Nick Picks Flicks

Click here to edit subtitle

Home

Also Check Out Nick On...

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 WatchMojo.com, 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 Filmfestivaltoday.com.

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.
Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as possible
Oops. An error occurred.
Click here to try again.

About Nick Spake

At the age of fifteen, I launched NickPicksFlicks.com, 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 WatchMojo.com, 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

The Hitman's Bodyguard

It's Deadpool meets Nick Fury, what went wrong? **

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is being marketed as an action comedy in the same vein as “Deadpool.” While the film has plenty of gratuitous action to go around, it’s surprisingly lacking in the comedy department. There are actually times when the movie doesn’t even seem sure if it wants to be a comedy. That’s not to say there are no funny moments whatsoever, but those scenes are overshadowed by routine car chases and shootouts that go on forever. If you sit down anticipating the next “Deadpool,” prepare to be disappointed. You shouldn’t expect the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston parody the poster promised either.

 

Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular hitman, Darius Kincaid, who finds himself in Interpol custody along with his foulmouthed wife (Salma Hayek). Darius can get his better half pardoned if he testifies in court to incarcerate an Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman). When the villain sends his own hitman after Daris, Ryan Reynolds enters the mix as the titular bodyguard, Michael Bryce. It turns out these two share a complicated history, as Daris has tried to kill Michael on multiple occasions. Michael agrees to protect his adversary, however, in hopes of getting back in the good graces of his ex-girlfriend (Élodie Yung)

 

Reynolds and Jackson are two of the most charismatic actors around. To this movie’s credit, both share a likable chemistry and inject a fair deal of life into their scenes. Hayek and Yung also manage to score a few solid one-liners, excelling above just being the love interests. Unfortunately, long stretches of time pass without a single laugh. Unlike Edgar Wright and Paul Feig, who both know how to handle action and comedy, Patrick Hughes’ background is primarily action-oriented. His last film was “The Expendables 3” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” just feels like more of that old shtick.

 

Aside from having more explosions than jokes, the film can be downright unpleasant at times. The violence isn’t especially funny. If anything, it’s just gross and cringe-worthy. The bad guys are all killjoys without a funny bone in their bodies, which is becoming increasingly tiresome in action comedies. Hell, one of the first scenes involves a mother and child being brutally murdered. Doesn’t that just scream hilarity? Not since “Suicide Squad” has a film had a harder time deciding what it wants to be. Of course “Suicide Squad” was so all over the place that it was at least kind of intriguing to watch. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is simply forgettable.

 

It doesn’t help that the film essentially follows the same formula of every other buddy movie ever made. We all know that Michael and Darius aren’t going to like each other at first, but will inevitably become friends. It’s not a bad formula per se, but what matters is how the filmmakers execute it. Here, they’ve got the stars and a few interesting ideas, but the tone is impossible to get a grasp on. In short, “Midnight Run” it ain’t.

Logan Lucky

Wait, is it Lucky Logan or Logan Lucky? I can never remember...  ***1/2

"Logan Lucky" is about a group of criminals that seem dumb on the surface, but turn out to be smarter than they appear. Likewise, the film itself is much smarter than the ads might have you think.

Read more at Flickreel:

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

The Only Living Boy in New York

Not even serviceable **

Walking out of the theater, one running gag that’s bound to standout is where Thomas’ father tells him that his work is serviceable at best. Unfortunately, "The Only Living Boy in New York" isn’t even that.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/the-only-living-boy-in-new-york-review/

STEP

Steppin' it old school ***1/2

In an age where many underestimate the power of education and the arts, "STEP" is a highly relevant picture that schools and families should definitely seek out.

Read more at Story Monsters:

http://issuu.com/storymonstersink/docs/smi_2017_09_september_digital_final?e=30000459/52227109

The Glass Castle

Shattered Glass **


Families are complicated, aren’t they? You can find yourself hating a relative while simultaneously loving them. Likewise, there’s a lot to love in "The Glass Castle" and a lot to hate.


Read more at Flickreel: 


https://www.flickreel.com/the-glass-castle-review/

Annabelle: Creation

Child's play for grown ups ****

“The Conjuring” became a surprise hit back in 2013, breathing new live into the supernatural horror genre. For every successful film, though, there’s always a cheap, rushed out, crash grab. Enter 2014’s “Annabelle,” a spinoff everyone wrote off as cliché and unnecessary. Fortunately, this franchise had a comeback last year with “The Conjuring 2” and “Annabelle: Creation” keeps the momentum going. Much like “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” this is a prequel that improves upon its predecessor and manages to stand out in the crowded horror market.

 

In this origin story, we learn that a man named Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) created the Annabelle doll. Samuel lives a happy life with his wife (Miranda Otto) and daughter (Samara Lee). When tragedy strikes the family, however, Samuel is left a broken man. Another twelve years down the line, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) takes up residence in the house with several orphaned girls. Among the orphans are a crippled child named Janice (Talitha Bateman) and her best friend Linda (Lulu Wilson). When Janice stumbles upon Annabelle, an evil is awakened in the house and only the power of Christ can compel it back to sleep.

 

The scary doll trope is so overused that you’d think it would be old by now. Yet, Annabelle is certainly one of modern cinema’s creepiest inanimate objects. That’s because the filmmakers never turn her into a Chucky knockoff that’s constantly cracking one-liners or awkwardly walking around. Sometimes less is more and “Annabelle: Creation” manages to produce so much terror with so little. Director David F. Sandberg made a name for himself directing no-budget horror shorts and his talents are perfectly tailored for this material.

 

Granted, “Annabelle: Creation” does bring up some of the questions that seem to plague every haunted house movie. If a house hosts a demonic presence, why would anybody want to live there? Why don’t they just leave at the first sign of danger? Why doesn’t anybody ever burn these places to the ground? While not everything necessarily adds up, “Annabelle: Creation” thankfully never turns its characters into bumbling idiots. Likewise, the film treats its audience with intelligence by resisting the urge to go for cheap scares, keeping us on our toes at all times.

 

Sandberg does a fantastic job at slowly building tension in the first act and upping the ante with each set piece. The final product is an exceptionally crafted thriller with chilling atmosphere, striking imagery, strong performances, and even a subtle sense of humor. As far as this genre goes, “Annabelle: Creation” may not be a game changer like “The Exorcist.” Considering that this is the fourth entry in an ongoing series, however, the filmmakers deserve extra credit for going above and beyond to keep the audience jumping out of their seats. Most horror franchises would be heading straight-to-video at this point, but there’s still plenty of life in “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle.”

The Dark Tower

This is the darkest timeline **

Whether you’ve read King’s original books or not, the audience can sense that "The Dark Tower" has a rich lore and lots of fascinating ideas. At only 95 minutes, though, this film adaptation packs in far too much backstory and not nearly enough humanity.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/the-dark-tower-review/

Atomic Blonde

A blast or a bomb? ***1/2

At its best, "Atomic Blonde" ranks alongside the best action flicks of the decade. On the whole, though, it’s just solid summer escapism with several kickass moments.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/atomic-blonde-review/

Dunkirk

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.

Read more at Flickreel:

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

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.

Read more at Flickreel:

https://www.flickreel.com/a-ghost-story-review/