We’re approaching the final moments of 2022 and we guess you know the drill. After a year of political roller coasters, an Oscars slap, and arguably the best World Cup Final, it’s time to wrap up and pause to reflect. Corporate shakeups. Crypto crashes. Celeb trials. The world in itself is an entertaining, dramatic mix.
Lest we forget the virtual world on screen, 2022 has had some bangers in that arena too. From high-flying blockbusters, multiversal madness, and hysterical biographies, this year marked a return to form for the world of cinema post-pandemic.
We witnessed high flyers like “Top Gun”, Idris Elba wrestling a lion, and the Rock’s bald scalp hurtling toward the screen. We basked in weird, colourful, tangerine moments, and slurped up Brad Pitt’s comedy. We sat in tears in the heartfelt moments, remembering superheroes that had been taken from us.
But there was one film that made us love, live, burn 20000 calories per day, and purchase a lifetime’s worth of MnMs. Without a doubt, this was definitely a movie with actors and a script.
That movie is (drum roll please)…
Okay, sorry, we just love morbin’ around. We also loved Gruing up. #gentleminions
So… despite everything that “Morbius” achieved to become the ‘most movie’ in history, the real question is, what were the films that really brought that razzle dazzle this year? What experiences stood out to us?
Without further ado, here are our top ten picks for 2022, in no particular order.
EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, ALL AT ONCE
This was the one movie that was going to make the list ever since it was released. The brainchild of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, this audacious affair is nothing short of entertaining from start to finish!
What may start out as a normal Chinese aunty struggling to pay her taxes explodes into madness as Michelle Yeoh dons the jacket of the multiverse. Hot-Diggity-dog fingers, google-eyed stones jumping off cliffs, wuxia warriors, and Wong Kar Wai homages, this film is the package.
Indeed, “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once” is an explosion of flair, drama, and all-out performances with Michelle, Stephanie Hsu and comeback kid, Ke Huy Quan all making the best of their multiple roles. It’s insanity and total boundless fun, and yet, it manages to compel viewers with its message of kindness, compassion, and themes of family all rounded up in one mighty bagel.
Indeed, it’s got everything… all at once.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
If “1917” was a message of hope and sheer determination in the face of war, “All Quiet on The Western Front” is the antithesis of such. Set within the timeline of the first World War,
We follow Felix, a young man, determined to serve his country with his mates. Nevertheless, the harsh truth sets in once he is exposed to the horrors of war. Death, destruction, and desolate cries soon overcome this battalion but there is no way out of it. The only choice they have is to fight.
Without a doubt, more and more lives get picked off one by one, until there is no one left to continue the journey.
Regardless, the cinematic quality that accompanies the tale is exquisite, allowing audiences to simmer in the sad reality that these characters are going through. There is much to revel in, from its camera work and extensive set choreography. It is harrowing, and enduring, and allows room for tension and the appropriate breaks of such.
When Robert Pattinson was first announced as the new Caped Crusader a while back, the Internet, cruel as usual, scoffed. How could this “Twilight” sparkle ever be the Dark Knight? Well, you proved em’ wrong Pat.
In a reimagined Gotham City, separate from the bleeding DC Extended Universe (pre-James Gunn of course), vengeance broods silently. It’s great to have Batman lean into his detective persona, with a camaraderie of villains to boot.
Paul Dano’s Riddler is a standout performance, Zodiac-inspired and absolutely crazed between his eye sockets. His threat is always there, and he helps to bring out the best in the world’s greatest detective. With Zoe Kravitz’s Selina Kyle and Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon teaming up with the Bat to save Gotham from being riddled with bullets, the grit and grime of dirty crime are placed front and centre, creating a narrative where Bruce is still unaware of his influence, gradually figuring out his place in the world and the acceptance of what he has become.
It’s a fulfilling watch, with a world full of storytelling opportunities. It’s safe to say that this pocket universe that Matt Reeves built will prosper and thrive with all the spinoffs that have been planned as long as they keep to this sort of tone and quality. The only thing that could probably stop the Batman is when there’s something in the waaaaeee… OOOOoooo.
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
What would you do if you’ve got one pesky mite that wouldn’t leave ya? Would you cut off yer fingers to prove a point? “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a painful comedy. And we don’t mean that we winced due to the comedy being bad. We grit our teeth at the gory sights that somehow accompany the ridiculous personas that pepper this very film.
Colin Farrell has had one heck of a year with “After Yang” and his turn as Oswald Cobblepot in “The Batman”. In this Irish piece, he plays Padraic, a character who is adamant about rekindling his friendship with Colm, played by Brendan Gleeson. The issue is that the other party really doesn’t want to have anything to do with this “stupid” man, and goes to great lengths to prove that he wishes to be left alone.
On the surface, it might seem like a whiny drama, but truly, there’s much more to it. It does get weird at times, like boy-hitting-on-a-40-year-old-woman or donkey-choking-on-a-human-finger zany stuff. It delves into the absurdities that humanity can sometimes offer. But at its core, is a tale of brotherhood and life, and the power that relationships can possess.
BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS
This is one that probably should have been given more attention. Alejandro G. Innaritu, acclaimed for works such as “The Revenant” and “Birdman” created this wonderful piece of art this year.
We’re not sure if the film’s primary language may have been a barrier but the cinematic language spoken here is definitely one of the best we’ve seen all year. Innaritu’s sensibilities showcase his talent in moulding scenes with circumstantial themes. There’s nothing quite like it. From a mystifying opening with a bunch of axolotls slipping onto a drenched train floor to a bloated man’s head as he looks up to his father, the visual subtext being presented here is calculated and crafted from an experienced eye.
