Friday, January 20, 2023

The Top Eight Movies of 2022

Although 2022 didn't start out strong, the second-half of the year produced some great films. The list this year includes murder, depression, friendship, genius, tigers, family, struggle, art, and perhaps the greatest bromance of all-time.

Rather than attempt to squeeze three films into two spots to round out a top ten, I chose instead to list all three as honorable mentions. These include the goofy heist comedy Four Samosas, and my two favorite animated films of the year in the independent underdog Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and the underrated Pixar sci-fi flick Lightyear which would have sold me on Buzz Lightyear toys as a kid. Now on with the list...

8. The Fall of Genius

Our list kicks off with TÁR. Cate Blanchett stars as one of the world's greatest living composers whose genius doesn't prevent her from abusing her celebrity and questionable personal decisions which will bring about her downfall. Blanchett is the standout here as Todd Field's character study stays on Lydia Tár as the cracks in her carefully manicured life begin to widen and fracture in an elegant piece of filmmaking. Read the full review.

Currently still playing in select cities and available to rent on VOD.

7. Bowie

Our first of three documentaries on the list, Moonage Daydream is stuffed with clips, performances, and interviews of the English singer-songwriter. A must-see for Bowie-fans, there's also quite a bit here for casual viewers curious about Bowie's life and career presented in a visually-stunning style that fits perfectly with Bowie's music. Read the full review.

Currently on DVD available to rent on VOD.

6. Knives Out Part Deux

While Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery might not quite measure up to my favorite film of 2019, writer/director Rian Johnson's sequel to Knives Out is just about as much fun as you could have at the movies. Daniel Craig returns as Benoit Blanc out to solve another mystery involving an entertaining group of characters, including Kathryn HahnJanelle MonáeLeslie Odom Jr.Dave Bautista, and Kate Hudson as a clueless model turned fashion designer, all invited for a murder-mystery weekend by tech-billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton). As with the first film, Johnson has fun with the whodunit genre, putting his own spin on events for Blanc to untangle. Read the full review.

Currently available on Netflix.

5. An Irish Friendship

You are never quite sure where The Banshees of Inisherin is headed but you can't take your eyes off the screen in this unusual tale of a falling out between friends (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) on a small Irish isle from writer/director Martin McDonagh. Farrell and Gleeson are both terrific in this twisted and tragic tale. Read the full review.

Still playing in select cities and currently available on HBO Max.

4. Art & Activism

The second of three documentaries to make our list, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed offers an inside look at the life and career of photographer and activist Nan Goldin. There's quite a bit covered here from Goldin's childhood to her growth as an artist in the transgender communities of New York City to her quest against the Sackler family and their role in the opioid epidemic. All of the threads are expertly woven together by director Laura Poitras to provide a singular narrative worth seeking out. Read the full review.

Currently in theaters in select cities.

3. Moby Dick

Director Darren Aronofsky sat on the script for The Whale for years without knowing how to make it. Enter Brendan Fraser who stars as an isolated obese Internet professor near the end of his life. Fraser is terrific in a small cast that also boasts strong performances from both Hong Chau and Sadie Sink. If you can make it through the climactic scene without shedding a tear then you are stronger than I am. Read the full review.

Currently in theaters.

2. An American Tale

The last documentary to make the list is Bad Axe, named after the Michigan town where our story unfolds. Filmed during the pandemic, this documentary offers an inside look at an Asian-American family smack in the middle of rural Trump America struggling to keep their family business afloat in a year full of challenges as grown siblings move home to help their parents run the restaurant over the course of an exhausting year no one will forget. Read the full review.

Currently available to rent on VOD.

1. The GRRREATEST Movie of 2022

RRR is everything you could want in a movie, and more. Despite a running time of over 3 hours, the Telugu-action/drama/musical/bromance never falters or drags while delivering amazing special effects, a stark look at colonialism and racism, and a friendship for the ages. It's want you want going to the movies to be: a joyous, moving experience filled with heart brought to you by a cast and crew buying wholeheartedly into its message. In my review from earlier this year I referred to RRR as a revelation and my opinion hasn't changed. The brainchild of writer/director S.S. Rajamouli offers a fictionalized friendship between two real-life Indian revolutionaries played by N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan that is, without doubt, the very best of 2022. Read the full review.

Currently available on Netflix. 

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