A list of 2022 releases seen this year at theaters in SF and Sydney, and on VOD.
Initial tweet-reactions to the higher rated films included. In alphabetical order, by star rating…
– 5⭐ –
A Love Song
A gentle, pure, mighty love story, aged just right. Kinda shocked a relative youngster wrote and directed this! Also the best Wes Anderson film of the last decade.
All That Breathes
Forget the other bird drama and take this majestic act of selflessness in. An urban nature documentary in the truest sense, and un-Attenborough in the best possible way.
Somebody call 911, because Michael Bay is back, better than ever. Seriously! His frenetic, hyper-stylised, idealised version of America makes for peak action comedy. Gyllenhaal goes ham. The screenplay is above its pay grade.
Avatar: The Way of Water
You know how every Marvel movie has a meaninglessness, unsatisfying large battle at the end? This is the opposite of that. Cameron has set the new benchmark for a movie-going experience, and his purposeful use of technology to achieve that is front and centre.
The variable framerate makes current cinema look like a relic. I hated it to date, but I’m a believer now. There are entire ecosystems created, the actors faces and emotions are right there, and the spirituality feels honest and earned.
Drive My Car
A tranquil, soul-soothing ode to language and stories. A call to keep on keeping on. More than happy to let you think along the way with its moments of visual silence. Hamaguchi’s sensibility makes it what it is. Repetition does not spoil the prayer.
Witnessing such personal evolution and growth feels like an act of self-care, and against the tide of how most artist docos go. The archival concert footage slays. Thought the speakers were going to explode at the start!
Jordan Peele has created a landmark sci-fi film, Black owned and operated. Love that he said nope to a bunch of normal plot devices that accompany the UFO genre. And those Gordy scenes!
My feeble, Hollywood-centric, physics-abiding mind has been opened to the real meaning of a bromance blockbuster. As wholesome as Paddington, but with a slaughter you’ll relish as much as marmalade. I think I counted 15 rounds of applause throughout the screening!
Cate Blanchett is a one of one generational talent and my goodness does this confirm things. Who else could have even come close to playing this? A luxurious, assured flex from both her, and a director who hasn’t had a film come to light in 16 years.
– 4.5⭐ –
What a way to introduce yourself to the world, Charlotte Wells! Some truly crushing scenes, and a stellar, lived in set of performances from Mescal and Corio to make the relationship easy to invest in.
A symphony of kinetic tracking shots, escalating tensions, and unhealed anger. The 10min+ opening shot is virtuoso filmmaking.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Asks a deceptively simple question and follows it to the bitter end. Turns out, it’s not you it’s me. The cast has to be a lock for best ensemble. Colin Farrell is having himself a year!
Smart, unhinged horror that toys with its structure after an excellent build up of dread. Even manages to be funny!
This is one of those roles of a lifetime, and Austin Butler wiggles on up and totally nails it. It’s not a one-note gimmick either. Luhrmann’s hyperactive direction paired with the Parker POV is a minor distraction at times.
Rian Johnson’s timing is impeccable with his punching bag villain that is all Elon. More Benoit Blanc-isms, more fun, and Janelle Monae gets a lot of room to play!
A sickening character study. Every choice heightens the uneasiness, and Caleb Landry Jones is frightening. Sadly, can’t think of a better film to represent today’s (well, everyday’s) events.
Joel Edgerton is DIALLED IN, suffocating the audience by proxy with his fear. There’s a sourness to the direction that’s hard to shake.
Top Gun: Maverick
Another showcase for Cruise to take the action genre to new heights with his brand of insane, extended “stunts”. The structure and direction are a mach 10 improvement over the original. It’s also more than happy to be sappy.
The Tragedy of Macbeth
The light and composition is flat-out godly, and I have no doubt Shakespeare himself would approve. The dialogue is a test of concentration for thy feeble, modern, attention-amiss mind. Release a photobook already.
– 4⭐ –
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Bones And All
Decision to Leave
Emily the Criminal
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Hit the Road
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
– 3.5⭐ –
Crimes of the Future
Fire of Love
– 3⭐ –
Three Thousand Years of Longing
– 2.5⭐ –
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
The Gray Man
Spider-Man: No Way Home
– 2⭐ –
Death on the Nile
Don’t Worry Darling
– 1⭐ –
Thor: Love and Thunder
Joke after joke falls completely flat. And that’s 90% of the runtime. Waititi’s ego has got the better of him. His presence in front of, and behind the camera makes this a mess.