Nick Johnston

Nick Johnston
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Nick Johnston is the Film Editor and Critic for the Boston-based online magazine Vanyaland.
Publications: Vanyaland

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
98% One Night in Miami (2020) It is a really, really solid little film, stuffed to the brim with beautiful moments between the men, and will enthrall viewers with the cast's skill and King's grace as a director. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Wolfe's made a sturdy and good film here, a work which deeply respects both the talents of its origins and its ensemble. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
60% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) [F]undamentally misunderstands what made people enjoy the first film - or the character - so beloved after their first big-screen outing. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2020
87% News of the World (2020) All in all, News of the World is a fine and sweet film, one to be shared and savored with dads across the country whenever it's safe to do so, but I couldn't help but feel that it was just a little bit slight. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2020
95% Soul (2020) It is an astonishingly beautiful film, one that plays with abstract, cartoonish animation forms in its scenes set in the Great Beyond and Great Before while also providing some of the best photorealistic digital animation. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2020
76% The Croods: A New Age (2020) A New Age is a looser, wackier experience that trades the traditional Dreamworks pathos for genuinely funny slapstick, and it's a pretty good time for kids and parents alike. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
96% Nomadland (2020) I tend to see [Zhao's] work as closer to later-period Terrence Malick, whose "Modern Life Is Rubbish" trilogy (To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, Song to Song) strikes a similar chord of melancholy restlessness. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
83% Mank (2020) It is a lovely film, a gorgeous tribute to writers the world over, and one of the best releases of this calendar year. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
83% Freaky (2020) Freaky is a lot of fun, and it really proves Landon's strategy of reappropriating comedy premises into horror films works as intended. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
39% Rebecca (2020) This Rebecca is a particularly dull two hours, one that will probably alienate classic viewers, familiar with du Maurier's work or Hitchcock's adaptation, while boring new ones to tears. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
49% The Witches (2020) Zemeckis's The Witches might entice audiences with just how different is in appearance [from the 1990 version] but have them reaching for the remote by the half-hour marker. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) What's novel is the film's surprising feminist slant, which is, of course, elevated by the incredible work from Balakova, who is just as committed to the bit and wide-eyed and earnest in her execution of these jokes. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
44% The Lie (2020) It's endowed with a compelling premise and a decent cast, all of whom it fails in its weirdly toothless execution. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
73% Black Box (2020) Osei-Koeffer's visual imagination is limited by his budget and the stereotypical trappings of this particular moment in the horror genre... but his work with his actors is skilled and top-notch. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
88% The Phenomenon (2020) A surprisingly compelling watch that takes full advantage of the new and fascinating revelations about true Unidentified Flying Objects. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
65% The Devil All the Time (2020) I was oddly moved by the film, and I think it's one of the more interesting stories about American faith that has emerged in the last couple of years. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
53% Joe Bell (2021) Around 30 minutes into Reinaldo Marcus Green's Good Joe Bell, I very nearly turned the movie off out of sheer frustration with a narrative choice so mind-numbingly misguided that my brain nearly dripped out of my ears as it unspooled in front of me. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
76% Concrete Cowboy (2020) It's safe to say that the reason I enjoyed this so much is because of how delightful the film looks. Concrete Cowboy's urban Philadelphia setting is fantastically captured. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
77% Shadow in the Cloud (2021) It's a hell of a premise, right? Well, it didn't really flow well or work for me in practice. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
81% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) I'm Thinking of Ending Things gives [Kaufman] the chance to embrace his worst impulses, and he grips it in a bear-hug, squeezing all of the life and color out of it in the process. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
35% The New Mutants (2020) It's the kind of crushingly mediocre spin-off superhero movie that came to define the latter half of the pre-Disney Fox slate. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2020
82% Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) Most people will be glad to rock out with Wyld Stallions one last time, even if, like most reunion tours, it can't beat the first time you saw them when they were in their prime. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2020
70% Tenet (2020) Tenet is the kind of thrilling blockbuster that we so desperately need in any summer. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2020
48% Unhinged (2020) A moderately effective and bleakly funny thriller with a full-on Nicolas Cage-style Russell Crowe performance at its core. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
61% Project Power (2020) As an action spectacle, Project Power is remarkably interesting and stylish, even if the coherence of the moment-to-moment choreography is occasionally sacrificed at the altar. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2020
