Four new reviews from Steve Pulaski of Influx Magazine

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“FIST FIGHT”

Within the first ten minutes of the film, Fist Fightclobbers the audience with three penis jokes, two gay jokes, and one joke about race (Ice Cube refers to a pair of pranksters, one African-American, the other Asian, as “Rush Hour”). This isn’t simply bad comedy, it’s brutally lazy bad comedy.

Thus is Fist Fight, an irreverent, vulgarian comedy that’s about as funny as taking a gut-punch after indulging in a five course meal, and sometimes almost as painful. It paints a terribly unrealistic picture of high school, so much so that I mention how unrealistic and insane the environment is in a comedy where that shouldn’t even be a reasonable concern. This is a 91 minute cartoon where even the prankster teenagers seem to have more reason and maturity than the adults.

“A CURE FOR WELLNESS”

Gore Verbinski has long been a man of many talents, be them creating a well-structured and creative story like Mouse Hunt, a trilogy of swashbuckling adventure films that put pirates back on the map with Pirates of the Caribbean, and a deceptively deep big-budget film adaptation of The Lone Ranger. Verbinski, however, has never entered the horror genre quite like he has with A Cure for Wellness, a 146 minute-long nightmare of a film with truly ominous visuals over the course of the entire picture. This is an immaculately conceived film visually, which helps masks the occasionally plodding narrative, all while constantly being about the intrigue of the premise.

“I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”

I Am Not Your Negro is so intellectually stimulating that it begs a reaction from audiences regardless of race, culture, or socioeconomic background by the time the credits roll. It features the eloquent words of social critic James Baldwin’s “Remember This House,” an manuscript that was left incomplete when he died in 1987. It was going to be a piece contrasting the different approaches by Civil Rights leaders Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X whilst intertwining Baldwin’s personal perspective on race relations in America.

“FIFTY SHADES DARKER”

I’m sure everyone who made and acted in Fifty Shades Darker are wonderful people, but they have teamed up to make a stomach-turning excuse, not only of a romance movie, but of the BDSM community as a whole.

Even worse than its mediocre, directionless predecessor, Fifty Shades Darker is an offensive glorification of abusive relationships as it cheapens kinky sex with the same bland treatment as it did in the past. The incongruities of Anastasia and Christian’s power dynamics come through in a more glaringly obvious way than they did before thanks to awful dialog and what appears to be a frustrating contempt for a community that already sees itself as ostracized from the mainstream.

 

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