Joel has written 18 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2016.

  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

    ★★★

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a simple comedy premise of two out of control brothers(Zac Efron and Adam DeVine) that seek out dates for their sister's wedding in Hawaii but get more than they imaged in their wedding dates(Audrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick) and comedy ensues.
    DeVine and Efron have decent chemistry with each other with Efron playing the straight man to DeVine's over the top character(that is basically him in every role) fairly well. Plaza seems fit…

  • Fathers and Daughters

    Fathers and Daughters

    ★★★

    The story of a father dealing with a mental condition after the death of his wife and how his daughter must cope with how it affects her and how it changes who she will turn out to be. The performances from Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried are quite compelling(may be the best Seyfried performance to date as she gives a good layered dramatic performance) but it's the story that doesn't live up to what they're bringing to the table as…

  • The Legend of Tarzan

    The Legend of Tarzan

    ★★★

    The 2016 adaptation of the iconic tale of Tarzan, a boy raised by apes in the jungle and while many of the other Tarzan films show Tarzan growing up in the jungle, this version mostly takes place 10 years after Tarzan(now John Clayton the third) has left the jungle with his background peppered in with flashbacks. Tarzan is thrust back into the jungle when an event occurs that requires his attention.
    Alexander Skarsgard is a formidable Tarzan and he has…

  • Sausage Party

    Sausage Party

    ★★★

    The raunchy comedy from the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg about the lives of food at the supermarket and a hot dog who really wants to get in a bun and its funny and original and at the same time uninspiring in its reliance on stereotypes and foul language to keep the film rolling along. The trailer also leads audiences to believe the film will journey out of the supermarket and interact with humans quite a bit but…

  • Pete's Dragon

    Pete's Dragon

    ★★★

    Pete's Dragon is the 2016 adaptation of a 1977 Disney classic about a boy and his dragon and the town that wants different things from the two and gone is the singing and dancing, but the overall Disney comedy(not as much slapstick either) and feel are still present as while there are a few scenes that may be sad for younger children to watch, the film never strays too far from its light tone.
    Pete(played by newcomer Oakes Fegley) and…

  • Indignation

    Indignation

    ★★★

    Indignation is an adaptation of a 2008 novel by Philip Roth that follows a young Jewish boy (played wonderfully by Logan Lerman) and his college experience that becomes drastically altered after a date with a young woman(Sara Gadon) and the repercussions of said date. The story is said to reflect Roth's own college experience in some way and the story definitely has some great intrigue, the chemistry between Lerman and Gadon is great as is the tension the film brings…

  • Café Society

    Café Society

    ★★★

    Cafe Society is the latest endeavor by Woody Allen about a young man (Jesse Eisenberg) leaving New York for Hollywood fame and his journey of self discovery and maturing while also dealing with love and heartbreak and it's not really new ground Woody Allen is venturing into here. The film has some great dialogue that is so Woody Allen in its self deprecating nature and the absurdity his logic sometimes goes to but there are several characters that seem to…

  • Captain Fantastic

    Captain Fantastic

    ★★★

    Captain Fantastic follows the story of Ben Cash(Viggo Mortensen) and his family dealing with the loss of his wife and the judgment of others to their"unusual" life choices. The film is beautifully shot, Mortensen and all the children who play his family give great performances. The story is funny, charming, off-putting at times while other times quite stirring and captivating. The story just doesn't hold up for the entire running time of the film and decisions made in the story…

  • Nerve

    Nerve

    ★★★

    Nerve as they say is a game of truth or dare minus the truth where competitors complete challenges for money and to be the best for the night and in the film it takes over the city of NYC in the way that hasn't been seen since the launch of Pokemon Go and Emma Roberts and Dave Franco get mixed up in the fiasco. The story itself is fun with the two forced to team up to take on different…

  • X-Men: Apocalypse

    X-Men: Apocalypse

    ★★★

    X-Men Apocalypse sees the return of the cast audiences have learned to love in First Class and Days of Future Past, and while the cast give strong performances and there are some breathtaking action scenes, but the sum of its part do not add up to the strength of the previous films.
    The titular character, Apocalypse, while fleshed out as a character well with good backstory scenes is just a presence in the background of the film and he seems…

  • The Meddler

    The Meddler

    ★★★

    Susan Sarandon shines as Marnie Minervini, a mother who may be too interested in her daughter(Rose Byrne)'s life after her husband passes and from there it evolves it this slice of life story with a very charming lead that reminded me a lot of Hello, My Name Is Doris as the story depends on the charm of its lead(Sarandon and Fields respectfully) and it's where the film really shines. Sarandon shares good chemistry with Byrne, but Byrne's character is just…

  • Keanu

    Keanu

    ★★★

    Key and Peele bring their strong comedic chemistry to the big screen and the film feels like a bunch of small comedy skits that worked loosely connected by an action story that doesn't. The two just work so well together and their comedic timing is on point. Almost every time the film relied on the jokes, they delivered in spades. However, the film often deviated from the comedy to try to tell a more action oriented story that really took…