Nick's Flick Picks

Nick's Flick Picks is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Nick Davis
Rating Title/Year Author
B Complices (2009) Nick Davis Partners has its fingers confidently on the pulse of what is heedlessly passionate and what is utterly desultory about late adolescence and extremely nascent "adulthood." EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2018
B- The City of Lost Children (1995) Nick Davis City of Lost Children is unmistakably of its era: filled with oddball artifacts, and itself quite pointedly an oddball artifact, seeking approval on those very terms. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2015
B The Upside of Anger (2005) Nick Davis Upside is better-than-average as a mid-budget suburban film dramedy but positively gangbusters if you imagine it as a two-hour television pilot. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2014
Within Our Gates (1920) Nick Davis Within Our Gates is full of surprises, following a multitude of characters and plotlines without settling into predictable allegiances. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2013
A- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Nick Davis The movie is not a wild river but a humid delta of stagnant frustration and stymied movement, so it's all the more impressive that it's such a gripping spectatorial experience. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2012
B+ The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) Nick Davis For an audience that takes pleasure in the all-too-rare art of faithful adaptations that vivify rather than embalming their sources [...] Asquith's conservative handling is just what the confirmed and secret Bunburyist ordered. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2012
B The Laramie Project (2002) Nick Davis The Laramie Project is not really about Matthew Shepard but about this question of identification with Matthew, and of identification with the larger community of Laramie that admitted, sustained, eliminated, grieved, and civilly avenged Matthew. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2012
C- The Actress (1953) Nick Davis Sadly, if she was guilty of trying too hard or of trying in the wrong way, Cukor appears totally and uncharacteristically checked out... The Actress exposes the kinds of fraying seams that Cukor was usually so careful to conceal even in tattier projects. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2012
B Rumble Fish (1983) Nick Davis Rumble Fish is like a unisex Sweet 16 gift for children whose favorite hangouts are the pool hall, the Cinématheque Française, and the rings of Saturn. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2012
C () Nick Davis Tim comes close to reproducing the plot of Doubt, in negative-space fashion. That is, for this go-round, we spend all our time with the uncomprehending kid (if he is uncomprehending?) and his teacher-nurturer-desirer. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2012
C The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) Nick Davis The surprise and also the disappointment of The Long Kiss Goodnight is much simpler, and less politically inflected: it's badly made, or too close to badly made. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2012
B The Fountainhead (1949) Nick Davis The Fountainhead is by turns exciting, handsome, astoundingly awkward, fully committed, untowardly relentless, very strange, and a little creepy in its compulsive watchability. EDIT
Posted Jan 20, 2012
B Gaslight (1940) Nick Davis So much goes right in this film version, all without sparking a corresponding bump in my enthusiasm, that it's all the more obvious that I find some foundations of this text perennially problematic. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2012
B- Barfly (1987) Nick Davis As I write about Barfly, I do seem to be talking myself into greater admiration for it, or at least into a sense of welcome design beneath its superficial inertia. EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2012
C+ The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) Nick Davis "There was no real Peter Sellers"... As a theme, it smells of the tired cop-out, somewhere in the same clubhouse of desiccated phrases as "I love you, but I'm not in love with you" and "In a crazy world, only the mad people are sane." EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2012
D+ The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937) Nick Davis In Rainer's case, The Emperor's Candlesticks seems unusually revealing, doffing the dropcloth from exactly the sort of peculiar, temporarily arresting artifact she was, guaranteed to inspire buyer's remorse. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2012
C+ Twelfth Night (1996) Nick Davis I started watching the film by thinking, "They should film more of the comedies," and probably They still should, but I ended by thinking, "They really ought to hire movie directors to make movies." EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2012
B+ Heroes for Sale (1933) Nick Davis A Pre-Code Battle in Seattle... Heroes for Sale is not a perfect film, and not particularly interested in perfection, but really and truly, pretend this isn't a cliché: they don't make 'em like this anymore. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2012
C The Little Drummer Girl (1984) Nick Davis Stark criticisms are unavoidable, even as I'm forced to admit that the film is one of those wrongly-assembled movies that is built on such an unusual Hollywood premise...that it eventually becomes halfway fascinating. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2012
B- The Glass Menagerie (1950) Nick Davis The Glass Menagerie has a lot going for it, even if director Irving Rapper (Now, Voyager) misses several opportunities to take the characters deeper. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2012
B Sleep Furiously (2008) Nick Davis A certain polite withholding, even if it masks some firm conviction or desire, seems to be a coin of the realm in Trefeurig, so it may well be apt that Koppel often films in a register very close to this one. EDIT
Posted Jul 28, 2011
B Cactus (1986) Nick Davis A qualified accomplishment ... Part and parcel of its limitations, though, is Cactus's genuine will to stand apart, offering rich textures and unexpected pleasures. EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2011
B- Esther (1986) Nick Davis Merging straight Biblical storytelling with modern gimmicks, Amos Gitai half-succeeds at both... Even when he stutters or flaunts his affectations, you cannot write him off as having nothing to say. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2011
C- Opera do Molandro (1987) Nick Davis Ópera do Malandro is way more Love's Labour's Lost than Moulin Rouge!, both in formal execution and in its awkward orientation to World War II. The film means to be ersatz but perhaps not this much. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2011
