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Credit: Universal Pictures; Warner Bros.; Netflix

As the 89th Oscars ceremony approaches, audiences head to the movies with a wide range of new titles to choose from. Fans of the thriller genre will likely flock to Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, the critically lauded Get Out, while Colm McCarthy’s zombie drama The Girl with All the Gifts should dazzle the specialty crowd in limited release. Elsewhere, Netflix premieres its I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in January, on its subscription streaming service this Friday. With so many new and holdover titles packing theaters, EW wants you to make good choices at the movies, so consult our Critical Mass reviews guide below before heading to the multiplex this weekend.

Get Out

Opens Feb. 24 in theaters nationwide.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

The first half of the film builds with expertly cranked white-knuckle tension. And Chris’ (Daniel Kaluuya) periodic phone calls to his hilariously skeptical black friend at home (LilRel Howery) are like a merry-prankster Greek chorus commenting on the whole get-the-hell-out-of-the-houseness of Chris’ situation. But Get Out’s delicate balancing act gets wobbly in the second half of the film when Peele’s conceptually daring premise unspools with a fairly clichéd genre climax. For a film that’s asking hard questions, it takes the easy way out. Still, Peele is undeniably a born filmmaker with big ambitions and an even bigger set of balls. He’s made a horror movie whose biggest jolts have nothing to do with blood or bodies, but rather with big ideas. B

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Metacritic: 82

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Begins streaming Feb. 24 on Netflix.

EW’s Clark Collis says:

Macon Blair’s first film as writer-director won the Grand Jury Prize at the recent Sundance Film Festival, which is an impressive achievement, although the filmmaker certainly has experience with genre movies featuring ill-equipped heroes. Blair played an inept vigilante in Jeremy Saulnier’s terrific 2014 revenge tale Blue Ruin and appeared in the same director’s even better follow-up Green Room, about a punk band held captive by neo-Nazis. Here, Blair uses essentially the same template to reconfigure the buddy-cop film — at one point, Ruth even flashes a 
toy police badge — with more deliberately comedic, but similarly enjoyable, results. B+

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Metacritic: 77

The Girl With All the Gifts

Opens Feb. 24 in limited release.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

The inventive world-building and giddy shocks of the first half of the film (there’s one zombie siege of an operating room that’s an absolute honey) lose some steam in the slower-going second half, which frankly gets a little plodding. But Colm McCarthy, a veteran of British TV shows such as Sherlock and Doctor Who, has a real command of the creepy story he’s telling thanks to a group of actors (including the newcomer Sennia Nanua) who are more talented than the genre usually provides. There may still be a little life left in the undead after all. B+

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%

Metacritic: 65

The LEGO Batman Movie

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Seventy-five percent of the film’s carpet-­bomb campaign of pop culture meta punchlines will ricochet over the target audience’s head, but parents dragged along for the ride will no doubt be grateful for Arnett’s rat-a-tat send-ups of Adam West and superhero clichés. Directed by Robot Chicken’s Chris McKay and produced in part by the first film’s dynamic duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, LEGO Batman revs so fast and moves so frenetically that 
it becomes a little exhausting by the end. It flirts with being too much of a good thing. But rarely has corporate brainwashing been so much fun and gone down with such a delightful aftertaste. B+

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Metacritic: 75

Fifty Shades Darker

EW’s Devan Coggan says:

Poor Jamie Dornan still isn’t given much to work with, except this time, his abs are a little more defined and he’s grown some stubble to show just how heartbroken he’s been without Ana (Dakota Johnson) in his life. Johnson gets to have a little more fun, actually cracking jokes and acknowledging the humor in some of Christian’s more ridiculous requests. Still, they’re both hampered by E.L. James’ nonsensical dialogue, as Dornan is stuck saying things like, “I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank you.” Worst of all, Darker commits what might be the most punishable offense: just being boring. C–

Rotten Tomatoes: 9%

Metacritic: 33

The Great Wall

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

Renowned director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers, Hero) has placed Westerners at the center of a fundamentally Chinese narrative before, notably with Christian Bale in 2011’s The Flowers of War, and he is clearly no stranger to the scope of scale of historical epics. But The Great Wall struggles mightily to transcend its two-dimensional storyline, a dull roteness not much helped by its zoological villains. The Tao Tie, which we are told are some sort of physical manifestation of human greed, snarl and snap and inhale hapless bystanders like stoners ripping into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, but their reported intelligence never feels like more than hearsay; they can dig a tunnel and follow their queen’s orders in tail-swishing lockstep, but really, they’re just big nasty lizards. Zhang allows for a few small moments of buddy-cop comedy between Damon and Pascal (two dudes with no shortage of lethal weapons between them) and a whisper of implied romance with the sleek, high-ponied Tian. But the film’s CGI magic stays flatly on the screen, lit less by the bright flame of a true creative vision than the dull gleam in an international marketing executive’s eye. C+

Rotten Tomatoes: 35%

Metacritic: 42

John Wick: Chapter 2

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Keanu Reeves is like a haunted (and largely speechless) ronin living by the 21st-century code of the samurai. If that all sounds too highfalutin by half, well, there’s also a bunch of tire-squealing car chases, countless point-blank kills, and scenic bone-crunching brawls in Rome’s ancient catacombs. And there’s a laundry list of interesting character actors who keep dropping by to spice up the bloodbath, like Laurence Fishburne, Common, and Ian McShane, who purrs bespoke menace as the grandmaster of the whole masonic order. But it’s Reeves, with his natty suits and icy stare, who grabs you by the throat — figuratively and literally. Killing is John Wick’s business…and business is good. B+

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

Metacritic: 75

Fist Fight

EW’s Devan Coggan says:

The movie is called Fist Fight, so—spoiler alert, I guess—that fist fight actually happens. Things pick up by the time Campbell (Charlie Day) and Strickland (Ice Cube) finally face off in a hyper-violent, madcap brawl, but otherwise, Fist Fight sticks to the conventional comedy formula: mediocre jokes sprinkled with life lessons about the importance of family and standing up for yourself. Or, as Campbell puts it: “Something occurred to me while I was being dragged down a flight of stairs by a horse on meth.” Fist Fight doesn’t get an outright failing grade, but it’s still a long way from making honor roll. C

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%

Metacritic: 37

Fifty Shades Darker
  • Movie
  • 118 minutes
  • James Foley