Joel has written 50 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2015.

  • Everest

    Everest

    ★★★★

    The tale of eight climbers who climb to the peak of Everest and their perilous journey down the mountain against odds when a deadly storm strikes. The film is cinematically engaging(and really great looking in IMAX although the 3D was often distracting, but not as off putting as the 3D in the Walk), Everest is often hampered by undeveloped characters, despite having a cast of great actors including Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Michael Kelly as the climbers-some…

  • The Peanuts Movie

    The Peanuts Movie

    ★★★★

    The Peanuts Movie brings that classic story of that down on his luck character of Charlie Brown that Charles Schultz has endeared to audiences for years and years and updated the animation for a new generation while keeping the story timeless so that audiences old and new will love it. The film never adds technology of today to modernize it for today's audiences(a typewriter and land lines are used) and it has all these call backs to previous Peanuts stories…

  • Goodnight Mommy

    Goodnight Mommy

    ★★★★

    The creepy story of two brothers whose mother has returned from surgery but now is acting quite stranger and the tension behind the thought that maybe their mother never truly returned. Goodnight Mommy has this great suspenseful feeling to it that most of 2015's horror films having been lacking. The cinematography is all done so well and looks amazing that it captures every moment so vividly(even if you can't really comprehend the things you're seeing unfold onscreen).
    The pacing is…

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    ★★★★

    Revisiting this film just a mere 24 hours after seeing it originally in IMAX, a few things popped out to me. The action scenes just didn't have that sense of urgency or suspense the other Craig Bond films were known for (look at the parkour scenes in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace or the train scenes in Skyfall for reference). With the opening Mexico City action set piece aside, the action felt too smooth or too silly and a…

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    ★★★★

    Daniel Craig is back as the iconic spy as he takes on the titular organization that apparently the other Craig films had be leading up to. The film starts with an excellent looking tracking shot and a gripping action scene through Mexico City that sees Bond fight for control of a helicopter over a crowded square and it is definitely intense. The film cools off for a while and the time it takes to see the main villain onscreen is…

  • The Walk

    The Walk

    ★★★★

    The story of Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a French high wire artist who goes to New York to walk a wire between the Twin Towers is an origins story/heist film combination. The origins story coupled with a love story takes up much of the first act and is slowly paced out. The inclusion of Ben Kingsley as Petit's mentor feels out of place as he is very under-utilized but Levitt shares great chemistry with Charlotte Le Bon as his girlfriend.…

  • The Death of

    The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?

    ★★★★

    The John Schnepp directed documentary about the scrapped film "Superman Lives" that would have seen Nicolas Cage don the iconic blue and red. This film was so interesting with compelling interviews with Kevin Smith, Tim Burton and people working on every facet of the film with the Jon Peters interviews being the centerpiece of the film as every thing that came out of every interview portion reverted back to Peters to hear his rebuttal of what was said. Schnepp has…

  • Paper Towns

    Paper Towns

    ★★★★

    Paper Towns is another great John Green YA adaptation in a time where the YA genre is getting so saturated with films that are all blended together. It might not be as heavy as Fault in Our Stars but it's another great coming of age tale of a young man(Nat Wolff) at this crossroads in his life having a chance encounter with his crush(Cara Delevingne) and going on a road trip to find her.
    The film definitely feels less compelling…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

    ★★★★

    A coming of age story in the same vein as a John Green story (Fault in Our Stars) with the story of a nerdy kid who befriends a girl dying of leukemia and the friendship they share. The genius of Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is that it takes common troupes make these films so cliche and say, "No, that's not what this story is going to do" and then takes the story into really fresh places.
    The…

  • Spy

    Spy

    ★★★★

    Another great collaboration between Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy(Bridesmaids and The Heat being their previous ventures) and this may be the best one yet. McCarthy's humor is quite restrained in this one letting the fun story of a CIA analysis, Susan Cooper(McCarthy), turned spy to complete a mission. The film brings a lot of laughs from the story especially Cooper's secret identities and how absurd they become. The film has some great action as well and all the fighting scene…

  • Love & Mercy

    Love & Mercy

    ★★★★

    The story of Brian Wilson, singer and frontman of the Beach Boys and the story of his time making the album Pet Sounds and his later struggle with drugs and trying to cope with life after the band.
    The two timelines run parallel in the film switching back in forth but never taking any of the drama or emotion out of the story.
    Paul Dino and John Cusack are both great in their roles as Brian Wilson and they bring…

  • Buried

    Buried

    ★★★★

    A contained thriller that maximizes the most out of its potential, Buried follows the story of Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) a contracted truck driver that gets buried alive in Iraq and given an ultimatum for his survivor. Reynolds is great in this role and there is a lot of tension and complexity to the story despite it only being the story of one man interacting with a telephone. Not a film for those who are claustrophobic, Buried has a great…