Joel has written 41 reviews for films rated ★★ during 2015.

  • Stonewall

    Stonewall

    ★★

    A "fish out of water" story of a young man(Jeremy Irvine) that gets caught up in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The story that delivers more as a coming of age story and a man dealing with his sexuality, Stonewall makes for a poor portrayal of a pivotal event for the progression of the LGBT community. The film has tonal shifts all over the place, the drama feels forced at times while also non consequential in other scenes, the acting doesn't…

  • Rock the Kasbah

    Rock the Kasbah

    ★★

    Rock The Kasbah is Bill Murray trying his best to work with a story about an aging rock manager that meets an undiscovered gem with dreams of being a star. Murray tries hard to make the story work but the film is tonally all over the place and the people of Afghanistan played out as one note characters that any story premise revolving around the Afghan culture comes off as being disingenuous. Kate Hudson is playing the love interest to…

  • The Last Witch Hunter

    The Last Witch Hunter

    ★★

    The Last Witch Hunter is the story of Vin Diesel's witch hunter that is cursed by a dying witch with immortality that now in present day must finally vanquish his most challenging foe. The story isn't the most complicated and Diesel seems out of place in the role, but the film is fun when it hits all the action beats and its just a kind of cheesy fun at times. When the film tries to complicate its story to bring…

  • Victoria

    Victoria

    ★★

    The movie that was marketed as "One City, One Night, One Take", Victoria, the tale of a girl that has a chance encounter that changes her life forever, boosts about its one take shot that is an accomplishment not tried since 2002's Russian Ark. The move should be praised for its artistic value but for the story, the cinematography just doesn't make for the most compelling shots(often just showing close shots of faces that add nothing to the story), but…

  • The Mother of Tears

    The Mother of Tears

    ★★

    Hoop-tober film#3
    27 years between this film and the previous in the "Three Mothers" trilogy, Inferno, Mother Of Tears definitely lacks that Argento touch that made his films so great in the 80s. What we get here feels more cheesy than clever and the witches in this film feel way over the top and more of a satire of his previous films than a continuation of the trilogy into any meaningful direction. Sure there's plenty of bloodletting to be had…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★

    A timely story about a hacker played by Chris Hemsworth that is poorly executed that the world of cyber hacking becomes a bland recycling of standard film concepts and seems more in tune with Mann's Miami Vice and Public Enemies than the greatness of Heat that made Mann so great.
    Blackhat is a poor vehicle for Hemsworth and another dud for Mann(and not a return to form for him).
    2/10

  • Unfriended

    Unfriended

    ★★

    The found footage like horror film that follows a group of friends during a Skype conference call that are being stalked through their social media by an unknown entity and how will they survive?
    The film tries to make the film feel fresh despite being a tired horror troupe(found footage) by using twitter, Facebook, Spotify and video to bring tension to the film. The characters are one dimensional, the interactions between them bland and the death scenes more funny than…

  • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

    Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

    ★★

    Once again, Goku must battle Freeza to protect the planet Earth and this is just an event for those diehard Dragon Ball Z fans as nothing is really explained before being thrown into all out battle. There was some small details that might entail knowing some background on what was transpired before(haven't watched the show in 10 years so I was unaware of who Whis and Beerus were but they played very little into the events of the film). A…

  • Minions

    Minions

    ★★

    The story of how the minions moved through time while trying to find a master to serve, Minions served as a prequel to the Despicable Me films but without Gru(Steve Carell) to lead the film. Instead we get three minions that while cute and fun just can't lead a film and even the inclusion of Sandra Bullock as Scarlett Overkill just can't save the film as her presence is a tad underwhelming for such a high caliber actress. Much like…

  • Infinitely Polar Bear

    Infinitely Polar Bear

    ★★

    Mark Ruffalo stars in a film about a father dealing with bipolar disorder while trying to be a good father to his kids. Ruffalo brings a great performance to the role, but the story often felt sugar coated with only a few minutes being filled with any kind of real tension and maybe the disorder is not as well represented because of this story element. Zoe Saldana plays Ruffalo's wife and while she also brings a strong performance in her…

  • The Hive

    The Hive

    ★★

    A virus has taken out civilization, one man must remember what he needs to do to stop what is happening before the virus takes over him. The narrative is divided into three parts showing the present, what happened leading up to the events of the present and the origins of the virus leading to the past issues. The acting is not great, the story styling tries to keep the story interesting but feels more spastic than clever, some of the…

  • Welcome to Me

    Welcome to Me

    ★★

    A strong lead performance from Kristen Wiig as Alice Klieg, a woman that wins the lottery than sets out to have a talk show just like Oprah. Wiig brings a strong performance to the role, crafting a character that is funny all the while being deeply disturbed while at the same time being quite relatable.
    The story is often too spastic for its own good with her hi jinx serving as the foundation of the story and dictating how the…