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 73% 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 86% 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 93% 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 64% 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
79% 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 91% 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 27% 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 22% 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 70% 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
3.5/5 88% The Lobster (2016) It's certainly a film worth pondering and discussing, even if its tone is unsettling. And for the record: I'd be a dolphin. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4.5/5 95% The Innocents (Les innocentes) (2016) Anne Fontaine has crafted a wonderfully humane film... - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
2/5 55% Jason Bourne (2016) Turns out that watching someone click a mouse and look at a computer screen is about as exciting in the movies as it is in real life. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4.5/5 97% Hell or High Water (2016) ...a Texas film if ever there was one. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
3.5/5 61% The Light Between Oceans (2016) ...classically romantic. It feels like seeing a painting come to life, where the beautiful images and characters are somehow imbued with spirit. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
3.5/5 86% Sully (2016) [It] was a delightful surprise to find myself moved to tears not once, but twice, in Clint Eastwood's simple-yet-solid biopic...a film that celebrates good people doing a good thing for others simply because it's their job. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
2.5/5 80% Sunset Song (2016) Poetic narration, complex characters, and not a shortage on melodrama make Terence Davies' coming-of-age tale worthy of consideration. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4.5/5 46% Knight of Cups (2016) Knight of Cups is the book of Ecclesiastes put to film. I mean this in the best way possible. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4.5/5 77% Last Days In The Desert (2016) The Christian evangelical subculture will likely find the film too esoteric, too extra-biblical, and too challenging ... The indie art-house audience will likely find the film too spiritual, too biblical, too Christian. As such, I loved it. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4.5/5 95% Sing Street (2016) ...absolutely delightful, a coming-of-age story filled with catchy 1980s pop music and wonderfully charming and romantic performances. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
1/5 No Score Yet The Heretic (2018) As an impersonal, heavy-handed piece of filmic propaganda...we watch Bell talking people away from one kind of fundamentalist thinking (a certain form of white American evangelicalism) towards another: his books and tours. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4/5 93% Support the Girls (2018) Hall is excellent...Richardson's performance as Maci [is] the best supporting performance of 2018...Bujalski's script and direction is skillful, yet the film's power is (rightly) in these actresses' excellent performances. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
1.5/5 66% Vice (2018) Didactic, turgid, and tonally dissonant, Vice tries at-once to be over-the-top satire and down-to-earth investigative biography, entertainment and arthouse, a Very Funny Movie and a Very Serious Film. It fails on all accounts. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2018
3.5/5 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) The production design, lighting, and cinematography are all simply stunning; Jenkins truly knows how to light and direct a scene... - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
4.5/5 99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) Hirokazu Koreeda is an artisan of empathy...and his gorgeously-shot and perfectly-acted Palme d'Or-winner film Shoplifters fits well within his pantheon of masterpieces. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
5/5 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Simply put, it's a perfect film. Amazing. Spectacular. Sensational. Superior. I have tried to find faults with it, and I am coming up empty. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
3/5 65% Aquaman (2018) At times spectacularly stupid, at other times just plain spectacular, Aquaman is Thor by way of the Fast and the Furious franchise. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
3.5/5 85% As It Is In Heaven (2014) A chilling, slow-burn thriller...the beautiful Kentucky landscape is wonderfully captured in dream-like visions... - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
3/5 No Score Yet Luke & Jo (2018) Overbay is clearly interested in asking deep questions in the midst of ordinary circumstances, and he also clearly loves his characters enough to treat them with a dignity and depth that go beyond cliches. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
5/5 96% Roma (2018) At-once nostalgic and fresh, Roma finds transcendence in the mundane moments of everyday lives and ordinary people ... It is a beautiful celebration of peoplehood and place in an often place-less world. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
2.5/5 72% The Birth of a Nation (2016) ...an enthusiastic noble failure. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
4/5 100% O.J.: Made in America (2016) O.J.: Made in America puts the entire American value system on trial, forcing us to ask the difficult questions about what kind of society creates the environment for such a violent crime to occur while justice remains only as a nebulous ideal. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018