Joel has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2014.

  • Iron Man

    Iron Man

    ★★★★½

    Iron Man pairs together a returning Robert Downing Jr, a career revitalizing role, with his charismatic performance and Jon Favreau with the great balance of exciting action and comedy in his great directing.
    The film does have some problems with the villain being mostly disposable for the purpose of giving Tony Stark his Iron Man origin story.
    Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrance Howard and Jeff Bridges round out the superb cast that all work together well in the film. The highlight of…

  • Wild

    Wild

    ★★★★½

    A character driven story empowered by a great performance by Reese Witherspoon and a story that cut from present (the hike) to the past fairly effectively to keep the story moving forward and keep the story interesting for audiences.
    The flashback became jarring in a few places when a flashback would occur within a flashback or the audience would see one thing while hearing something from a different part of the film. Overall, the flashback help us understand the character…

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★½

    A movie event dominated by great motion capture performances by the apes, especially Andy Serkis as Cesar and Toby Kebbell as Koba that told a great story of the progression of the apes and their evolution since Rise, but poor development of the human aspect of the film including a misused Gary Oldman. Jason Clarke performs well in his James Franco substitution role and their chemistry is strong if not as strong as the chemistry Franco brought to the performance.…

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★½

    The dark humor and gritty style of the Coen Brothers is in good form here in this captivating story that demands multiple viewings just to understand the greatness of what was seen. The dialogue at times does not connect to the film as much as their other films (Fargo, Big Lebowski to name just a few), but the music did connect with (much like O Brother Where art Thou) and is essential to the story. The cast perform admirably, but…

  • The Fugitive

    The Fugitive

    ★★★★½

    An intense thriller that doesn't hold any of its punches delivering a great cat and mouse chase between Ford's Richard Kimble and Jones's Detective Girard that will certainly keep any action movie lover on the edge of their seat. The best parts of the film occur when Girard and Kimble meet in unique locations and how Kimble outsmarts him. The final act is compelling and tense and the reveal is definitely worth the wait. The score adds the punctation to…

  • Clear and Present Danger

    Clear and Present Danger

    ★★★★½

    A spy thriller action movie that effectively delivers tense scenes of espionage and politics with nail biting action scenes in equal measure. A great performance by Harrison Ford that once again delivers a great portrayal of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character. The supporting actors also deliver great performances including James Earle Jones as Ryan's mentor, Willem Dafoe as the leader of a covert military unit, Anne Archer as Ryan's wife and a superb performance by Joaquim de Almeida as the…

  • Air Force One

    Air Force One

    ★★★★½

    This epic 90's action movie stars one of the best presidents, James Marshall, portrayed brilliantly by Harrison Ford. The rest of the bloated cast which include some great names from TV and movies from the 90's get little to do in their short screen time, but Glenn Close gives a great performance as the Vice President and Gary Oldman delivers as the villain. The movie is relentless, moving from set piece to set piece however over the top at times…