Note: I haven’t seen every movie so far this year, so the likes of Nope, Banshees of Inirshin or The Fablemen aren’t going to be listed for that reason.
10. The Northman
Much like The Green Knight before it, I’m not sure what to think of The Northman. But just like Green Knight before it, Robert Egger’s Viking adaptation of Hamlet at least left an impression that no other movie this year could replicate. It’s a surreal, abstract film that definitely isn’t for everyone and might be too weird for the mainstream, but the otherwordly tale and haunting imagery are sure to leave a mark, whether positive or negative and movies that have a pronounced emotional effect, regardless of the emotion, is something we don’t get enough of anymore.
9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
So let’s get it out of the way, I quite enjoyed Glass Onion. I thought it was sharp, funny and stylish. Rian Johnson, the master of subverting, returns for the sequel to Knives Out with a new mystery, but this time, the movie did feel a bit more predictable. The set design is through the roof and the overall mystery and the telling of said mystery is top-notch, but I was able to deduce the killer of this mystery fairly early on, which was a bit of a bummer. But that aside, Johnson is proving himself quite the scribe when it comes to these modern murder mysteries that evoke the likes of Agatha Christie.
We’ve gotten to the point where the concept of new Alien or Predator films didn’t have me excited anymore. Much like Terminator, there’s more bad ones than good ones now. The last Predator movie was so bad, I personally turned it off. But the concept for Prey did seem interesting, coupled with the fact that Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) was directing. Prey more than delivered, it wasn’t just a good Predator film, but a great movie in its own right. The feature, which is available in both English and in Comanche versions, is set in 1719 in the New World and follows Naru, a healer in her tribe. She seeks to be a hunter but constantly finds obstacles preventing her from achieving her goals. Meanwhile, a literal hunter, a Predator, has landed in the area and is killing everything-including humans-for sport. Prey expertly balances action, tension and, most importantly, character development and delivers a killer movie.
7. Everything, Everywhere, All At Once
Everything, Everywhere, All At Once is the critical darling of the year. It’s showing up as number one on a lot of lists. And it’s awesome, but I don’t think it resonated on the same level for me as other critics, hence its position on this list. But the movie is still great. A sci-fi action drama is a tricky set of genres to juggle, but the Daniels’ manage to pull it off, with plenty of bizarreness to go around. The fight scenes are inspired and Michelle Yeoh shines as a Chinese-American immigrant, down on her luck and on the brink of divorce. But her life gets turned upside down when she’s introduced to the multiverse and a threat to all existence. The concept of the multiverse is quite inspired in the movie. Instead of bringing us to a new reality, the characters tap into the skills and memories of other variants across the multiverse and acquire those skills for a short while. So someone who runs a laundromat can suddenly become a kung-fu expert because some version of her exists across the infinite cosmos that knows that skill. But it’s also got a lot of character, nuance and depth, sprinkled in with some seriously weird situations (hot dogs will never be looked at the same way again).
I probably would not have heard about RRR if there wasn’t so much buzz around it, but thankfully, everyone and their moms was saying that this Tollywood movie had to be watched. Thankfully, it was there on Netflix so I took the plunge. It was so over-the-top ridiculous and entertaining. Trying to describe it doesn’t seem to work, as it sounds like a chaotic mess. But RRR makes it work. Set against the backdrop of Colonial rule in India, the movie is about two men on opposite sides of a conflict, one working with the English occupiers, one working to rescue a child kidnapped by them. The two men end up working together, despite not knowing the motivations of the other and behold, the biggest bromance I think I’ve ever seen on screen. But wait, there’s more! The action, apart from being shot well, is just so insane you can’t help but laugh as tigers are thrown at soldiers and motorcycles are kick flipped in the air. It’s like a live-action anime. But wait, there’s more! There’s song and dance numbers too and if you think that sounds out of place, it really isn’t in this movie. RRR has it all and despite being three hours, it feels like two.
5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Hot take, but I’m not a big fan of Nic Cage. Never have been. So I was skeptical when starting his latest film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which the iconic actor plays his most challenging role to date: himself. But the movie really delivered. Not only was it one of the funniest movies of the year, but it was also a blast to watch. Down on his luck Cage ends up working the birthday party of a rather rich Spaniard, who just so happens to be a massive fan. The two strike up a hilarious and endearing bromance, but one that may be derailed as Cage’s new friend Javi (Pedro Pascal, amazing) may just be an arms dealer and the CIA would like Cage’s help rescuing a hostage from Javi’s compound. Massive Talent is aware of film structure, to the point of being meta, but this works in the movie’s favour. A great time!
4. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a dark, macabre and tonally varied picture but one that leaves an impression. I only just watched this, so I never got around to reviewing it, but this reimagining of the classic children’s story (not the Disney version) takes a lot of G.d.T.’s familiar hallmarks about outcasts and the fantastical and brings it to life in a stop-motion tale. There’s musical numbers and humour, but also some heavy themes about war, death and identity. The cast is great, particularly Christoph Waltz as Count Volpe, an…enthusiastic carnival owner, but there’s great voicework from the likes of Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Tilda Swinton, Ron Pearlman and Burn Gorman. Mark Gustafson co-directors the movie with del Toro, lending his expertise in stop-motion to the final product, which is available on Netflix.
3. All Quiet on the Western Front
War films often know how to tell compelling stories of the human condition and the German remake of All Quiet on the Western Front is no exception to this. The movie explores the futility and cost of war during the events of WWI, from the point of view of a once eager but now jaded soldier on the line. Visually stunning, relentless and even exhausting, it’s a movie that leaves a mark and leaves the viewer content they’re watching the movie on their couch and not living it. The movie is made slightly more eerie thanks to the ongoing war in Ukraine, with many of the themes being highlighted in that conflict today.
2. The Batman
The Batman was a contender for the number one spot, but I do think it was maybe twenty minutes too long. But Matt Reeves’ dark crime thriller, which pulled from the likes of Zodiac and Se7en, was an authentic Batman tale, one that was more like a crime thriller than a superhero tale, which we had come to expect from DC during the Snyder tenure. Robert Pattinson may not have much to do as Bruce Wayne, but he’s a terrific Batman. Outstanding cinematography and a score, coupled with a cast that delivered on all fronts and The Batman was an engrossing detective story, set in the familiar world of Gotham.
1. Top Gun: Maverick
It’s safe to say that Top Gun: Maverick saved movies in 2022. It’s the highest-grossing film of the year and it’s a belated legacy sequel. But it’s a movie that worked on so many levels. Is it high art or anything like that? No, it isn’t. But it’s a movie that feels like the byproduct of a different era. It’s a summer blockbuster that actually has character, a story and amazing action. It’s a popcorn movie that isn’t a turn-off-your-brain kind of movie either, which feels wildly refreshing. Said action is also some of the best ever put to film, thanks to a heavy use of practical effects for the aviation sequences. It stands out amongst the barrage of superhero films as a piece of entertainment that went the extra mile, delivered a story that also had heart and was one of the most entertaining and enjoyable times in an IMAX in quite a long time.
That’s it for me! Naturally, I’m sure your list will be different from mine, so I want to know your favourite movies of 2022! Let us know in the comments or on social media!