5 films in UAE cinemas this week

X-Men: Apocalypse (15)
Okay, we can now call it a trend. The internecine scraps between Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Captain America (who really needs a “man” for this sentence to sound better) has reached the mutants-on-Earth fraternity of the X-Men. Can’t we all, like, just be friends?

The civil war in this film centres on Apocalypse, played by the suddenly ubiquitous Oscar Isaac, who awakes from hibernation in 1983 and is enraged by the terrible, terrible state of humanity – insert your own mullet and Madonna gags in here. The ancient mutant, whose name is the suspiciously Arabic-sounding En Sabah Nur, decides he must destroy humanity in order to rebuild Earth and manages to recruit Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Elizabeth Braddock (Olivia Munn), Ororo Munroe (Alexandra Shipp) and Warren Worthington (Ben Hardy) to his violent cause.

Standing in his way is James McAvoy’s Professor Charles Xavier and Jennifer Lawrence’s scaly blue-skinned Raven Darkhölme (you have to love the umlaut here), who lead a new brood of young X-Men to face him down and prove that, yeah, we make mistakes, but humans are people, too. And, naturally, there’s an awful lot of incredible CGI-ness to help keep the story rolling until its mammoth, rubble-strewn finale. Frankly, you should know the drill by now.

What is intriguing about this plotline, though, is the school for mutants that Charles Xavier – doing a neat Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice impression – has now founded, which will help keep the series rolling along, perhaps indefinitely. This is meant to be the last in a three-part trilogy of X-Men: First Class (2011) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), so while one storyline is being closed out, another half-dozen are being created, and will already come into play in the confirmed spin-offs The New Mutants, X-Force and Gambit.

It’s actually all enjoyable stuff and certainly more on the Iron Man side of the critical ledger than the sludge-fest of Batman’s clash with Superman. And the 1980s backdrop certainly adds to the subtle tongue-in-cheekness.
In cinemas from May 19

Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising  (18)
This is a sequel that might well have been made simply because the money the first one raked in was impossible to ignore; it’s hard to imagine the new-parents-duel-with-frat-house-next-door guffaws of the original were created with a view to a film franchise. Still, when you can make US$270 million on a total budget of just US$18 million, the critics can, frankly, do one. The same lead trio are back, with the always engaging Seth Rogen and the consistently excellent Rose Byrne teaming up with their previous adversary, played by the prettier-than-ever Zac Efron, to battle an upstart sorority – led by a perky Chlöe Grace Moretz. The first one had plenty of belly laughs and while this one doesn’t ever up the comic ante, it will suit Friday night cinema-goers the world over.
In cinemas from May 19

Sarbjit (PG)
Not long after the successful biographical drama Neerja comes Sarbjit, which is very much in the same (undeniably political) ballpark. It’s based on the true story of Sarbjit Singh, an Indian farmer from the Punjab who was jailed in Pakistan on the charge of spying and, eventually, for the Lahore bombings.
The story is told from the perspective of his sister, Dalbir, played by Aishwarya Rai, and charts her attempts to prove him innocent. Dramatic, emotional and occasionally overdone, it’s still a compelling tale told pretty well.
In select cinemas from May 19

Love and Friendship (15)
A Jane Austen adaptation that leaves the BBC Sunday teatime series in its wake, Love and Friendship is a riotous comedy of manners directed by Whit Stillman. It is based on the early Austen novella, Lady Susan, which was only published in 1871, some 54 years after her death. In this tale, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is a widow who retreats to the estate of her dead husband’s family to avoid gossip about her increasingly active personal life. When there, as with all Austen tales, thoughts turn to marriage – both her’s and her daughter’s. Enter the handsome Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) and the social repercussions of their budding romance begin. There are some lovely performances from the lead, Chlöe Sevigny, as her friend Alicia Johnson, and Alicia’s husband, played with many knowing winks by Stephen Fry. This is a period drama for us all.
In select cinemas from May 19

The Trust
Nicholas Cage is back to his twitching, manic best in this weirdly wonderful cops-turned-cons heist.

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