Best Films of 2022 (So Far)

Best Films of 2022 (So Far) ...

It's almost like we're not going back to the movies one year after a column in the Paper of Record stated that audiences would return in droves. Yet, the fact remains that consumers are returning to cinemas in droves in the summer of 2022. The thrill of crowdpleasers like Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis, and the sleeper success of truly innovative films like Everything Everywhere All at Once should make you feel enthused.

As the dog days of summer and the moviegoing season wears on, we find it appropriate to reflect on the year that we have had the pleasure to see. Rather, here is a list of some of the years best pictures presented in alphabetical order.

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Richard Linklater finds time to be one of the most imaginative and playful filmmakers working today, despite being caught between his decades-spanning cinematic work. Take his latest (and frankly underrated) experiment, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood. In the margins, this is the latest auteur of a certain age returning to his youth with a wistful nostalgia.

The surreal use of rotoscope animation is layered over actual live-action performances. It's a long-awaited comeback to an art form Linklater helped popularize, and a suitablely canny way of alluding to the slipperiness of memories and halcyon days. In this same vein, Linklater fuses his childhood pleasures with the more everyday pleasures of a Texan suburb during the summer of 1969.

The result is a warm, charming, but ultimately elusive, reverie that also includes Jack Black's gentle voiceover narration, which is always a plus.

The Batman

It was a common thought among the press, the industry, and even fans whether or not we should see another Dark Knight film. But Matt Reeves The Batman stands so high above all of these films (and perhaps even over two or two) as a testament to how much Reeves and his collaborators have made this world their own. The first big screen Batman who is truly frightening and perhaps unwell.

Reeves and Pattinson lean into the requisite darkness associated with this persona, yes. They also create a surprising delicate character study that fits perfectly with Pattinsons other recent A24 films. But here he is at the center of a grand, circuitous epic that assuredly channeled the despair of 1970s neo noir and successfully constructed a shady Gotham City populated by shady players like Penguin (Colin Farrell, allegedly), Carmine Falcon

The Batman has the finest onscreen portrayal of this oil and water romance to date, all while contextualizing it in a hypnotic hellscape where Paul Danos Riddler plays closer to the Zodiac Killer of the 1960s than it does Frank Gorshin. Still, Shining through the operatic bombast, remains a wounded and tender person. And that fragility surviving in the modern factory franchise landscape is truly remarkable.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Halina Reijns Bodies Bodies is a poison-spiked toast to Generation Z that is just waiting to be discovered by a wider audience. In practice, Christies characters were all 31 shades of narcissism and entitlement wrapped up in social media pretensions.

A group of recent college graduates gather for an evening of alcohol, drugs, and bodies. The last bit is a fictional version of Werewolf or Mafia where someone pretends to be a killer. But everyone in the group is a suspect, and no one can be mistaken for a hero. It's viciously mean-spirited and brutally funny, all while showcasing a stellar cast of rising talent. Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, and Rachel Sennott

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once, the indie Cinderella story of the year, is that audacious magic trick we see at the cinema only once in a blue moon. This is in large part because they do not use the notion of string theory as an excuse for nostalgia or intellectual property exploitation. Instead they use it as a chance to discover something surprising and extraordinary.

Michelle Yeoh is a must-see American film, one of Hong Kong's finest gifts to the world. In Everything, she performs a tour de force performance as literally hundreds of variations on the same woman: enraged by the IRS woman from hell (Jamie Lee Curtis) and increasingly estranged with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

Everything Everywhere is a remarkable story because it does not fix Evelyn's existential funk. In fact, the film elevates it with a happy nihilist fantasy of the universe where, demonstrably, nothing seems to matter. Yet both the film and the character find satisfaction, and even fulfillment, with that truth, while providing a kaleidoscopic fantasia for all of the actors to explore every shade and nuance of their characters, whether that means in another world where they are international celebrities or in

Mr. Malcolms List

The popularity of Bridgerton has undoubtedly influenced this color-conscious adaptation of Suzanne Allains' novel, which stars Zawe Ashton, Sope Dirisu, and Freida Pinto. In the film, Ashton plays Julia, who as a displeased suitor of the eligible Mr. Malcolm devises a lengthy revenge plan with the help of her less fortunate childhood friend Selina (Pinto). What she does not intend on is Selina and Malcolm falling in love.

