Amy Nicholson

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For 331 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1 point lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Amy Nicholson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Guest
Lowest review score: 0 3 Geezers!
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 331
331 movie reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Jenkins has made something astonishing: a film with immaculate craft that, at the same time, feels spontaneous, even tentative, as if it could panic that it’s revealed too much and close the curtains.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    At Lonergan's best, he turns the sounds of Patrick's home into its own claustrophobic, percussive sympathy.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    For all the distractions and gags, Inside Out argues a more complex idea: that sometimes, Sadness deserves to steer, and that as we age, our happy memories deepen when tinted a wistful blue.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 58 Amy Nicholson
    If only the script measured up to the craft. La La Land gives us no reason to root for Mia and Seb’s romance, except for its blithe assurance that you will because you loved Stone and Gosling together in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Jesse Moss's documentary The Overnighters is a heart-wrencher about the clash between economics and ethics. Its story sounds like the sort of dry news blurb you'd skim over in the Sunday paper but unfolds into an epic tragedy.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Grand Budapest is Anderson's most mature film, and his most visually witty, too. It's playful without being self-congratulatory, and somehow lush without being cloying.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Nicholson
    This solid genre pic salutes its touchstones.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Kaufman builds an emotional world we're nervous to enter, one we're already living in.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    [Wiig's] great, but the film's in the pocket of Powley's rib-high corduroys from the second she struts onscreen — and long after she takes them off.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Lenny Abrahamson's shattering drama Room borrows its fictional plot from the tabloids and strips it of sensationalism.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Nebraska is the antidote to other family charmers about goofballs in matching sweaters.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is a jaw-dropping, pulse-quickening mash-up.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Director Rian Johnson's resulting film, a cornfield neo-noir, is the coolest, most-confident sci-fi flick since 2006's "Children of Men."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Amy Nicholson
    Peele is so attuned to the tiny ways race sneaks into conversations that we hear it in every line. Our suspicions are so heightened, we start to second-guess our own senses.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    '71
    [An] excellent, tensely controlled thriller.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Lord and Miller do great work within constraints, taking pre-made pieces and fashioning them into feats worthy of applause. It's no wonder they made a Lego movie — and it's no wonder it's so good.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Red Army is a riveting look behind the Iron Curtain.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    The film could do with fewer panty shots of the listless sisters flopped across each other like kittens. Yet it manages to capture the lethargy of watching your life goals winnow into wifely servitude.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Creed wants all of the Rocky drama but invests in none of the smarts.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    As we switch sympathies from scene to scene, Muylaert forces us to think big about the clash between idealism and acceptance, a philosophical war that spills beyond the walls of this small story into every corner of our own lives.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Amy Nicholson
    The Love Witch, by writer/director Anna Biller, is a feminist film about a character who thinks feminism is bad news. It's delightful.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Amy Nicholson
    Villeneuve's proven he's got a strong punch. The trouble is, he barely aims.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    Adams’s clear-eyed, open-minded doctor forces us to ask how much we’re willing to communicate.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    What Spielberg seems to want most from this respectable lark is for audiences to notice the parallels between the 1950s and today.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Foxcatcher is merely a very, very good character study with acting so fine that it's frustrating it's not in the service of a real, emotional wallop.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Raw
    Ducournau has made a beautiful film about terrible horrors.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    Pablo Larraín's Jackie is an elegy to two slandered traits: self-consciousness and superficiality.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Goodnight Mommy is a well-crafted cheat with a killer punch.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens steers the franchise back to its popcorn origins. It's not a Bible; it's a bantamweight blast. And that's just as it should be: a good movie, nothing more.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    When the violence gets unbearable, take comfort in the troop of trainers on the sidelines who prove that, for now, man and beast still make a good team.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Most docs are lucky to have one wild character. The phenomenal Finders Keepers has two.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    For the small but enthusiastic documentary crowd and the comic's diehard fans, it's a must-see.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    Negga, an Ethiopian-born, Irish-raised Hollywood newcomer, gives an Oscar-worthy performance. She's so still and powerful, she gives the film a depth the script doesn't earn. I can't think of the film without thinking of her gaze, and I can't think of that gaze without admiring the film more than it deserves.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    It's possible to watch Silence and see a story about saints martyred by an oppressive government. It's also possible to see a told-you-so parable about imperialists who should have stayed home. I suspect Scorsese would be a little disappointed by either conclusion. But he stays quiet because he wants to challenge the audience to go deeper inside themselves, to separate our own religion (or lack of one) from the faith that guided us to it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    In its small moments, say when Walhberg sighs that his robe misspells "Micky," The Fighter feels clued-in to the very small, very tough world of a man trying to make his way out of his block-and after getting to know his family, you want to help him pack his bags.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    Instead of a thrilling climax, he chooses to let the story evaporate into the Amazon fog. Yet this odd film left a chill in my bones that I'll be thinking about all summer.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    It's a smart film about the shrinking divide between man and robot. It's also a hoot, an anti-comedy where all of the jokes double as threats, and vice versa.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Amy Nicholson
