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

  • The Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle

    ★★★

    The Glass Castle reunites Short Term director Destin Daniel Cretton and lead actress Brie Larson to tell the true story of four kids who raise themselves when their parents fail to properly support them.
    Based on the story written by Jeannette Walls(portrayed by Larson), the film cuts between her youth and her adult life to see how her connection with her father defined who she(and her siblings) would become.
    Woody Harrelson plays Rex the father with big ambitions, lots of…

  • Rough Night

    Rough Night

    ★★★

    Rough Night had potential with the bachelorette storyline of five girls reuniting after years apart and just having a fun romp and letting the natural comedy of the escapades shine through. Unfortunately, the story gets bogged down with this crime storyline after a male escort is accidentally killed.
    From the writer of Broad City and with the acting prowess of Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz and the humor of Kate McKinnon, Broad City's Ilana Glazer and Jillian Bell, Rough Night should…

  • The Beguiled

    The Beguiled

    ★★★

    The Beguiled is a 2017 adaption of a novel by Thomas P. Cullinan about a girl's school in the Civil War and a wounded soldier that ends up on their doorstep and adds a lot of complexity to their lives. Sophia Coppola(director of Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation among others) helms this period piece and the cinematography captures the era so well. The way the scenes are shot and the eery score just creates this palpable tension that helps make…

  • T2 Trainspotting

    T2 Trainspotting

    ★★★

    The boys are back after twenty years and Mark(Ewan McGregor), Spud(Ewen Bremner), Simon(Johnny Lee Miller) and Begbie(Robert Carlyle) are back to their normal antics and don't seem to have skipped a beat as they fit perfectly back into the world Danny Boyle created. The dynamic between them is the driving force of the film as is the visual euphoric style Boyle brings to every frame to make audiences feel as if in a drug haze. Ewan McGregor steals the show…

  • 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…