Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Take cover from the storm and see these movies this weekend

A critic's job is to say "Hey, look at this!"

A Cure for Wellness: So beautiful that the total lack of cell phone reception is almost tolerable. Pity about the eels, though.
A Cure for Wellness: So beautiful that the total lack of cell phone reception is almost tolerable. Pity about the eels, though.

There is no delight in being contrary for its own sake. It's as dishonest a critical move as quote-whore cheerleading. It cries out, "Hey, look at me!" when, of course, a critic's job is to say, "Hey, look at this other thing!" — in this case, movies. But there is something admittedly delicious in finding yourself genuinely happy with a film most folks didn't like — in this case, A Cure for Wellness.

Movie

Cure for Wellness ***

thumbnail

Director Gore Verbinski takes the campy dread of Hammer horror films (<em>Horror of Dracula, et alia</em>) and builds it into a a gorgeous, epic assault on anti-immigration sentiments in Europe and elsewhere. Yes, it’s long and indulgent, littered with loose ends, unexplained details, and a few outright absurdities. But despite all that, it’s solidly built, masterful with mood, and just plain wonderful to look upon. Dane DeHaan (looking enough like Leo DiCaprio to recall 2010’s <em>Shutter Island</em>) plays an ambitious Young Turk sent to retrieve his boss from a wellness spa in the Swiss Alps. The big guy’s needed back at the office to make a merger go through, but his last letter home was an extended diatribe echoing the spa director’s thoughts on soul-sick modernity and its endless striving for money and power. (He’s not entirely wrong, of course, but then, the devil has been known to speak truth when it serves his purpose.) Once there, DeHaan finds it increasingly difficult to leave: there’s an accident, and there’s a girl, and something weird is going on, something involving eels... I’d say this big-budget B movie puts the “grand” back into “Grand Guignol,” if it weren’t for the earnest moral condemnation at its heart: that the real crime against nature is the use of the world’s wretched refuse to prop up a madman’s dream of civilization.

Find showtimes

It starts with the sumptuous visuals, moves on to the pervasive mood and half-convincing condemnation of modernity, and finally bursts into gruesome, crazy (but not especially gory) violence. What's not to love? Plenty, apparently, but even the film's acknowledged flaws didn't cool my ardor.

Movie

Fist Fight **

thumbnail

Charlie Day is a nice-guy teacher (with a sweet kid and a pregnant wife) in a high school that demands educators who look like Ice Cube and talk with his brand of menace and authority. But even Mr. Cube is not immune to the degradations of Senior Prank Day, and neither is safe from the Administrative axe on this, the last day of school. When Day acts to save his own skin and so gets Cube fired, the fight is, as they say, on — though not for a long while. First, the movie wants you to watch Day sweat, squirm, scheme, and scream as he tries to escape his fate — and fails, and fails, and fails. He succeeds, however, at carrying the film, partly through sympathetic wretchedness and partly through sheer energy. (He also has help from a mostly well-used cast, including Tracy Morgan as a hapless coach, Dean Norris as an exasperated principal, and of course, his co-star, who both mocks and upholds his famed badassery.) The fight, when it arrives, is bonkers, brutal, and almost believable. The film, when it ends, is a little less so. Directed by Richie Keen.

Find showtimes

As for the revisitation of Three O'Clock High that was Fist Fight, it's probably helped that I had a fun chat with director Richie Keen, and that I find star Charlie Day's particular way of freaking out amusing (if not laugh-out-loud funny). But most others disagreed.

Movie

Great Wall *

thumbnail

Director Zhang Yimou enlists the friendly All-American face of Matt Damon to entice multiplex audiences to embrace subtitles, the glories of Chinese civilization, and the coming wave of Chinese cinema. (Damon’s face, scowly and granitic, is up to the task, his slippery accent isn’t.) The story feels American as well; specifically; it feels like a low-budget Western in which a highly skilled ne’er-do-well gets roped by a spirited gal into defending the town against a horde of nasties, and learns a thing or two about love and doin’ right in the process. Something bland and familiar to make the keening wail of the (beautiful) funeral ceremony a little less foreign, and the brightly color-coded armor of the Great Wall’s defenders a little less outlandish. It’s a hard movie to defend: the script whiffs most of its attempts at humor, the beastly baddies are dull demon dogs, and the action yo-yos between the ridiculous and the sublime. But I found it a strangely easy movie to <em>enjoy</em>, so that’s something. It probably helps that the copious CGI is just wonky enough in places to suggest the gratifying solidity of practical effects.

