Nick Picks Flicks

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Movie Reviews 2017

My Movie Reviews

5 Stars= It's Simply the Best 

4 Stars= Totally Rocks

3 Stars= Rad

2 Stars= Bad

1 Star= Terrible 

Zero= Totally Sucks

Beauty and the Beast

Every day like the day before ***1/2 


"Beauty and the Beast" (1991) became the first animated feature to score a Best Picture nomination and is considered one of Disney’s crowning achievements. So how can this live-action remake ever compete with that? In many respects, it can’t, but that doesn’t stop the filmmakers and performers from giving it their all.


Read more at Story Monsters Ink:


http://www.fivestarpublications.net/storymonsters_dir/pdf/smi-april-2017.pdf

The Bye Bye Man

Don't think it, don't say it, and don't see it *1/2


Well it’s January, which means we’re bound to get at least one lackluster horror flick that wasn’t good enough for an October release. And wouldn’t you know it, "The Bye Bye Man" perfectly fits the bill.


Read more at Flickreel: 


https://www.flickreel.com/the-bye-bye-man-review/

A Dog's Purpose

The secret afterlife of pets **

Controversy aside, does "A Dog’s Purpose" work as a standalone movie? Well, that depends. Do you just want to see adorable doggies being adorable? If so, then this is the movie for you. If you actually care about character development, storytelling, and basically all the essential ingredients that go into making a good movie, though, look elsewhere.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/a-dogs-purpose-review/

Fifty Shades Darker

He STILL doesn't hang dong? *

Where the first film was just stupid, this sequel is flat-out manipulative, mean-spirited, and – most offensive of all – dull.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/fifty-shades-darker-review/

Fist Fight

Betsy DeVos presents... ***1/2

While his range as an actor might be limited, Ice Cube has proven on multiple occasions that he can be hilarious. At his best, we’ve gotten "Friday," "Barbershop," and the "Jump Street" films. At his worst, however, we’ve gotten "Are We There Yet?" and those "Ride Along" movies. "Fist Fight" isn’t one of his best comedies, but it’s far from one of his worst.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/fist-fight-review/

Get Out

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Black people always survive horror movies, right? ****

Much like M. Night Shyamalan’s "The Visit," "Get Out" lures you into an uncomfortable state of uncertainty and ultimately delivers a killer punch line. The outcome is a black satire for the ages.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/get-out-review/

Ghost in the Shell

Shell Runner ***1/2

"Ghost in the Shell" has a fair deal in common with Disney’s live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast." Is it better than the original? No. Did it need to exist? No. Since it does exist, however, there’s ultimately a lot to admire in terms of visuals, performances, and philosophies.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/ghost-in-the-shell-review/

The Great Wall

Must resist Trump joke... ***

While you could argue whether or not it’s technically a good movie, "The Great Wall" is still an entertaining mess, assuming you’re in the right frame of mind.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/the-great-wall-review/

John Wick: Chapter 2

He's the one ****

"John Wick: Chapter 2" is a rare sequel that doesn’t disappoint. Like all great follow-ups, it maintains everything that made the original standout without repeating the same formula. It actually ups the ante, earning comparison to "Terminator 2," "Die Hard 2," and "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/john-wick-chapter-2-review/

Kong: Skull Island

Damn nature, you scary ***1/2 


The latest incarnation of Kong doesn’t have the emotional impact of the 1933 classic or Peter Jackson’s breathtaking remake, but that’s clearly not what the studio was aiming for. They set out to produce a traditional giant monster flick and that’s exactly what we get.


Read more at Flickreel: 


https://www.flickreel.com/kong-skull-island-review/

The Lego Batman Movie

Because I'm Batman! ****1/2

In many respects, "The Lego Batman Movie"  is everything Schumacher’s interpretations should have been. It’s colorful, family-friendly, and literally toyetic, but also funny, clever, and totally awesome.

Read more at Story Monsters Ink:

http://www.fivestarpublications.net/storymonsters_dir/pdf/smi-march-2017.pdf

Logan

The last stand (for real this time) ****


Last year, "X-Men" fans finally got the Deadpool movie they had been waiting for. Now after multiple failed attempts, 20th Century Fox has finally produced the standalone Wolverine movie audiences have always wanted to see.