The all-around excellent performances, particularly from Ashton, give Bog standard plotting a second place to Julias scheming along with her own self-discovery journey. Rosie Fletcher is a great bet for those waiting for a new season in the Ton.

Nitram

Nitram, one of the best films of the year thus far, is one of the most unsettling films of 2022. Based on Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel, the film chronicles the bizarre and horrifying process leading up to Australia's worst single gunman massacre in Port Arthur in 1996. The film follows the killer's first name backward, making a point of never mentioning his real name.

Nitram, Kurzels first film, is a deeply unsettling experience, dominated by exceptional performances from Caleb Landry Jones, Judy Davis, and Essie Davis. Indeed, Jones won the award for Best Actor at Cannes for his work here.

Nope

Jordan Peele's third feature is a mysterious, sci-fi horror film that's best seen cold. Daniel Kalluya stars as the stoic horse trainer who inherits his fathers ranch after being killed by a random object falling from the sky. Or, as they prefer.

Kalluya is joined by Keke Palmer as his estranged sister, and the two characters struggle to make ends meet by attempting to film something out there and above the farm. The fact that the siblings are struggling, below-the-line animal wranglers in show business, and that they are now trying to survive by getting the impossible shot, is more than just a minor nod toward the business Peele has spent his life in.

Another victory for one of the most interesting emerging filmmakers is the funny, weird, frightening, and harrowing scenes of horror that are completely Indelible.

The Northman

Robert Eggers, the director and co-writer of The Witch, has revealed how difficult it was to come up with a script for Focus Features that he and the studio could agree on. Yet behind the scenes, the final outcome was big screen Valhalla for people of a certain disposition.

The Northman is drenched in a medieval savagery when introduced to Amleth (Claes Bang) as his own wife, and it also satirizes it with the haunting gazes of characters worthy of the Bard or Freud.

RRR

S.S. Rajamoulis RRR is a worldwide sensation that enticed people to notice Tollywood (Indian films produced in the Telugu language) at a time when most Hollywood action films rely on brand names and easter eggs, here is an old-fashioned barnburner by way of Delhi.

RRR is a three-hour action film, a breathless high-energy musical, and a flight of historical fantasy. They play Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitarama Raju, two historic freedom fighters from India's past who never met. The real-life guys are so devoted to one another that the earth quakes beneath their feet.

The movie has an inherent spontaneity in its self-aware mythmaking. Yet there's also such genuine conviction in this onscreen bromance, and all the ensuing melodrama, that it stands apart from its many, many lesser American contemporaries? Can there really be a greater fist-pumping moment in a film this year than the moment where Bheem unleashes a veritable menagerie on an unsuspecting tea party?

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise's long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick is a legacy sequel, the latest in a long line of recent Hollywood add-ons that restore a popular character/performance in order to keep the brand alive. In the details, Maverick is a passion project and metaphora parable about how tiring it is to refuse to pass the torch or allow the light to shine.

Top Gun: Maverick has a deliberate grace as well as a slew of rolling laughter. This time, director Joseph Kosinski and Cruise take actual IMAX cameras inside the cockpits while forcing all actors to do all of their close-ups while pushing upwards of 6 Gs (which is more gravity than Neil Armstrong faced on the Apollo 11 mission).

The Maverick team is equally impressive, surpassing the original paper thin script to create a tight, sentimental, yet never saccharine, narrative that is equal parts WW2 melodrama about Men and Women on a Mission, and rage against the dying of the light. When the film inevitable comes to an end in old school Hollywood, it more than feels good; it feels right.

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