So 2022 was the first year when cinemas got back to some sort of normality after almost two years of lockdowns when all of us were confined to our houses with only the politicians allowing themselves to break restrictions and then bare faced lying to the public ( and police) about it. Like many years 2022 saw films that deserved to do well flop but at the same time there were several films that came out of nowhere to great acclaim. Now to be fair we’ve selected from the films we have reviewed on the website which is almost everything released. Some of our choices might surprise but they’re based on films we loved as much as films that were cinematically great. So here we go starting with the best……
So this was a surprise horror hit that came out of nowhere that follows a woman having booked an AirBnB only to find that there’s another guy there who’s also booked it. With nowhere else to stay that night she takes his offer to stay there for the night before her job interview. To say anymore would spoil what is a delightfully twisted story split into three very separate acts that all feed into one another. Read our review HERE.
Originally intended for streaming audience reactions prompted a change of heart by the distributor earning it a theatrical release and making $45m at the worldwide box office. Going into this knowing as little as possible will reap dividends.
So we were treated to a very much advance screening so much so that several effects shots were not yet completed and where it was still not known if this would get a theatrical release. Essentially a high concept pitch Fall saw two friends trapped at the top of a 2000 foot radio tower unable to get down. Read our review HERE. It’s the stuff of straight to DVD fodder and yet it’s hard to remember when we last sat in a screening room of jaded film journalists getting the jitters at what director Scott Mann had brilliantly constructed.
On a big IMAX screen the effect was even more effective in what is possibly the most vertigo inducing film ever committed to celluloid (or at least digital). Ten years ago this would have been in 3D but it doesn’t need it so superbly shot is the film that anyone with a fear of heights will certainly have an issue getting through the first act. Released at the tail end of summer it was a suitable end to the blockbuster season and yet this modestly budgeted film was far better than films with fifty times its budget and the film made a modest $17m. An immensely enjoyable disaster film with a genuine sense of peril
We spoke to director Scott Mann about the making of the film….
Based on the Akira Kurusawa film. ‘Ikuru’ Living is set in 1953 London with Bill Nighy as a repressed civil servant re-evaluating his life after a devastating piece of news. Bill Nighy is peerless in the film emotionally stunted his character sets about doing something for others and in turn leave his mark in life. read our review HERE
Of all the films we saw this year this was undoubtedly the one film that left us reeling and considering our own lives – and even months after having watched the film it still resonates. Bill Nighy has never been better and frankly he should win awards galore but we can’t help but feel that he will lose out to Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Nonetheless, perhaps more for mature audiences Living is a film that will have you reconsidering your own life choices, It’s that good.
We chatted with director Oliver Hermanus about the making of the film……
Over the past 10 years or so documentaries have really become a force to be reckoned with and Brett Morgan has pedigree with previous productions that include The Kid Stays in the Picture and Montage of Heck- a documentary that looked at the fleeting 27 years of life that Kurt Cobain was with us. Moonage Daydream saw him turn his attention to the late great David Bowie in what is an exhilarating whirling dervish of a film that draws you in to the world of the pop star, actor, artist and all round polymath. Here was a talent who didn’t want to waste a moment exploring and pushing his own artistic boundaries and to a certain degree it shared a theme with Living namely to live your life to the fullest whenever possible. Albeit it was overlong at 2 hours and fifteen minutes but nonetheless the effect was enthralling. Read our review HERE
The Predator franchise which had started off so well with Schwarzenegger’s original slowly fizzled, crashed and burned with 2018’s The Predator. It was little wonder that any further films would be unlikely and expectations for Prey were low and it was little surprise that it went to streaming. A 20th Century Fox franchise film the studio had been bought up by Disney and yet what we got was a much needed reboot resetting the film back to the early 1800’s of America with Amber Midthunder as a Native American proving her worth to her tribal elders and in turn facing off to the predator. Read our review HERE.
It was enormously enjoyable and deserved a big screen release something that is more than likely now with future films. Director Dan Trachtenberg, whose previous included the highly effective 10 Cloverfield Lane (another monster movie franchise film). We spoke to him and actress Amber Midthunder about their experiences making the film….
