Submit Your
The deadline for the Top Films of the 2000s list is days away! Submit your ballot now, or read about it here

Joel's Reviews

→ in

Really, I share an IP? How specific is an IP address? I'm not very technical when it comes to that. I am actually brand new. I've come over from blu ray .com in hopes of landing better conversation and getting movie topics off of my chest with a better success rate lol.

Reviews will be posted soon, just need to catch some down time from work, etc.

I'll have to keep my eye out for that individual in my neighborhood, especially since I need a good movie night like I used to have back in 1988.

So, the following will be super sloppy introduction and preface to my reviews:

Please forgive some of my grammar and structure as I am not adhering to rules or body in favor of getting the thoughts out, hopefully legibly.

I love movies. I consider movies very important, not so much for their political agendas or society shaping persuasions, but more for their ability to combine art, music, dance, ..the list goes on. It is an all-encompassing medium to gather the elements and make them go the way you want them to go.

I am a start up director. I have not made my first feature yet, and am not sure when I will. In the meantime, I will try and flesh out the reasons why certain films speak to me and what I've learned from them.

For example, Ghostbusters: the editing. How they ran the flowers are still standing joke underneath the cutaway shot of the ghost trap sliding across the floor. Efficiency. That old pro way of shaping films. Something as capable and classed up as Ghostbusters shows a novice what they can do if they need to push things along. There's no reason to see Bill Murray's face when he finishes that joke. It's funnier that the camera is going about its business as the joke finishes in the background.

Paris, Texas. A well received film with Sam Shepard writing in bits. I simply like the movie for its location and pace. These days I look for films to fall asleep to and not sit alongside, stressed out. I'm 40 years old, but still look 29. I act 72, have body aches like I'm 89, and still love movies like I am 8 years old.

At 8 years old, before I knew of technology and what it did, I would press my tongue up against the roof of my mouth and emulate the film soundtrack scratching by compressing my tongue and hearing it loudly in my ears. I did this before my imagination painted the sky as a mesh screen, opening up my own film, while swinging on a rope and wooden seat attached to a tree in my backyard. For hours. Every day. That was the foundation.

That was the foundation alongside the sound design and music score to Blade Runner, which I witnessed (pun) at the drive ins, back to back with Sharky's Machine. Wow. I had never seen anything like it. Han Solo having his face sat on by a blonde android, being choked to death. Innocence lost at that moment.

I like the simple pleasures in films. I tend to ignore politics for the most part. I'm limited in my knowledge of how the world works. I aim to keep it that way. Show me something shiny and I'll fixate.

Good poster art, or video box art, crappy movie? No problem. As a kid, you fill in the blanks. Sure, you're frustrated by the reality of what you've seen, but your imagination is being primed to create something that lives up to the cover art or poster.

The Quiet Earth, one of the few films that lived up to it's cover art. That was a good day for rentals.

I'll write more later.

My first review is on a cologne.

United Benneton Colors for men UOMO.

You may think it spells like Old Spice at first, but within an hour, it'll smell like a lemon and a light vanilla. It stays close to the skin after an obnoxious opening. A mid range nose blaster.

Now, here's a picture, as a test.

Director: Kevin S. Tenney

I saw Witchboard back in 1987 when I was 11 years old per a recommendation from my flighty, tarot card toting step mother, whom I'd visit occasionally on the weekends, where she'd let me watch whatever I wanted and smoke her menthol cigarettes.

Things that immediately impressed me with this movie was the acting, which was not the usual overdone/underdone kind of amateur hour acting you'd see in a b-picture with a title like "Witchboard". The characters were kind of interesting and played it very real and natural. This may have been due to some soap opera chops from the co lead as well as a charm from then model Tawny Kitaen, amongst other cast that seemed right at home in their roles.

Whatever the real reasons were, if not these, director Kevin S. Tenney made a great little thriller of a movie. This was his peak at film making. The camera work was clever, the music was creepy and some of the locations were pitch perfect for a haunted story. Mix those aspects in with solid acting and you have a picture that shouldn't be as good as it is with the title and budget, but there you go.