Find showtimes

And outrage magnet The Great Wall? I don't really get the outrage. Matt Damon plays a selfish Westerner who finds he has much to learn from the Chinese people he seeks to plunder, and while he helps to save the day, he's hardly a White Savior.

It's a better celebration of Chinese culture than it is a movie. They're the future of the industry, though, so I'm sure they'll improve as time goes by. (Yes, that's a joke; I'm well aware that there are already great films coming out of China. Just two examples: The same director's Coming Home was quietly heartbreaking, and his The Flowers of War did more interesting work with the helpful Westerner motif.)

Movie

Antarctica: Ice and Sky ***

thumbnail

82-year-old Claude Lorius was the first scientist to alert the world to the perils of global warming. His one regret in life is that history has proved him right. A biographical, cinematic corollary of Al Gore’s canned Learning Annex lecture, Luc Jacquet’s <em>Antarctica</em> condenses 22 polar missions — all told, they consumed ten years of Lorius’s life — into one visually breathtaking documentary. (It helps that Lorius and his crews were wise enough to pack a couple of 16mm cameras to record the various expeditions.) The narration — inspired selections from Lorius’s diary spoken by Michel Papineschi — complements the epical force of the images. For a time, it looked as if Jacquet (<em>March of the Penguins</em>) had every intention of letting the pictures do the talking. Sadly, the last ten minutes are squandered on spoon-feeding doom. And if ever a film cried out for a domed IMAX 3D presentation it’s this.

Find showtimes

Scott Marks had a pretty good week, starting (alphabetically and otherwise) with Antarctica: Ice and Sky. ("No, really, kids — the whole continent used to be covered with ice and snow!") And while it's hard to imagine how any Banksy-themed film could improve on Exit Through the Gift Shop, it seems Saving Banksy managed to find an interesting new approach to the slippery street artist. So that's good.

Movie

Salesman <em>(Forushande)</em> ***

thumbnail

We open in mid-collapse: an Iranian couple, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), soon to star in a blue-penciled staging of <em>Death of a Salesman</em>, are forced to relocate when their tenement begins to crumble. Their new apartment — the former home of an in-demand prostitute and an ex-John who didn’t get the memo regarding her relocation — threatens to crumble the marriage as well. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s (<em>A Separation, About Elly</em>) restless camera dogs his characters like a bleak future — not a drop of false emotion leaks from this faultless cast. The faint, near-imperceptible style with which Farhadi “opens up” scenes from Miller’s play squarely melds the two storylines. For two-thirds of its running time, attention must be paid to an exquisitely realized suspense-thriller. It isn’t until Farhadi borrows a calculable cup of revenge from the <em>Death Wish</em> cookbook that his soufflé begins to flatten.

Find showtimes

He also mostly liked (or liked most of) The Salesman, a wraparound remake of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. But he hauled out the dreaded black spot for the anime inaction of Ocean Waves. And after seeing this year's Oscar-nominated short animated films, I'm sort of inclined to agree with his take.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s biennial Art Auction, La Mesa Oktoberfest, Keep Rockin’ Fest

Events October 1-October 3, 2020
Next Article

La Jolla Elementary alumni

Bruce Robinson, Fred Benedetti, Nickel Creek, Black Licorice, Rob Halford
A Cure for Wellness: So beautiful that the total lack of cell phone reception is almost tolerable. Pity about the eels, though.
A Cure for Wellness: So beautiful that the total lack of cell phone reception is almost tolerable. Pity about the eels, though.

There is no delight in being contrary for its own sake. It's as dishonest a critical move as quote-whore cheerleading. It cries out, "Hey, look at me!" when, of course, a critic's job is to say, "Hey, look at this other thing!" — in this case, movies. But there is something admittedly delicious in finding yourself genuinely happy with a film most folks didn't like — in this case, A Cure for Wellness.

