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) 36%


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

Interview Year in Review BET Mary Tyler Moore Musical TCA TV dc Music TCA 2017 Pop Writers Guild of America Disney 2015 The Arrangement GoT aliens Amazon Lucasfilm TruTV Tumblr romance Netflix Action Comedy Central SDCC period drama FX Marathons CBS Dark Horse Comics VICE Pixar First Look Holidays El Rey Britbox Western OWN Infographic Biopics Photos Video Games Nat Geo Cosplay zombie TCM Paramount golden globes Mystery Reality dramedy Christmas CMT See It Skip It cinemax Box Office Disney Channel Star Trek Food Network Reality Competition BBC America Lifetime Superheroes Adult Swim Kids & Family Sci-Fi Martial Arts medical drama justice league crime thriller Marvel Toys Super Bowl Fantasy Comic Book technology Pirates science fiction Universal Schedule Watching Series Creative Arts Emmys Extras ITV AMC Animation politics comiccon IFC police drama Nominations cooking Horror biography NBC Countdown Rock talk show ABC Family CNN Opinion IFC Films Character Guide vampires political drama thriller psycho Freeform Best and Worst crime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Election Cartoon Network Oscars Set visit what to watch Summer serial killer Sundance Now singing competition Logo Valentine's Day discovery sitcom Tomatazos BBC Country Drama GLAAD Showtime 24 frames Sundance composers Certified Fresh APB 007 20th Century Fox Hulu Premiere Dates Mindy Kaling Awards SundanceTV 21st Century Fox 2017 E! travel TLC Warner Bros. cats ABC USA TV Land Fall TV supernatural sports Rocky boxoffice crime drama YA dceu TNT Syfy History President MTV Polls and Games binge ratings CW Seed DC Universe Esquire Grammys Red Carpet MSNBC Rom-Com TIFF historical drama DirecTV Calendar TBS Fox News E3 Acorn TV Ghostbusters Ellie Kemper The CW Crackle Musicals 2016 RT History Sony Pictures USA Network PaleyFest HBO spy thriller 45 Trailer Trivia American Society of Cinematographers cults ESPN Spike Comedy Masterpiece A&E war Starz Winter TV cops Winners DC Comics DC streaming service transformers WGN Thanksgiving based on movie GIFs LGBTQ Nickelodeon adventure unscripted diversity Lionsgate VH1 docudrama Emmys Bravo Paramount Network harry potter social media Spring TV FXX NYCC CBS All Access X-Men Star Wars Podcast FOX PBS Sneak Peek Teen