Erik Childress

Erik Childress
Tomatometer-approved critic
Erik started reviewing films as a frequent guest on the Jonathon Brandmeier Radio Showgram (105.9 FM in Chicago / 97.1 FM in LA) back in 1998 through 2001, which led to a mailing list over the Internet of his reviews to listeners of the radio show. Known as "Erik the Movieman", these appearances also attracted the attention of another Chicago radio show host, Nick Digilio (WGN 720 AM in Chicago, 11-3 AM Fri, 1-4 AM Sat, 12-2 AM Sun) where he's now become a regular guest on his Sunday night show to finish up the movie discussion. He is also on to discuss impending awards, top ten lists, new articles, etc...) Erik was also heard on Buzz Kilman & Wendy Snyder's midday show in Chicago (105.9 FM WCKG, 11-2 PM Mon-Fri) from Jan 2001-Mar 2002. Erik writes for and has been a member of the Online Film Critics Society since February 2000 and also became the first online writer inducted into the Chicago Film Critics Association alongside such names as Roger Ebert, Michael Wilmington and Dann Gire.
Back to the Future, JFK, the Star Wars films, the Indiana Jones films, E.T., pretty much anything directed by Steven Spielberg, Aliens, Broadcast News, Die Hard, Flash Gordon (1980) (Hey - I was a kid!)
Location: Elk Grove Village, IL (Chicago)
Official Websites:

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3.5/4 87% The Way I See It (2020) Often we're able to find one of Trump's contradictory statements and comment that "there's always a tweet." The Way I See It shows us to no surprise that there is always a photo to remind us of a President who naturally reflected leadership and humanity. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3/4 76% Shadow in the Cloud (2020) There is a sequence (at least in concept more than flawless execution) that would make The Walk and The Aeronauts blush. The payoff of which admittedly made me laugh out loud just at the gusto of the filmmakers going for it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
4/4 98% One Night in Miami (2020) One Night in Miami is one of the most exhilarating experiences I've had watching a movie all year. Not in a cinema. Not in a theater. But shaken up in the comfort of my own home. Words matter. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3/4 93% MLK/FBI (2020) Overall this is still a fine retrospective of this unfortunate chapter in American history and the hope is that if there are Americans that can still be surprised by what's within that it will do so with an eye that it should never happen again. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3.5/4 100% The Mortuary Collection (2019) Rarely does an anthology film come along as good as Ryan Spindell's The Mortuary Collection. Not only does each segment bring its own distinct pleasure but there is a visual prowess on display that announces Spindell as a talent to keep both eyes on. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3/4 100% Morgana (2019) Her own personal fears of being unworthy in a world fixated on archetypes of beauty say enough about the potential degradation of the life she has chosen. Morgana's scope is precisely what it needs be and, more pointedly, exactly where she wants it to be. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3.5/4 95% Feels Good Man (2020) As someone says in Arthur Jones' film, 'If you want to escape hell you can't ignore it. You almost have to go to the center of it' Feels Good Man feels like the center and that makes it all the more vital, no matter how discomforting it all is. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3/4 83% 12 Hour Shift (2020) 12 Hour Shift is not Brea Grant's first outing as a director, but it should be the one that gets her a higher profile. Because this is a genuinely confident and funny outing that should be embraced by afficionados of both horror and dark humor. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3.25/4 No Score Yet Jasper Mall (2020) Thomason & Whitcomb let the film unfold with a simple grace that recalls the early works of Errol Morris and the Maysles. There's a subtle sadness with the occasional laugh, but ultimately it feels like real life and that is something worth remembering. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
3/4 No Score Yet Higher Love (2020) It is never an easy watch seeing people destroy themselves like this, but Oswald gives us an opportunity to get to know them, mostly using Daryl's story to trace a period time well past the birth of their son. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
4/5 No Score Yet Bastards' Road (2020) This is an affecting, moving piece of work that is deserving of your attention. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
3/5 100% Ask No Questions (2020) It's a compelling mystery that has human faces attached to it though; namely those that spoke out and were even tortured to stand by principles in the face of power. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
3.5/4 85% Black Bear (2020) The questions are fascinating, the performances are great and the emotions are jacked up to the point of discomfort. This is certainly the best work of Plaza's film career. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2020
