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  • A Hologram for the King

    A Hologram for the King


    Meanders like the (mostly successful) book on which it’s based, but it doesn’t carry any emotional weight because its themes, characters, sense of place, and slight undercurrent of disillusioned purgatory of one’s own making (and the folly of clinging to hope that the things we build [or never finish building] will give us meaning and significance) aren’t given time to breathe or are altogether abandoned in the end. Hanks registers (like most always), but the rest is very slight, opting for cautious optimism rather than pointed satire and honest commentary about globalism and US and Saudi customs and hypocrisies [C-]

  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water


    So so great on a technical level (production design, cinematography, costumes, makeup, score) without overshadowing great performances and character work by Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins. Despite how far del Toro pushes the violence and romance down the stretch, the third act feels a little too predictable and plotty to lead to the emotional involvement it could have fostered. In short, I needed to be sold a bit more on the relationship between Elisa and the Asset (for example, a…

Popular reviews

  • Philomena



    A compelling, devastating, and twisted true story about a former Magdalene girl trying to find her long-lost son. Judy Dench is poignant and often hilarious as the chatty and provincial Philomena, who easily could have slipped further into characterture in less capable hands. Coogan has some nice scenes throughout that transcend the familiar trappings of the skeptical, depressed, and put-upon journalist trying to resurrect his career. The screenplay is a bit too efficient and on-the-nose at times, and even though…

  • mother!



    Guinness World Record holder for most metaphors used to say pretty much the same thing over and over and over again. It's impressive technically (particularly in the last 20 minutes), but it's so monotonous and one note on a character and thematic level that being shotgun in the face with the overarching allegory in its third act feels like diminishing returns instead of elevating and crystalizing what came before [C].