6 films in UAE cinemas this week

Fences (15)
This is the sort of role that you feel will mark much of Denzel Washington’s career from here on in – other than the occasional burst of Equalising, of course.
In Fences, he takes up one of the most famous works of August Wilson, the celebrated chronicler of the post-war African-American experience and author of ten plays that became known as “The Pittsburgh Cycle”. As he did on stage in 2010, Washington plays Troy Maxson, a refuse collector harbouring regrets about a failed baseball career – Jackie Robinson didn’t unleash quite a large enough tide when he first broke the colour barrier – and struggling to cope with the children of his various relationships, two which appeared outside of his marriage to long-suffering Rose (the ever-extraordinary Viola Davis).
As both director and leading man, you sense Washington straining every sinew to make a film worthy of the story’s originator, and he largely succeeds. But as a cinematic experience, this is still very much a filmed play, with long, single-shot set-pieces and dialogue that owes more to the ideas of their composer than narrative-dependent conversations.
As a result, it does require some patience for 21st-century cinema goers, but as an ensemble cast, it’s difficult to fault the artistic endeavour. One can only look forward to Denzel’s next project.
In cinemas from February 16


The Last Face (18)
Sean Penn trains his lens on an international aid agency in Africa compromised by social and political upheaval. Sadly, even Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem can’t rescue this from a limp script and a simplistic (occasionally offensive) outside-in look at the continent.
In cinemas from February 16


Fist Fight (18)
Positives? It doesn’t have Kevin James in it. Although we somehow think he might have been lined up for the role of the mild-mannered high-school English teacher that eventually went to Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses). The premise is simple enough: while trying to avoid pranks on the last day of school, he manages to annoy colleague Ice Cube – who wants to literally “take it outside”. You can guess the rest.
In cinemas from February 16


The Remains (18)
The synopsis of this schlock horror from first-time writer-director Thomas Della Bella begins “after a family moves into an old Victorian home, they discover a chest in the attic”. We’re not sure how this got beyond any script editor worth their salt, but it’s not actually as terrible as it sounds and Della Bella manages to create a suitably murky atmosphere for the inevitable bumps in the night. In the main, though, it’s a case of must try harder.
In cinemas from February 16


Matthew McConaughey leads this half-true tale of a man who goes prospecting in the Indonesian jungle. Postponed, as you might have noticed, from last year.
In cinemas from February 16


Florence Foster Jenkins
Another that keeps getting shoved around the schedules, this tale of an arts patron (Meryl Streep) wanting her turn in the spotlight is riotous fun.
In cinemas from February 16 

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