3/4 89% Zola (2020) The journey is not all that unique, but the way Bravo styles it up and lets the women carry the charge is worthy of more than just a Twitter swipe. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2020
3.5/4 92% The Assistant (2020) The Assistant has the feel of an evergreen film that conveys the stark intensity of the voiceless in our world and our silent screams to finally hear what they have to tell us - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
1.5/4 64% Falling (2020) There were no positive vibes to balance what is nothing more than a pretty miserable trip down memory lane as we await the world to be rid of one more old bastard. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
2/4 91% Miss Americana (2020) Wilson's film wants to sell us on her goodness rather than allowing it to shine through naturally which is a shame since it ultimately makes her seem even more like a product. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2020
4/4 50% Windy City Heat (2006) Leave it to the minds behind Comedy Central's Crank Yankers to pull this off. What's unbelievable is that they have reportedly been pulling pranks on poor Perry for many, many years. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2017
C+ 78% Atomic Blonde (2017) Given that the film gives us ample time to catch our breath in-between the punching, kicking and shooting it will be easier to wish that it had all been condensed into an accessible YouTube video of just the action bits. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2017
B+ 91% The Disaster Artist (2017) It's James Franco's best performance since his Oscar-nominated turn in "127 Hours" and as a director it is nice to finally seem him embrace the comfort zone of comedy with enough cameos to rival Robert Altman's "The Player." - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2017
B+ 92% Baby Driver (2017) A Fast and Furious Fantasia that stands apart from the pack. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2017
3/4 100% Operator (2016) Begins as a very funny comedy, but its two lead performances (including the best work of Whitman's career) carry the film to uncommon insight into how we relate, emote and will always need the spontaneity of the human experience. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2017
4/4 93% Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) An Episode IV for a new generation is only as good as the reminder to the old of why they fell in love with these movies to begin with. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2015
3.5/4 82% Batkid Begins (2015) Though it's easy to contrast "Batkid Begins" with "Dear Zachary" - tears of heartache replaced with tears of joy - both are about coming out of tragedy with a positive outlook for the future & rewarding the often thankless task of being a great parent. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2015
2/4 71% Jurassic World (2015) An effort so beholden to the iconic bits of the original that it never breaks free to become its own film. It is unfair to saddle Trevorrow with the historical gravitas that this was to be his Jaws. Instead it turns out to be his Jaws II. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2015
2.5/4 20% Aloha (2015) There are quintessential bits of Crowe in a film that just cannot commit to the payload it wants to deliver. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 28, 2015
3/4 50% Tomorrowland (2015) Despite all its flaws, this grown up still comes away from Tomorrowland wishing there was more of it to see and would gladly take that trip. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2015
4/4 97% Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Miller has crafted the kind of visionary action epic that makes peers and contemporaries envious while holding audiences in rapture waiting for that first bit of silence when they can finally relinquish their breath. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2015
3.5/5 93% Love Is Strange (2014) These two actors are right at home, even if their characters continue to live in a place that doesn't feel that way. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2015
1.5/4 89% Happy Valley (2014) In what could be the biggest miscarriage of justice yet, Bar-Lev has disgracefully played right into the hands of people he once exposed as the enemies, burying the lede to a sickening degree. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2014
1.5/4 19% Very Good Girls (2014) Nothing rises above the level of an after school special, though, making this a disappointment in about every conceivable way. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2014
0.5/4 51% The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Deserves placement amongst some of the worst comic book films to date (Marvel, DC or otherwise) and is the kind of travesty that should draw the wrath of its most fervent fans and kill the prospects for further entries into the franchise. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2014
