Hello Interwebs and welcome to 2023! 2022 was a fantastic year for film, and I wish to reminisce on my favourites with you here. Join me, will you?
NOTE: Don’t come into this thing expecting an objective list of the BEST media this year. I didn’t watch everything. These are merely my favourites. So let’s kick things off with my HONORABLE MENTIONS:
James Cameron offered one of the most visually dazzling films I’ve ever seen!
I didn’t think a Black Panther film without Chadwick Boseman could work. But somehow it did.
I freaking hate heights! Fall had me literally on the edge of my seat for most of it.
Viola Davis gives one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. The Woman King is badass.
This is the cutest superhero movie ever! And it hit the feels harder than I thought it would.
Now onto the real list:
2022 gifted me many a film I didn’t know I needed. This one was the first. The Northman is a satisfyingly brutal revenge story. Its film-making style is weird and slightly off-putting, but I like its spirit. It features ferocious vikings, grit and gore, and a compellingly grounded version of magic. Robert Eggers movies aren’t for everyone, but The Northman is his most widely-appealing.
Bullet Train is colorful, claustrophobic, and brimming with energy! Its got a simple concept, executes it well, and gives you more with it than expected. Every character’s story is well-explored, every actor turns in a charismatic portrayal, and every action scene is kinetic. Bullet Train is extremely confident in itself. And I fully anticipate this film to become a cult favourite.
Elvis features my favourite-ever performance by an actor who plays a real person (which is saying something, considering how many times that’s happened). Butler’s portrayal immersed me so much that I forgot he WASN’T the real guy! That’s some movie magic there. Baz Luhrmann imbues Elvis with a flair and glamour worthy of the King, capturing the FEELING of watching Mr. Presley like nothing since the man himself.
Here’s another one from which I didn’t expect much. But it’s a charming B-movie/ rom-com/ adventure film. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum have great chemistry. Daniel Radcliffe relishes his turn as a villain. The Lost City is funny, goofy, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s one of the few films of last year which made me feel good after I left the theatre.
The murder-mystery genre is one of my favourites. And I’m overjoyed to see it’s made a come-back! Glass Onion is well written and twisty, keeps you guessing, and features one of my favourite twists of 2022. Benoit Blanc is an eccentric and enticing detective (it’s not often Daniel Craig looks like he’s having a good time). And the celebrity casting is a good gimmick, if you aren’t too cynical.
This is somehow the most relatable yet bonkers film of the year (though I never saw RRR, so don’t come at me). EEAAO is a perfect example for how to do a high concept film: it’s a simple story about a dysfunctional family, but makes its situation more interesting with martial arts and alternate universes, and bagels. Still the heart comes first and foremost. EEAAO features exceptional action, direction, acting, and editing. And it’s one of the most original films I’ve ever watched.
This here is the Batman movie I’ve wanted my whole life: a grounded film noir about the world’s greatest detective facing off against The Riddler. And it was good too! The Batman quickly became my favourite live-action Batman film. And Robert Pattinson may yet grow into my favourite live action Batman. Matt Reeves dares to try elevating the comic book movie genre and I applaud his efforts! ‘Cause this isn’t just a good superhero flick; it’s damn good cinema.
Nicholas Cage is one of the best actors alive. And here he gets to play a fictionalized version of himself alongside an enthusiastic Pedro Pascal. These men have an infectiously wholesome relationship, which warms my heart and is a pleasure to view. This film plays its ridiculous premise with conviction, and escalates in its insanity till it hits near-epic proportions. Ultimately: it’s a celebration of Nic Cage as a man, and as an actor, and I freaking love it!
Steven Spielberg never ceases to amaze me. He made my childhood, and now forms my adulthood too. The Fabelmans is the only film of 2022 which made me cry, because it uncomfortably resonated with my experiences. It’s essentially the story of my last 10 years: through ups and downs, doubts and faith, and my passion for film. Spielberg gets vulnerable here, and I thank him for that. Because his tale gives me hope for my own.
The creme of the crop of 2022 movies! This one’s got it all: slick action, Tom Cruise being a charming daredevil, a worthy legacy story, and solid all-around film-making. It’s not especially deep or poignent; but it’s a simple story told well– and that’s tougher to do than it ought to be. Yet Tom Cruise makes film-making look effortless. His admirable dedication to theatrical audiences gave the film industry a swift kick in the ass when it most needed one.
Maverick isn’t loaded with the crap Hollywood THINKS we want: CGI, politics, “new takes” on legacy franchises made by people who don’t understand the stories, etc. It’s just a good old fashioned tale about heroes fighting adversity (and themselves) to become their best and save the day– filmed with practical effects for visceral feeling, and based around emotionally investing characters. The fact that Maverick is a sequel to Top Gun is just icing on the cake.
MORE IN-DEPTH ANALYSES OF THE ABOVE, AND MORE, ON THIS EPISODE OF CLOSE UP:
What are your Top 10 films of the year? What did you think of 2022 for film in general? Please share your thoughts in the comments (no spoilers please). If you have any ideas for future articles, or any questions, let me know. Also be sure to Like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!
Till next time,