I think Witchboard works still today because of this reason. The casting was well done. It wasn't haphazard casting. The director was clearly concerned with getting a good team on board for the production that shared a chemistry. As good as Return of the Living Dead was, it was not good when it came to caring for characters. Thom Mathews and James Karen were a real barrel of laughs, but the rest of the cast was kind of disposable, in a way.

This movie Witchboard is a rare type of film. It isn't A material, but it at least tries to aim for a serious dramatic horror. I'm convinced that it would not work as camp. If ROTLD tried to be any more serious, that film would not have worked.

Witchboard has earned repeat viewings from me over the years, and now sits in my collection, preserved in high definition, waiting for another go.

As a horror film goes, I usually rate for atmosphere and acting (good or bad doesn't matter as much to me as entertaining)).

I'm giving Witchboard a pretty healthy rating of

Director: Ricky Gervais

If there is one downfall to Ricky Gervais's craft as a film maker or writer, it's his cloying tendency to overcook his sympathetic characters. He sometimes leaves you no room to build your own affection for his string pulling, and instead you may feel as if you are being hit over the head with "like me", "feel bad for me", "see how decent I am?" This is especially evident in his Netflix series "Dereck" where you could pour an episode over flapjacks and make a custard out of your breakfast. But I don't discount Ricky Gervais as a man without vision or talent. He is on top of his game,comedically, and seems to get better as years roll on with his mixture of comedy and drama.

His latest comedy "Life on the Road" proves two things:

One, is that he still has his chops, and has developed a mature blend of comedy/drama that doesn't resolve with an attack on people that hate him nearly as much as it used to ("the laughter of hate")
Two, is that even though his craft has improved, he still hasn't exercised his judgment in a way that has his work realized for a worldwide release, equipped with an evenness that would garner more acclaim for his skill.

Life on the Road has all of the same kinds of jokes and dramatic overtones that made Gervais's previous work succeed, yet it doesn't tie things up very neatly. His shift from obnoxious to sentimental and emotional is like a jump cut.

If he had added an extra 5-7 minutes of footage to pad the transition from the body of the film into that ending of his, I am confident that Life on the Road would be a small masterpiece.

I will probably always tune into Ricky Gervais as an entertainer, as his brand is up my alley. I like that he body shames himself. I like that he pokes fun at his real life failure as a musician. I also admire that his "it" factor is why someone the same weight and height as Gervais can't figure out why they can't land a deal in the biz as a comedian. Ricky's charisma goes a long stretch. His power truly comes from his humanity.

He's a guy that has made peace, for the most part, with himself, a long time ago, and once that handshake took place, he was able to manifest a big, silly joke wrapped around a bittersweet center.

He may not be the best film maker, and he may not always write the most subtle scripts, but his intentions seem legit and his self esteem is inspiring, if not a bit catty and tiresome after a while.

Ricky Gervais -

David Brent: Life on the Road -

cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I also watched Witchboard back in 1987. I watched it for Tawny and really liked it. When I last saw it a few years ago, I thought how did I like this crap.

Welcome to the site

Director: James Sbardellati

Back when Vestron Video was spitting out releases onto VHS like gangbusters, I rented a sword and sorcery film I thought may hold up against titan films like "Excalibur". This film was "Deathstalker." Was I wrong? Boy, was I wrong? Not really...

Deathstalker has been slayed by critics who've cared to comment and pretty much ostracized by any average film goer who has seen it.

I'm guessing the reasons why, are the amount of ridiculous things taking place.

Patchwork dubbing (English speaking film, but ADR is a real bitche), over the top violence, aggressive male domination onto a female specimen (more than once), a lack of poetic narrative. Just to name a few reasons, those should be enough for now.

What I think some people do not appreciate is that Deathstalker was and is a film that has a really neat way of unfolding, strictly from a film making point of view. There isn't much of a story that hasn't been told better before, but the cinematography takes on a soft, hazy, dreamlike quality and coupled with the matted effects and light show, this film really does stand up as a small work of art, regardless of the abundance of soft X rated material on display.

