Not to damn 2022 with faint praise, but since the pandemic started in March 2020, it has felt like the year when things have returned to relative normalcy. As far as my movie watching is concerned, it has increased tenfold, with cinema trips being more frequent and appreciated since Covid began. With that in mind, I feel much more confident in sharing a bona fide top ten, (unlike previous years) complete with last-minute choices and hand-wringing about placements. What were some of your favourite movies in 2022? Let me know in the comments below.
10) Avatar: The Way of Water
The Way of Water is a beautiful and moving piece of blockbuster cinema that plays like a greatest hit completion of themes and motifs that have permeated James Cameron’s movies.
9) The Northman
With a larger canvas within a new genre, The Northman is a roaring and potent revenge parable about the dehumanising effect of myth.
8) Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion plays like a potent social parable that unravels within the confines of the murder mystery genre.
Nope represents Jordan Peele’s most ambitious horror film to date. It’s expansive, intimate, occasionally harrowing, and subtextually fascinating in how it depicts two distinct ways in which horror movies are made.
6) Is That Black Enough for You?!?
Is that Black Enough for You is a potent lightning rod for Elvis Mitchell’s exploration of black cinema. Part love letter to the sub-genre and part critical essay for the depiction of African Americans, Mitchell’s documentary is ambitious and powerful in its message about black representation.
5) Crimes of the Future
David Cronenberg’s return to the sub-genre of body horror is an exacting and patient exercise in moviemaking. Future’s real power comes from being a snapshot of an evolution that feels credible and crude. In an era where the projection of our image is essential, Future asks us to consider how exhibitionism, body modification and voyeurism are not only given aspects of the human condition but perhaps even primordial.
4) Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick is a fascinating counterpoint to the 1986 movie. In fact, it’s quite an exhilarating, deeply moving and ultimately humbling sequel.
3) Halloween Ends
Halloween Ends worked for me. It’s audacious, ambitious, and comes the closest to the original 1978 film insofar as feeling like a potent horror fable.
2) Everything Everywhere All At Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once resets the canvas for Multiverse stories by showing how subversive, metatextual, emotional and bizarre the concept can truly be.
1) See How They Run
As I alluded to in my Glass Onion review, See How They Run has thawed my lifelong apathy towards the murder mystery genre. During my first viewing, Run charmed me with its acidic viewpoint of the genre via Leo Köpernick’s (Adrian Brody) cynical film director. In this regard, I was reminded of Brian De Palma’s gonzo and poisoned letter to the music industry (by way of Phantom of the Opera and The Portrait of Dorian Gray).
However, on a second viewing, I realised how Run also has affection for the genre via Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan). In isolation, this tightrope of celebration and denigration is impressive. However, I loved the film due to its main theme. Above all, See How They Run is about how the creator should not be beholden to the genre conventions or truth of source material. Embellishment is an artistic freedom that every writer should have.