Oliver has written 36 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2019.

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    ★★★½

    A slow, suspenseful, and unpredictable modern Western nicely shot on Ultra Panavision 70 that could also work as a stage play, and it contains plenty of captivating dialogue which bolsters its allegory on racism during the Reconstruction era and contemporary America despite somewhat suffering from some pacing issues and an unsound conclusion that does not coincide with the film’s main themes.

  • Jackie Brown

    Jackie Brown

    ★★★½

    The expository dialogue and rather overlong runtime can make Jackie Brown sluggish at times, and some plot elements become simultaneously confusing and interesting in the second half of the film. Nonetheless, this is an enjoyable homage to blaxploitation with a terrific use of its cast combined with Tarantino’s superb music selection and stylish direction.

  • Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    ★★★½

    While there are some insightful messages mixed in some questionable themes that lead to inconsistencies which will likely be overlooked by the film’s target audience, and a few characters could have been more thought-out, this is still another enjoyable adventure, if an unnecessary follow-up to a well-concluded trilogy, that is both wonderfully animated and equally funny and touching when it needs to be.

  • Miller's Crossing

    Miller's Crossing

    ★★★½

    A stylish and handsome but drab gangster flick that starts off slowly but never escalates to considerable heights, yet the fine production design and strong performances enhance its unidentified setting, and the simple plot obscured by convolutions keeps us engaged.

  • Rocketman

    Rocketman

    ★★★½

    When compared with last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman clearly surpasses that film in almost every regard, defying expectations with an intelligent direction that captures the spirit of Elton John while successfully telling his story with the help of a smart integration of songs through fantastic musical numbers and a phenomenal performance by Taron Egerton.

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Avengers: Endgame

    ★★★½

    Fundamentally flawed but wholly ambitious, Endgame marks a satisfying, poignant, and necessary finale to the Infinity Saga that manages to balance its intimate character moments and gargantuan set pieces in an exciting, albeit convoluted, plot that mostly succeeds in the end at wrapping up an important chapter in the MCU.

  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★½

    Despite some plot conveniences and questionable music choices, this is a surprisingly intelligent, dialogue-heavy character study whose main strengths are its cinematography and performances, and the stakes get higher as the story progresses while always keeping a steady pace up to its tense finale.

  • Free Solo

    Free Solo

    ★★★½

    Despite how uncharismatic Alex Honnold is as a person, it is impossible to deny the formidable skill and dedication he put into free solo climbing the magnificent El Capitan and what kinds of shots his camera crew was able to pull off in the process.

  • Captain Marvel

    Captain Marvel

    ★★★½

    Even with a perfunctory storyline, an uncharismatic Brie Larson, and its other imperfections, Captain Marvel is a refreshingly simple, if harmless, origin story that works at introducing a new superhero and fitting the lighthearted tone of early films in its universe.

  • Brokeback Mountain

    Brokeback Mountain

    ★★★½

    The plot may be uneven at times, and some moments demand our suspension of disbelief, but Brokeback Mountain tells a touching story that reflects the turmoil its main characters face with a striking acuity and is bolstered by heartfelt performances and a beautiful cinematography and score.

  • High Noon

    High Noon

    ★★★½

    Despite sometimes coming off as forced or overdramatic, this is an appreciable little Western with a skillful cinematography and yet an ironic, foreign-sounding score that can occasionally be overbearing but is compensated by the poignant “Ballad of High Noon.”

  • Roma

    Roma

    ★★★½

    With some semblance of neorealism set in 1970s Mexico but without as much emotional weight, Roma serves more as an exposé into a domestic worker’s experience in a conflicted environment, and thus watching it is not as exciting as it is thematically rich. And it doesn’t help either that the unnecessary monochrome and repetitive cinematography make everything more tame. It is also surprising to see that despite the film’s immersive nature, we hardly get to know much about its characters. But…