Joel has written 116 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Bad Boys for Life

    Bad Boys for Life

    ★★★

    Bad Boys For Life brought Will Smith & Martin Lawrence back to a franchise that hadn't been visited since 2003 and it picks up right where the franchise left off (except for Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi replacing Michael Bay in the director's chair) and this continues to be a dependable franchise.
    The storyline continues to be cliche cop action movie and is predictable in where the story will go (as was its predecessors) but Smith and Lawrence continue this…

  • Color Out of Space

    Color Out of Space

    ★★★

    Richard Stanley returns to the director chair after mostly been absent since the 1996 disaster that was the Island of Dr Moreau( that he was fired from) to give us this bonkers film based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and with another insane performance from Nicolas Cage(reminiscent of his recent performances in Mom & Dad and Mandy)  and delivers the most loyal to Lovecraft adaptation in terms of feel and story direction. Some may not love where the story goes…

  • The Call of the Wild

    The Call of the Wild

    ★★★

    The Call of the Wild is a Chris Sanders directed film based on the 1903 Jack London novel that yes, does have a CGI dog center stage in Buck, a St Bernard that is stolen from a home and goes on a journey to find where he belongs. 
    While I knew many that were put off by the CGI dog, I got over it quickly and got invested in Buck’s plight and easily became immersed in the story as Buck…

  • Gretel & Hansel

    Gretel & Hansel

    ★★★

    This classic story of Hansel&Gretel told more from the standpoint that Gretel is the stronger of the duo and its her story with Hansel being the one having to rely on her which was definitely a strength of the film.
    The amazing visuals and cinematography just made the fairy tale come to life in this unique dark way that really help bring out the horror and tension in all of the scenes.
    The acting is also really good with Sophia…

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    ★★★

    Birds Of Prey is a fun film with a great performance by Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn that is far superior to 2016's Suicide Squad but this should have been billed as a Harley Quinn film because that what it is for like 90% of the film and may have helped out with the marketing campaign as the original title was way too long and misleading(with many theaters eventually changing the name to garner more fan interest).
    The action is…

  • The Photograph

    The Photograph

    ★★★

    Photograph is a charming romance film that parallels and contrasts these two relationships through time with these great performances by Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield who have this chemistry that works so well but the way the two stories meld together throughout the film ends up being fairly clunky and often predictable in execution.
    The strength of The Photograph is just how Rae and Stanfield just are able to work so well off each other with each not only having…

  • The Assistant

    The Assistant

    ★★★

    The dramatization of these real life situations of these high powered executives is definitely relevant in this #metoo movement time where living through and there is portions of this film that were shocking, heartbreaking and quite potent.
    Helping all these moments strike their mark was the tremendous performance from Julia Gardner who was the driving force of most of this film as often she is the only person on screen or is working with a handful of actors that really…

  • Last Flag Flying

    Last Flag Flying

    ★★★

    Richard Linklater's latest film about a father(Steve Carell) taking a trip to bring his dead son's body home after dying oversees and once again Linklater knows how to capture the human condition from the small interactions between Carell and his friends played by Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne and they share some great chemistry in scenes that have a lot of heart and emotion that propels the film that is simultaneously a road trip film, a war film and almost…

  • Thelma

    Thelma

    ★★★

    The suspense film about a girl dealing with seizures that may have a supernatural reason behind them and a girl trying to figure them out as well as her sexuality and this methodically paced thriller ramps the tension up with beautifully crafted cinematography and a great performance by Eili Harboe. The narrative tip toes the line between absurdity and science before going full tilt into a well deserved payoff, but the pacing may be too slow for most audiences.
    An…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★

    Ghost Story is Casey Affleck's C wearing an actual bed sheet as a ghost for ninety-two minutes. Casey Affleck dies in an accident and becomes a ghost and the film follows not only his journey as a ghost but flashbacks to his relationship with Rooney Mara's M.
    This movie is often almost a silent film with the cinematography and the physical acting of Mara and an actual walking sheet to convey emotion and its often fairly effective. Several scenes do…

  • The Hitman's Bodyguard

    The Hitman's Bodyguard

    ★★★

    The story of Hitman's Bodyguard is almost irrelevant when Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are trading quips(along with F words galore) and just having as much fun as possible in this action scenes that are so over the top that it doesn't feel like either of these two are in any real danger.
    The story of Samuel L. Jackson's hit man having some information needed in a trial and Reynolds Bodyguard needing to help protect him is just a…

  • Annabelle: Creation

    Annabelle: Creation

    ★★★

    David Sanberg does for the Annabelle franchise what Ouija Origin of Evil does for that franchise: follow up a terrible movie with a great prequel. Creation precedes the events of the original and gives the backstory to how Annabelle became the demonic presence she is in the Conjuring.
    Creation follows a group of orphans that are taken in by a family trying to get over an event in their life and then all hell breaks loose.
    Although there are six…