Nick Picks Flicks

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Featuring Nick's film reviews, Flickreel is an online movie magazine specializing in video-based articles. It covers all the latest film news, reviews, previews and trailers, alongside features which take a deeper look into the world of film.

All the top 10 lists Nick has scripted for, the 7th largest YouTube channel in the world throughout 2014.

Story Monsters Ink is a free, subscription-based magazine that gives parents and educators the latest news about award-winning and debut books, profiles on both renowned and newly published authors, upcoming book events, author presentations and more.
The Nerd Repository: providing the latest movie, TV and pop culture news and reviews.
Featuring Nick's film reviews, the East Valley Tribune serves the east suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz.
Phoenix Film Critics Society: Representing Arizona's Premier Film Critics

Nick's film review column at

A comic strip sadly inspired by the real life of Nick Spake.

Phoenix Children's Hospital's Camp Rainbow is for children who have, or have had cancer or a chronic blood disorder. Nick has acted as the camp's social media coordinator since 2014.
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About Nick Spake

At the age of fifteen, I launched, a website dedicated to the art of film. Since then, I have worked as a published film critic for Arizona State Press, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Nerd Repository, Film Festival Today, Arizona Filmmaker Magazine, and East Valley Tribune. Entertainment writing has also given me the opportunity to interview several big name celebrities, including Emma Stone, Chris Evans, J.J. Abrams, Emma Roberts, and various others. My life hit a roadblock in 2013 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, but I refused to let having cancer prevent me from writing film reviews and finishing college with a 4.0 GPA. In May 2013, I graduated from Arizona State University, achieving a BA in Theatre and a minor in communications. Teaching me just how precious life is, my disease further influenced me to reach out to others through my writing. Today, I'm happy to say that I am currently cancer free. As of September 2014, I have worked as a freelancer writer for, which recently surpassed 6 million subscribers on YouTube. This video content site has acted as a creative outlet for me to write top ten lists about movies, television, video games, and pretty much everything else. Out of the hundred scripts I've contributed to them so far, I'm primarily proud of the Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time, Another Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials, and Top 10 Worst Movies of 2014. In 2015, I joined the Flickreel family as a a critic and columnist. I'm overjoyed to be on the team and can't wait to bring you all more movie reviews.

Rating Scale

5 Stars= It's Simply the Best

4 Stars= Totally Rocks

3 Stars= Rad

2 Stars= Bad

1 Star= Terrible 

Zero= Totally Sucks

Recent Blog Entries


Oscar for Nolan? *****

Since Nolan has set the bar increasingly high, however, it’s hard to say where exactly this movie would rank in his filmography. That being said, three things are for certain. First, this is easily among Nolan’s most triumphant feats behind the camera. Second, it warrants comparison to the most engaging war pictures ever made. Third, "Dunkirk" is currently the best picture of the year and it could quite possibly hold onto that title well into awards season.

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A Ghost Story

I got a rock ****

Not too long ago, Casey Affleck won an Oscar for playing a grieving man in "Manchester by the Sea." In "A Ghost Story," Affleck finds himself in a role that’s very different, and yet very similar.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Home at last ****

Holland finally gets to take center stage in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," a film fans thought they’d never get to see due to the rift between Sony and Marvel. Fortunately, these two studios finally sorted out their differences, making leeway for the fastest, funniest, and most entertaining Spider-Man flick in over a decade. Now if only Fox would let the Fantastic Four out of play.

Read more at Story Monsters:

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

A thousand pieces of eye candy ***1/2

While a lot of the technical jargon can fly over your head, the characters are still written with plenty of wit and charm. Most importantly, the film never loses its flair for stunning imagery. What it lacks is a coherent narrative, which makes the experience on the whole a mixed bag.

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War for the Planet of the Apes

I love the smell of bananas in the morning ****1/2

Like "The Lord of Rings" and "Captain America," this is a rare trilogy that only improved with every passing entry, demonstrating that blockbusters can make audiences think.

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Baby Driver

Nobody puts Baby in the passenger's seat ****1/2

With a tank full of kinetic energy, "Baby Driver" is a hit and homerun.

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Despicable Me 3

Yellow is the new black ***

Perhaps it’s best not to view "Despicable Me 3" as a movie, but rather as a feature-length episode of "Family Guy." If you want a coherent story where every gag is carefully woven into the script, this probably won’t be your cup of tea. If you’re looking for a hodgepodge of one-liners, pop culture references, and physical humor with the occasional sweet moment, though, this gets the job done.

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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.

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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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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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.

Read more at Story Monsters:

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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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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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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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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