Joel has written 95 reviews for films during 2014.

  • Foxcatcher

    Foxcatcher

    ★★★★★

    A gripping film that will stay with you long after you leave the theater. The performances are nail biting from Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum and most especially Steve Carrell who gives such a different performance in this film than we've ever seen from him.
    The story, especially if you avoid looking into the true events before you go to the theater, is exciting with many twists and turns and an ending that will leave you breathless.
    That being said, the…

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine

    Hugh Jackman performs well as Wolverine in the worst film in the franchise to date. Other than Hugh Jackman and Taylor Kitsch's short cameo as Gambit, the film underperforms in every field: Terrible story, god awful CGI, the severe mishandling of some of the most iconic X-Men (Gambit to some degree, but most notably Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) who neither acts or looks like the character at all in the film.
    The biggest atrocity of this movie is the…

  • The Wolverine

    The Wolverine

    ★★★

    A Wolverine film that actually delivers on the source material. The Japan setting is beautifully shot, the action is tight and exciting and so is the plot (despite the 3rd act being a tad lackluster compared to the rest of the film).
    Hugh Jackman is at his best playing the titular hero here and the supporting actors all do a fine job in helping him through the story.
    6/10
    My Take: Not the best superhero film but it's miles away from being X-Men Origins.

  • Warrior

    Warrior

    ★★★★

    A movie that rises above its standard underdog fighting story to tell a great story about two brothers and their struggle played out by the great performances of Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. Nick Nolte almost steals the show as a father dealing with alcoholism. The other outstanding performances include Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo and even Kurt Angle, who has a strong presence in the film despite being a tad bit off-putting as a Russian.
    The fighting is done well…

  • Grudge Match

    Grudge Match

    ★★½

    A movie about two aging actors playing two over the hill boxers is a recipe for disaster. The execution of the film however was not as bad as it could have been. Stallone channels his inner Rocky by once again playing a sympathetic underdog while DeNiro doesn't fill his role as well. The comedy often fails to deliver (especially from Kevin Hart) and Kim Basinger seems underutilized in the film and who fed Alan Arkin all those terrible lines.
    The…

  • Iron Man

    Iron Man

    ★★★★½

    Iron Man pairs together a returning Robert Downing Jr, a career revitalizing role, with his charismatic performance and Jon Favreau with the great balance of exciting action and comedy in his great directing.
    The film does have some problems with the villain being mostly disposable for the purpose of giving Tony Stark his Iron Man origin story.
    Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrance Howard and Jeff Bridges round out the superb cast that all work together well in the film. The highlight of…

  • Captain America: The First Avenger

    Captain America: The First Avenger

    ★★★½

    A summer movie that packs in more style than actual substance. The film often feels like a piece of a much bigger puzzle, working to establish the MCU over creating an original story.
    Chris Evans plays the role of Captain America with a poise and dignity that helps separate him from the rest of the other superheroes. Sebastian Stan is great as Bucky and Captain America actually has a good villain in Hugo Weaving that excels in giving darker performances.…

  • The Imitation Game

    The Imitation Game

    ★★★★★

    A great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch in a film that captures the feel and the look of WW2 very well. Cumberbatch adds some real emotion to the role and it was great to bring out some real issues with this film(homosexuality issue) along with the problem of trying to break the Nazi's hidden code.
    The only real downfall is that flashbacks sometimes blur with the present timeline so a few times it wasn't clear what time era the film was…

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

    X-Men: Days of Future Past

    ★★★★★

    A movie that remedies the follies of its poor predecessors (X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and balanced perfectly the original cast with the new cast and two continuums with such precision while telling a strong story with great action scenes and a strong return to form for the series.
    The downfall of the film is the underutilization of many of the characters (Evan Peter's Quicksilver only gets one memorable scene-one of the best of 2014) and many of…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    ★★★★★

    An epic space adventure that was visually exciting, action filled, laugh out loud funny and just a whole lot of fun. Was it a perfect film? No, the villain was not that strong, the story was loosely held together by a thin thread (Infinity Stone) that is just a tease to a future film (Infinity War).
    Add in the fact that this is an origin story which is becoming annoying for some fans and these downfalls make the film not…

  • Force Majeure

    Force Majeure

    ★★★★

    A beautifully filmed, deeply provocative film that is excruciating at times to watch. The film revolves around close call due to an avalanche (shown in the trailer) and the repercussions as it relates to said event.
    The film goes into great detail about how each member of the family reacts to the situation. The film often lingers on shots of people standing around or a white screen. The film often forces the audience to put themselves into the mind of…

  • Big Eyes

    Big Eyes

    ★★★

    A Tim Burton film that strays from his normal look. It had a feel to the film that Burton really hadn't utilized since 2003's Big Fish. The film did use some aspects of what made Burton known (Big Eye concept), but it felt like Burton restrained himself and it benefitted the film.
    Burton also used new actors (to him) in this film. Both Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz gave good performances (although Waltz was a little over the top at…