Joel has written 32 reviews for films rated ★½ .

  • Cymbeline



    Another Shakespeare adaptation where the play has been brought into modern times but the language (dialogue) of William Shakespeare remains in tact (much in the vein of Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing) that tells the story of requited love set in the midst of gangland warfare.
    The film brings together a great cast with Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman and Delroy Lindo in a bland film that departs from Much Ado's comic…

  • Black or White

    Black or White


    Black or White is about a man (Kevin Costner) who must fight to keep his granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell) away from her drug addicted father and her grandmother (Octavia Spencer). The film definitely has a message to deliver (racial issue as well as alcohol addiction) but does it in such an odd way that it fails to grab audiences as it intended to. Kevin Costner is to be portrayed as someone who is not fit to take care of his…

  • Jupiter Ascending

    Jupiter Ascending


    A great looking film, but it packs in an underwhelming often boring story, an emotionally uninvested protagonist, a cringeworthy villain and gaps in logic that are almost impossible to explain. The Wachowskis know how to make a film look amazing in the scope of its visuals, but there stories are so scatter-brained and Jupiter Ascending is no different. Fun action scenes are often only mere minutes away from slow boring scenes, one that acts out like going through a DMV…

  • The Tempest

    The Tempest


    A messy script with a disconnection feeling from the Shakespeare source material that feels so absurd at times and boring at other times. Helen Mirren brings out a great performance as usual, but Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brandt, Alan Cummings and Alfred Molina feel either so out of place or so much like caricatures of the people they are trying to play that they don't feel well into the world the film is trying to create.
    There are many better Shakespeare…

  • Pompeii



    Feeling too much like a Gladiator rip-off for much of the film, Pompeii suffers from neutered fight scenes that look unimpressive (PG13 rating to blame) and the disaster aspect of the film feels unimportant as the audience is given very little to care about (with Kit Harington and Emily Browning being the only exception even if Kit is playing a carbon copy of his Game of Thrones' Jon Snow character) and the CGI destruction is not impressive either.
    The biggest…

  • R.I.P.D.



    A good performance by Jeff Bridges (even if he's only playing a parody of his True Grit character). Ryan Reynolds continues to give decent performances in lesser films (see: Green Lantern) and Mary Louise Parker is good as well.
    The story suffers from bad chemistry between the leads, a story line that just rehashes MIB story lines and CGI that is so awful that it takes the audience out of the film (Devin Ratray and Robert Knepper's character look so…

  • Extraordinary Measures

    Extraordinary Measures


    A melodramatic film that fails to live up to its title. Too many scenes felt soap opera like in delivery and several characters played their personas way over the top (Harrison Ford in particular).
    The weakest part of the film however was its boring approach to the search for the cure often making the movie feel bland and unoriginal.
    A few scenes hit with their emotional notes, but more missed than hit.
    My Take: A made for TV movie best suited for Lifetime.

  • Hollywood Homicide

    Hollywood Homicide


    Great performance by Josh Hartnett that is often overshadowed by the disjointed story and hammy performance given by Harrison Ford. The action while well paced throughout the film is often too over the top and the side stories often get in the way of the overall storyline.
    The film's biggest failure is trying to inject some humor into the action that mostly backfires (especially from Ford's character).
    Overall, an action film with high expectations that fails to deliver.
    My Take: Cheesy action movie that is passable at best.