Oliver has written 100 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • Green Room

    Green Room

    The premise itself may not be the most realistic, but the situation is and would prove scary and confusing for anybody, and Saulnier throws us into a room of flesh and blood characters who fight for their survival in a tense, white-knuckle thriller of uncommon naturalism and brutality.

  • The Suicide Squad

    The Suicide Squad

    ★★★½

    Leave it to James Gunn to go all out in delivering a refreshingly unrestrained movie about a band of supervillains who aren’t so villainous after all, and it has a surprising amount of heart (and gore) as well as plenty of humor and impressively done set pieces to keep us engaged.

  • The Matrix

    The Matrix

    ★★★½

    With its state of the art effects, stunts, and choreography as well as its abundance of symbolism, profundity, and challenging ideas, The Matrix is a daring, ambitious, imaginative, groundbreaking, and revolutionary piece of science fiction that aims for the stars but doesn’t quite reach them due to its campy and flashy fight scenes, an unconvincing romance, a pathetic character arc (true love’s kiss won’t cut it) for a paper-thin protagonist with a countenance as dull as a pile of bricks, and some dated and cheesy moments and aspects that make the film feel like it’s definitely from 1999 and not 2199.

  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    ★★★½

    Stanfield and Plemons shine, and Kaluuya steals the show with his performance, but the film itself is a little bland compared with other civil rights films and fails to reach its full potential when it comes to emotionally investing the audience.

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    (This was an April Fools’ joke I made before the film was released, not an actual review.) 

    “We all have our secrets.” 

    There are some cool set pieces and thrilling action sequences here and there, Daniel Craig is madder than ever, the twist took me by surprise, and although the film may feel a little stale in terms of its ideas and appear to be an amalgamation of the previous entries in the franchise, it still marks a worthy Bond film and a satisfying conclusion to Craig’s title as 007.

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★★★½

    It still looks and sounds amazing (despite the “intentionally” crappy sound mixing at times), and it’s so fast-paced, action-packed, and energetic yet so convoluted at the same time that it feels both effortless and arduous to watch, but I did discover some major problems with the script, which ended up making the outcome less cohesive and impressive than I thought on a second viewing. 

    Edit: Nonetheless, this remains Nolan’s most memorable, confusing, urgent, unrestrained, quotable, shallow, spectacular, and loudest film to date as well as one of his most flawed among several others. A work of art.

  • Three Kings

    Three Kings

    ★★★½

    A bizarre but engaging and mostly successful hodgepodge of satire, drama, and action based on true events that took place following the Gulf War.

  • Training Day

    Training Day

    ★★★½

    This raw and tense good-cop-bad-cop drama features a sterling performance from Washington and is captivating enough to outweigh its occasionally cheesy dialogue, lackluster ending, and one major deus ex machina.

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★★★½

    Despite its overambition and some obvious issues with the script and sound mixing, Nolan’s boldest film yet offers an enthralling and mind-boggling experience full of exhilarating action, dazzling artistry, spectacular set pieces, and a fascinating blend of complex science fiction and modern espionage.

  • Us

    Us

    ★★★½

    A third viewing confirms that Us is still fun, intense, challenging, memorable, ambitious, creative, thought-provoking, and delicately directed, full of icons and subtle symbolism yet bereft of any real meaning and not entirely satisfying, as it is narratively flawed, tonally inconsistent, and thematically muddled if you try to make any sense of its half-baked premise.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

    ★★★½

    Not as well-directed or interesting as the other films, this is probably the weakest of the series but still marks an essential prelude to the epic finale, this part focusing more on the characters and their rough journey to find the seven Horcruxes.

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    ★★★½

    With lots of drama, potions, and mature themes, this is a gloomy and pessimistic but important chapter, bolstered by a dull color palette, a dismal atmosphere, and a tense plot with slowly mounting conflicts that become more apparent as it progresses.