As the title would have implied, “Bardo” as a film is a metaphor for life’s journey until it reaches its end. And yet, there’s its Spanish translation to take into account, which allows for humorous and amusing devices to be applied to its frames.
De hecho, esta película es una de las mejores del año. Espectacular!
“The Menu” behaves like a stand-up performer. No one is safe from being critiqued, not even criticism itself. And that’s what we love so much about it.
This dark satire from Mark Mylod starring Anya Taylor Joy and Ralph Fiennes is served like a coursed menu, marking its very beats with appetizers, entrees, and dessert. However, with every tinkle in its waiter’s bell, it devolves deeper into doom for its guests.
Ralph Fiennes’ chef is cruel and calculated, but with the unknown factor that is Anya’s Margot, the dinner plan goes askew as the street-smart and common sensibilities of the latter give the chef a taste of his own poison. The mystery of the situation beckons viewers to consume more. And the more we eat, the more precarious the cliff that these guests traverse.
Oh, and bonus points for making the food appear so appetizingly sumptuous. Seriously, we were already smacking our lips, wishing we could reach out and take whatever food was onscreen. Simply… delicacies.
DECISION TO LEAVE
It isn’t often that a movie leaves us feeling utterly empty by its conclusion… and yet, we still feel that rush of satisfaction. It is that very ironic pairing that has caused us to revisit and ponder upon its themes again and again.
Tang Wei and Hae il Park star in this cat-and-mouse game that ends up with the feline caring for that very mouse within his own house. The whole movie is riddled with ironic circumstances. Twas the beauty that envelopes Park Chan-Wook’s latest cinematic effort. Indeed, his win at Cannes this year is a testament to his directorial prowess but of course, the two performers that headline this film are mesmerizing to watch too.
In the end, it cannot be said that our protagonists manage to make the best of their circumstances. The character growth feels… redundant by its climax. Yet, somehow, the story being told here is one of a failed, forbidden relationship. It is one that should cease to exist, and yet against all odds, works. It’s beautiful, the irony of it all.
For this entry, we knew we had to have at least one horror movie to make the list. Truth be told, 2022 was a phenomenal year for terrifying films. Taiwan’s “Incantation” was disturbingly interactive. “Smile” absolutely surprised us with its commentary on mental health, and “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” was sheer dumb fun.
However, we’re here to talk about the powerhouse that is “Pearl”. T.I West released this relatively quick follow-up to his slasher, “X” with Mia Goth returning to play the starring role. While “X” focused more on being a slasher, “Pearl” takes its time to revisit memory lane, with its appreciation of the arts, all while showcasing the downward spiral that Mia Goth’s character endures.
“Please! I’m a star…”, Pearl echoes as dreams are crushed in a single motion of the proverbial hammer. All hell breaks loose as the leviathan unveils itself and brings down her wrath upon mankind. It’s an unforgettable watch of disturbing proportions, especially if we take Mia Goth’s performance into account. Like… who could spend three minutes looking into the camera while going through visible alterations of emotions throughout the credits. Creepy af.
MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON
Arguably the most adorable script of the year, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”, is a snail’s tale… or actually, we don’t really know what Marcel is… Only… that Marcel is… a mollusc… with a pair of cutesy Balenciagas or Vans on.
Formatted as a found footage documentary, the tale of Marcel (voiced by a raspy Jenny Slate) and her grandma is spoken through the lens of their host, who finds the tiny duo living within the crevices of his rental. It’s heartwarming and rewarding, but it also has moments of tragedy and emotional weight. Despite the absurdities surrounding the existence of a one-eyed talking in our world, it manages to bring out the best and not-so-veritable aspects of humanity all in one fictional biography.
The macro perspective used here allows us to peer into the details of Marcel’s daily life, as she hoppity hops and swings around using strings and perfectly placed marbles. It’s so satisfying to watch the complex mechanisms that a little calcite organism conceptualizes, along with the cute stop-motion work that makes up so much of what Marcel the shell is.
TOP GUN: MAVERICK
Tom Cruise, you crazy son of a top gun. Hell yes, he did it again!
Never in our wildest minds would we have thought that a sequel to the 1986 trooper would have been needed, much less, land right smack on our ultimate list. But it did so, spectacularly!
Of course, the high-octane thrills that were promised were always going to be a draw, but this sequel doubled down on its subordinate title, expanding and giving proper emotional heft to its titular character.
With Maverick now boasting 4 decades of seniority in the jet-fuelled field, he returns once again to guide a group of hotshots on a top-secret mission. We catch up on his field efforts as well as his personal life, as he meets up with heroes old and new.
There’s no doubt that Joseph Kosinski’s intention was to create the blockbuster for the ages. When it’s pumping that adrenaline through your veins, you feel every push. Every single engine boost, the air dives, and the Gs we experience throughout the mission are a rush. It’s a ride made for you to cheer and whoop along as the crazy action sequences unfold right before your very irises.
Truly, its box office record this year and its streaming statistics are a testament to the audiences’ approval of Mr Cruise’s insanities. It’s still the highest-grossing film of the year, with only “Avatar: The Way of Water” having the potential to surpass that number (next year).
In the end, it was a legacy movie that only took glances back at its past. There was a lot of focus ahead, and it created the need for speed from a new perspective.
And of course, who could escape hot beach football scenes set to the tunes of OneRepublic? Miles Teller’s ab swivels are unforgettable… So, we’re just going to leave this here as a parting gift.
Do you agree with our list? Do you think we’ve all been morbed beyond repair this year? Likewise, we want to know what your picks are! Tell us your favourite movies in the comments!