Joel has written 11 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2014.

  • Grudge Match

    Grudge Match

    ★★½

    A movie about two aging actors playing two over the hill boxers is a recipe for disaster. The execution of the film however was not as bad as it could have been. Stallone channels his inner Rocky by once again playing a sympathetic underdog while DeNiro doesn't fill his role as well. The comedy often fails to deliver (especially from Kevin Hart) and Kim Basinger seems underutilized in the film and who fed Alan Arkin all those terrible lines.
    The…

  • Ender's Game

    Ender's Game

    ★★½

    Solidly acted by Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld as well as a few other of the children actors, Ender's Game has stunning action scenes but feel tensionless especially during the final battles as it feels removed from the action. The final reveal is done in a less than spectacular way and many of the children actors fail to deliver meaningful performances. Ford is good in his role but most of the talented older cast get used far too sparingly.
    Never…

  • Escape Plan

    Escape Plan

    ★★½

    A fun film that brings Schwarzenegger and Stallone back together again. Just try not to concentrate on the plot and think instead about how cool it is to see both of these action heroes onscreen kicking some ass.
    4/10
    My Take: A fun popcorn movie, but not much else.

  • Morning Glory

    Morning Glory

    ★★½

    A film with great performances from Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton (despite playing their parts childishly over the top at times) that fails to rise above its lackluster script, oddly pacing and jokes that fail to deliver. The film shows gleams of promise with strong interactions between McAdams and Ford and McAdams and Wilson, but those are few and far between.
    4/10
    My Take: A comedy that fails to be funny. I wanted more Goldblum.

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    ★★½

    With outlandish set pieces and action along with overacting and an unfulfilling ending, the movie takes all the worst parts of the previous Indy films and combines them in one film.
    Temple of Doom may have implemented the raft parachute but Crystal Skull "nuked the fridge". The other set pieces rely too much on over the top unbelievable action or unnecessary CGI to be any fun. There is a great fight scene taking place in on multiple jeeps that mirrors…

  • Cheap Thrills

    Cheap Thrills

    ★★½

    A film with a thinly laced together plot kept going only by its over the top action scenes that don't really begin until almost halfway through the movie.
    The film doesn't try to be anything that it isn't and in a self aware way it entertains through it's often gross and absurd scenarios that are played out by some talented actors (Pat Healy, Ethan Embry and David Koechner).
    The film has its ups and downs, but overall a fun roller…

  • The Mosquito Coast

    The Mosquito Coast

    ★★½

    A departure for Harrison Ford from his normal hero roles (Indiana Jones, Han Solo etc.) in an unevenly paced movie that is plain boring at times while quite jarring and hard to follow the action at other times.
    The saving grace is Ford who plays a fairly dark character. The movie plays as a character piece with Ford acting as a better villain that those he opposes (the movie's actual villains)
    Overall, not his best, but not his worst film…

  • The Bling Ring

    The Bling Ring

    ★★½

    A movie that takes the attractiveness and acting skills of its talented young actors to string together a movie with a plot that feels flat and fails to make the characters relatable. The acting is top notch (especially Emma Watson), but the story really doesn't go anywhere, delivering a rather disconnected story that will leave most audiences wanting more.
    5/10
    My Take: Great acting in a rather flat film. A heist film that fails to show any character.

  • Six Days Seven Nights

    Six Days Seven Nights

    ★★½

    A fun rom-com adventure movie with good performances from Heche and Ford that often travels into absurd scenarios thanks to the weak scripts and some acting that does not really meld well with the story (David Schwimmer in particular).
    Overall, a good movie that I think is not as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes score has made it out to be (36% on the website currently)
    5/10
    My Take: Fun movie that could have used a better script.

  • St. Vincent

    St. Vincent

    ★★½

    A mundane comedy drama saved somewhat by the unique performance of Vincent played by Bill Murray and a return to form for Melissa McCarthy whose performance is subdued compared to other recent roles but very relatable. The story however does not reach far and is a fairly typical premise. With less talented actors this movie would be forgettable but Murray breathes life into this film and made it a fun time at the movies.
    5/10
    My Take: Great performance from Bill Murray in a mostly forgettable film.

  • The Homesman

    The Homesman

    ★★½

    A visually engaging period piece strung along by a poorly paced plot and acting that feels unnecessarily exaggerated at times. The strength of the film lies in its commitment to its time period in well executed shots and reliance on period accuracy that sometimes takes priority over good storytelling often leading to mundane parts of the story. Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank give strong performances and the rest of the cast do what they can with their short on…