Joel has written 63 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★½

    Caution- Minimal Spoilers Below:
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi starts second after the Force Awakens ends and is the continuation of the Skywalker Saga. The Rey-Luke storyline was by far the best aspect of the film. Mark Hamill turns in one of his best performances as Luke and his mentorship of Rey was compelling and the scenes showing what led Luke to isolate himself quite meaningful and poignant. The training of Rey really paralleled Luke's training by Yoda quite well…

  • The Greatest Showman

    The Greatest Showman

    ★★★★½

    The Greatest Showman is a musical that stars Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum, the creator of the circus, and infused with the music from those behind the music in La La Land and this movie is really enchanting. Is the movie light and fluffy? Sure. Does it stray away from the negativity of the circus as far as the mistreatment of animals? Sure, but that's not the story it wants to tell.
    Jackman has the charisma in this role that…

  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    ★★★★½

    A modern day fairytale that takes elements of Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid to tell a story that is perfect for Guillermo del Toro's sensibilities and directing prowess, Shape Of Water tells the story of Elisa(in an Oscar worthy performance by Sally Hawkins), a mute who works at a government facility and falls in love with a creature being experimented on and must save it.
    Sally Hawkins excels in this role without saying as word as she really…

  • Step

    Step

    ★★★★½

    The documentary of a step team from Baltimore in their senior year trying to win championship while also being the first graduating year to all go on to college all in the shadow of the death of Freddie Grey and the Baltimore riots.
    Although the doc follows the entire squad, it mainly focuses on Blessin, leader of the squad whose dealing with failing grades and home troubles, Cori, the brains of the group trying to get accepted by John Hopkins…

  • Baby Driver

    Baby Driver

    ★★★★½

    Baby Driver is Edgar Wright's crime action masterpiece and this film feels like a choreographed dance with every move the actors make just paring seamlessly with the soundtrack that is the heartbeat and through line of the film and it's a really good soundtrack. Ansel Elgort is the perfect choice to helm the film as the titular Baby as his charisma, style and acting chops just work to perfection here.
    Jon Hamm was also so brilliant in his role as…

  • The Nice Guys

    The Nice Guys

    ★★★★½

    Shane Black is back at it again in one of his best under appreciated films since 2005s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and feels very much like a spiritual sequel to that film. The way Black is able to capture the 70s era of Hollywood to near perfection makes for such a beautiful film. Ryan Gosling plays a bumbling PI and Russell Crowe muscle for hire with ambitions of being a PI that just happen to be working on the same…

  • The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book

    ★★★★½

    Having already reviewed this movie in 3D, this will be more about the difference between my 3D and 2D experience. The film still holds up in 2D but it's because of the great voicing cast and the great way Justin Marks was able to flesh out the narrative(as the 1967 cartoon was more interested in being a fun film for kids but felt light on story) to give a more compelling experience for audiences of all ages.
    The 3D experience…

  • The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book

    ★★★★½

    Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book took the nostalgic story of the 1967 animated film and the Rudyard Kipling story and updated it for a new generation with amazing looking CGI that completely immerses the audience in the world(recommend seeing in 3D as it helps you feel more in touch with the world despite all the landscape and animals being CGI-ed). The voice acting is what really delivers in the film. Bill Murray is the perfect fit for Baloo, Ben Kingsley…

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    ★★★★½

    The brilliant paring of the engaging directing style of Danny Boyle and the sharp dialogue writing skills of Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs is an underrated look at the events of Steve Jobs life leading up to three monumental launches: the Machintosh, the Next and the iMac (the film could have also used the launch of the iPhone to make it relevant to today's audiences, but understand the story need for a three act structure).
    Although Michael Fassbender looks nothing like…

  • Opera

    Opera

    ★★★★½

    Hoop-tober film #5
    The inclusion of the Opera to the great scores and visually engaging cinematography that made Argento such a great director feels like a no brainer as Opera follows an opera understudy that has a killer stalk and torture her in a brutal way that Argento just excels at. The violence often does seem excessive even for him, but the way many of the scenes play out from the view of the victim helps the film stay away…

  • Deep Red

    Deep Red

    ★★★★½

    Hoop-tober film #4

    This film just screams Dario Argento with its beautifully shot cinematography, brutal violence and well selected score that really brings out the unnerving atmosphere Argento brings to his films. Deep Red also brings a complex story that captivates throughout and the payoff in the final moments is well worth the time spent watching. A near perfect Argento, I personally find myself gravitating back to Suspiria for my Argento fix but I would definitely understand if others claimed Deep Red as their favorite of his extensive filmography.
    9/10

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★½

    The latest film by director Denis Villeneuve tells the story of an FBI agent (Emily Blunt) joining a task force(led by Josh Brolin) to take down the Mexican cartel and along for the ride is a deadly assassin(Belnicio del Toro)who may have plans of his own. Villeneuve has a great eye for cinematography and every shot feels brutal and beautiful at the same time. The way he uses light in his scenes to make the scenes feel natural just adds…