Oliver has written 38 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2018.

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    ★★★★

    Despite a few silly bits and a bafflingly stupid deputy police chief, Die Hard stands the test of time as an ultimate holiday classic that defies viewers’ expectations with an exciting plot, awesome stunts, and a memorable villain as well as a hero we can root for in his human constraints and unflinching tenacity and wit in the face of death.

  • Badlands

    Badlands

    ★★★★

    Despite Spacek’s rather unsuitably apathetic performance, Martin Sheen is truly exceptional here, and Malick shows early signs of brilliance in his magnificent cinematography and singular musical choices that have influenced other works, such as Moonrise Kingdom—making for a short and bittersweet little gem of classic cinema that is always engaging to watch.

  • Zodiac

    Zodiac

    ★★★★

    An always engrossing and thoughtfully directed mystery surrounding the Zodiac murders that never wastes a shot, with every frame conveying a gamut of exposition, and it is helmed masterfully by a constant atmosphere of dread, sharp dialogue, and committed performances from an outstanding ensemble cast—especially Jake Gyllenhaal, who nails the obsessive reporter role.

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★★

    Though it is not without its sparse moments of monotony, particularly in the second half, the Coen Brothers show they were born to make excellent Westerns in this delightful series of vignettes with each containing unique themes of their own.

  • Breathless

    Breathless

    ★★★★

    A definitive work of the French New Wave that contains an efficient plot, naturalistic performances, a nice score ranging from easy jazz to dramatic orchestra, and an abundance of Godard’s inventive jump cuts.

  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    ★★★★

    An intriguing, first-rate neo-noir thriller with an intricate and suspenseful plot that features taut cinematography and an excellent, subtle performance by Jack Nicholson.

  • Rosemary's Baby

    Rosemary's Baby

    ★★★★

    Helped by taut cinematography and strong lead performances, Rosemary’s Baby is a slow-building psychological horror mystery whose frequently distracting tedium is met by a dreadfully distinct nature of disturbance rooted in a satanic vein and unbearable suspense culminating in an ending that left me frozen in awe.

  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    ★★★★

    Terry Gilliam’s bizarre, crazy, and hallucinatory dark comedy contains a twisty plot that engulfs us in the film’s perceptive, lurid visuals and prominent style, all which are elevated by an intelligent cinematography and a frenetic, memorable performance by Johnny Depp.

  • Don't Look Now

    Don't Look Now

    ★★★★

    An eerie horror classic with a disturbing ending and an insightful undertone of the effects of grief amid clever foreshadowing and shaky cinematography to evoke a sense of disorientation the main characters are facing.

  • Diva

    Diva

    ★★★★

    A stylish, influential French cinema gem skillfully helmed by Jean-Jacques Beineix with an absorbing plot, if not entirely coherent, that also knows how to build tension and with a ravishing cinematography.

  • Searching

    Searching

    ★★★★

    Even if the ending seems too convenient a payoff for the suspense built up by the rest of the film, Searching is nevertheless a technical marvel with an engaging plot impressively shot almost entirely on computer screens and is elevated by a terrific performance by John Cho.

  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

    ★★★★

    A patient and deftly conducted character study featuring a superb performance by virtuoso Orson Welles and exquisite cinematography and blocking.