Movie

Cure for Wellness ***

thumbnail

Director Gore Verbinski takes the campy dread of Hammer horror films (<em>Horror of Dracula, et alia</em>) and builds it into a a gorgeous, epic assault on anti-immigration sentiments in Europe and elsewhere. Yes, it’s long and indulgent, littered with loose ends, unexplained details, and a few outright absurdities. But despite all that, it’s solidly built, masterful with mood, and just plain wonderful to look upon. Dane DeHaan (looking enough like Leo DiCaprio to recall 2010’s <em>Shutter Island</em>) plays an ambitious Young Turk sent to retrieve his boss from a wellness spa in the Swiss Alps. The big guy’s needed back at the office to make a merger go through, but his last letter home was an extended diatribe echoing the spa director’s thoughts on soul-sick modernity and its endless striving for money and power. (He’s not entirely wrong, of course, but then, the devil has been known to speak truth when it serves his purpose.) Once there, DeHaan finds it increasingly difficult to leave: there’s an accident, and there’s a girl, and something weird is going on, something involving eels... I’d say this big-budget B movie puts the “grand” back into “Grand Guignol,” if it weren’t for the earnest moral condemnation at its heart: that the real crime against nature is the use of the world’s wretched refuse to prop up a madman’s dream of civilization.

Find showtimes

It starts with the sumptuous visuals, moves on to the pervasive mood and half-convincing condemnation of modernity, and finally bursts into gruesome, crazy (but not especially gory) violence. What's not to love? Plenty, apparently, but even the film's acknowledged flaws didn't cool my ardor.

Movie

Fist Fight **

thumbnail

Charlie Day is a nice-guy teacher (with a sweet kid and a pregnant wife) in a high school that demands educators who look like Ice Cube and talk with his brand of menace and authority. But even Mr. Cube is not immune to the degradations of Senior Prank Day, and neither is safe from the Administrative axe on this, the last day of school. When Day acts to save his own skin and so gets Cube fired, the fight is, as they say, on — though not for a long while. First, the movie wants you to watch Day sweat, squirm, scheme, and scream as he tries to escape his fate — and fails, and fails, and fails. He succeeds, however, at carrying the film, partly through sympathetic wretchedness and partly through sheer energy. (He also has help from a mostly well-used cast, including Tracy Morgan as a hapless coach, Dean Norris as an exasperated principal, and of course, his co-star, who both mocks and upholds his famed badassery.) The fight, when it arrives, is bonkers, brutal, and almost believable. The film, when it ends, is a little less so. Directed by Richie Keen.

Find showtimes

As for the revisitation of Three O'Clock High that was Fist Fight, it's probably helped that I had a fun chat with director Richie Keen, and that I find star Charlie Day's particular way of freaking out amusing (if not laugh-out-loud funny). But most others disagreed.

Movie

Great Wall *

thumbnail

Director Zhang Yimou enlists the friendly All-American face of Matt Damon to entice multiplex audiences to embrace subtitles, the glories of Chinese civilization, and the coming wave of Chinese cinema. (Damon’s face, scowly and granitic, is up to the task, his slippery accent isn’t.) The story feels American as well; specifically; it feels like a low-budget Western in which a highly skilled ne’er-do-well gets roped by a spirited gal into defending the town against a horde of nasties, and learns a thing or two about love and doin’ right in the process. Something bland and familiar to make the keening wail of the (beautiful) funeral ceremony a little less foreign, and the brightly color-coded armor of the Great Wall’s defenders a little less outlandish. It’s a hard movie to defend: the script whiffs most of its attempts at humor, the beastly baddies are dull demon dogs, and the action yo-yos between the ridiculous and the sublime. But I found it a strangely easy movie to <em>enjoy</em>, so that’s something. It probably helps that the copious CGI is just wonky enough in places to suggest the gratifying solidity of practical effects.

Find showtimes

And outrage magnet The Great Wall? I don't really get the outrage. Matt Damon plays a selfish Westerner who finds he has much to learn from the Chinese people he seeks to plunder, and while he helps to save the day, he's hardly a White Savior.

It's a better celebration of Chinese culture than it is a movie. They're the future of the industry, though, so I'm sure they'll improve as time goes by. (Yes, that's a joke; I'm well aware that there are already great films coming out of China. Just two examples: The same director's Coming Home was quietly heartbreaking, and his The Flowers of War did more interesting work with the helpful Westerner motif.)