73% An American Pickle (2020) It's not anywhere close to a perfect film, or even a "great" one, but An American Pickle is a pretty good way to spend an afternoon reminding yourself what it looked like when star-driven comedy vehicles existed in the multiplex. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
92% A Vigilante (2019) A Vigilante is an incredibly tough watch, but it may be a necessary one for many. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2020
79% Greyhound (2020) A really interesting watch, even if it's stripped of the traditional creature comforts of the genre. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2020
63% Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) Eurovision provided me with enough joy and good humor to easily excuse a number of its flaws, and it works like gangbusters as a piece of advertising for the cultural institution it's meant to represent... - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2020
40% Irresistible (2020) [Irresistible] begins as a dull and uninspired political satire and winds up being an unmitigated disaster. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2020
92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Spike Lee really is one of the greatest American filmmakers currently working, and that Da 5 Bloods is one of the best films to hit screens [this] year. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
21% Infamous (2020) If you want to watch attractive people rob banks and romance one another, there are better options, but Infamous is a passable substitution in a pitch. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2020
77% Judy & Punch (2020) ...there's very little room for nuance or anything once she becomes a mouthpiece for her director, rather than a character. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2020
74% The King of Staten Island (2020) Davidson is very strong here, and it's weird how much I prefer him as a dramatic performer than as a comedian. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2020
66% The Lovebirds (2020) It's a real bummer to see Rae and Nanjiani, who established their careers coasting on the border between comedy and drama, diminish their wattage in something so bland and false-feeling. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2020
40% Capone (2020) Capone is a fascinating and intensely personal film, a reboot of Trank's career in all the best ways, and it provides the director with a solid foundation upon which he can rebuild. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2020
77% Gladiator (2000) Gladiator... is popcorn entertainment at its most polished and exciting; the film is responsible for a renewed interest in antiquity and was, somewhat unsurprisingly, incredibly influential. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2020
31% Village of the Damned (1995) The film feels somewhat dead. It's not tapping into a cultural vein, or expressing some sort of parental nightmare, it's just echoing those prior ones in a totally unsatisfying way. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2020
91% The Willoughbys (2020) It's also funny, unlike many of its counterparts, gleefully indulging the anarchic tastes of its younger audiences in both its writing and its staging... without being loud enough to annoy their parents. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2020
67% Extraction (2020) Hargrave's action direction is solid and clean, and there's one absolutely superlative moment... where the director attempts to outdo Atomic Blonde's insane single-shot fight/chase and manages to come reasonably close to doing so. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2020
79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) The gender-bending politics of something like Nicholas Roeg's Performance...mesh-up quite nicely with the Alex Cox-style ferocity that manifests itself in the sets and in MacKay's astonishing performance. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2020
45% The Basketball Diaries (1995) For as much as The Basketball Diaries wants to claim that it's a realistic portrayal of addiction, it might have done better to root it in its honest time-and-place and play Carroll's story as straight-forward and as honest as they could. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2020
70% Butt Boy (2020) I've never been happier for a filmmaker to just finally be so firmly up his own ass. Butt Boy can't really live up to the wildness of its premise, but it makes for entertaining viewing in its own right. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
97% Why Don't You Just Die! (Papa, sdokhni) (2020) It's a very amusing little film, one smart enough to know you've seen something like it before and to try and do something reasonably formally innovative to keep you entertained. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
7% Fantasy Island (2020) Look, this remake of the '70s TV show about - you guessed it - a Fantasy Island, where your dreams come back to haunt you, is horrible. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
28% The Rhythm Section (2020) We saw this Blake Lively-led spy thriller back when it came out, and, to say the very least, we were disappointed. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
69% We Summon the Darkness (2020) We Summon the Darkness is the kind of heavy metal horror we've been longing for these last couple of months. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
33% 28 Days (2000) Thomas does a few interesting things here, including shooting the flashbacks and heavy-drinking scenes on video, which has a weird and wild grain to it when contrasted with the rest of the film. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2020
69% Keeping the Faith (2000) It's light and affable, for the most part; it has a relatively novel premise, even if it's not really explored in depth; and it features three charming leads at a strong point in their careers. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2020
48% Where the Money Is (2000) It's not a great film, and Road to Perdition will probably be remembered as Newman's best work from this period, but it just goes to show you how essential actors like him really were. - Vanyaland EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2020