Top Ten Films 2022
From the mind of Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
10. The Worst Person In The World
I just about remember being young, life is weird and can be hard to wrangle into meaningful shape. In The Worst Person In The World we get to meet Julie (Renate Reinsve) who is about to turn 30 but struggling to find her place in the world. This film is a cracker blend of drama and romance - shot through with pathos and comedy too.
Director Joachim Trier gives us chance to journey with her as jobs, lovers, haircuts, and other life choices change but her decisions rarely get better.
Empire called it ‘a playful love letter to uncertainty, it’s far more accessible and watchable than it has any right to be.’ And they are not wrong…
Shot down after fleeing a coup and extracting a drug lord from Guinea-Bissau, the legendary mercenaries known as the Bangui Hyenas -- Chaka, Rafa and Midnight -- must stash their stolen gold bounty, lay low long enough to repair and refuel their plane and escape back to Dakar, Senegal.
Director Jean Luc Herbulot dynamically weaves supernatural mystery into this gritty crime caper that packs action, mystic thrills and a high state of tension throughout. Might the Hyenas be being set up by one of their own? When a shadow from their past catches up with them, there could be devastating consequences, threatening to unleash hell on them all.
8. The Batman
Batman get excellently reimagined by the Cloverfield/Apes/Let Me In guy who brings a sinister and impressively dark vibe to Gotham City where amongst the dubious underworld and dodgy politicians a sadistic killer begins to leave a trail of cryptic clues, and bodies...
Robert 'FFS Twilight' Pattinson dons the cowl and cloak - and despite my reservations about him actually turns out to be an ace new Batman! This film feels a lot like the original detective comic roots of the character and the aesthetic is something akin to SE7EN. Zoë Kravitz who delivers a high-quality Cat-woman and Alfred is reincarnated and under-used in the form of a superb Andy Serkis. Fantastic bat-fun!
7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Knives Out introduced the world to the excellent Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who returns to try and find out what is happening in the layers in of mystery dreamed up by writer / director Rian “The Last Jedi’ Johnson.. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion.
As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbours their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect. This is an absolute joy and feels very much like Agatha Christie has risen from the dead!?
6. The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin ‘In Bruges’ McDonagh makes high drama of a dissolving friendship as dull everyman Pádraic (Colin Farrell) gets ‘dumped’ by his best pal Colm (Brendan Gleeson). It’s off-the-scale awkward as Colm tells Pádraic out of the blue that he doesn’t want talk to him or drink with him ever again. It’s tactless and blunt, abrasive and soul-burning and the fallout gets worse and worse until blood is spilled and things have escalated to unfeasible ends.
Pádraic’s self-examination is fantastically played by Farrell with his guileless but not innocent character front and centre. He lives with his repressed sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon), she lives in a permanent state of exasperation at her brother’s darkness that begins to seep through. If that isn’t enough then there’s young Dominic (Barry Keoghan) who steals the show even though he doesn’t get enough screen time...
5. Red Rocket
This vivid, real-feeling, stylish fable is as heartbreaking as it is amusing (from the excellent director Sean Baker whose last film The Florida Project was my film of the year in ’17). Red Rocket is another tour-de-force, a safari through the lives of the dirt-poor, uneducated and pretty hopeless rust-belt US underclasses. These are folks who you want to root for but who continually make terrible decisions that lead to destructive outcomes that you’ll want to weep for them.
Simon Rex is absolutely incredible as washed-up adult movie actor ‘Mikey Saber’. Things get grim for him despite his trying to get his life back on track - including a horrible multi-vehicle pileup that impacts Mikey in more than just an allegory of his car crash of a life.
If there’s any justice in the world Mikey should be a cinematic cult icon of the future, his fast-talking hustler predator stare and easy-winning charm is wonderfully watchable. The climax leaves you breathless and broken in equal measure - what future for the star-crossed lovers Mikey and Strawberry (a fantastic Suzanna Son)??
4. Bones & All
Timothée ‘Dune’ Chalamet gets munchy with Taylor Russell (who is a stunningly engaging actress). These two fine young cannibals have a taste for human flesh but are basically Bonnie and Clyde for with supernatural cravings in a world of beauty and terror.
Based on Camille DeAngelis' young-adult bestseller, the movie is a tale of first love broken by an addiction stronger than drugs. Director Luca ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Guadagnino makes this a wonderfully seductive horror, gross and bloody in places but also graceful and full of real emotion. Hanging out with these two young lovers makes for the most excellent if fiendish odyssey.
Steven Soderbergh bursts back onto the cinematic landscape with KIMI - a full on suspenseful masterclass that punches you in the face with a fantastically entertaining high-tech rabbit hole of deep treachery. Angela (Zoë Kravitz) believes she’s ‘witnessed’ a murder in her role as a ‘KIMI’ operative. She has a digital clip of the crime but the big corp Amygdala (who make the KIMI product) want to cover it up at any cost.
There are a nicely eccentric cast of characters, from Mum (Robin Givens), hacker co-worker (Alex Dobrenko), creepy voyeur (Devin Ratray), and possible boyfriend (Byron Bowers), each plays crucial roles in the tight plot. Angela being agoraphobic and possibly autistic is a great heroine - but just who can she trust?
2. Everything Everywhere All At Once
Somewhere in the multiverse, there is a film that combines insanely creative fun and action, it also delivers on heart-warming emotion and sci-fi shinanegans. That film isn’t Dr Strange and The Multiverse of Madness, that film is Everything Everywhere All At Once…
It’s freakin joyride of rude comedy, brilliant surreality, inventive action and highly emotional life auditing. Everything Everywhere All At Once exists in the fantastical outer wilds of the imagination. If you're looking for trip into the realm of lucid dreaming and liminal spaces - this is the film you've been looking for and couldn’t be more original if it tried. Michelle Yeoh is excellent as Evelyn, a laundromat owner who might just be the universal saviour against the threat of the ‘everything bagel’ black hole.
Jamie Lee Curtis is in there too along with two film-stealing rocks with googly eyes who ‘rock’ real emotion!!
1. Top Gun Maverick
30 years after Top Gun defined a decade and made Tom Cruise an icon, he and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have brought Maverick back to the Danger Zone. It is a complete joy to rejoin Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom ‘doesn’t seem to age’ Cruise) as he grapples with his guilt for the death of his former co-pilot ‘Goose’ (Anthony Edwards). Things get spicy when Goose’s son Bradley (Miles Teller) – callsign ‘Rooster’ signs up to be part of Mav’s special group of pilots training for a secret mission.
Packed with stupid but equally awe-inspiring fighter jet action - Top Gun Maverick has crashed straight into my all-time favourite list and is just a full-speed treat for all your emotions!! Oh my God this is FIRE!
Honourable mentions: PREY, X, The Northman, Pearl, Barbarian, Werewolf By Night, Ambulance, Licorice Pizza, The Innocents, Hatching, Hellraiser...
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