Joel Mayward

Joel Mayward
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Joel Mayward is a theologian, author, and film critic. He has written on cinema and theology for Christianity Today, Think Christian, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Christ and Pop Culture, Reel Spirituality, and the Journal of Religion & Film. He is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews, where he's also Associate Editor for Transpositions. A member of the Online Film Critics Society and INTERFILM, Joel's film reviews and essays are at www.cinemayward.com. Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelmayward.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) 'Far From Home' may not be the *best* Spider-Man film...but it's perhaps the one most fitting for our media- and CGI-saturated era. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2019
3/5 98% Toy Story 4 (2019) Toy Story 4 is wholly superfluous, albeit often funny and nice to look at. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
4/5 95% Transit (2019) Sartre declared that hell is other people; Christian Petzold's 'Transit' suggests that hell is waiting for other people. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2019
3/5 41% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to Godzilla. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
2/5 91% The Biggest Little Farm (2019) For all its focus on being organic and authentic, there is something distinctly artificial and performative about the film's polished aesthetic and narrative. It's like a Thomas Kinkade painting as brought to you by the Hallmark Channel - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
5/5 99% Amazing Grace (2019) Without exaggeration, one of the greatest concert films I have ever seen. The raw authenticity of the edited footage perfectly accompanies Franklin's transcendent vocals. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2019
4.5/5 100% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Imagine the premise and empathy of Hirokazu Koreeda's Shoplifters, but with the genre-defying tone and brash ambition of Jordan Peele's Us. Such is Parasite, a work of maniacal cinematic genius. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3.5/5 100% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2019) This is simply a beautiful film to behold, with exquisite attention to detail and lighting. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
4.5/5 52% Young Ahmed (Le jeune Ahmed) (2019) Young Ahmed is...certain to be the Dardenne brothers' most divisive film in its empathetic-yet-opaque exploration of Islamic extremism . - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2019
4/5 68% Little Joe (2019) Jessica Hausner's odd and ominous Little Joe feels like a film-length episode of Black Mirror with an IKEA aesthetic. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2019
4.5/5 98% The Lighthouse (2019) Eggers' vision here transcends conventional categorization-it is a historico-psychological-existential thriller; a bewildering, boozy bloody bromance; a sea-soaked single-location supernatural suspense story. It is, in short, A Lot To Take In. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
5/5 74% A Hidden Life (Une vie cachée) (2019) A Hidden Life is both the most Christian and the most political of Terrence Malick's films. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
4.5/5 100% The Climb (2019) Both tender and rib-tickling, The Climb is a terrific comedy which is deadly serious about cinematography and mise-en-scène. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2019
3/5 47% Joan of Arc (Jeanne) (2019) The cinematography is often strikingly beautiful still frames or slow zooms on Prudhomme's face, her visage both captivating and confrontational. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2019
2.5/5 75% Sorry We Missed You (2019) After 50 years of making movies, English director Ken Loach just keeps making the same film. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
4/5 89% Atlantics (Atlantique) (2019) Diop is the first black woman to have a film in competition at Cannes, and her debut feature is the work of a confident, perceptive filmmaker [...] Diop is like a building wave of creativity rushing forward towards a bright future. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
3/5 53% The Dead Don't Die (2019) Dead is an homage to B-movies and better times shot through with signature Jarmusch deadpan goofiness. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
3.5/5 89% The Unknown Saint (Le miracle du saint inconnu) (2019) Though ostensibly a drama, The Unknown Saint has a droll, whimsical sense of humor about it. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
4/5 89% Bull (2019) Bull is a haptic film, focusing on the care and abuse of bodies, both human and animal-it is a realm of bruises, both historical and personal. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
3.5/5 100% Knock Down the House (2019) Even knowing the outcome of these campaigns, the film is nevertheless thrilling and inspirational, imbued with the verve and vision of the candidates. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
3/5 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) The Superhero film has truly become our Western. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
2.5/5 94% Us (2019) Jordan Peele's follow up to his excellent Oscar-winning debut Get Out is a go-for-broke ambitious mess of a film. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
3/5 72% Triple Frontier (2019) The idea to cast Hedlund and Hunnam as brothers is downright brilliant - if Boyd Holbrook were in this film, it'd be like looking at triplets. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
3.5/5 78% Captain Marvel (2019) It's marvelous. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2019
