Joe Friar

Joe Friar
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Apart from the mainstream releases, I seek out indie and foreign films to write about. I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association-Los Angeles (BFCA) and the Houston Film Critics Society (HFCS). I review films in print for The Victoria Advocate newspaper for my column Flix which covers Houston and Austin releases. I also review films for radio stations KVIC and KBAR.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/4 56% There's Someone Inside Your House (2021) A fresh take on the 90's teen slasher Scream. A talented young cast, a corn maze, and bloody chills make this the perfect fall flick to get you in that Halloween spirit. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2021
3/4 91% The Capote Tapes (2021) Interviews with close friends, archival footage, and newly gained access to audio files, make for an interesting look at the icon when he was most vulnerable, reflecting on the aftermath caused by his remorseless behavior. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2021
2/4 32% Dear Evan Hansen (2021) The songs are great, but in the context of the film, they also feel uneven. It's not good when you're watching a musical secretly hoping they won't break out into another song. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2021
3/4 94% My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021) Julie Cohen and Betsy West shed light on the social justice warrior who was out fighting the good fight fifteen years before Rosa Parks took up the cause. Mind-boggling and fascinating if not overwhelming. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2021
3.5/4 80% Copshop (2021) Carnahan's latest crime thriller is loads of fun as Butler and Grillo take a backseat to Alexis Louder who shines as the film's heroine - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2021
3.5/4 81% Small Engine Repair (2021) The award-winning play smoothly transitions to the big screen with three-dimensional characters, plenty of tension, and a powerful final act. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2021
3/4 76% Malignant (2021) For true horror aficionados, the film represents that hidden 80s gem you discovered at the video store, probably chosen by the cover art, that went on to become a cherished cult classic. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2021
3/4 93% The Year of the Everlasting Storm (2021) It can be cathartic at times if not hopeful. But there is comfort in knowing that other people are navigating life around the virus grabbing at any form of normalcy. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2021
3/4 77% Ma Belle, My Beauty (2021) Despite its lack of confrontation, the film keeps the viewer engaged with lush settings, a wonderful score, and first-rate performances. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2021
3.5/4 93% Raging Fire (2021) Benny Chan's final film features well-developed characters, exciting action, and a welcomed return to 90s Hong Kong cinema. Thrilling! - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2021
3/4 62% The Protégé (2021) A fun action-packed thriller that's better than it should be thanks to the Q-Jackson-Keaton trifecta. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2021
3.5/4 84% Candyman (2021) DaCosta transforms the iconic horror film into a relevant modern-day sequel. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II gives us a stirring performance as an obsessed artist driven to the brink of madness much like Jeff Goldblum's Seth Brundle. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2021
3.5/4 79% No Man of God (2021) Luke Kirby is riveting as Bundy while Elijah Wood is superb as FBI agent Hagmaier. Two powerhouse performances. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2021
3/4 86% The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (2021) Beautifully shot and featuring striking drone shots as well as up-close footage as the team tags a few of these magnificent creatures, The Loneliest Whale is exhilarating at times... - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2021
87% The Righteous (2021) Atonement and faith walk side by side until the gripping finale. O'Brien's directorial debut is a character-driven film that would be at home on a stage but would lose the impact of its surreal tone. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2021
3/4 86% The Night House (2021) Another first-rate performance by Rebecca Hall. Once you pull back and process what's happening on screen, it's fascinating as the big picture comes together. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2021
3.5/4 93% Swan Song (2021) Touching, funny, relevant, and authentic in so many ways. Kier is enchanting in the performance of a lifetime. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2021
1/4 70% Annette (2021) A pretentious film that fails on every level despite the involvement of the amazing talent. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2021
2/4 58% John and the Hole (2021) The cast is great, and the premise is intriguing but the film stalls and never goes where it needs to. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2021
4/4 88% The Green Knight (2021) Not since John Boorman's Excalibur has there been such a visually stunning and enchanting tale based on King Arthur mythology. David Lowery's monumental achievement. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2021
4/4 96% CODA (2021) One of the best films of the year and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2021
3.5/4 97% I Carry You with Me (2021) An unforgettable memoir reminiscent of Chloé Zhao's slice-of-life filmmaking, blending actors with non-actors to tell a love story based on real people and actual events. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2021
45% Beckett (2021) The film's political angle is too vague and never gets the viewer engrossed but it's interesting to watch Washington in average-guy mode. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2021
3/4 62% Jungle Cruise (2021) A rollicking adventure that captures the spirit of Indiana Jones! Emily Blunt provides the muscle, and Dwayne Johnson the laughs. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2021
