Critics Consensus

The Great Wall Isn't

Plus, Fist Fight packs a weak punch, A Cure For Wellness is an uneven thriller, and Big Little Lies is Certified Fresh.

by | February 16, 2017 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have Matt Damon in China (The Great Wall, co-starring Willem Dafoe), Charlie Day in an argument (Fist Fight, co-starring Ice Cube), and Dane DeHaan in some really gross trouble (A Cure For Wellness, co-starring Jason Isaacs). What are the critics saying?

The Great Wall (2017) 35%

The idea of a movie starring Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe fighting monsters under the direction of the great Zhang Yimou sounds awfully hard to resist. It isn’t hard, in other words, to understand how The Great Wall got made — or envision a picture that lives up to the brilliantly wacky delights suggested by its premise. Unfortunately, critics say this is an instance in which the reality is far less interesting than the concept: Zhang’s brilliant eye and the cool special effects aren’t enough to offset a fundamentally flawed script that buries interesting ideas under clumsy clichés and a scattered narrative. Like many of you, we’d watch either of these guys in almost anything, but The Great Wall looks like a dismal exception to that rule.

Fist Fight (2017) 26%

What do Ice Cube, Charlie Day, and onscreen violence have in common? Under the right circumstances, they can all be pretty darn funny. There was good reason, in other words, to hope for the best from Fist Fight, a comedy about two teachers who end up poised for a physical altercation after looming layoffs and a manipulative principal conspire to put them at odds. Sadly, critics say those hopes have been dashed by the rather uninspired end result, which fails to make much use of its intriguingly matched leads — or any of the other funny people in the cast, including Kumail Nanjiani and Jillian Bell — beyond handing them a few decent one-liners. There’s a lot of talent assembled here, so you won’t walk away without a couple of chuckles, but filmgoers hoping for lots of laughs out of Fist Fight seem likely to be disappointed.

A Cure For Wellness (2017) 42%

Most people are a little paranoid about getting deathly ill, more than a few of us are at least a little creeped out by hospitals, and many filmgoers would agree that director Gore Verbinski can send an effective chill down the spine when he’s got a mind to. So A Cure for Wellness, starring Dane DeHaan in a thriller about a man sent to retrieve his CEO from a spa in the Alps where the methods of treatment may be more troubling than they seem, would appear to have all the necessary ingredients for an enjoyably unsettling night at the movies. Alas, while critics are quick to point out that Verbinski’s distinctive style remains in full effect, this is one exercise in ickiness whose sum is decidedly less than its clammy parts. Those with an extreme fondness for creepy imagery — or tolerance for horror movies clocking in at over two hours in length — may respond to this Cure; everyone else should probably think about waiting for this to reach the rental market, or simply rewatch some classic Cronenberg instead.

What’s New on TV

HUMANS: Season 2 (2016) 92%

Humans continues to quietly distinguish itself in the sci-fi drama category — and prove better than most of its flashier AI competition.

Big Little Lies: Season 1 (2017) 92%

Bitingly funny and highly addictive, Big Little Lies is a twisty, thrilling, enlightening ride led by a first-rate cast.

Doubt: Season 1 (2017) 53%

Doubt struggles with tone in its premiere episode, but ultimately develops into a passable courtroom/workplace drama that is buoyed by a talented cast.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Keep Quiet (2017) , a documentary about an outspoken latter-day Nazi’s spiritual journey after learning of his Jewish heritage, is at 100 percent.
  • You're Killing Me Susana (Me estás matando Susana) (2017) , about the tempestuous relationship between an actor and his wife, is at 92 percent.
  • Everybody Loves Somebody (2017) , about a woman whose attempt to fake a date to a family wedding goes comedically awry, is at 91 percent.
  • My Name Is Emily (2017) , about a teenage girl who leaves her foster family behind on a quest to find her father, is at 90 percent.
  • XX (2017) , a horror anthology helmed solely by female directors, is at 72 percent.
  • Lovesong (2017) , about the highs and lows of a long, complex friendship between two women, is at 69 percent.
  • American Fable (2017) , about a girl who makes a fateful discovery on her family farm, is at 57 percent.
  • In Dubious Battle (2017) , an adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel directed by and starring James Franco, is at 23 percent.

Tag Cloud

CNN LGBTQ Nat Geo political drama Year in Review politics Spring TV ABC 45 Disney Channel Adult Swim crime drama Fall TV Interview BBC Infographic Toys Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The CW singing competition Sundance WGN Paramount Network Nominations FXX Thanksgiving Pop FOX Rocky Spike diversity Extras Super Bowl Rom-Com Fox News boxoffice Winners Superheroes Showtime Syfy supernatural VICE romance Mindy Kaling spy thriller President Horror Awards Star Wars CBS All Access cops 21st Century Fox APB Emmys TBS 2015 CMT Polls and Games TLC Esquire Rock Biopics cinemax USA Sundance Now Logo Amazon historical drama serial killer Sneak Peek American Society of Cinematographers cats zombie Mary Tyler Moore composers Watching Series comiccon Fantasy HBO Certified Fresh Christmas biography FX Photos Musical Winter TV medical drama binge Country harry potter Ellie Kemper transformers Trailer Drama Martial Arts period drama Nickelodeon E3 24 frames Mystery The Arrangement Action Oscars GoT sitcom VH1 war based on movie Schedule ITV Pixar police drama Opinion Freeform AMC Box Office Video Games GIFs See It Skip It Food Network talk show TV golden globes Paramount Netflix Bravo 2017 aliens thriller MTV X-Men vampires E! Countdown Animation ABC Family 2016 Cartoon Network psycho Pirates USA Network Disney SundanceTV Marathons TCA 2017 TCM cooking NBC TCA SDCC OWN Musicals Warner Bros. CBS Dark Horse Comics Ghostbusters science fiction Universal Reality Competition Calendar crime thriller technology DirecTV Comic Book Set visit TV Land Music dceu dramedy Masterpiece Best and Worst what to watch Acorn TV Lionsgate Creative Arts Emmys Trivia A&E Red Carpet adventure RT History ratings Writers Guild of America Valentine's Day Marvel ESPN Holidays Tumblr Teen dc History justice league TruTV Kids & Family PaleyFest crime DC Universe Lifetime MSNBC sports Western Comedy YA Election GLAAD Grammys Star Trek IFC travel discovery Starz Podcast Britbox BET Hulu Character Guide PBS Comedy Central 007 NYCC TNT Summer Sci-Fi social media DC Comics Cosplay docudrama El Rey Reality Tomatazos Premiere Dates BBC America TIFF First Look Crackle