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) 100%

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: Miniseries (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

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