Joel has written 13 reviews for films rated during 2015.

  • War Room

    War Room

    Once again a story with a message of faith through prayer that could have been a compelling Christian film(it opened in a good amount of theaters) was brought down by subpar performances and really odd humor that wasn't needed and added absolutely nothing to the story. It's oddly paced too with what could have been an intense scene being made void by the terrible acting sucking any intensity out of the scene and the next scene being one of utter…

  • 90 Minutes in Heaven

    90 Minutes in Heaven

    Hayden Christensen brings his dull acting to a religious film as a man who dies in a car accident, goes to Heaven for 90 minutes then comes back and can't cope with being back on Earth after receiving a look into eternity. The film hinges on the audience being invested in the plight of Don Piper(Christensen), a pastor trying to cope with all these deep emotions, but Christensen brings such a dull performance to the character that I could never…

  • Aloft

    Aloft

    The story of a falconer(Cillian Murphy) journeying with a film crew out into the frozen tundra to find his faith healer mother(Jennifer Connelly) that he had not seen in many years. Even with multiple story lines occurring in multiple timelines, the story moves at a glacier pace, the story is cluttered with the faith healing storyline and the falconeering storyline (that seem so odd put together) forced together and just when the film looks to pick up the dramatic pacing,…

  • 5 Flights Up

    5 Flights Up

    Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton are in this drama about an aging couple that need to move out of the apartment they lived in since they became a couple because they can't do things they could before. Freeman and Keaton have good chemistry and they bring heartfelt performances to their roles, but they're in a story that is almost made to be a TV movie as the story doesn't allow for much complexity in the drama and Cynthia Nixon (from…

  • Freetown

    Freetown

    The Mormon film about a group of missionaries having to stay alive and escape from the civil war going on while keeping their faith alive. The actors are too green to really convey the dramatic tension this film needed to tackle as the premise had the potential to be a compelling look at not only religion but also racial issues that need addressing in cinema, but all the acting was terribly wooden and with maybe one or two scenes being…

  • Walt Before Mickey

    Walt Before Mickey

    The story of Walt Disney before he created Mickey Mouse told by a studio not named Disney seemed odd, but after seeing it became clear: It's because it's so bland and melodramatic. Thomas Ian Thomas is not the greatest actor, but at least it feels like he's trying to do the best Walt performance he can. Jon Heder is just so odd in his role as he never really feels believable or his chemistry with the cast feels so off…

  • The Challenger

    The Challenger

    Another run of the mill boxing films, Challenger follows Kent Moran as Jade, a Bronx auto mechanic that must become a boxer to pay for him and his mother(S. Epatha Merkerson) to keep their home. The best part of the film is the final performance of Michael Clarke Duncan who plays Duane, the owner of a boxing gym that offers to train Jade and may have ties to his family. The dynamic between Jade and Duane is odd at times…

  • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

    Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

    A silly bloody retelling of a classic German fairy tale that tells the revenge story of Hans (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel(Gemma Arterton) as they exact vengeance on the witch that imprisoned them. The leads do well in their roles, but the script just doesn't give them anything good to work with. Silly and all over the place, there is a lot of character development and plot threads that don't go anywhere and don't really serve the film. The action is campy and while the film had some enjoyable scenes, the film overall isn't that great and will probably be forgotten sooner than later.
    2/10

  • Hot Tub Time Machine 2

    Hot Tub Time Machine 2

    When will Hollywood learn: Comedy Sequels don't work.There may be the exception here or there to be made for sure. Sadly, Hot Tub Time Machine is more of the later. Its time to reunite with the boys, Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), Jacob (Clark Duke) and - oh yeah, no John Cusack who is replaced this time by Parks and Rec's Adam Scott.
    Let me start this review by saying, If you saw the trailer with the boys jumping…

  • Deliver Us from Evil

    Deliver Us from Evil

    Deliver Us From Evil is a story about a cop (Eric Bana) who must join forces with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) to combat the demonic forces that are taking over the city. Scott Derrickson knows how to create an atmosphere of dread in his films and the visuals are quite creepy at times. Bana performs well in his role, but the overall story is just so bland and all over the place. Being a paranormal police procedural, the films jumps…

  • Seventh Son

    Seventh Son

    After watching Seventh Son, one has to wonder if they packed in way too much spectacle and over the top CGI and left no room for any character development, any understanding of the actual story( why are the seventh sons important, how does one train to be a seventh son etc etc) or anything that make keep audiences involved in the story other than here comes another CGI visual. Jeff Bridges play a cross of his role in True Grit…

  • The Loft

    The Loft

    A movie with more style than substance, The Loft is a decent suspense thriller that seems a tad bit outlandish as the film goes along. Reveals in the plot will often contradict something that was revealed earlier or just seems confusing when the pieces seem to fall in place.
    The movie does a good job of moving through several timelines to keep the film interesting (with most of the film's current timeline either taking place in a police interrogation room…