    It's a staggering film, but not a brilliant one — a superior version would have played more with the gulf between our senses and theirs.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    What lingers is Kedi’s awareness that the city is alive.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    As an action film — which in small bursts it is — Blue Ruin is disquieting and raw, like Commando turned inside out.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    This sparse marvel leaves the audience rattled by how small decisions lead to big consequences. Still, you're most likely to leave the theater gushing about the cast's bravura unbroken performances.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Chi-Raq is a marvel. It's Lee resurrecting his voice — angry, impassioned, and funny as hell — right when we need to hear it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Gleeson is one of the finest actors we have, and in casting him as the lead, McDonagh stacks the deck so that regardless of our own religious reservations, we're forced to care about Father James as a man.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    At a time when judgment and self-righteousness outrank forgiveness and empathy, Nadine is the heroine we need.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Amy Nicholson
    Logan is the rare action flick in which the quiet moments are as compelling as any of the fights.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Cartel Land is interested in how idealism becomes corrupt.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    A transcendent comic chiller, when The Guest's characters are in peril we actually care, and Wingard respectfully makes the kills clean and quick.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    At times, Wonder Woman feels like watching Splash with a shield — another babelicious naïf breaking all the rules. Yet the joke isn't on her. It's on all the men mistaking unsophistication for weakness. To be uncultured is to be mentally free; no one's put on a yoke. That's what makes Wonder Woman a knockout.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Obvious Child is perfect for those who want more honesty in fiction.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    The masterstroke of Frank, the film ex-Sidebottom collaborator Jon Ronson has now co-written, is that this time the man in the mask is a modern Mozart. And, unsparingly, Ronson has written himself as the jealous goober who risks everything, with the delusion that he's the smart one.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    It's impossible to watch The Punk Singer and not ask if feminism is dead. That's a fair starting question. But a better one is what if it isn't — what if we've just stopped recognizing it?
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Amy Nicholson
    Like Brooke's dream business, a café/convenience store/hair salon, Mistress America is a mishmash of ideas — fortunately, Kirke gives a fantastic performance that quietly grounds the film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Spy
    It's a comedy of exasperation where, for once, the joke isn't on McCarthy, but on everyone who can't see her skills.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    In the first film, his rhythmic overkills felt brutal. Here, they're more like a dance, and the best bits of the movie have a lightness that made me giggle with delight.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    The Wolfpack is more like a diorama of the Angulos' unusual childhood than an explanatory documentary.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    Like most coming-of-age flicks, Morris From America tries too hard to make friends. At least its scenes of unearned triumph are balanced by embarrassing bits that hit emotional bullseyes. It’s so likable I wondered if I was a sap for enjoying it, so I watched it again and liked it more.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    With The LEGO Batman Movie, a shiny, irresistible delight, blockbuster flicks have perfected their ideal form.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    The older Cruise gets, the more he relies on his fists. (And his abs, and his nerves — he'll never let you forget he does his own stunts, and why should he?) His body is the wonder-gizmo, and Christopher McQuarrie, writer and director of the fifth entry, Rogue Nation, keeps the camera on him like a nature show about a hungry lion.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    Lee is credited as a director for filming a live performance of Rodney King on an outdoor stage in New York. But Lee mostly seems to have loaned Smith his brand name to get the monologue attention. He doesn't leave a fingerprint on the play, and didn't care about where to put the cameras. The angles make no sense; the edits are clumsy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Future Past starts fast and never slows down. There's not a line of dialogue that isn't exposition... What fun there is slips in through director Bryan Singer's visuals.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Casting JonBenét, my favorite film at this year's Sundance, shows a director in full control.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Nicholson
    It’s candied history. The timeline is all wrong, the soundtrack is too cheery, the movie is too eager to please. Yet at the end, I found myself tearing up anyway.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Tom Hanks is so quietly compelling that he gives the film an illusion of depth.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Amy Nicholson
    Torn between making sense and arguing that the world itself makes no sense, Prisoners is a captive of its own ambitions.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Big Hero 6 is easier to admire than to love. It veers from chipper to noisy to dark stretches where it grapples with adult-sized grief.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    Joe
    Joe is Cage's periodic reminder that he's one of his generation's great talents.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Tyldum has robbed his own film of emotional depth — this Turing is as simple as Morse code. Rather than a complex human portrait, this is an assemblage of triumphs, tragedies and tics.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Amy Nicholson
