Joel has written 43 reviews for films during 2017.

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★

    Ghost Story is Casey Affleck's C wearing an actual bed sheet as a ghost for ninety-two minutes. Casey Affleck dies in an accident and becomes a ghost and the film follows not only his journey as a ghost but flashbacks to his relationship with Rooney Mara's M.
    This movie is often almost a silent film with the cinematography and the physical acting of Mara and an actual walking sheet to convey emotion and its often fairly effective. Several scenes do…

  • Lady Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth

    ★★★½

    Lady Macbeth was billed as "Alfred Hitchcock if he filmed Wuthering Heights" and in this mindset, Lady Macbeth is a cerebral look at the period piece where a young lady(played brilliantly by Florence Pugh) weds a much older man against her will, gets mistreated and puts into motion a plan to get what she wants and this film gets dark and very intense in where the story goes and may not be for all audiences.
    Much like The Beguiled, Lady…

  • Landline

    Landline

    ★★★½

    Director Gillian Robespierre teams up once again with Obvious Child lead Jenny Slate to deliver a family drama set in the 90s as two daughters deal with their father's affair and how it affects their family.
    Jenny Slate is once again the shining star as she can bring a lot of humor and emotion out of rather mundane scenes and dialogue with her performance that is natural and also engaging. Abby Quinn is also a strong breakout and her chemistry…

  • The Hitman's Bodyguard

    The Hitman's Bodyguard

    ★★★

    The story of Hitman's Bodyguard is almost irrelevant when Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are trading quips(along with F words galore) and just having as much fun as possible in this action scenes that are so over the top that it doesn't feel like either of these two are in any real danger.
    The story of Samuel L. Jackson's hit man having some information needed in a trial and Reynolds Bodyguard needing to help protect him is just a…

  • Step

    Step

    ★★★★½

    The documentary of a step team from Baltimore in their senior year trying to win championship while also being the first graduating year to all go on to college all in the shadow of the death of Freddie Grey and the Baltimore riots.
    Although the doc follows the entire squad, it mainly focuses on Blessin, leader of the squad whose dealing with failing grades and home troubles, Cori, the brains of the group trying to get accepted by John Hopkins…

  • Logan Lucky

    Logan Lucky

    ★★★½

    The directorial return of Steven Soderbergh(from semi-retirement) for this southern based Oceans 11 type heist film that also uses story elements Oceans 12 implemented but done more effectively.
    Everyone here is just putting in great performances-may be Channing Tatum's best performance. Adam Driver brings this nuanced comic beats out of his performance and Daniel Craig steals every scene he's in-the absurd character he plays is such a deviation from his Bond persona and he seems to be having a lot…

  • Annabelle: Creation

    Annabelle: Creation

    ★★★

    David Sanberg does for the Annabelle franchise what Ouija Origin of Evil does for that franchise: follow up a terrible movie with a great prequel. Creation precedes the events of the original and gives the backstory to how Annabelle became the demonic presence she is in the Conjuring.
    Creation follows a group of orphans that are taken in by a family trying to get over an event in their life and then all hell breaks loose.
    Although there are six…

  • The Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle

    ★★★

    The Glass Castle reunites Short Term director Destin Daniel Cretton and lead actress Brie Larson to tell the true story of four kids who raise themselves when their parents fail to properly support them.
    Based on the story written by Jeannette Walls(portrayed by Larson), the film cuts between her youth and her adult life to see how her connection with her father defined who she(and her siblings) would become.
    Woody Harrelson plays Rex the father with big ambitions, lots of…

  • Rough Night

    Rough Night

    ★★★

    Rough Night had potential with the bachelorette storyline of five girls reuniting after years apart and just having a fun romp and letting the natural comedy of the escapades shine through. Unfortunately, the story gets bogged down with this crime storyline after a male escort is accidentally killed.
    From the writer of Broad City and with the acting prowess of Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz and the humor of Kate McKinnon, Broad City's Ilana Glazer and Jillian Bell, Rough Night should…

  • Transformers: The Last Knight

    Transformers: The Last Knight

    There's not a lot about Last Knight that hasn't been said about every other Transformers film: dumb story telling with over the top CGI transformers fighting each other while the humans meet in scenes that have bad dialogue and groan worthy humor. Throw in Michael Bay circular panning shots, over use of explosion(everything explodes in the Transformers world) and sexplotation of his female characters(this time a 16 year old in Isabela Moner as it seems Bay is going younger and…

  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

    Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

    ★★½

    The new Luc Besson sci-fi film that is the definition of style over substance. The visuals are amazing and the worlds show here are an incredible sight to behold(pushing the limit of what CGI and cinematography can achieve) and every world feels distinct and fleshed out.
    On top of that, some of the action sequences are really gripping (especially an opening scene in a market that only takes place in the digital realm that definitely borrowed its visual feel from…

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★½

    Dunkirk, the newest Christopher Nolan war epic, is a cinematic experience that shows the horrors of a war in a way that pulls the audience into every scene. Watching on 70MM, often the scenes felt like stock footage of World War 2 in the best way possible. The way Nolan uses the sounds of the bombers that move through the theater to give that tension that the bombers are really there just gave the film an extra layer of tension.…