With production hit by the pandemic and lock downs, a near three hour running time and fan outrage at Robert Pattinson in the title role things didn’t not look good for the latest incarnation for the Dark Knight. What was not taken into consideration by the fans was that helming the film was director matt reeves who had given us one of the most stable trilogies with his Planet of the Apes trilogy reboot. After Batman Vs Superman had drawn flack and derision as had Justice League (whichever cut of the film you chose to watch) Reeves was the right man at the right time giving a gritty film with Pattinson proving himself up to the job matched by a brilliant and unrecognisable Colin Farrell as the Penguin and the always excellent Paul Dano as The Riddler. read our review HERE This was a world away from the CGI fests that the Marvel films have become and was all the better for it in a film that rewards repeat viewings. Frankly we can’t wait to see Reeves sequel
Look what we found beneath the streets of London in the batcave…….
Director Robert Eggers has an unmistakable style as seen with his debut feature the Witch and later The Lighthouse and he bought his A game to The Northman his big budgeted Viking epic was like nothing ever committed to screen before in the genre as a young prince embarks on a quest to avenge the death of his father. Read our review HERE. Eggers work attracted Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor Joy, Willem Dafoe and even Bjork in what was one of 2022’s visually most distinctive films. Eggers highly individual style gave it a look like no other film released that year with stunning sequences that included a battle set against an erupting volcano and Skarsgard leading an assault on a village striding through the houses slaughtering anyone in his path. It was a faithfully researched film that included scenes perhaps too much for some audiences ( the torching of a house packed with children was both upsetting and disturbing yet based on fact) and the film budgeted at around $80m earned only $69m at the box office. Eggers flair for film is like no other and we hope that failure at the box office will not put of studios financing any future films of his.
Top Gun Maverick
A film that was waited two years to be released due to the worldwide lockdown with its star Tom Cruise having enough clout to ensure the studio didn’t renege and push it onto streaming like so many others. He was right because when the film was released 36 years after the original film it was huge with its story of a jet fighter pilot training other pilots on what would seem a suicide mission. Read our review HERE. With brilliant set pieces and stunts with Cruise as ever doing most of them himself and seen on a huge IMAX screen demonstrated that this was the type of film that was so suited to the cinema experience. Audiences agreed and Avatar 2 aside Top Gun Maverick made $1.48billion and was by far the best summer blockbuster of 2022
We chatted with two of the stars about what Tom Cruise put then through…
Honourable mentions also to…….
Phantom of the Open – read our review HERE
Official Competition – read our review HERE
And so to the Worst of 2022. Having had a look through our list there were fewer than we expected but here are the ones that stood out….
A big budget all star film from writer-director David O Russell centred around a true story from US political history (read our review HERE)and what should be an engrossing mystery is allowed to become a bloated. meandering star stuffed drama with many of the star turns wasted. Audiences kept away with the film earning a paltry $31m with estimates putting the film losing over $100m. O’Russell has always been able to attract major talent to his films but his last big hit was 2013’s American Hustle and studios may well start to bristle at any expensive projects he might want to pitch from hereon.
Here’s David O Russell plus cast members at the European premiere of Amsterdam…
Bones and All
Now this was certainly a case of loved by the critics and ignored by the public sort of film with a story of a young girl who befriends Lee and both share a fondness for cannibalism and whilst they love on the fringes of society they soon find themselves at risk from a fellow flesh eater. Starring Timothee Chalamet who teams up once again with director Luca Guadagnino they are joined by Mark Rylance who can do no wrong (and this was one of several films he had appeared in in 20022 that included the highly entertaining The Outfit and the comedy Phantom of the Open) but here he is frequently seen tottering across screen in a pair of sagging white Y-fronts and a stained vest that makes out own Editor look a picture of sartorial elegance (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed) . But Bones and All was lauded by critics and hated by audiences with perhaps the graphic cannibalism off putting for many and frankly if we want to see someone gluttonously pigging out with food smeared faces we’d go to an all you can eat buffet and watch Gemma Collins. Chalamet is a heart throb and an unusually good actor too and starred in Dune one of 2021’s best films whereas Bones and All just pushed audiences to makes moans and all at what they saw on screen and perhaps understandably so. Read our review HERE