I like naked chicks and I like people getting beat over the head with limbs from time to time. This movie definitely does not take itself seriously at all in that respect. It delivers the goods for the popcorn crowd, bored on a Thursday night, or maybe a sleepover session.

What Deathstalker falls short on with epic storytelling is replaced with what Deathstalker nails with epic effects and entertainment value. You don't walk into this film taking it as an Arthurian contender, rather, you sit down and watch well executed light effect work being stacked up and creating a very contrasted atmosphere with the visuals.

I can only relate to my own opinion and cannot try to convince anyone of the coolness factor regarding film stock and effect work as enough justification to believe Deathstalker is an important film, but I can express my like for this film by summing it up with one word: Analog.

If these effects and sets were replaced with that disgustingly smooth and artificial looking CGI garbage that can't even catch the same environmental light and shading, then Deathstalker would be as bad as some people say it is.

But it isn't that bad. It's actually quite good as a sword and sorcery film with some bonus material in the form of breasts and fishing wire.
The story does move along in an industry standard format. The editing does ensure this. The use of dialog bits running underneath scene changes is a quilt job that reminds people with a craftsman eye that "by any means necessary" is the name of the game when you're on a budget.

Before I suspected anything about craft or technology, I was entertained by Deathstalker. I liked the look of it, I liked the music, and I certainly didn't mind seeing scenes acted out where a dominant male warrior takes his feeding of sexual urge. Look closer, she didn't mind. I know that sounds awful, but these are medieval times. Excuse me, were medieval times. Sorry.

It's a cool movie. Best on blu ray for the full effect of effect work. Nice, simple, glowy swords, lightning crawls, clairvoyant imagery, mood lighting at night. I mean, if we're going tit(pun) for tat here, "Excalibur" (a tremendous film) had brutal sex scenes, and I don't believe they were very pure at heart.

I am just saying...Try watching Jim Wynorski's unforgivable Deathstalker II and you'll be running to part 1 like it's oxygen.

Director: Tom Gilroy

Ned Beatty may best be remembered for his portrayal of a little fat man who got taken advantage of in "Deliverance", or the little fat man who was sidekick to Gene Hackman in "Superman".

But to remember him the very best, you should seek out a quiet little film released back at the turn of the century called "Spring Forward" where Beatty is able to really shine as an actor and not humiliate himself and limit himself as a character actor. Late in his career, this is truly a comeback kid story that went unreported for the most part.

The basic premise is that Beatty's character is a town worker who does some landscaping, park cleaning, equipment transport - who then takes on a new apprentice (played by Liev Schreiber, who turns out a remarkably likable performance).

From their introduction, we are treated to a slowly paced, yet very touching and humorous chill out movie about redemption, friendship and starting over.

I really cannot recommend this film enough if you are into character movies that are not in a rush to get somewhere.

The only real criticism of this I have is that it contains a scene in the last act that I felt could've been taken out, as it really didn't do anything to enrich the story and disappeared as quickly as it came into focus.

That quip aside, I can still rate this film the highest box count I am able to.

Director: Stephen King

Karl Lorimar had been my source for catching Maximum Overdrive back on home video glory days. I had seen the tv spot and was intrigued, but missed the theatrical showing. I now know why because according to most of the general public, Maximum Overdrive is silly garbage.

I love movies with a sense of place. A great location. Wilmington, NC was great for this film. King is an enormously gifted writer and can really get his characters dealt out on many different human levels for the reader, so it does not surprise me that Maximum Overdrive has moments of small brilliance just in some of the choices made such as casting a few parts (NOT Emilio or Laura Harrington).

Pat Hingle, John Short, both great in their parts. They help carry this silly movie. AC/DC doing the soundtrack seems a novice mistake but, they manage one cue at the sunset scene overlooking the landscape where you hear the ditch ridden Bible salesman shriek out in the distance. Simple things like this add a lot to a movie like Maximum Overdrive.

