It’s that time of year again! After another year of movies ranging from terrible to fantastic, it’s time for my yearly roundup of the best and worst of 2022’s films! (*based on their UK release date)
Very quickly, the worst; ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’. This franchise killer featured so little magic for what was once a wondrous world. We can all agree that ‘Morbius‘ absolutely stank, and ‘Death on the Nile‘ was a total snoozefest. Most surprising though was ‘Lightyear‘, whose release marked a new low for Disney Pixar as they continued to scrape the creativity barrel rather than exploring new ideas.
Some of the great sounding 2022 films I have been unable to see include ‘Decision to Leave’, ‘Aftersun’, ‘Triangle of Sadness‘, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front‘ and ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio‘. Hopefully I’ll catch them soon!
With that said, here are my top films of 2022!
Great films that didn’t quite make my Top 10, seen here ranked in 20th-11th place.
THE TOP 10
10. Living (dir. Oliver Hermanus)
Exquisitely designed and beautifully directed, this ‘Ikaru’ remake makes for a worthy adaptation of the Japanese classic. Bill Nighy delivers perhaps his strongest ever performance in a moving drama about rediscovering the meaning of life right at the end of it.
9. Boiling Point (dir. Philip Barantini)
Stephen Graham delivers another captivating performance in this well directed psychological drama. Filmed in one take, the stress and pressure of running a restaurant in London are laid bare in a tense ‘Uncut Gems’ style.
8. Moonage Daydream (dir. Brett Morgen)
David Bowie is reborn in an explosive montage documentary. Experimental, conceptual and jaw droppingly beautiful, Brett Morgen’s film isn’t about Bowie; This film IS Bowie.
7. Matilda (dir. Matthew Warchus)
This adaptation of the Tim Minchin’s masterpiece Roald Dahl musical is wonderful in every way. The kids are FANTASTIC, Emma Thompson is scene stealing, and the musical sequences are exquisitely executed. With a message of championing hope, imagination and love, this movie is impossible to resist.
6. The Worst Person in the World (dir. Joachim Trier)
A beautifully delicate meditation on life, this Norwegian film proves that no age is too old for a ‘coming of age’ narrative. Cannes Best Actress winner Renate Reinsve delivers a fantastically nuanced performance, and director Joachim Trier sprinkles the film with several moments of cinematic wonder.
5. Glass Onion (dir. Rian Johnson)
A mystery wrapped within a mystery, this film is an absolute knockout whodunnit. Rian Johnson writes and directs this sharp comedy thriller with astonishing style, and Daniel Craig’s returning character continues to cause wonderfully entertaining havoc amongst a great new cast of suspects.
4. The Banshees of Inisherin (dir. Martin McDonagh)
With perfect script, direction, performances and cinematography, Martin McDonagh has created another masterclass in melancholy. Effortlessly walking it’s delicate tonal line, this is a heartbreaking comedy drama that echoes the pointlessness of the Irish Civil War.
3. Elvis (dir. Baz Lurhmann)
Baz Luhrmann delivers another stunning kaleidoscopic fever dream, this time tackling the tragic life story of Elvis. Austin Butler utterly disappears into his role as the titular lead, delivering perhaps the most convincing biopic performance of recent years.
2. Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (dir. The Daniels)
If you can accept The Daniel’s idiosyncratic sensibilities, then this movie will absolutely floor you. A truly unique film with stunning visuals and hilariously bonkers sequences. And yet, ultimately it’s a story of a midlife crisis mother and a depressed daughter learning to love each other. Powerful cinema as confident as it can come.
1. Top Gun Maverick (dir. Joseph Kosinski)
Could it ever have been anything else? Surpassing the original in every way, this action epic will stand the test of time far better than its 1986 counterpart. Groundbreaking aerial sequences and a much better story, this film with leave you breathless from thrills and emotion. Tom Cruise’s insistence for ‘doing it for real’ means the tactility of this movie is like nothing ever seen before, and Eddie Hamilton’s editing (surely soon to be Oscar Winning…) particularly highlights the breathless adventure that this film is.
And there we have it! 2022 all wrapped up. Looking into next year, only one film blots out the sun for me. ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1‘ is already promising to be the biggest, most incredible action film of 2023, with ‘Oppenheimer‘, ‘Barbie‘ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny‘ also causing a lot of buzz. We’re getting a second ‘Spider-Verse‘ film, a second ‘Dune‘ film, a third ‘Quiet Place‘ film, Wes Anderson returns with his biggest ever ensemble in ‘Asteroid City‘ and Scorsese brings us his Apple TV+ funded ‘Killers of the Flower Moon‘. Not only that, we’re getting Brendan Fraser’s return to Hollywood in ‘The Whale‘ and Spielberg’s auto-biopic ‘The Fabelmans‘. Listen to that… Could that be the sound of cinema’s triumphant return? I think it just might be. Roll on 2023!
As Tom likes to say in all his blistering promo videos… I’ll see you at the movies