Joel has written 48 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2015.

  • 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…

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    ★★★★½

    Crimson Peak is a gothic romance terribly misconstrued as a horror film thanks to a very odd marketing campaign. Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith, a young who falls in love with an Englishman, Sir Thomas Sharp(Tom Hiddleston) who takes him back to his mansion along with his sister(played by Jessica Chastain) where bizarre things begin to occur. The film's trailers seem to indicate the film is a horror film thanks to all the ghostly figures present but the ghost only…

  • Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

    Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

    ★★★★½

    It's very seldom that a film franchise gets better as the franchise goes along but the MI franchise is doing just that. Until Rogue Nation, Ghost Protocol was my favorite MI film, but it does peak at the Dubai set piece with Cruise's crazy stunt(with the rest of the film not living up to that scene). Rogue Nation is a much more well paced film and the action just never lets up. The great thing about the hanging on to…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina

    ★★★★½

    A small scope sci-fi thriller that relies on the acting chops of the three main leads in the film(Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander) and the film delivers in spades with the tension in the suspenseful moments juxtaposed with some great comedic moments and how the cinematography by Rob Hardy makes the film feel so vibrant and Alex Garland's great direction of the actors made for such great scenes with just two people talking to each other. Gleeson plays…

  • Ant-Man

    Ant-Man

    ★★★★½

    One of the best Marvel origin stories, Ant-Man does a great job of balancing comedy and action (although it would have been great to see what Edgar Wright's full vision of the film would have been, although his fingerprints are definitely felt in the film) and I feel that Peyton Reed did a great job of showing the magnitude of Ant Man especially in his small size and the set pieces are epic looking(especially the battle in his daughter's room…

  • Dope

    Dope

    ★★★★½

    Director Rick Famuyiwa crafts an original take on a coming of age story that showcases a strong up and coming actor in Shameik Moore, has a great voice with a message to tell(even if the film does go off the track at times with rants about Obama and feel a tad heavy handed in the final monologue) and is funny as hell.
    The film is unique in the way it presents exposition and the characters are so unique that it…

  • Philomena

    Philomena

    ★★★★½

    Philomena put the acting prowess of Judi Dench(with all the gravitas she brings to every acting role) and Steve Coogan to a very heartfelt story of a woman and a journalist search for the woman's son that was taken from her 50 years before. Judi Dench elevates what is already an amazingly well told story and never goes into too cliche territory but dares to tell a compelling complex story that delights and surprises in each turn and twist in…

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron

    Avengers: Age of Ultron

    ★★★★½

    The Avengers(Robert Downing Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner) are back in a star studded (and perhaps overpacked), action packed CGI fest of cinematic testosterone where the Avengers must protect the world from Ultron, an A.I. bot out of control, and his Bond villain plot to make the world a better place (Peace In Our Time).
    It was great to see Hawkeye(Jeremy Renner) get more screen time and given an important role(seemed to just…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★½

    The story of Imperator Furiosa(Charlize Theron) as she attempts to free young brides from the mad Immortian Joe and encounters Max (Tom Hardy), a loner caught up in this barren wasteland.
    What ensues is pure insanity. A movie that is amped up to the max and never gives up for its entire running time. The women of the film are kicking so much ass with Theron's character being such a captivating character and every female holding their own (and the…