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

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Evolution ****

Director Ridley Scott returns to the franchise’s roots, once again injecting an element of horror into the equation. Like its 1979 predecessor, "Alien: Covenant" is essentially a haunted house movie in space with plenty of screams to go around. While not anything revolutionary, this is a suspenseful thriller that works on a psychological level and on a gut-busting gore level.

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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.

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The Boss Baby

Who's the Boss?: Baby Edition ***

"The Boss Baby" has a pretty basic premise that  shouldn’t even be able to fill a feature-length runtime. As thin as the idea is, though, the filmmakers throw in more effort than you might expect.

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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.

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Demetri Martin presents: indie comedy ***1/2

A surreal comedian to say the least, Martin is known for incorporating drawings and music into his material. He brings that trademark offbeat wit to his directorial debut, "Dean," mixing deadpan humor with a melancholy atmosphere.

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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.

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Everything, Everything

Could've been so much more **

"Everything, Everything" is evidence that an ending can ruin a movie. As far as young adult love stories go, much of the film is solid. The leads are charming, the direction is inventive, and a few genuine moments stick out. Everything gets thrown out the window in the last fifteen minutes, however.

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The Fate of the Furious

Shouldn't it be "The Eight of the Furious?" Kind of a missed opportunity... oh well, it still kicks ass! ****

The eighth entry in this never-ending series keeps the momentum going, delivering exactly what audiences want to see.

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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.

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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.

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Get Out

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.

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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.

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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.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Hey there, Mr. Blue ****1/2

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is a rare sequel that doesn’t run out of gas. The film lacks the fresh factor of its predecessor and doesn’t necessarily evolve the franchise to a whole new level like "Captain America: Civil War" did. As with any quality sequel, however, it continues to up the action, the humor, and the drama.

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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."

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Should've pulled harder... **

This is one of those movies that wants to paint a familiar face in a darker, more sophisticated light, but ultimately comes off as stale, lame, and everything but kingly.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Mummy

This is the darkest universe **1/2

Shared universes are slowly taking over Hollywood. As of late, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been hitting it out of the park with each new entry. Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse is getting off to a solid start with “Godzilla” and “Kong: Skull Island.” The DC Extended Universe… well, let’s just say that they’ve taken a huge step forward with “Wonder Woman.” Now Universal is moving forward with the Dark Universe, which will bring together the likes of Dracula, the Invisible Man, and other classic horror movie monsters. “The Mummy” lays the groundwork for this cinematic universe, but the film doesn’t exactly leave you excited to see a dozen more entries in the franchise.


Tom Cruise stars as Nick Morton, who’s essentially every other action hero Cruise has been playing for the past two decades. Annabelle Wallis stars as Jenny Halsey, who’s essentially every other female love interest we see in modern blockbusters. Together, they uncover the mummified Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who curses Nick and plans to wreak havoc upon humanity. That might sound like a pretty straightforward plot, but the exposition is so overstuffed and the pacing is so clunky that it’s hard to understand what’s going on.


On a technical level, “The Mummy” is a well-produced picture. The art direction clearly a lot of effort thrown into it and the action can be visually interesting. Occasionally the film can be too reliant on CGI, but it more than makes up for that with the stellar makeup effects. Ahmanet’s design is actually creative and unique compared to previous incarnations. The same can be said about the makeup for Jake Johnson’s Chris, a departed friend who communicates with Nick from beyond the grave. He’s kind of like Jack from “An American Werewolf in London.” Of course am I the only one who finds it distracting that Nick from “New Girl” is paired with another character named Nick here?


Alas, the production values are hard to appreciate when watching the film in 3D. Since this the Dark Universe, it makes sense that “The Mummy” is a darkly lit movie. Releasing the film in the 3D format was a huge miscalculation, though, as it makes the picture look even darker than originally intended. So most of the time you can’t tell what’s going on. Even if you see the film in 2D, however, “The Mummy” is still an underwhelming experience with one-note characters and a lack of focus.


To its credit, the movie isn’t without a couple cool set pieces and genuinely humorous moments. What the picture lacks is an identity of its own. It might’ve been campy, but the 1999 version of “The Mummy” with Brendan Fraser knew what it wanted to be and followed through. Here, the filmmakers don’t seem sure what they want to do. Do they want to make an action adventure, a horror picture, or a little bit of both?


All they really seem sure about is that they want to build a cinematic universe around this movie. Even on that basis, though, we don’t get much universe building outside of an appearance from Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll. Maybe Universal will get their act together in time for the next outing. If “The Mummy” is the best they have to offer, however, it won’t take long for this franchise to unravel.

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.

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The Promise

Promising, but does it deliver? ***

Much like Martin Scorsese’s "Gangs of New York," "The Promise" works as a period epic and falls short as a love story. Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to enjoy, even if the film doesn’t fully live up to its promise.

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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.

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Take what you can snatch ***

With a cast and crew like this, you might go into "Snatched" expecting a modern classic. The film certainly has its hilarious moments and we occasionally see glimpses of a comedy that could reach the same heights as something along the lines of "Tropic Thunder." Other times, it feels like the filmmakers could have taken the jokes an extra step further.

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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.

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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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Their Finest

Not to be confused with "The Finest Hours," which is not to be confused with "13 Hours" ***1/2

Even if much of the story is fabricated, it’ll leave many audiences wanting to learn more about the Dunkirk evacuation. Speaking of which, we still have Christopher Nolan’s war epic to look forward to later this year. Until then, though, "Their Finest" will do just fine.

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Wonder Woman

It's actually a good DC movie and that's the truth ****

"Wonder Woman" marks the studio’s last chance to win back audiences before the Justice League assembles. The good news is that this superhero movie doesn’t fall into the same traps as its predecessors.

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