Oliver has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2019.

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★½

    It is clear how much effort went into the production despite its useless referential style and annoying visual callbacks to Kubrick’s The Shining, but I find the film’s exploration of alcoholism and childhood trauma to be facile, the story weak, the dialogue and writing occasionally bad, the soul-eating scenes beyond laughable, the villainess just lame, and a few decisions in the second act to be hugely illogical.

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★½

    A deeply meditative but obtuse and maladroit science fiction film that lacks emotional connection despite its captivating visuals, evocative score, and soulful approach while containing a forgettable message further weighed down by lazy voiceover narrations, stilted dialogue, and a plot-hole-ridden narrative driven by thinly written characters.

  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★½

    A disappointing but fairly entertaining finale to the It series, whose strong first half is marred by a tiresome, bloated second half as well as a distracting reliance on CGI although the film does benefit from a solid ensemble cast and some notable performances from Hader and Ransone.

  • Death Proof

    Death Proof

    ★★½

    This could have been a breezy 90 minutes and not missed a single thing, but Tarantino once again gives into his narcissistic self-indulgences in endless, tiresome exchanges of dialogue that drag almost every scene, and the final car chase scene is unfortunately too forgettable to make up for the thin plot.

  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★½

    I found myself more ineffectually uncomfortable watching High Life than I would have come to expect from science fiction, and this film’s explicit, bleak, and brutal depiction of the mental decay of criminals on death row as they approach their ultimate fate offers a joyless experience that can only moderately be redeemed by yet another powerhouse performance by Robert Pattinson and a unique vision from director Claire Denis. But this is a deranged, moody, and at times revolting film that I cannot recommend.

  • Shazam!

    Shazam!

    ★★½

    This Big superhero movie is perfectly watchable, has good intentions, and is even politically correct, but its narrative is irregular and flawed, Shazam’s character is personally different from Billy, and the childish humor and cheesy moments usually fall flat—making the story less evoking than it should be and not even letting the film work as a parody either.

  • Suspiria

    Suspiria

    ★★½

    Albeit a significant step up from the grueling 1977 cult classic, Suspiria’s impressive production value falls severely under the weight of its excessive nature, overlong runtime, preposterous ending, and confused tone.