Oliver has written 11 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2021.

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★½

    Even with a stellar cast and visuals so rich in color, detail, and complexity, Anderson once again trades emotional engagement for rigorous bravura in a technically impressive but vapid ode to journalism and literature with three unrelated stories that become progressively less interesting.

  • Furious 7

    Furious 7

    The farewell to Paul Walker at the end was emotional and satisfying, but as for the film itself, it’s mediocre.

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★½

    A tedious and lackadaisical conclusion to Craig’s era as Bond that tries to fit in as much as it can into its overlong runtime while also suffering from a contrived villain whose weapon is awfully convenient and whose motivations are unclear, a forgettable theme song, and a disappointing ending.

  • Pig

    Pig

    ★★½

    I appreciate how Nic Cage is taking roles in unusual indie films that would have otherwise been more easily overlooked by general audiences, and he gives his most somber and heartfelt performance to date, but while Pig certainly has some meaningful things to say, the lack of exposition and tension, strange tone, and uninspiring plot made it hard to get invested in the story—thus rendering its few emotional highs ineffectual.

  • The Fate of the Furious

    The Fate of the Furious

    ★★½

    The opening is exciting, and the prison scene is fun, but everything else is meh despite the film’s lofty ambitions.

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★½

    After a gripping opening, the film reveals that it inherited a lot of flaws from its predecessor—namely a lack of logic from characters and the story and in this case, a few blatant conveniences and questionable narrative choices, but it still racks up a fair amount of tension, suspense, and surprises to deliver a sufficient monster movie.

  • 2 Fast 2 Furious

    2 Fast 2 Furious

    ★★½

    John Singleton proves himself a better director than Rob Cohen in this film, and the story is overall more entertaining—with an effective duality between the two leads and a defined villain, but like the first film, this one suffers from a lot of cheesiness (particularity in one glaring instance at the end) and a weak plot.

  • The Fast and the Furious

    The Fast and the Furious

    ★★½

    The lead cast show a lot of promise for the franchise that would ensue, but despite its status in pop culture, the film itself is incredibly bland and mediocre—with a cheesy direction and script that’s basically a lesser version of Point Break, but with street racing, and with an altogether less memorable Johnny Utah as the protagonist.

  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★½

    Frances McDormand is terrific as usual (even though she’s basically not even acting), and Chloé Zhao does a decent job behind the camera, but the plot is just too boring to make the journey worthwhile.

  • For Myself, Alone

    For Myself, Alone

    ★★½

    An enigmatic slow-burn, but so much so that it was tough to get through and impossible to make any heads or tails of in the end. Though definitely a clear improvement in framing and cinematography from Victor’s previous works.

  • Minari

    Minari

    ★★½

    Albeit easy on the senses and with a committed turn from Steven Yeun, there isn’t much of a story, and the direction and script are often amateur and lacking in good taste, leaving Minari an uninspiring and emotionally deficient effort.