What we're watching and playing this week in Dubai
Men in Black: International (PG13)
Did you really think Hollywood would leave this franchise untouched? We’re in the age of remakes after all. That, and 2012’s Men In Black 3 was a box office smash hit, so of course they would rekindle the extraterrestrial fire. But this time we’re not going to get our hopes up like we did for 2016’s Ghostbusters (oh, the pain), even if it does look like bundles of fun.
Move over agents J and K, this time we’re getting the men and women in black – Thor: Ragnarok stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as agents M and H, and we couldn’t think of a better duo. Ragnarok showed audiences how playful they can be on screen, so we can already imagine the back-and-forth banter they’ll have when given cool alien tech to muck around with. They also seem to be in good hands, as International is directed by F. Gary Gray, the man behind The Fate of the Furious and Straight Outta Compton. Basically, that means thrilling action and smarts, so maybe it isn’t just a run-of-the-mill reboot. Let’s hope not.
The story follows Agent M as a recent recruit, teaming up with Agent H to investigate a mole in the MIB organisation, from an alien threat known as The Hive who can take the form of anyone. So, Liam Neeson also stars as High T, and we’re calling it now – he’s the mole. If he is, International wouldn’t have the most original plot out there, but MIB is all about the crazy weaponry, fun action scenes and quirky aliens, so we’ll let that slide.
In cinemas June 20
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (PG13)
How the mighty have fallen. Fox’s X-Men franchise used to be the go-to superhero movie largely thanks to X2 and Days of Future Past, then a new bunch of young mutants came along and ruined it all. Dark Phoenix (Jean Grey gone bad) is supposed to be the X-Men’s biggest threat, but the last entry doesn’t do her justice with its bland plot and underwhelming action. Let’s just say Fox had a great 20-year run, but we’re glad it’s over.
In cinemas now
Crash Team Racing Nitro-fueled
A slew of colourful characters. Check. Crazy kart courses with white-knuckle bends. Tick. Exhilarating speed boosts after a neat drift. But of course. Any developer could include all these makings of a fantastic racing game and still pale in comparison to the giant that is Mario Kart. But there was once an underdog (or bandicoot in this case) in the late ‘90s that held its ground against the king of karts, and any PlayStation fan will know that was Crash Team Racing. Twenty years later, developers Beenox have brought Naughty Dogs’ original back to life, and it may leave Mario behind in a plume of tyre smoke.
Okay, that may be over-dramatic. But there’s no denying how much fun Crash Team Racing is, and Nitro Fueled looks to bring that magic back, along with a few tricks up its sleeve. Like the original, the update features a lengthy list of characters from Crash Bandicoot for players to choose from in order to race along winding courses filled with hidden pathways, crates with power-ups to slow your fellow drivers down and plenty of hills to catch some air. Although this time everything is faster, turns are tighter and courses have been revamped to add even more Easter Eggs to get players to first place.
CTR hasn’t just been slapped with a fresh coat of paint like other remasters (although it does look gorgeous), its been made from the ground up to attract a new generation of gamers. It’s welcome, as a number of old fans knew every nook and cranny from the original, so it gives them new karting skills and courses to master. Also, now that Nitro Fueled introduces online gameplay, ‘90s players won’t completely dominate all the novice drivers.
They may anyway, as it takes some time to get used to CTR’s standout feature: boosts. The longer you drift, the more boost power you get, but it’s knowing when to drift, how long for and when to execute a triple boost that’s the kicker. Boosting through different courses is akin to a rhythm game, and mastering each one is all the fun.
Along with local and online play, adventure mode returns, and if it’s anything like the first, it’s the best crash course tutorial players could ask for. It gets painstakingly hard towards the end, but it’s also heaps of fun to get to know all the colourful characters from the series.
Turns out an old bandicoot can learn new tricks.
Available on PS4, Xbox One and Switch, June 21.
Layers of fear 2
Any great profound story is like an onion – it has layers, which makes this first-person horror experience one terrifying onion. Layers of
Fear 2 places you in the role of an actor on an ocean liner, as the player roams around the creepy cruise to piece together what’s going on. And there’s a director gone mad chillingly speaking to you while surreal and terrifying happenings spook you to death.
Out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC
Neon Genesis Evangelion
The granddaddy of mech anime (and arguably the most controversial) is finally making its grand debut, not just on Netflix, but online. Officially, unless you somehow found it on DVD, it’s nearly impossible to watch the hit ‘90s series anywhere. This is a big deal for fans of philosophical shows and giant robot fights who may have missed Hideaki Anno’s masterpiece. Though, it is a strange one.
Releases on June 21
Happy! Season 2
If you can stomach grotesque scenes and completely over-the-top gore, you’ve probably already watched the first absurd but entertaining season of Happy!. Well, prepare for it all again as season two is here, and this time Nick Sax (played by a crazy good Christopher Meloni) and his imaginary friend, Happy, are trying to live a normal life, but that’s hard to do when an evil Easter Bunny is terrorising the city.
Out now on Netflix