Oliver has written 45 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2018.

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★½

    The cartoon sidekick appearances feel forced, and the hyperactive narrative doesn’t give enough room for emotions to breathe in a story structure that isn’t quite as refreshing as its ambitious concept when it reaches formulaic territory, but Into the Spider-Verse is nonetheless a visually splendid thrill ride with amazing action blocking, an irresistible style, and most notably spectacular animation.

  • Crazy Rich Asians

    Crazy Rich Asians

    ★★★½

    Albeit a tad predictable and not quite exceptional, this is still entertaining for what it’s worth and contains a nice story with plenty of conviction and heart as well as an excellent eye for Asian cultural details and with some likable characters to make the experience more enjoyable. Also, the ending song could not have been more fitting.

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    ★★★½

    Lanthimos does a great job portraying a gloomy English setting during the time of war with France, when two sycophants compete for the frail Queen Anne’s favor in a battle that leads to envy, lust, and bitterness. But even if it is hard to relate to any of the characters, and the humor doesn’t always work, there is still plenty to admire, as The Favourite is indeed a monstrous extravagance in itself—boasting a gorgeous production design with Oscar-worthy costumes and excellent leading performances.

  • Deliverance

    Deliverance

    ★★★½

    An intriguing whitewater thriller on a canoe trip gone awry that makes up for its somewhat simplistic narrative with some strong lead performances while packing in a heavy punch in its intense sequences.

  • Paths of Glory

    Paths of Glory

    ★★★½

    Though not entirely gripping, this is still a poignant war piece that examines the dehumanization of oppressive austerity on men and the absurdity of war and is elevated by a strong performance by Kirk Douglas.

  • Widows

    Widows

    ★★★½

    A solid and intense, if uneven, heist thriller with great performances (except for Colin Farrell's).

  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★½

    First Man puts a commendable amount of detail into its production, technology, and look of the 60s while also giving us some astonishing, nerve-fraying rocket scenes all in an authentic way but at the expense of delivering a compelling story on a personal note.

  • A Star Is Born

    A Star Is Born

    ★★★½

    A solid revamp of the original story that only falls short of being truly affecting, as the premise is too familiar, and the film isn’t always keen on pacing (as can be expected from a directorial debut), but the talented performances and impressive musical numbers make it well worth viewing.

  • Polytechnique

    Polytechnique

    ★★★½

    A short, somber, and competent, if uneven, portrayal of the 1989 Montreal Massacre that could’ve done without the unnecessary storyline jumps but is mostly sustained by potent acting and impressive cinematography.

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★½

    While it is certainly longer than it needed to be, and the story comes secondarily to the style (or experience rather), Mandy escalates to an insane phantasmagoric and psychedelic trip that will surely be remembered for Nicolas Cage’s fierce performance; Jóhann Jóhannsson’s incredible score; and striking explosions of imagery, sound, and color.

  • Rear Window

    Rear Window

    ★★★½

    Hitchcock immerses us in an intimate set design similar to that of a theater production, and although the story takes quite a while before it reaches a remarkable level of tension by refusing to reveal much information in the bulk of the film’s runtime, there is plenty to observe within its abundance of visual storytelling, and it should prove to be rewarding in the end.

  • Midnight Express

    Midnight Express

    ★★★½

    Based on a real-life story, this clear-cut prison escape drama has a handful of questionable Turkish prison life activities, a couple of instances containing inept dialogue, and is sporadically incoherent but is still capable of holding our attention with Brad Davis’ committed performance and an unpredictable plot that is thoroughly engrossing until the end.