Niels has written 12 reviews for films during 2021.

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★★½

    Watched at AMC Dine-In Block 37

  • In the Heights

    In the Heights

    ★★★★

    Watched at CMX CinéBistro Old Orchard

  • The Personal History of David Copperfield

    The Personal History of David Copperfield

    ★★★

    Studios & director Armando Ianucci meet: 

    Studios: we look forward to fund your next project. We loved ”Death for Stalin”. 
    Ianucci: I want to do a novel adaptation of David Copperfield this time. 
    Studios: but you’ve never done that. Will it be funny? 
    Ianucci: it’ll be playfully funny. I plan to cast Dev Patel in a sort of reimagining of the story. 
    Studios: that sounds fun. However, we don’t think that book can be told in one single film. It’ll be…

  • Yes Day

    Yes Day

    ★★★

    Cute and watchable. I was expecting more shenanigans but the film ended up being a safe PG affair. Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez as the parents to three adorable kids are the highlights of the film. The Venezuelan-born actor was particularly effective in a quirky role that I hadn’t seen him in before. 
    I wish the film had been a little less favorable to the parents as it made have made for a more exciting watch had it sided with the kids.

  • American Assassin

    American Assassin

    ★★

    Few thrills and a hacky script filled with macho bs. Dylan O’Brien’s fails to dazzle as a superficially written lead. Not even a roughened Michael Keaton channeling his former Batman impression was able to save this outdated and unexciting film.

  • Thunder Force

    Thunder Force

    ★½

    Writer/ director Ben Falcone is the luckiest man on Earth: he’s married to uber-talented Melissa McCarthy, and can get funding for nearly every silly mess he puts on screen by virtue of his talented wife (or so I presume). 
    Thunder Force is the latest in an exasperatingly long line of Falcone-McCarthy projects that toes the line between an awesomely bad B-movie, and slapstick, without succeeding at either. 
    There’s talent on screen and ideas on the table that hint at potential,…

  • Space Sweepers

    Space Sweepers

    ★★★½

    When cinephiles and critics review films and television shows they sometimes forget that most of the entertainment on offer is not made with the intent of satisfying some artistic ideal of great filmmaking, but with the often diminished objective of entertaining audiences.  I’ve always argued that both are valid pursuits, which are not always mutually exclusive, or easy to pull-off. There’s always been value in cinematic escapism, and the pandemic has made that even clearer. 

    Space Sweepers succeeds at entertaining…

  • The United States vs. Billie Holiday

    The United States vs. Billie Holiday

    ★★½

    Andra Ray is sublime as Billie Holiday; she elevates the film every time she’s on-screen. 
    Lee Daniel’s direction is too matter-of-factly, and the staging of the story too haphazard to let us connect to it.

  • Pelé: Birth of a Legend

    Pelé: Birth of a Legend

    ★★½

    Endorsed by the man himself, this 2016 documentary now featured on Netflix is a nearly 2-hour long highlights reel that tickles my football/soccer heart without ever rising to be an equally artistic feat. 
    Though it covers Pelé as the star, idol and icon that football/soccer fans remember, the film does little to expand on the man behind the myth, tiptoeing around meaty subjects as if it’s unwilling or unable to tackle them. While the sport fan in me appreciated the…

  • Irresistible

    Irresistible

    ★★

    Irresistible is the kind of script that proves that Jon Stewart, once the consummate political comedian in the country, has lost his edge, not by virtue of time, or due to a waning of his talent, but simply by extricating himself from the grind of making the Daily Show every week, and the endless hours spent surfing and sorting the news, writing, editing and painstakingly delivering monologues that were funny, clever and, in the best of cases, enlightening as well. …

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Wonder Woman 1984

    Questions I have after seeing this mess:

    1. How does an old military jet fly from Washington DC to Egypt? Wouldn’t it run out of fuel? Why does it even have fuel? It’s a museum relic!

    2. Barbara (Kristen Wiig) wishes to be number one, an apex predator. Ok, then why does she come back as a cat that can be electrocuted and beaten by Wonder Woman?

    3. Was that supposed to be Ronald Reagan in the White House? Did…

  • Malcolm X

    Malcolm X

    ★★★★½

    Unlike many other biopics in the history of cinema, Spike Lee's 1992 masterpiece takes measure of every step in the life of a man not to show chapters, or steps, or highlights of his days on this Earth, but to give us an Earthly man, both flawed and gifted, both angry and gracious, both hesitant and brave. The story of Malcolm X as portrayed by Spike Lee is the story of an African American man navigating life, and making mistakes,…