Oliver has written 22 reviews for films during 2022.

  • Spencer

    Spencer

    ★★

    Kristen Stewart gives her all, and the unnerving score and inescapable aristocratic setting create a suffocatingly tense and claustrophobic atmosphere, but instead of delving into Spencer’s past and her inner turmoil, we only get glimpses of it and with no story to follow, leaving the final result feeling a bit lacking.

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★

    With a grand scale and expectedly incredible visuals, Denis Villeneuve and his dedicated production team left little doubt that Frank Herbert’s Dune would be done justice, but it seems a fully developed story was not in their interest, and so we are left to bask in the spectacle but with little reason to care about anything that’s happening on screen.

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★½

    Oscar Isaac is magnetic and compelling as usual, but a sense of lethargy leeks into the writing and direction (not just his character), and as Schrader continues exploring troubled men trying to find purpose in their lives, we can see the futility in watering a dead flower for so long before it proves itself just that.

  • Drag Me to Hell

    Drag Me to Hell

    Hilarious and frightful in equal measure while more subtly showing us how the guilt of our past decisions can come back to haunt us, Drag Me to Hell shows Sam Raimi harnessing his inner camp to perfection while resurrecting a totally bonkers story from the dead of his early career.

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople

    Hunt for the Wilderpeople

    ★★★

    I’m finding the commonality in Waititi’s films to be that they are cute and simple but lightweight and forgettable, and the humor here tends to be more tiresome than amusing, the leads more irksome than charming, the adventure neither very fun nor adventurous, and the similarities to Up just too obvious to feel like there’s something to hold onto.

  • Nocturnal Animals

    Nocturnal Animals

    ★★★

    The stunning scene transitions, crisp cinematography, and superb ensemble fall under the weight of a weak narrative with occasionally heavy-handed dialogue and not enough interest in the real story at its core.

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★½

    Wan seems eager to create something unique and inspired in his latest endeavor, yet some narrative and stylistic choices make the first two acts feel a bit iffy and messy, but the mystery becomes more interesting as it develops and leads us to a stunning reveal with a crazy, balls to the wall finale. This is the kind of fun and bold horror movie we need more of.

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★½

    Benedict Cattlerach gives a memorable performance, and there is some intriguing subtext underneath the dullness of the plot, but the plot is just that: dull, and the film itself doesn’t cover enough ground to amount to much in the end.

  • The Power of the Dog
  • C'mon C'mon

    C'mon C'mon

    ★★½

    In another instance of a shaggy-haired boy in a troubled family, this time we’re dragged into a tedious and bleak parenting/therapy session with a student film in humanities on the side and an oppressive lack of color that can only be alleviated by Joaquin Phoenix’s presence.

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★

    Simu Liu proves to be more charismatic than Brie Larson as a superhero while similarly stoic, and I appreciate the film’s decision to stay loyal to the characters’ native language throughout the film, but the obvious nods to other kung fu fantasies and Jackie Chan’s action stunt work aren’t done any service by a hackneyed plot with cardboard cutouts for characters, and the end result is a lifeless introduction for yet another Avenger in this endless stream of manufactured commercialism that is the MCU.

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    As dull as the expressions of the Green Knight’s wooden face and as pointless as Sir Gawain’s tedious and elusive journey into the unknown, Lowery proves once again that no amount of spectacle or vision can outweigh the importance of an interesting story.