Joel has written 118 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • The King's Man

    The King's Man


    The newest film in the Kingsman franchise, the King’s Man is a prequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service that blew me away with its breathtaking action and tongue in cheek humor. Unfortunately, 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle failed to deliver a worthy sequel and while the film wasn’t terrible, it was disappointing compared to the original. 
    Well, Matthew Vaughn’s latest outing is definitely far superior to its superior but it isn’t quite flawed either.
    Ralph Fiennes lead performance as…

  • Red Rocket

    Red Rocket


    Sean Baker’s latest slice of life story brings the audience into the life of Mikey Saber, a down on his luck porn star returning home to rebuild his life. Baker as a director has a great fly on the wall style of filmmaking that really captures the gritty nature of the story he’s telling( also utilized well in 2015’s Tangerine and 2017’s Florida Project) and makes the character feel real with their flaws exposed and Simon Rex as Mikey has…

  • Bad Boys for Life

    Bad Boys for Life


    Bad Boys For Life brought Will Smith & Martin Lawrence back to a franchise that hadn't been visited since 2003 and it picks up right where the franchise left off (except for Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi replacing Michael Bay in the director's chair) and this continues to be a dependable franchise.
    The storyline continues to be cliche cop action movie and is predictable in where the story will go (as was its predecessors) but Smith and Lawrence continue this…

  • Color Out of Space

    Color Out of Space


    Richard Stanley returns to the director chair after mostly been absent since the 1996 disaster that was the Island of Dr Moreau( that he was fired from) to give us this bonkers film based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and with another insane performance from Nicolas Cage(reminiscent of his recent performances in Mom & Dad and Mandy)  and delivers the most loyal to Lovecraft adaptation in terms of feel and story direction. Some may not love where the story goes…

  • The Call of the Wild

    The Call of the Wild


    The Call of the Wild is a Chris Sanders directed film based on the 1903 Jack London novel that yes, does have a CGI dog center stage in Buck, a St Bernard that is stolen from a home and goes on a journey to find where he belongs. 
    While I knew many that were put off by the CGI dog, I got over it quickly and got invested in Buck’s plight and easily became immersed in the story as Buck…

  • Gretel & Hansel

    Gretel & Hansel


    This classic story of Hansel&Gretel told more from the standpoint that Gretel is the stronger of the duo and its her story with Hansel being the one having to rely on her which was definitely a strength of the film.
    The amazing visuals and cinematography just made the fairy tale come to life in this unique dark way that really help bring out the horror and tension in all of the scenes.
    The acting is also really good with Sophia…

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)


    Birds Of Prey is a fun film with a great performance by Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn that is far superior to 2016's Suicide Squad but this should have been billed as a Harley Quinn film because that what it is for like 90% of the film and may have helped out with the marketing campaign as the original title was way too long and misleading(with many theaters eventually changing the name to garner more fan interest).
    The action is…

  • The Photograph

    The Photograph


    Photograph is a charming romance film that parallels and contrasts these two relationships through time with these great performances by Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield who have this chemistry that works so well but the way the two stories meld together throughout the film ends up being fairly clunky and often predictable in execution.
    The strength of The Photograph is just how Rae and Stanfield just are able to work so well off each other with each not only having…

  • The Assistant

    The Assistant


    The dramatization of these real life situations of these high powered executives is definitely relevant in this #metoo movement time where living through and there is portions of this film that were shocking, heartbreaking and quite potent.
    Helping all these moments strike their mark was the tremendous performance from Julia Gardner who was the driving force of most of this film as often she is the only person on screen or is working with a handful of actors that really…

  • Last Flag Flying

    Last Flag Flying


    Richard Linklater's latest film about a father(Steve Carell) taking a trip to bring his dead son's body home after dying oversees and once again Linklater knows how to capture the human condition from the small interactions between Carell and his friends played by Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne and they share some great chemistry in scenes that have a lot of heart and emotion that propels the film that is simultaneously a road trip film, a war film and almost…

  • Thelma



    The suspense film about a girl dealing with seizures that may have a supernatural reason behind them and a girl trying to figure them out as well as her sexuality and this methodically paced thriller ramps the tension up with beautifully crafted cinematography and a great performance by Eili Harboe. The narrative tip toes the line between absurdity and science before going full tilt into a well deserved payoff, but the pacing may be too slow for most audiences.

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story


    Ghost Story is Casey Affleck's C wearing an actual bed sheet as a ghost for ninety-two minutes. Casey Affleck dies in an accident and becomes a ghost and the film follows not only his journey as a ghost but flashbacks to his relationship with Rooney Mara's M.
    This movie is often almost a silent film with the cinematography and the physical acting of Mara and an actual walking sheet to convey emotion and its often fairly effective. Several scenes do…