Joel has written 384 reviews for films during 2015.

  • Stonewall

    Stonewall

    ★★

    A "fish out of water" story of a young man(Jeremy Irvine) that gets caught up in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The story that delivers more as a coming of age story and a man dealing with his sexuality, Stonewall makes for a poor portrayal of a pivotal event for the progression of the LGBT community. The film has tonal shifts all over the place, the drama feels forced at times while also non consequential in other scenes, the acting doesn't…

  • Bridge of Spies

    Bridge of Spies

    ★★★½

    The newest Tom Hanks-Steven Spielberg collaboration follows James Donovan, a New York lawyer(Tom Hanks) tasked with defending a Soviet spy, Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance). This is only one-third of the film though as a US spy is captured by the Russians forcing the US to send Donovan to make the prisoner exchange. The film does feel like two separate film rolled into one as the court aspects concludes and the espionage angle begins.
    The story does focus more on the…

  • Turbo Kid

    Turbo Kid

    ★★★

    A midnight movie in almost every way, Turbo Kid is a film that feels like one those from childhood amped up with tons and tons of blood. The acting may not be that great(although I did dig Michael Ironside as the villain), simple set design and insane looking wardrobe decisions that made the post apocalyptic world seem like run of the mill fare, the story ideas seem too over the top at times and wacky performances from a bunch of…

  • Grandma

    Grandma

    ★★★½

    The dramedy about a pregnant girl Sage(Julia Garner) that must elicit the help of her grandmother(Lily Tomlin) to get the $600 needed for her abortion and this film can be summed up in four words: The Lily Tomlin Show as she literally steals every scene she's in. The great thing about her character is that she can bring this humor to all these more somber situations but also feel like a real person with her honest performance. She also plays…

  • The Intern

    The Intern

    ★★★

    The Intern is about a retired business man/widower (Robert De Niro) taking an internship at a fashion website company to try and stay relevant. Playing alongside him is the young owner of said company (Anne Hathaway). The two play well off each other in a very unorthodox way and it's great to De Niro in a role where he's not just walking through every scene but having fun in the role.
    The film doesn't really get to in depth with…

  • Pawn Sacrifice

    Pawn Sacrifice

    ★★★½

    Another film that tackles the story of chess prodigy Bobby Fischer and the "match of the century", Pawn Sacrifice brings a lot of tension and suspense to a story thats been told before thanks to a good screenplay by Steven Knight. Tobey Maguire seems to bring the same performance that he does to a lot of his roles, but it seems to work well here. Liev Schreiber is good in his role as the Soviet opposition, but I didn't really…

  • Everest

    Everest

    ★★★★

    The tale of eight climbers who climb to the peak of Everest and their perilous journey down the mountain against odds when a deadly storm strikes. The film is cinematically engaging(and really great looking in IMAX although the 3D was often distracting, but not as off putting as the 3D in the Walk), Everest is often hampered by undeveloped characters, despite having a cast of great actors including Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Michael Kelly as the climbers-some…

  • Room

    Room

    ★★★★★

    The story of a mother-son locked away in a small shed for years and making a life for themselves and the story to try to free themselves, Room is such an intimate film told from the eyes of a five year old, which helped make the awful nature of the film tolerable and unique (with a great performance from Jacob Tremblay).
    Brie Larson brings a strong performance to the role as well(An Oscar worthy one in my opinion) as she…

  • Goosebumps

    Goosebumps

    ★★★½

    Jack Black plays a more subdued version of himself in the character of R. L. Stein, the creator of the Goosebumps, whose creations are real and get released by a new neighbor on a fateful night and must be captured again in a wild horror like story that seemed great for families in the halloween season.
    The film has this great light hearted feel to it, Jack Black is funny without having to go into the over the top kind…

  • Woodlawn

    Woodlawn

    ★★★

    The story of a football team that brought a city together thanks to their strength of embracing religious faith and race and becoming a strong example and a football team to be reckoned with, Woodlawn is a film with an inspirational story that may be held back a little by some by the numbers dramatic story elements and less than compelling acting from someone of the actors-including including some villains that feel kind of like cartoon villains as opposed to…

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    ★★★★½

    The brilliant paring of the engaging directing style of Danny Boyle and the sharp dialogue writing skills of Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs is an underrated look at the events of Steve Jobs life leading up to three monumental launches: the Machintosh, the Next and the iMac (the film could have also used the launch of the iPhone to make it relevant to today's audiences, but understand the story need for a three act structure).
    Although Michael Fassbender looks nothing like…

  • Rock the Kasbah

    Rock the Kasbah

    ★★

    Rock The Kasbah is Bill Murray trying his best to work with a story about an aging rock manager that meets an undiscovered gem with dreams of being a star. Murray tries hard to make the story work but the film is tonally all over the place and the people of Afghanistan played out as one note characters that any story premise revolving around the Afghan culture comes off as being disingenuous. Kate Hudson is playing the love interest to…