Movie

Antarctica: Ice and Sky ***

thumbnail

82-year-old Claude Lorius was the first scientist to alert the world to the perils of global warming. His one regret in life is that history has proved him right. A biographical, cinematic corollary of Al Gore’s canned Learning Annex lecture, Luc Jacquet’s <em>Antarctica</em> condenses 22 polar missions — all told, they consumed ten years of Lorius’s life — into one visually breathtaking documentary. (It helps that Lorius and his crews were wise enough to pack a couple of 16mm cameras to record the various expeditions.) The narration — inspired selections from Lorius’s diary spoken by Michel Papineschi — complements the epical force of the images. For a time, it looked as if Jacquet (<em>March of the Penguins</em>) had every intention of letting the pictures do the talking. Sadly, the last ten minutes are squandered on spoon-feeding doom. And if ever a film cried out for a domed IMAX 3D presentation it’s this.

Find showtimes

Scott Marks had a pretty good week, starting (alphabetically and otherwise) with Antarctica: Ice and Sky. ("No, really, kids — the whole continent used to be covered with ice and snow!") And while it's hard to imagine how any Banksy-themed film could improve on Exit Through the Gift Shop, it seems Saving Banksy managed to find an interesting new approach to the slippery street artist. So that's good.

Movie

Salesman <em>(Forushande)</em> ***

thumbnail

We open in mid-collapse: an Iranian couple, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), soon to star in a blue-penciled staging of <em>Death of a Salesman</em>, are forced to relocate when their tenement begins to crumble. Their new apartment — the former home of an in-demand prostitute and an ex-John who didn’t get the memo regarding her relocation — threatens to crumble the marriage as well. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s (<em>A Separation, About Elly</em>) restless camera dogs his characters like a bleak future — not a drop of false emotion leaks from this faultless cast. The faint, near-imperceptible style with which Farhadi “opens up” scenes from Miller’s play squarely melds the two storylines. For two-thirds of its running time, attention must be paid to an exquisitely realized suspense-thriller. It isn’t until Farhadi borrows a calculable cup of revenge from the <em>Death Wish</em> cookbook that his soufflé begins to flatten.

Find showtimes

He also mostly liked (or liked most of) The Salesman, a wraparound remake of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. But he hauled out the dreaded black spot for the anime inaction of Ocean Waves. And after seeing this year's Oscar-nominated short animated films, I'm sort of inclined to agree with his take.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

La Jolla Elementary alumni

Bruce Robinson, Fred Benedetti, Nickel Creek, Black Licorice, Rob Halford
Next Article

Interview fashionista finds comfort in Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M

Claire still believes in wearing pants while working remotely
Comments
3

Day-um, Lick, you mean you actually like something that is currently playing???

Feb. 19, 2017

I wish the movie reviewer would do a story on how movie theaters accommodate the hearing impaired. My experience has been miserable. Because most movie theaters do not maintain their hearing impaired headphone equipment - headphones, transmitters, audio amplifiers.

We are a second thought. An asterisk in the printed ad.

I have sever hearing loss. Deaf in one ear and a major loss in the other. Blame some of it on loud audio in my car, rock and roll, and swimming ear infections. The result is I cannot enjoy a movie without the headphones. I have spent hours trying t resolve technical problems with theater employees while, I as an electronics engineer bemused by their troubleshooting, become mentally exhausted. I give up, ask for a refund and leave.

Retail..is that what we can call it... Theaters are doomed if they do not adapt to accommodate all customers. With the audio technology I witness today, we are going to have a generation of 'hard of hearing' people. I cannot even imagine the decibels that kids are inflicting on themselves these days.

So theaters have to realize they are losing customers who would visit the big screens if they felt they were welcomed. I'd say I have probably passed up going to a movie theater, instead waiting and watching the move on cable, for 20 years.

Feb. 19, 2017

Fortunately, my hearing is still pretty good. I've never so much as tried one on let alone watched a movie while wearing an assisted listening device. If anything, I find that a lot of theatres tend to crank the volume to uncomfortable levels. Half the time I wish they turn it down a few decibels.

I was looking around to see if there was a consumer version of an assisted listening device that you could pick up for $100 or so. No luck. But I did come up with this alternative: http://www.syracuse.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/06/closed_caption_glasses_movies_regal_theaters_deaf.html

Feb. 24, 2017

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close