Joel has written 48 reviews for films during 2016.

  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

    ★★★

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a simple comedy premise of two out of control brothers(Zac Efron and Adam DeVine) that seek out dates for their sister's wedding in Hawaii but get more than they imaged in their wedding dates(Audrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick) and comedy ensues.
    DeVine and Efron have decent chemistry with each other with Efron playing the straight man to DeVine's over the top character(that is basically him in every role) fairly well. Plaza seems fit…

  • Fathers and Daughters

    Fathers and Daughters

    ★★★

    The story of a father dealing with a mental condition after the death of his wife and how his daughter must cope with how it affects her and how it changes who she will turn out to be. The performances from Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried are quite compelling(may be the best Seyfried performance to date as she gives a good layered dramatic performance) but it's the story that doesn't live up to what they're bringing to the table as…

  • Swiss Army Man

    Swiss Army Man

    ★★★★

    Often referred to as the "farting corpse movie", Swiss Army Man tells the story of a man, Hank(Paul Dano), stranded on an island and ready to end it all until he finds a unique dead body(Daniel Radcliffe) and embarks on a journey to return to civilization.
    Let's get this out of the way at the top: If you're offended by flatulence and other bodily functions this will not be the film for you, but if you're cool with it, Swiss…

  • The Legend of Tarzan

    The Legend of Tarzan

    ★★★

    The 2016 adaptation of the iconic tale of Tarzan, a boy raised by apes in the jungle and while many of the other Tarzan films show Tarzan growing up in the jungle, this version mostly takes place 10 years after Tarzan(now John Clayton the third) has left the jungle with his background peppered in with flashbacks. Tarzan is thrust back into the jungle when an event occurs that requires his attention.
    Alexander Skarsgard is a formidable Tarzan and he has…

  • Ben-Hur

    Ben-Hur

    ★★½

    A remake of the 1959 sword and sandle epic and tale of Christ, Ben-Hur is the story of two brothers split by religion and belief and the one brother's path of revenge. Jack Huston and Toby Kebbel play the two brothers and they have good chemistry in the film as you buy their brotherly bond and that just sells the pain of the betrayal that much more when it goes down.
    The action scenes are what really helps the film…

  • Nine Lives

    Nine Lives

    A film that looked so absurd that it felt almost too hokey to be real but let me tell you, it's real and it's bad. The story of Tom Brand(Kevin Spacey), a rich businessman that has no time for his family who gets a rude awakening when his consciousness gets transported into a cat. Kevin Spacey's performance feels phoned in and his appearance in scenes also has this shinny CGI look to it like they have to photoshop him looking…

  • The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

    The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

    ★★★★

    A documentary that follows cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the building of and touring of the Silk Road Ensemble, a group of musicians gathered together to make music, influence culture and better the world. Director Morgan Neville has a great cinematic eye and the way the film breaks away to highlight key members of the ensemble makes the film feel truly unique. The narrative mainly follows Yo-Yo Ma,Cristina Pato(pianist)and Kayhan Kalhor( Iranian Kamancheh player) with the rest of the ensemble acting…

  • Ghost Team

    Ghost Team

    Ghost Team is one of the most unfunny comedies of 2016. The story of a bunch of loners coming together to investigate an area thought to be haunted, the story is so simple that nothing happens for most of the running time of the film. The cast is lead by Jon Heder who continues to prove Napoleon Dynamite was his one hit wonder. Along for the ride is Justin Long, David Krumholtz(who is really funny in Sausage Party), Melonie Diaz,…

  • Sausage Party

    Sausage Party

    ★★★

    The raunchy comedy from the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg about the lives of food at the supermarket and a hot dog who really wants to get in a bun and its funny and original and at the same time uninspiring in its reliance on stereotypes and foul language to keep the film rolling along. The trailer also leads audiences to believe the film will journey out of the supermarket and interact with humans quite a bit but…

  • Pete's Dragon

    Pete's Dragon

    ★★★

    Pete's Dragon is the 2016 adaptation of a 1977 Disney classic about a boy and his dragon and the town that wants different things from the two and gone is the singing and dancing, but the overall Disney comedy(not as much slapstick either) and feel are still present as while there are a few scenes that may be sad for younger children to watch, the film never strays too far from its light tone.
    Pete(played by newcomer Oakes Fegley) and…

  • Indignation

    Indignation

    ★★★

    Indignation is an adaptation of a 2008 novel by Philip Roth that follows a young Jewish boy (played wonderfully by Logan Lerman) and his college experience that becomes drastically altered after a date with a young woman(Sara Gadon) and the repercussions of said date. The story is said to reflect Roth's own college experience in some way and the story definitely has some great intrigue, the chemistry between Lerman and Gadon is great as is the tension the film brings…

  • Café Society

    Café Society

    ★★★

    Cafe Society is the latest endeavor by Woody Allen about a young man (Jesse Eisenberg) leaving New York for Hollywood fame and his journey of self discovery and maturing while also dealing with love and heartbreak and it's not really new ground Woody Allen is venturing into here. The film has some great dialogue that is so Woody Allen in its self deprecating nature and the absurdity his logic sometimes goes to but there are several characters that seem to…