A young company man, Lockhart (Dane Dehaan) is sent to a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps to bring back his company’s CEO (Harry Groener); but, there must be something in the water, upon arrival Lockhart realizes getting out of this medical facility will be impossibly difficult under the watchful eye of Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs) and what of this special case, Hannah (Mia Goth)? This can’t possibly end “well,” can it? Drawing from the kitchen sink approach to anxiety nightmares Director Gore Verbinski has successfully created the next film to get under your skin, unsettle the soul, and leave you scratching your head wondering “what the hell did I just see?” Part homage to Hitchcock and German Expressionism this horrific psychological thriller is not an easy watch by any stretch. Critical themes of capitalism, personal freedom, what is “normal,” and escapism, see blatant thumping throughout, and, for the first two thirds work to create a relatively successful twisting semi-labyrinth, by act three though, the wheels come off and this train car on fire comes careening down the mountain in an expected cataclysmic force. Still, points for style and artistic liberties, this artistic schadenfreude certainly has its place in the suitcase of Dr. Caligari, take that for what it’s worth. A Cure For Wellness is rated R.
Two european mercenaries (Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal) in search of black powder navigate across the continent to the great wall of China only to find themselves embroiled in a centuries old battle between prehistoric space beasts and mankind. Learning the secrets of the Chinese nameless order will have to take a back seat while survival is more important. But the lessons imparted by Generals, Commanders and Strategists (Hanyu Zhang, Tian Jing, Andy Lau) will prove valuable none the less, what other stories might the great wall hold? Directed by Yimou Zhang and written by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro and Tony Gilroy this Chinese biblical spectacular-esque cultural clash between East and West offers visually interesting cinematography and choreography amidst one of the clunkiest scripts to grace theaters at a production cost upwards of 150 million dollars. Strained and stale dialogue is further pained by an emotionless and impossibly boring setup leaving nothing new to the imagination. In many ways it’s almost as though Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were discussing how they could crush the hearts of film goers. Affleck saying, hey Matt, so I think I’m gonna play Batman in this upcoming Superman v. Batman film, that’ll merge two potentially great worlds and blow people’s minds, surely this won’t be a turd, I dare you to top it. Damon replying, dude, hold my drink…. By the way Willem Dafoe is in this for some reason. Seriously, running an hour and forty three minutes that feel like an eternity with washed up CGI that further sullies the picture; producers should be braced for a U.S. failure but perhaps a major blowout overseas. Pass. The Great Wall is rated PG-13.
After their tumultuous falling out Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) manage to patch things up under a renegotiation of terms in their relationship, this time no secrets and moving at a pace determined by Anastasia; but, the playing field is loaded with jealous exes and oh’s, how will this beauty and beast ever manage to make it as a couple? It must be their ravenous hunger for each other? Directed by James Foley and written by Niall Leonard based on E.L. James’s source material, two observations stand out immediately 1) Dialogue in this chapter is worthy of praise from Tommy Wiseau (look him up, then go see The Room) and 2)This installment is racier than its predecessor within the first 15 minutes; which is to say, if Fifty Shades of Grey left you feeling sexually frustrated, confused, or let down, there’s plenty of simulated sex acts to satisfy any regular watcher of Game of Thrones. But who are we kidding, this makes the film sound palpable as soft core porn masked in a fairytale penned with the intellect of a thirteen year old’s understanding of BDSM….wait a minute, that might be accurate, not even Danny Elfman’s score punctuated with slow jamz to get your groove on can save this, worse yet, the committed press core are probably asking “how are we going to tolerate the thrilling 3rd installment due out in 2018?” Pass…unless you’re a glutton for punishment….wait a minute, that came out wrong too. Fifty Shades Darker is rated R….obviously.