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
3.5/5 94% Yes, God, Yes (2020) Yes, God, Yes is far less about teens trying to get laid and more about a genuine search for the truth in all of its existential, metaphysical, and erotic glory. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
3/5 83% She Dies Tomorrow (2020) "She Dies Tomorrow" is Albert Camus meets David Lynch, a darkly absurdist fable about our fear of mortality and its unsettling capacity to spread. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
3/5 87% Shirley (2020) "Shirley" is powerfully perturbing, anchored by the superb lead performances from Moss and Stuhlbarg. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2020
3/5 93% Dads (2020) When it's not being a How-To-Dad film, it is a kaleidoscopic celebration of genuinely good fathers, at-once affecting and affirming. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
3.5/5 91% Bacurau (Nighthawk) (2020) Visceral and incendiary, Bacurau is a political punch to the gut and a mental machete to the head. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2020
3/5 88% Onward (2020) For a film about magic, I wish Onward had more...well...magic. [...] Despite its conventionality and corporate feel, Onward is nevertheless an enjoyable and affecting romp. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2020
3/5 91% Miss Americana (2020) It's a well-crafted work which reveals only as much as the camera-aware Swift chooses to reveal. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2020
2.5/5 69% Bombshell (2019) Bombshell fails to be either smart satire or incisive political drama, which makes it just offensively banal. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2020
4/5 95% Little Women (2019) It's a warm hug of a film, comforting and life-giving in its graciousness. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2019
3/5 89% 1917 (2020) ...an ambitious and thrilling war film, a filmic formal exercise with gumption. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2019
2/5 51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) I find its lack of faith-in its audience, in its predecessors, in itself-disturbing. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
3.5/5 89% The Two Popes (2019) I still found myself converted by Hopkins and Pryce skillfully portraying this divine bromance. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
0/5 36% 6 Underground (2019) By being exceedingly stupid, morally depraved, and dreadfully dull, "6 Underground" pulls off a hat-trick of Very Bad Filmmaking. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2019
4/5 94% Marriage Story (2019) Though it does get ugly, it's also paradoxically beautiful in its raw sincerity. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2019
4.5/5 96% The Irishman (2019) A cinematic memento mori, "The Irishman" (aka "I Heard You Paint Houses") is one of Martin Scorsese's all-time greatest films. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
1.5/5 79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) Rather than laughter or tears, "JoJo Rabbit" elicits only cringes, groans, and yawns. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
3.5/5 97% Knives Out (2019) Sharp and cutting in its not-so-subtle critique of class warfare and ideologies, even as it serves it all up in a rambunctious caper, a hilarious whodunit (or whodonut). - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2019
4/5 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Like Fred Rogers himself, the film is disarming and subversive in its optimism and hope. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2019
3/5 89% Missing Link (2019) An underrated delightful romp, "Missing Link" takes a conventional adventure story and infuses it with a progressive ethos. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2019
4.5/5 93% Light from Light (2019) Paul Harrill's radiant Light from Light dazzles gradually, illuminating our minds and hearts through its quietly affecting aesthetic. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
92% Something, Anything (2014) Quiet piano music accompanies the beautiful, intimate cinematography, eliciting comparisons to Kieslowski's "Three Colors: Blue" in its affecting and melancholy portrayal of a woman walking through a season of grief. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
1/5 41% The Laundromat (2019) Even if you buy into its message, The Laundromat is an embarrassment. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
3/5 100% Emanuel (2019) A good, if simple, reminder that grace truly is amazing, especially when we've walked in the shadow of death. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
2.5/5 68% Joker (2019) It's an appropriate film for its eponymous antagonist...repellent in its wanton depravity, it's still maddeningly captivating, and sure to spark strong reactions. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2019
4/5 82% High Life (2019) High Life is willing to stare into the hopeless void and discern a particle of optimism. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2019
3.5/5 84% Ad Astra (2019) We may look to the stars for answers, but Ad Astra suggests that they, too, are only human. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
2/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Like much of the Cult of Tarantino that eager audiences worship, "Once Upon a Time" might be meaningful and/or shocking if it weren't so barbaric, predictable, and vapid. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2019
2/5 83% Her Smell (2019) Like its lead character, Alex Ross Perry's Her Smell is a chaotic, draining mess, an emotional rollercoaster where they forgot to buckle the safety belts. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2019
3.5/5 92% Wild Rose (2019) With Jessie Buckley's performance in Wild Rose, a star is born. - Cinemayward EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
3/5 91% 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 97% 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 94% 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 43% 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 99% 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 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) 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 59% Young Ahmed (Le jeune Ahmed) (2020) 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 90% 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 80% A Hidden Life (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 91% The Climb (2020) 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 53% 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 87% Sorry We Missed You (2020) 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 96% Atlantics (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 55% 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 92% 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 91% Bull (2020) 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 99% 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