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 64% 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 97% 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 62% 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 81% 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 80% 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 86% 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 62% 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 95% 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 48% 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 95% 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 61% 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 52% 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
4/4 92% Limbo (2021) Ben Sharrock's refugee comedy is one of the funniest films of the year. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2021
3/4 84% Bloodthirsty (2021) The Lycan-esque thriller functions in slow-burn mode until the final act which kicks in with grisly detail. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 29, 2021
3/4 55% Mortal Kombat (2021) Simon McQuoid manages to do two things with his reboot. First, he replicates the violent atmosphere of the Midway game which should satisfy fans, and second, he delivers an entertaining thrill ride for non-gamers with plenty of blood and gore. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2021
3/4 26% Voyagers (2021) Burger should have gone for an R-rating instead of remaining stationary in safe YA territory. The performances by the cast stand out making this journey worthwhile. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2021
3/4 66% Crisis (2021) The opioids epidemic takes center stage in the investigative thriller which features a solid cast led by Gary Oldman. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2021
3/4 25% The Unholy (2021) The film benefits from the fact that it feels more like an investigative journalism thriller with supernatural elements that overtake the narrative during the big climax. Good performances and eerie visuals keep it interesting. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2021
3/4 63% The Toll (2020) The horror thriller will make you think twice about driving down a dark country road late at night. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2021
3/4 75% Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Wingard delivers the action-packed matchup of the century. The special effects are spectacular as these two titans battle it out. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2021
4/4 84% Nobody (2021) The feel-good thrill ride of the summer arrives early. Move over John Wick, Hutch Mansell has arrived. Who? - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2021
3/4 50% City of Lies (2018) The scenes with both Whitaker and Depp are the film's strongest as if we're watching a Masterclass as these two exceptional actors inject vitality into the story that moves at times at a moderate pace. A good thriller that covers the facts. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2021
3/4 78% Son (2021) Filled with disturbing scenes, plenty of blood and gore, and more than one ghastly moment, Son delivers the chills if not the jumps. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2021
2/4 42% Boogie (2021) Eddie Huang's debut feature has plenty of street cred but not much more. For a sports drama it's missing one key element, hope. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2021
3.5/4 49% Coming 2 America (2021) Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back 30 years after they first set foot in America for the sequel by Craig Brewer which plays like a greatest hits package. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2021
2/4 31% Tom & Jerry (2020) The laughs are few and far between as the attention turns away from the animated duo and to the actors who are portrayed as bumbling adults straight out of a John Hughes film. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2021
3.5/4 37% Cherry (2021) Tom Holland is mesmerizing, Ciara Bravo is first-rate, in the Russo Brothers' ambitious yet epic film that deserves an audience - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2021
3/4 90% The Vigil (2021) Jewish roots deliver genuine frights in Keith Thomas' debut feature. Scary as hell. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
3/4 95% Test Pattern (2021) The sexual assault drama takes the subtle approach as it tackles several underlying themes in Shatara Michelle Ford's contemplative debut. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2021
3/4 52% Silk Road (2021) Blending fact with fiction, Tiller Russell's take on Austin kingpin Ross Ulbricht benefits from strong performances by Jason Clarke and Nick Robinson - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2021
4/4 96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Daniel Kaluuya delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as does LaKeith Stanfield. Electrifying performances and a narrative that reflects modern times. Highly recommended. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2021
3/4 61% Willy's Wonderland (2021) Cage vs animatronic robots is as highly entertaining as it sounds. The scares are nonexistent but the creep factor is at 11. It's funny and exactly what you'd expect. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2021
4/4 70% Land (2021) Tragedy begets kindness in Robin Wright's directorial feature debut with memorable performances and beautiful cinematography. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2021
3.5/4 57% Malcolm & Marie (2020) Blazing performances by Zendaya and John David Washington. If an actor is only as good as the source material, the film speaks volumes for Sam Levinson. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2021
3/4 78% In The Earth (2021) A lucidity-lacerating horror trip that finds Wheatley toggling between first-rate blood and gore effects to psychedelic visuals that overwhelm the finale. - The Victoria Advocate EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021