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) 27%


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) 41%


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

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