3.5/4 76% Noah (2014) Succeed or fail Aronofsky was going to try to provide some greater depth to a story that would fit nicely into a filmography that has been rich with the search for a higher power, whether it be science, drugs, fame or forgiveness. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2014
1.5/4 22% Sabotage (2014) This is a screenplay so convoluted - and poorly-acted to boot - that the vicious blood bursts are more an awkward standout than some reminder that this is a gritty, realistic look at the DEA's war vs. drug cartels. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2014
3/4 98% The Babadook (2014) Throw in a few fresh images, great performances and enough creepy audio to have you fearing those dark corners again, and you have one entertaining and frightening experience in store. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2014
3/4 90% Obvious Child (2014) This film deserves to be seen as a major breakthrough for Jenny Slate who commands the kind of humor and honesty that stars possess. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2014
3.5/4 47% Wish I Was Here (2014) Braff's heart is very much 'in it' as Natalie Portman's Sam would say, and while his character fantasizes about science fiction role-playing, the complete storyteller is looking for the reality in our everyday fictions and how it applies to all of us. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2014
1.5/4 51% Now You See Me (2013) Characters acting falsely just to fool some imaginary 3rd party who may be looking on like The Purple Rose of Cairo is as bad as a living room magician from pre-school telling their spectators to close their eyes while they hide the ball. Only not as cute - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2013
2.5/4 71% Fast & Furious 6 (2013) Justin Lin has upped the level of in-the-moment set pieces over the past two films to somewhat forgive a few of its many notable flaws. But enough crazy ideas does not exactly add up to a successful film if the execution remains inconsistent. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2013
3/4 78% You're Next (2013) Where Agatha Christie's fiction took you towards many of the very same solutions, You're Next ups the stakes to having its protagonists fight back and that only adds to the level of insane pleasure. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2013
3/4 70% V/H/S/2 (2013) The wraparound hour may not be very good, but those middle 40 minutes are a lot of fun. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2013
3/4 67% Spring Breakers (2013) Most shocking of all is that while Spring Breakers takes some time to find its bearings, this may be the most confident and artistically-grounded film of Korine's career. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2013
3/4 91% The Punk Singer (2013) Over two decades of Hanna's life in just 80 minutes has us wanting more, not to mention the opportunity to share her story as a way to show that feminism is not an ugly word, nor are the hearts of the proud women behind it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2013
3.5/4 97% Mud (2013) Mud is a beautiful, humorous, tension-filled and sad tale with more great work from McConaughey about learning the hard way that love and mud can be a synonymous mixture that we will always have trouble running away from. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2013
4/4 98% Before Midnight (2013) When the lists of the greatest trilogies are made, Linklater, Hawke & Delpy's deserves to rank alongside LOTR, Christopher Nolan's Batman and the original Star Wars as one of the most epic of all. Because it is about all of us, the world and everything. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2013
4/4 94% Stories We Tell (2013) Polley points the camera at members of her own family and not only informs on where her directorial efforts stem from but confirm her as one of the best and most interesting filmmakers working today. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2013
2/4 39% Touchy Feely (2013) The twosome and threesome of Shelton's past becomes six individuals, each dealing with an aversion to emotional and physical contact to such an extent that, by the end, it may be hard for the viewer to feel much of anything. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2013
0.5/4 27% Ass Backwards (2013) A below-90-minute running time is not even a silver lining to a film that lives up to its name in more ways than one. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2013
3/4 76% The Kings of Summer (2013) Toy's House is what Moonrise Kingdom might have been like if the director's played-out style and monotone quirkiness had not interfered with its similar tale. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2013
3/4 94% Fruitvale Station (2013) A viewer may have a heavy heart in wondering precisely just what was fact and what was fiction but there is little doubt at how emotionally effective Coogler's version of the story actually is. - Film Threat EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2013