Joel has written 8 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2017.

  • 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…

  • The Hero

    The Hero

    ★★½

    The Hero(aka the Sam Elliot show) is the story of Lee Hayden(Elliot) who is an aging actor know for great Western and while he's stayed active, he feels unfulfilled as he's reaching the end of his career and that's where the film picks up. Sam Elliot's performance feels so honest because it feels like he's just being himself and even infusing a lot of truth from his actual career into the role(he's been a bit character and a TV actor…

  • Maudie

    Maudie

    ★★½

    A snapshot of the life of a Canadian painter(Sally Hawkins) dealing with arthritis who takes a job as a live in housekeeper of a fisherman(Ethan Hawke) and the story follows how they deal with each other.
    Hawkins is a vision as Maud and she never really overplays her condition but really makes her condition intertwine with her personality and brings out a lot of heart from every scene. Ethan Hawke is also masterful in his performance even at time he…

  • The Little Hours

    The Little Hours

    ★★½

    The Little Hours is a raunchy comedy set in a convent that while having some fun performances and decent amount of laughs, often feels raunchy just to feel edgy and not really to help the narrative which felt paper thin.
    The nuns(played by Audrey Plaza, Alison Brie and Kate Micucci) are the driving force of the film and bring most of the convincing comedy. Plaza is playing the role of snarky and often cruel loner that she has in most…

  • Before I Fall

    Before I Fall

    ★★½

    Before I Fall is essentially teenage Groundhog's Day with Samantha(Zoey Deutch) reliving the same day over and over again after a pivotal event and trying to learn how to break the cycle. Unlike Groundhog's Day, Before I Fall gets the comedy out of the way rather quickly(a few moments in the early going)to deliver more teenage drama related to cliches, dating and angst teenage drama with Samantha spending much of the running time trying to figure out who she is…

  • Wilson

    Wilson

    ★★½

    Woody Harrelson stars as the titular Wilson and steals the show as his character and his angry outlook on life steers the story and the dark humor found within. The story often doesn't support Harrelson's tour de force as the people he comes across do not often create the strongest cinema but do help the movie come off as a breath of fresh air.
    Laura Dern plays opposite Harrelson as his ex-wife Pippi and her role that goes against type…

  • Going in Style

    Going in Style

    ★★½

    Zach Braff's newest directorial endeavor is the third Morgan Freeman led film in this unofficial"We're Old but We're Still Hang with the Young People"movies as he teams with Alan Arkin and Michael Caine as they look to rob a bank and do it"in style"apparently.
    The takeaway from Going In Style to me is the chemistry Freeman, Arkin and Caine shared together. Their sensibilities just worked so well off each other and they just this camaraderie with each other that made…

  • Fist Fight

    Fist Fight

    ★★½

    Ice Cube and Charlie Day star in a movie about two teachers that are going to have a fist fight on the last day of the school year and the events of Fist Fight are way over the top but so is the world that the movie takes place in with students pulling off "pranks" that would see them in jail or expelled from the school at the least, but seen as funny in the world Fist Fight has created.…