New Releases: February 17, 2017

Three new releases battle for box office supremacy with lackluster reviews. Not the best week to see a film.

1. The Great Wall (Universal, 3,326 Theaters, 143 Minutes, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 37% Fresh [115 reviews]: Why was the Great Wall of China built? To keep out invaders from the north? No! That’s just an “alternate fact” you history books told you! It was really built to keep out dragon-like alien monsters!

They must have paid an obscene amount of money to Matt Damon to star in this film. They say his casting is not whitewashing, but all the English-speaking western visitors to China during this period could probably been counted on one hand. Make no mistake, the casting of Damon was to try and sell a hard to sell movie to markets outside of China.

But the film has already made 150% of its budget back in China alone, so if Damon can bring just a little bit more money in, we might be seeing  a Great Wall 2 in the future.

2. Fist Fight (Warner Brothers/New Line, 3,185 Theaters, 91 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug material , Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 32% Fresh [60 reviews]: Okay, I can see where someone would think this is a funny idea. Two teachers getting into a fight after school instead of two kids. But really, is it all that funny? Maybe because I have a kid in school, I don’t find that little reversal all that witty.

Anyway, the fight comes about when Charlie Day’s character accidentally gets Ice Cube’s character fired. Cube takes issue with it and the fight is on.

Reservations about the concept aside, it is pretty much perfectly cast. Ice Cube’s persona for years has been being rage incarnate. And Day’s image is of a sniveling screw-up who gets in way over his head. So they their characters should play well off one another.

3. A Cure For Wellness (Fox, 2,704 Theaters, 146 Minutes, Rated R for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language, Rated R for language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug material , Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 41% Fresh [87 reviews]: Wow, Gore Verbinski sure likes to direct long movies, doesn’t he? Most of his films clock in at over two hours. It’s not like he can’t make a shorter film–MouseHunt was 99 minutes and The Ring was 115 minutes. But he really likes to test filmgoers’ bladders.

The film stars Dale DeHaan as a business executive who is sent to an exclusive European wellness spa to collect his companies CEO. But that will not be easy to do because the spa is not what it seems.

I always like a film that screws with your mind–as long as it makes sense, and is short. This film already fails half of that mission.

 

Next week, new releases brings us The Beast and Jyn Erso on the run for drug dealers, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, and another Chinese import, this time an animated one.

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About William Gatevackes 1931 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.

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