Oliver has written 14 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2022.

  • The Banshees of Inisherin

    The Banshees of Inisherin

    ★★★

    Showcasing the beautiful scenery and desolation of its Irish setting while buoyed by a bulletproof cast, The Banshees of Inisherin is unfortunately far less compelling, witty, and funny than McDonagh’s previous efforts and doesn’t have much to offer from an emotional standpoint aside from being feckin’ depressing.

  • Bullet Train

    Bullet Train

    ★★★

    Even if it is carried with great gusto and élan and is entertaining enough to pass the time, Bullet Train is ultimately a shoehorned collection of things we’ve already seen, albeit with cleverly staged fight sequences and Brad Pitt as The Dude but if he were an assassin, while riding on a plot that drags things on past the point where I stopped caring about what was happening.

  • Hi, Mom!

    Hi, Mom!

    ★★★

    Structurally and narratively, it’s a bit of a mess, and the budget shows in multiple areas, but De Niro’s magnetic turn, De Palma’s avant-garde approach with the aid of Paul Hirsch’s electric editing (both clearly inspired by Jean-Luc Godard), an entertaining dialogue (largely improvised), an interesting look into New York amid the Vietnam War and racial upheaval, and a plot that ranges from chill to “what the fuck is going on” keep Hi, Mom! afloat.

  • Men

    Men

    ★★★

    Alex Garland deviates from his usual science fiction to horror this time, but Men is perhaps a bit too messy and bizarre for its own good and stumbles more in delivering an effective message than in unsettling, shocking, bewildering, and occasionally amusing.

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    ★★★

    Sam Raimi adds a refreshing and much needed spice with his signature style and wacky humor that we all know and have come to love, and although the film can be a bit jumbled and cheesy at times, and the script obviously could have used more work, the result is still a sufficiently entertaining and heartfelt diversion from the more recently serious chapters in the MCU.

  • Orphan

    Orphan

    ★★★

    A dark sense of humor, creepy (while still preposterous) twist, and entertaining plot make this silly but well-executed horror thriller a fun way to pass the time.

  • The Northman

    The Northman

    ★★★

    Showcasing once again Eggers’ eye for striking imagery and painstaking attention to detail while nonetheless missing the fervor and trenchant commentary of his previous films, this is a slow, grim, and methodical retelling of the ancient legend of Amleth that unfortunately lacks a solid core (unlike Skarsgård’s ripped Viking body).

  • Moneyball

    Moneyball

    ★★★

    Carried by Brad Pitt’s charisma and charm, Moneyball is an occasionally engaging, well-acted, and well-made drama about a topic that couldn’t be any less interesting to me.

  • The Batman

    The Batman

    ★★★

    Borrowing heavily from Batman Returns, The Dark Knight, and even Se7en while following two sides of the same coin, a young and angsty Batman struggling to find his way in a city saturated in crime and gloom and a masked villain hell-bent on getting back at the corruption of Gotham, this voguish but slight iteration of the Caped Crusader fails to justify its own existence due to its fumbling script, humdrum plot, overlong runtime, and a seemingly stronger desire to start a commercially successful franchise than tell an interesting standalone story.

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    ★★★

    Although an improvement over the original in just about every way, this entertaining crowd pleaser still suffers from some cheesy moments and a tasteless score and direction. But even if Tom Cruise still proves himself to be of another species while single-handedly saving the blockbuster genre, and it is notable to see how far filmmaking technology has evolved, the story is not that interesting, and the flight scenes are not as thrilling as I’d hoped.

  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    ★★★

    The Lonely Island return with a bigger and bolder project than before in the form of a mockumentary that feels like an SNL skit stretched to the duration of a feature film, with an insane amount of cameos and a mixed bag of laughs and gags, but it rapidly loses steam after things get serious and enter familiar territory, nor is it as funny and iconic as Hot Rod to attain the same cult status as that film.

  • Ambulance

    Ambulance

    ★★★

    Bay utilizes his action shtick to the best of his abilities to bring us a mindless but entertaining heist film, with an over-the-top drone cinematography; endless carnage, explosions, and gunfire; a bombastic score; an unusually attractive and badass heroine; a macho cast; and occasionally saccharine moments, and it is always a pleasure to see a berserk Jake Gyllenhaal shouting like a madman.