    The humble Kyle onscreen is Kyle with his flaws written out. We're not watching a biopic. We're watching a drama about an idealized soldier, a patriot beyond reproach, which bolsters Kyle's legend while gutting the man.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    It's clear that Straight Outta Compton is at once too padded and too thin. It's as if the story of these real-life legends was so unruly and dangerous that the filmmakers became the cops, forcing it into submission.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Amy Nicholson
    The dialogue is dense and quick and brainy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    Gold is merely the conduit for the film's real focus: Like his own reviews, City of Gold is a love letter to L.A.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Gibney dissects Jobs's image with the calm curiosity of a coroner.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Cumberbatch, a tweedy Brit with an M.A. in Classical Acting and a face like a monstrous Timothy Dalton, has beefed up to become a convincing killer. He's brutal and bold, and the film around him isn't bad either.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Amy Nicholson
    Director Steven Spielberg doesn't have a steady grip on War Horse's careening tone, but he'll be damned if there's not 15 minutes in there for everyone.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Nicholson
    Barry's questions are powerful whether asked by a future president or a future janitor. The script is great no matter who it's about — it's just that fewer curiosity-seekers would give it a watch were it about someone else.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    For the first time, a Marvel movie draws that pencil line from dream to screen. Where the earlier films felt hard and shiny and steel-colored — the look of bashing action figures on a sidewalk — Strange is ink-smudged and obsessive. It's defiantly old-school — not the cozy, apple-scented nostalgia of the first Captain America film, but that cold, back-of-the-library whiff of eraser nubs and mold.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    It's less interesting watching them do what they both feel they have to do -- talk about their craft -- especially as both give off the prickly energy of artists who would rather create than explain. They're more comfortable asking one another questions, even though the answers are shrugged off humbly.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    The raw ingredients of Raid 2 are superb. But the overall effect is gluttonous and queasy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    Smart, empathetic and wholly believable.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Fegley’s heartbreaking performance is fused onto a marshmallow. Lowery overcompensates for the darkness in the script by making everything else soft and squishy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Amy Nicholson
    It's thrillingly, fiercely female. It takes the same neighborhood-boy-turns-hoodlum story we've seen for a century and simply flips the script.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    The Wile E. Coyote fatalities are fun, but it's that repetitive moment of horror that holds this bipolar stunt together: Cruise, bug-eyed and gasping for breath as he shakes off his fear and grimly prepares for the next suicide mission.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    Don’t Breathe is a small delight, like stumbling across a shiny silver dollar.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    Colossal has no patience for piety or punishment. Even when Gloria gets punched in the face, the film refuses to sob. Instead, it's oddly heroic.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    The script is solid, and the fight scenes are excellent.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Laguionie's animation is a lovely jumble of thick lines and saturated pastels...But while the artist-as-deity concept was flattering enough to get The Painting nominated for a 2012 Cesar Award, its big ideas about equality and friendship are flatly 2-D.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie is as fair a portrayal the weak-chinned warrior will get — and fairer than he deserves.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    Though it ticks on too long, watching Fujitani's fascinating sleuth overestimate her skills is as satisfying as a mug of hot matcha on a soul-chilling night.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Fashion is about that clash between commercialism and individuality — how can I stand out while fitting in? — and Sacha Jenkins's streetwear doc Fresh Dressed nods its Kangol hat to that irony.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Amy Nicholson
    The bad news is that if you haven't seen "Thor," "Captain America" and "Iron Man 2" - that's six hours and three minutes of homework - The Avengers won't make sense. The good news is if you're a human under the age of 45, you probably already have.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 42 Amy Nicholson
    The direction is so heavy-handed that it feels like Parker is afraid audiences don’t know slavery is wrong. Or maybe that truth is all he’s comfortable using Nat Turner to say.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Freed from reality, Lin turns into a kid gifted a box of markers and glitter: Everything is manic and distracting. There’s a cool swoosh where the lens surfs behind the Enterprise as it accelerates through a tube, but mostly the tricks are garish.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Amy Nicholson
    It’s a hero story for wonks and scientists, people who spend their days surrounded by dry-erase boards inked with numbers and grids and yet go to work in a jumpsuit, their faces smeared with muck.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Amy Nicholson
    For all its empathy and equilibrium, The East has nowhere to go after the script backs itself into a corner.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Amy Nicholson
    Land Ho! feints toward pathos and perversity, only to decide that it's better off giving us abridged, postcard emotions.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Nicholson
    Chef is so charmingly middlebrow that it's exactly the cinematic comfort food it mocks: Favreau has made not a game-changing meal to remember, but a perfect chocolate lava cake.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    What lingers in Nathan's documentary isn't the swaggering trails of diesel fumes. It's the sadness of watching Pug narrow his options.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Amy Nicholson
    Nicholas Stoller's hilarious Neighbors splashes into summer with the satisfying swish-plop-hooray of a winning beer pong serve.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Amy Nicholson
    Even simply sticking to the facts, the film is a painful watch.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Amy Nicholson
    Esparza's cast of unknowns is so fresh and raw that the drama could be mistaken for a documentary if the camera work weren't so controlled.

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