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
0/5 32% 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 96% 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 92% 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 69% 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 83% 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 93% 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 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 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 42% 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 97% 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 50% 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 66% 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 91% 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 78% 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 95% 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 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 85% 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 95% 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 56% 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 90% 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 93% 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 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 90% 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