Read more at Flickreel: 


https://www.flickreel.com/logan-review/

Power Rangers

Let our powers combine ***1/2


If you’re at all interested in seeing a modern interpretation of "Power Rangers," you’ll have a morphin good time.


Read more at Flickreel:


https://www.flickreel.com/power-rangers-review/

Rings

Don't put a ring on it *1/2

"Rings" is simply too little, too late. Much like last year’s "Blair Witch," it’s a sequel that nobody asked for, tries nothing new, and serves no purpose.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/rings-review/

The Space Between Us

What's your favorite thing about earth? Well, it's not this movie... **1/2

If you’re at all interested in seeing a young adult version of "The Martian," it might be up your alley. If you were expecting more from this premise, though, you’ll likely walk out of the theater wondering what could’ve been.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/the-space-between-us-review/

Split

Welcome back, Shyamalan ***1/2

Back when M. Night Shyamalan was on top of the world, seeing one of his movies felt like an eagerly awaited event. Between “Lady and the Water” and “After Earth,” however, Shyamalan became a walking punch line. So when “The Visit” came along a couple years ago, film fans went into the theater anticipating another cringe-fest. To the surprise of many, though, Shyamalan turned in an eerie, humorous, and well-acted thriller. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but it was the first time in years that people actually had fun at a Shyamalan movie.

 

If “Split” proves anything, it’s that “The Visit” wasn’t a fluke. This is another effective work of horror from Shyamalan, who’s officially back on the right track. Like his previous outing, “Split” doesn’t take itself too seriously. If anything, it’s incredibly self-aware. At the same time, Shyamalan and his performers create a genuinely haunting, uncomfortable atmosphere. It’s a film that constantly catches the audience off guard, reminding us why Shyamalan was once considered the next Alfred Hitchcock.

 

The film follows three high school girls named Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula), and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy). In the middle of the day, these unsuspecting teenagers find themselves at the mercy of a creepy kidnapper, played by James McAvoy. They wake up in a mysterious room where escape appears futile. Their captor is eventually revealed to be Kevin Wendell Crumb, but he’s not alone. Kevn is living with dissociative identity disorder and has over 20 alternate personalities.

 

In “The Sixth Sense,” Shyamalan delivered quite possibly the greatest twist since “Psycho.” “Split” is kind of like Shyamalan’s love letter to “Psycho.” Where Norman Bates only had one alternate personality, though, Kevin has enough alters to fill an asylum. This includes a woman named Patricia, a nine-year-old boy named Hedwig, and a Beast that supposedly possesses supernatural powers. The film is a remarkable acting showcase for McAvoy, who easily could have come off as too over-the-top in this role. Yet, he finds the perfect balance with each of these personalities and is consistently menacing.

 

Aside from Anthony Perkins in “Psycho,” McAvoy also earns comparison to John Goodman’s character in “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Like Goodman, McAvoy delivers a portrayal that’s truly worthy of serious award recognition. Of course the Academy will probably never go for a performance like this. We additionally get strong work from Taylor-Joy, who broke out into stardom last year in “The Witch.” Taylor-Joy plays her part with just the right amount of strength and restraint, as if she’s Alice trying to survive an even more twisted version of Wonderland. Betty Buckley also deserves a shout out for her work as Kevin’s psychologist, who’ s starting to suspect her patient might be going off the deep end.

 

All the while, Shyamalan supplies thrills, chills, and even an applaud-worthy twist, which I won’t spoil here. With that said, “Split” isn’t perfect. It’s about twenty minutes too long and occasionally some of Shyamalan’s more annoying tendencies surface. The dialog can get pretentious at times and there are a couple deaths that come off as a little too silly. Every time the film begins to drag, however, Shyamalan hooks us right back in. It’s often believed that all artists go through peaks and valleys. In Shyamalan’s case, he’s experienced the highest of highest and the lowest of lows. For now, he’s at a solid middle ground that’ll do just fine.

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