Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
An ambitious stockbroker (Dane DeHaan) is sent to a sanitarium in Switzerland to fetch the company CEO in exchange for a promotion. But this health spa is full of horror — and no one ever leaves. The overlong film (clocking in at more than two hours) succeeds at creating an institute of vivid nightmares, but the overkill length means that what’s scary sometimes fizzles out through sheer familiarity. The visual chill of eels oozing under skin is further dampened by a middling story that fails to dig in for the psychological fears Wellness sorely needs. There’s so much potential here that goes unrealized. Opens Feb. 17 in wide release
THE GREAT WALL
You might think you know this critic’s principal complaint against The Great Wall, but let me tell you: No, whitewashing is not the problem here. In this fantasy epic that proclaims that the Great Wall of China was built to ward off supernatural invasion, Matt Damon is heroic but hardly the white savior. Instead, he’s the odd supporting character in this blatant celebration of Chinese culture, heroes and values (that also happens to bear a tired resemblance to Lord of the Rings). Damon, in fact, just floats along in the sea of cypher-like Chinese paragons, who impart wisdom and try to look cool in a CG hurricane. It’s shallow, boring and utterly overdone. You can knock this wall over with a spoon.
Opens Feb. 17 in wide release
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
Author James Baldwin spoke for a generation, for a people. He was a prophet who knew very well that racial relations in America had no fix so easy as better laws and integrated schools. He knew racism runs deeper than that. And so this documentary seeks to bring his vision, as articulated in his unfinished work Remember This House, to life. Through archival footage, textual excerpts and a sharp, careful narrative thread that weaves Baldwin’s vision and today’s racial boiler together, I Am Not Your Negro pays deserving tribute to its visionary. The only regret a viewer might ache for is that his words did not speak so true, so many years later.
Opens Feb. 17 at Kahala Theatre