All the choices with look and feel are dead-on. The neighborhoods, the title card with it's yellow color, but on further inspection, holds a metallic sheen.

Details like oily mechanics letting their morbid curiosities get the best of them by looking at a trail of blood already curdling in the summer heat. "Well go look at it somewhere else!".

Bullets flying around like fireflies, glowing orange, as the alien force is finally heard with a buzzing and monster gargle filter driven sound while we are aimed at the front of the final scene with Green Goblin Semi.

Green cloud haze hanging and moving up and down slowly above the Dixie Boy pump hood late at night. The comet's particles.
Fresh blood spattered on the side of the abandoned gas station building as a man closeby, slightly obstructed by a parapet wall, is lying, disheveled, on the ground, dead. Blood in the strangest places. Blood on the clock, outside, in broad daylight, while the clock is running backwards, its hands confused. How the hell did blood get up there on the apex of the building of the pitch roofed gas station. Impossible. Unforgettable.

Deserted highway, a single white sedan with a "Just Married" dragging off of the back.

I mean, King wrote this stuff better than I am writing it, but all the same, you can tell it had been written.

King may have dismissed the film as a "moron movie", but coked out of his face or not, part of me believes King secretly is proud of Maximum Overdrive. I believe King lost his audience on this movie not because he screwed up so royally, but rather that his audience wasn't capable of making the transition from page to screen. King should have kept going. It would've been brilliant by now, especially if he went back to his peak writing era and took it by the horns.

I know Maximum Overdrive is silly and has some really bad and overdone acting that grates on the nerves "wee maaade youuu!!!", but I cannot help but like it for what it does succeed at. It's just a peculiar movie, and I always get some enjoyment out of it.

But yeah, the machine gun cart automatically turning aim is pretty stupid. And how can know what, never mind.

I have both of my hands pressed over my ears and am screaming "Make America Great Again!" over and over and not try and convince me that I shouldn't like Maximum Overdrive because it just ain't gonna happen.

MASCOTS (2017)
Director: Christopher Guest

Christopher Guest isn't nearly as powerful a director without his key ingredients, most notably, the co-writing of Eugene Levy and the screen presence of Catherine O' Hara and Michael McKean.

So when someone wonders why his latest film "Mascots" has failed so miserably, they can refer to the first sentence of this review.

Had Eugene and Catherine not been tied up with the much superior "Schitt's Creek", "Mascots" may have had a fighting chance. But I waited 10 years for the new ensemble from Guest and company and I was pissed at what I got.

Here's to hoping, if there is a next time, that all of the key players are involved again. And please give Harry Shearer and Fred Willard more screen time. Guffman and Best in Show are hard acts to follow, so it's a shame that the writing team of those films weren't together for the latest entry.

And I'm sorry, but nothing deflates my cinematic boner more than seeing "NETFLIX" scrolled before the movie opens its first frame. Ugh! Those dudes need to seriously change their film division name to something a little less cheap sounding.

Must be doin sumthin right
And I'm sorry, but nothing deflates my cinematic boner more than seeing "NETFLIX" scrolled before the movie opens its first frame. Ugh! Those dudes need to seriously change their film division name to something a little less cheap sounding.
Amazon/Netflix logos are the new Paramount/Columbia logos. Every generation gets the movie studios they deserve

Ned Beatty may best be remembered for his portrayal of a little fat man who got taken advantage of in "Deliverance", or the little fat man who was sidekick to Gene Hackman in "Superman".

Liked your review of this film...Beatty is one of the industry's most underrated talents and I love Liev Schreiber too...will be adding this one to my watchlist.

Can I give you a tip? Put the title of the movie in bigger font, at the start of your review. At a glance it's hard to tell what movies you're reviewing, without actually reading the review.

Can I give you a tip? Put the title of the movie in bigger font, at the start of your review. At a glance it's hard to tell what movies you're reviewing, without actually reading the review.
Yeah absolutely. My initial post disclaimer (ed) the review format. Now that I have more know-how and time, I'll spruce em up, thanks!