3/4 50% Old (2021) M. Night Shyamalan returns to form with a foreboding thriller that takes place in a tropical paradise where sunburn is the least of your problems. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2021
4/4 96% Pig (2021) Cage in a toned-down performance is terrific but Alex Wolff is the real standout here in a masterful portrayal of an ambitious lost soul living in his father's shadow. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2021
2.5/4 38% Joe Bell (2021) Wahlberg, who's tackled real-life stories in the past is a bit out of his league here, but Reid Miller is exceptional, delivering a heartbreaking performance. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2021
3.5/4 58% Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) Female assassins empowering each other. Sisters are doin' it for themselves in this fun, action flick with a Tarantino aesthetic - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2021
3.5/4 79% Black Widow (2021) Johansson and Pugh are dynamite together in the MCU spy thriller that plays like Mission Impossible with exhilarating action sequences - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2021
3/4 50% The Forever Purge (2021) Franchise creator-writer James DeMonaco takes the dystopian franchise and suddenly makes it seem all too real by blending horror and science fiction with social commentary. The best film in the series. - Fort Worth Report EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2021
3/4 83% Gaia (2021) Trippy woodland horror that leaves a lasting impression. A mind-bending thriller lead by Monique Rockman's first-rate performance. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
3/4 71% Against the Current (2021) Veiga Grétarsdóttir's transitioning story is even more courageous than her athletic feat. It's an inspiring and moving story that in Sveinsson's hands, circumnavigates heartstring pulls by focusing on victories large and small. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
3.5/4 85% Werewolves Within (2021) An instant classic! Josh Ruben's horror-comedy is a howling good time. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2021
2.5/4 59% F9 (2021) If 007 can get away with windsurfing on a tsunami, the Fast9 gang get a hall pass as they defy science (plus it's a lot of fun) - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2021
3.5/4 63% 12 Mighty Orphans (2021) You'll stand up and cheer as the inspirational film directed by Ty Roberts captures your heart with a story as big as Texas. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2021
4/4 94% In the Heights (2021) Terrific songs and dazzling choreography make Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning Broadway smash the must-see film of the summer. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2021
3.5/4 56% The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) Director Michael Chaves knows how to build tension, delivering real frights in this worthy 3rd installment of the franchise. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2021
3/4 96% The Amusement Park (2019) Horror master George A. Romero proved you can stop a zombie but his recently unearthed lost film reminds us that nothing can stop the aging process and that is truly frightening. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2021
3/4 49% Spirit Untamed (2021) Beautiful animation, an excellent voice cast, and diverse characters make this a real treat for all audiences, especially young girls. Saddle up for unbridled family fun. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2021
3.5/4 96% Riders of Justice (2021) There is plenty of heart and humor in the film by Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen who marks his fifth collaboration with Mikkelsen who is first-rate. Great cast. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2021
3.5/4 91% A Quiet Place Part II (2021) The perfect summer movie with plenty of thrills and chills! - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2021
4/4 74% Cruella (2021) The Emmas! The Fashion! The Music! Cruella is a vibrant, fun, cinematic triumph and the best live-action Disney film. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2021
4/4 93% The Killing of Two Lovers (2021) A couple's marriage is in the balance in one of the best films you'll see this year. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2021
3/4 37% Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021) Owing more to David Fincher than James Wan, the film is at its peak in between the gory scenes we've come to expect since the inception of the franchise in 2004. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2021
3/4 78% The Water Man (2021) Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller are the film's biggest assets with convincing performances as their characters deal with real-life issues of loss and abuse. A wonderful adventure for the whole family. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2021
3/4 60% Profile (2021) Bekmambetov has become proficient at utilizing the Screenlife format to tell a compelling story. Valene Kane and Shazad Latif complement each other with impressive performances that engage the viewer. A worthy thriller. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2021
3.5/4 66% Wrath of Man (2021) "Wrath of Man" delivers the fury it suggests with a predominantly male cast of familiar faces vying for screen time in the heist film that resembles a scaled-down version of Michael Mann's "Heat." - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2021
2/4 7% Separation (2021) Suffers from a senseless storyline and a set of unlikable characters with no redeeming qualities. The special effects are quite menacing but wasted as the film fails to connect with the audience. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2021
3/4 53% Four Good Days (2021) The film features two remarkable performances, with Kunis as we've never seen before. She's so good that Close is overshadowed several times. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2021
3/4 75% Duty Free (2021) It's a lighthearted documentary that only skirts the issue of ageism in the workplace to center on Sian-Pierre's love for his mother and his mission to pay her back for all the sacrifices she made for her family. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2021