C- Max My Love (1986) Nick Davis If you've wondered what kind of continental TV pilot Sherwood Schwartz might have devised from watching Zoo, here's your answer. EDIT
Posted Jul 12, 2011
B She's Gotta Have It (1986) Nick Davis Light, scrappy entertainment that flatters everything funky and fresh about Lee, tempting you to forgive what is stunted or abrasive in the film. A major swaying element is his own on-screen persona. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2011
C The Decline of the American Empire (1986) Nick Davis What Arcand has devised is a kind of Nia Vardalos movie in tenured-faculty clothing: Our Big Fat Bourgeois Salon ... It trades only the crudest ironies and screenwriting mechanics. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2011
B+ The Sacrifice (1986) Nick Davis Visually potent ... humblingly vast ... [and yet] the movie oscillates between compelling our thunderstruck confidence and testing our patience with unfulfilled promise and highbrow clichés. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2011
B Menage (1986) Nick Davis Quite funny for the first half and deeply weird for the second, with a laudable courage of its own bizarre conviction throughout, even as it reveals a nasty undertone. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2011
C+ After Hours (1985) Nick Davis [Scorsese's] tendency toward hollow showboating has rarely been more in evidence ... Ends as a tolerable but annoyingly atonal exercise made by artists with little if anything on their minds. EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2011
B Mona Lisa (1986) Nick Davis The bracing peaks of image, acting, and narrative architecture handily win the day over a scenario that always feels more like a willfully engineered exercise than a fully plausible reality. EDIT
Posted Jul 6, 2011
C+ Love Me Forever or Never (1986) Nick Davis Love Me Forever or Never may be more committed to its bright, calico surface and its abrupt transitions in focus and tone than it is to the relations between the two people on screen. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2011
B+ Fool for Love (1985) Nick Davis The basic friction between Altman's lightness and Shepard's portentousness serves the movie in rich and ever-expanding ways, and not just because you can't ever predict how the narrative will swerve. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2011
B Hanna (2011) Nick Davis The movie feels alive in a thrilling way, sometimes even a funny way, even when its thrills are cheap, confused, or diaphanous. EDIT
Posted Apr 30, 2011
C+ Scream of the Ants (2006) Nick Davis This side of Makhmalbaf is exhilarating at its best but still feels essential at its petulant and shapeless worst. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2011
B+ Lourdes (2009) Nick Davis The withholding of judgment persists across Lourdes, which is comic, haunting, sweet, pious, unsettling, agnostic, and wholly deadpan at various moments. EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2011
B- Black Swan (2010) Nick Davis Why tell this story in such elaborate terms? And why coax Nina just barely out from beneath her mother's thumb, only to pinion her just as harshly underneath Aronofsky's? EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2010
C+ The Housemaid (2010) Nick Davis The Housemaid just feels rudely conceived, unresolved, and maybe a little confused about which among its many ideas and impulses are the most interesting. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2010
C+ Never Let Me Go (2010) Nick Davis Strangely, Romanek often feels disarmed of exactly these vital organs that might have made him a sturdy, sharp renderer of this story. One senses he's too saddened by the tale he is spinning to take a risk on a demanding image. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2010
C+ Mugabe and the White African (2009) Nick Davis The filmmakers leave massive and sometimes reactionary holes in a film that could easily have pled a more accommodating and sophisticated yet equally airtight case. EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2010
C+ Valhalla Rising (2009) Nick Davis I appreciate Refn for pushing against conventions of rhythm, photography, subject, color, and form, and I don't mind that Valhalla Rising lacks a story so much as I question its reliance on enigmatic hints of some grand, over-arching abstraction. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2010
B The Last Exorcism (2010) Nick Davis Any film that forges as unruly a connection as this one does with its audience deserves some applause, especially when the film belongs to a genre where all too many of its peers come across as rote or as thoughtlessly, remorselessly heartless. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2010
B Lebanon (2009) Nick Davis Not all films that attempt to govern their audiences so strictly, or so overtly advertise their own architectures of form and theme, have nearly the punch that Lebanon does. EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2010
C The Square (2008) Nick Davis The Square gets plenty of early elements in place to promise something more special than it ultimately becomes... Even a strong first impression can't survive such a flailing resolution. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2010
B Make-Out With Violence (2008) Nick Davis Builds a real air of mystery around the captive girl, what she is, what she is or isn't capable of doing, and what we're invited to feel about her or her caretaker-captors... Made with real filmmaking flair. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2010
C Only When I Dance (2009) Nick Davis It becomes impossible to take Only When I Dance seriously as more than the superficial account of a frustratingly tentative bystander. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2010
A Borom Sarret (1963) Nick Davis Sembene's early short film encapsulates everything that is angry, witty, pellucid, and healthily, uncynically skeptical about his cinema. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2010
B+ Animal Kingdom (2010) Nick Davis Almost every scene in Animal Kingdom includes some shot, some edit or avoidance of edit, some lighting effect, some performance gesture, or some sound element that breaks the scene out of the simplest grooves it might have obeyed. EDIT
Posted Aug 19, 2010
B Cairo Time (2009) Nick Davis A reflective, surprisingly subtle piece about character and about location, when I had expected either a completely anodyne travelogue or a dogmatic, 'Yes'-style disquisition. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2010
A- Everyone Else (2009) Nick Davis Maren Ade's sophisticated, incisive storytelling relies not on screaming matches but on the leads' marvelous attunement to each other, the ways in which they snag on the barest flickers of intimated feeling in each other's performances. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2010