, screams in the dark and extraterrestrial life forms then this film based on the real life Brown Mountain Lights phenomenon will tick boxes for you. The film follows the story of a family on holiday, who in true horror movie style, ignore the rumours about the mysterious lights that have been seen in the woods. Time Out staff