Joel has written 21 reviews for films rated ★½ during 2015.

  • Freaks of Nature

    Freaks of Nature

    ★½

    Also known in my MoviePass app as the Kitchen Sink, Freaks Of Nature is about a small town dealing day to day with a zombie outbreak and a vampire infestation that now must unite together to face an even bigger problem: Aliens. Kitchen Sink seems like a fitting title as it seems the screenwriters threw everything in this script to try and get it to work. Nicholas Braun is just not leading man material here, Vanessa Hudgens plays a one…

  • A Walk in the Woods

    A Walk in the Woods

    ★½

    The tale of two old friends(Robert Redford and Nick Nolte) reuniting to tackle the Appalachian Trail and moving on to that next step in their lives. The film has these great moments between Nolte and Redford in the more subdued moments(even if Nolte's playing this exaggerated version of himself) but those honest moments are few and far between and there is just too many cheesy and dumb comedic scenes that don't deliver on the comedy and feel really off putting…

  • Chappie

    Chappie

    ★½

    Chappie is a science fiction action film by Neil Blomkamp about Chappie, a robot that is given human emotion. Sharlto Copley is great as the voice of Chappie and is able to bring complexity to the character through just his voice alone. Chappie is a compelling hero(even if the narrative doesn't always allow him to be as compelling as desired).
    Dev Patel has some great chemistry with Chappie as Deon, the inventor of Chappie, but their onscreen time is so…

  • The Transporter Refueled

    The Transporter Refueled

    ★½

    Ed Skrein takes over the Transporter reigns(that Jason Statham made famous) in another action fueled adventure where the Transporter must deliver a package to save his father(played by Ray Stevenson). Skrein is serviceable as the Transporter, but he doesn't hold a candle to Statham. Stevenson has some of the best scenes in the film, but the story is just so absurd and the plot development so poorly executed that they actually just reuse the same story beats(like they ran out…

  • We Are Your Friends

    We Are Your Friends

    ★½

    We Are Your Friends stars Zac Efron as a start-up DJ that is looking to make a name for himself on the DJ scene and become a star. Efron and his friends(played by Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez and Alex Shaffer) are so unlikable in their action that it's hard to really root for any of them (and their dreams kind of shallow). Efron is the most relatable as the film goes into how he succeeds as a DJ(the behind the…

  • Self/less

    Self/less

    ★½

    Selfless seems like strong premise for a film with an aging millionaire(Ben Kingsley) taking a younger body(Ryan Reynolds) to extend his life, but how does that decision effect himself and others? The film seems happy in not answering this and other questions that may have invoked an intriguing narrative and instead focus on run of the mill action set pieces and poor plot development. Reynolds is serviceable as the lead in the film but the film could have utilized Kingsley…

  • Faults

    Faults

    ★½

    A indie film with strong performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Leland Orser that tackles mind control in such a bland way. Some effective suspense but ultimately it all falls flat in a predictable finale that comes off in such a underwhelming way.
    2.5/10

  • Hitman: Agent 47

    Hitman: Agent 47

    ★½

    Hollywood once again tries a stab at making a live action film based on the Hitman game series and once again failed spectacularly. Rupert Friend takes the role of Agent 47(that Timothy Olyphant tackled in the 2007 adaptation) and felt more natural in the role than his predecessor.
    There are some cool action scenes but so much of the CGI looked so bad that one may wonder how small their action budget really was. The action scenes had that choppy…

  • Little Boy

    Little Boy

    ★½

    A story about a boy,Pepper(Jacob Salvati) that has faith that his father(Michael Rapaport) will return from war. The film has some fun moments between son and father before the father heads off to war. Then the film takes an odd direction with side stories about racism(takes place during WW2) and a doctor(played by Kevin James) trying to get the Pepper's mother(played by Emily Watson) to marry him. The odd way it portrays faith is also poorly executed and may offend some. Salvati brings a great performance to a storyline that is too ridiculous and lacks the credibility the film needs to be truly gripping.
    3/10

  • The Perfect Guy

    The Perfect Guy

    ★½

    After a tough breakup with her boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut), Leah (Sanaa Lathan) starts a fling with a charming stranger(Michael Ealy) that may turn deadly. What should have played out as a psychological thriller turns into more of a comedy with strange story elements and a hammy performance by Ealy to his stalker role. There are some unnerving scenes that have some good tension, but often the odd acting just breaks that tension and feels more cheesy than intense. Chestnut…

  • Tracers

    Tracers

    ★½

    A film about a group of parkour enthusiasts who use their skills to rob banks and starring Taylor Lautner, Tracers looks great cinematically as the parkour action scenes are exciting and shot extremely well, but the acting, dialogue and story all feel like a bad made for VOD B-movie than something of any substance.
    Maybe watch it if it's on T.V at some point.
    3/10

  • Vacation

    Vacation

    ★½

    Never has a film delivered so poorly off the success of beloved film franchise."Holiday Road" might have been a fun way to start off the film but the rest of the story of Rusty(Ed Helms) retreading the trip he took with his family in the original National Lampoon's Vacation with his family(Christina Applegate, Steele Stebbins and Skyler Gisondo) in a story that is way too mean spirited and raunchy for its own good. None of the characters are likable in…