Joel has written 11 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2017.

  • Lady Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth

    ★★★½

    Lady Macbeth was billed as "Alfred Hitchcock if he filmed Wuthering Heights" and in this mindset, Lady Macbeth is a cerebral look at the period piece where a young lady(played brilliantly by Florence Pugh) weds a much older man against her will, gets mistreated and puts into motion a plan to get what she wants and this film gets dark and very intense in where the story goes and may not be for all audiences.
    Much like The Beguiled, Lady…

  • Landline

    Landline

    ★★★½

    Director Gillian Robespierre teams up once again with Obvious Child lead Jenny Slate to deliver a family drama set in the 90s as two daughters deal with their father's affair and how it affects their family.
    Jenny Slate is once again the shining star as she can bring a lot of humor and emotion out of rather mundane scenes and dialogue with her performance that is natural and also engaging. Abby Quinn is also a strong breakout and her chemistry…

  • Logan Lucky

    Logan Lucky

    ★★★½

    The directorial return of Steven Soderbergh(from semi-retirement) for this southern based Oceans 11 type heist film that also uses story elements Oceans 12 implemented but done more effectively.
    Everyone here is just putting in great performances-may be Channing Tatum's best performance. Adam Driver brings this nuanced comic beats out of his performance and Daniel Craig steals every scene he's in-the absurd character he plays is such a deviation from his Bond persona and he seems to be having a lot…

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★½

    Dunkirk, the newest Christopher Nolan war epic, is a cinematic experience that shows the horrors of a war in a way that pulls the audience into every scene. Watching on 70MM, often the scenes felt like stock footage of World War 2 in the best way possible. The way Nolan uses the sounds of the bombers that move through the theater to give that tension that the bombers are really there just gave the film an extra layer of tension.…

  • Girls Trip

    Girls Trip

    ★★★½

    Girls Trip is what Rough Night should have been: Four hilarious women on a bachelorette like excursion and just follow the fun they have instead of bogging the Story down. Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall bring a lot of acting experience and screen presence to their roles but its relative newcomer Tiffany Haddish that really breaks through with her over the top role and steals every scene she's in.
    There's a lot of funny scenes that push…

  • Wakefield

    Wakefield

    ★★★½

    A character study of an NYC lawyer(played by Bryan Cranston) who literally puts his life on hold and hides away from his family(in almost near sight) to figure out who he really is. This movie could have really failed as it seems like a good idea for a short than a 126 minute narrative but the story is actually a compelling look into the life of a man battling a mid-life crisis thanks to the powerful performance Cranston brings to…

  • War for the Planet of the Apes

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★½

    With the War For The Planet of the Apes closing out this new rebooted Apes trilogy, Matt Reeves has given filmgoers one of the best(albeit somewhat flawed) movie trilogies of recent years. While War For The Planet of the Apes may be lighter on the war aspect (two major action scenes in the whole film) than most audiences would have hoped for, War was the Apes is a think piece that I didn't even know I needed and was a…

  • The Fate of the Furious

    The Fate of the Furious

    ★★★½

    Fate Of The Furious is the continuation of the Fast franchise(F8) without Paul Walker(Brian O Conner) and also taking the focus off Vin Diesel's Dom (taking on the villain role) and putting more of a focus on the Rock(who sat most of Furious 7 out). The animosity between Rock's Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's Ian Shaw was a fun new dynamic in the franchise(and one that will hopefully continue) as their interactions were both funny and dynamic.
    Vin Diesel(mumble growl…

  • A United Kingdom

    A United Kingdom

    ★★★½

    The true story of a marriage set in the backdrop of British governed Africa, David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike glow as the real life couple Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams and their chemistry is the driving force of the story. Pike exudes this strength in her role that unlike Gone Girl doesn't have to go to dark places to show the strength of her acting.
    The story is also engaging as the stakes feel real for the world the film…

  • Personal Shopper

    Personal Shopper

    ★★★½

    Kristen Stewart has made a 180 from her bland acting in Twilight(and passable acting in Snow White and the Huntsman) and she is the best part of the story of personal shopper trying to reach her twin brother in the afterlife and the unique story here of her"altercations" with entities from beyond. The unique style of the film coupled with twists and tonal shifts within is to be commended(Olivier Assayas has a great style) but the film does slow in…

  • A Cure for Wellness

    A Cure for Wellness

    ★★★½

    Gore Verbinski's latest film "A Cure For Wellness" a psychological thriller about a hungry businessman (Dane DeHaan) forced into a position where he must retrieve the CEO of his business from a wellness center where he must face his own past as he encounters a clinic with a strange treatment and shady past.
    A film that has shades of 2010's Shutter Island, A Cure For Wellness is some quite different and while the imagery looks similar in nature, the film…