3.5/5 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Not a sophomore slump, but certainly nowhere near as transcendently awesome as the original, The LEGO Movie 2 is like the electro-remix of your favorite pop song, relying heavily on your love for the first film - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2019
100% Minding the Gap (2018) It's transcendent precisely because it's so ordinary, even mundane; the epiphanies shine through the everyday images of persons and places. - Think Christian EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
4/5 92% High Flying Bird (2019) Those expecting a traditional sports film will be disappointed ... this is an Ocean's 11-esque caper driven more by dialogue than dunks, verbal maneuvering than athletic prowess. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
3/5 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) The detail in the animation is the strongest I've seen in these films. Swarms (flocks? herds?) of dragons in flight outlined against the sky never cease to amaze. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2019
2/5 63% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Not thrilling enough as a thriller and not outrageous enough as satire, Velvet Buzzsaw is merely a Netflix-level Nocturnal Animals . - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2019
80% Apostle (2018) Gareth Evans' slow-burn, fantastical horror film...is truly a grim fairy tale. - Think Christian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
5/5 100% World of Tomorrow (2015) When a film can be prophetic, humorous, elegant, simple, quirky, and ambitious all at once, without ever devolving into incoherence, that's something worth viewing. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
2.5/5 88% The Big Short (2015) Is this film supposed to be funny? Dramatic? Condemning? Satirical? Heartbreaking? A documentary? Oscar-bait? It aims to be all of the above, which makes it ultimately feel inert and draining. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
4/5 95% Creed (2015) In short, it's a knockout. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
2.5/5 78% The Revenant (2015) ...it's a drawn out exercise in excruciation. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
4/5 97% Mustang (2015) In a cinematic year filled with excellent stories about young women growing up...Mustang is the best coming-of-age film in 2015. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
3/5 51% 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (2016) With [Krasinski's] winsome presence as the central character, 13 Hours has far more pathos and charm than I anticipated from a Bay military spectacle. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
2.5/5 90% Cartel Land (2015) Raw, brutal, and ambitious, Cartel Land may be a real life story, but its limited scope in truly exploring the ideas it raised left me wanting more. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
3/5 86% Hail, Caesar! (2016) Catholics, Communists, and classic Hollywood are all equally celebrated and caricatured in the Coen Brothers' latest comedy caper. After all, it's a Christ tale. And a musical. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
5/5 100% GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2015) Gett is holistic in its emotional captivation-it's funny, heart-warming, painful, saddening, tense, contemplative, and cathartic. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
3/5 93% The Favourite (2018) The Favourite is like Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve meets Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, blurring the lines between pastiche and parody of period-piece chamber dramas. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
1.5/5 78% Green Book (2018) ...the film merely skims the surface of systemic American racism, choosing to forgo depth for formulaic feel-good tropes. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/5 90% The Witch (2016) The Witch isn't just a great horror film; it's a great film, period. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
3.5/5 91% Bridge of Spies (2015) A muted, steady spy story, Spies feels classic in both form and content, a throwback to a previous era in its style and storytelling. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
3.5/5 90% 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) It's thrilling and unique, perfectly holding the line between action/thriller and a cerebral chamber drama. When the film does finally reveal all its cards, it's a satisfying adrenaline rush. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
2.5/5 28% Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) ...akin to a Philosophy 101 thesis read aloud while you're being punched repeatedly in the face. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
1.5/5 23% Zoolander 2 (2016) [Stiller and Wilson] emerge...wearing orange jumpsuits bearing the labels "Old" and "Lame." Those labels are perfect descriptions of this unnecessary sequel. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
4/5 97% Love & Friendship (2016) Whit Stillman was meant to make a Jane Austen adaptation. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
4/5 90% Green Room (2016) Its images of extraordinary violence in (mostly) ordinary circumstances is deeply unsettling, and it lingers in your mind and skin long after the credits roll. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
3/5 94% Finding Dory (2016) What Finding Dory does get right is its Pixar pathos, eliciting tears at just the right moments, even when one is expecting it. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
4/5 71% Swiss Army Man (2016) Swiss Army Man dares to look at some of the darker or stranger parts of ordinary reality and examine them in the light of imaginative world-building and the curiosity of a child. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018