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

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    ★★

    Predictable and mostly not outrageously unexpected, this American holiday classic is an obnoxiously patriotic and unfunny Christmas farce that hardly works as a drama or a comedy, with a boring series of gags, antics, nonsense, beats of nothing, a far-fetched plot, disasters, circumstances, and even animal cruelty.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★★

    It starts off engaging and urgently paced and has its moments, but it ignores a lot of what happened in its predecessor, and as it progresses, it rushes story development and becomes more tedious, bloated, and evidently soulless, with an artificial plot full of conveniences and stupid contrivances.

  • Lover

    Lover

    ★★

    This dull, uneventful, and vapid character study is a disappointing feature debut from Ralph Sepe, as it trades a well-constructed story and narrative substance for empty flair and genre clichés, eventually arriving at a dead end.

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    ★★

    I don’t understand why this prequel to Twin Peaks was made, as it doesn’t offer any useful insight into Laura Palmer’s past other than what she was going through the days before her death, and aside from Sheryl Lee’s standout performance, a lot of the music is pointless in many scenes, and the overall lack of a defined plot makes the film feel repetitive and aimless.

  • Alita: Battle Angel

    Alita: Battle Angel

    ★★

    The world is so poorly developed, and the clumsy dialogue, artificial plot, and shallowness weigh down the impressive visual effects and welcome message about female survivors, attempting to be an empowering film with a badass cyborg-turned-RoboCop-roller-derby hunter warrior originated from an anime comic but instead turning into a cheesy, lifeless video game movie.

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★

    It doesn’t matter how competent the acting is, how unique the visuals are, or how nice the score is because that is mostly undermined by an adaptation that fails to effectively interpret Frank Herbert’s dense novel, and as a result of this and the film’s unsuitably bizarre nature, this is a confusing, laborious mess.

  • Serenity

    Serenity

    ★★

    The story is utterly ridiculous, and even more so once its preposterous twist is revealed, yet the film takes itself so seriously and is acted and presented with such conviction, panache, and baffling irony that it becomes inadvertently hilarious.