MY FAVOURITE FILMS OF 2022

Here are my favourite films of 2022.
There were many this year, more than usual.
I have mostly put them in the order that I saw them except for my number 1 (which is last). It was cemented at top spot the moment I saw it……..

Let me know what you enjoyed this year in the comments below.


AFTER YANG

After Yang poster


This was the first film I saw this year that really impressed me. Enough to buy the book with the short story that the film was based on: Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein which contained the short ‘Saying Goodbye to Yang’.
This was a delicate treatise on life, death and love and was directed with heart and deftness by Kogonada who also directed 4 episodes of one of my favourite tv series based on my favourite book of 2022, Pachinko.
The first of Colin Farrell’s great performances that I saw this year and beautifully supported by Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Hayley Lu Richardson (who appeared later on in the year in The White Lotus season 2) and Justin H Min imbuing Yang with so much humanity and life.
Intelligent with something to say. Huzzah.


DRIVE MY CAR

Drive My Car poster


I love Haruki Murakami’s writing. He may even be my favourite author. I hadn’t read the short that the film was based on but I read it before I saw this. It was based on 2 stories from his collection Men Without Women (Scheherezade and Kino).
I think this may have been released in 2021 but I saw it in 2022 so…….
Ryusuke Hamaguchi deservedly won the Academy Award for this lovely film that didn’t feel like its 3 hour running time as the performances were interesting and the story was paced really well. Lovely.


THE INNOCENTS


This Swedish horror film directed by Eskil Vogt was so well put together with a seemingly limited budget and the tension, cinematography and performances from the kids elevated it to land on this list.
With a nice title nod to the 1961 classic horror film The Innocents based on Henry James’ short story ‘The Turn of the Screw’. This supernatural thriller is intelligent, scary and brilliant.
Let’s see how long it takes for Hollycould or Hollydud to remake this brilliant horror film.
Ignore the remake if it ever comes and check out this great piece of cinema.


THE BLACK PHONE

The Black Phone poster


This was a good one. Ethan Hawke manages to pull off some great acting mostly hidden by a mask. The younger actors were all very good, Mason Thames plays the lead and is supported tremendously by Madeleine McGraw who plays his sister and gives the stand-out performance of the film. Written by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King and directed by Scott Derrickson, this horror introduces a very creepy bad guy, the Grabber, who is the stuff of nightmares, kidnapping children throughout the years. The tension is palpable and here we have one of many top horror films of 2022.


PREY

Prey poster


The best Predator film ever???? Don’t shoot me. I saw this three times and enjoyed it every time. The pace, the structure, the callbacks, the references, the performances, the action were all grade A, spot on. I have only seen the original Predator and revisited it again after seeing this 35 years after I originally saw it. It is a fun film that was better than I remembered but the testosterone was uncontrollably flying out of the screen in that classic patriarchal ’80’s style. It was fun though. Prey is a massively enjoyable action film that puts a female front and centre and an America Indian/Native American at that.
Amber Midthunder has arrived and I’m sure we’ll see more of her. 


MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On poster


This might have been the sweetest film I saw this year. Based on a short animated film by comedian, Jenny Slate (who also appears in my number one film of the year….) this is about a mollusc whose family has disappeared, apart from his Grandmother, exceptionally voiced by Isabella Rossellini, and his day to day life living in an AirBnB. His journey is documented by the current AirBnB guest, played by director Dean Fleischer Camp.

It is moving, gentle, charming and above all funny.


X

X poster


PEARL

Pearl poster


Ti West’s double whammy is a welcome addition to the horror genre that in 2022 had a great injection of imagination and re-invention. Horror has always been looked down on as a less than worthy genre and now it seems to be getting its flowers. X is about an adult film shoot on a farm that goes left pretty quickly and Pearl is about the lady of the farm as a young girl.
Mia Goth plays Pearl and also the heroine of X!!!! She is so so good.
Nominate her for an Oscar for both films please. Her performances in both are astounding.
X is like a traditional slasher film with a twist, Chainsaw Massacre style and Pearl is like a mash-up of horror and an old hollywood film. Fantastically twisted and brilliant.


DECISION TO LEAVE

Decision To Leave poster


Park Chan Wook is back delivering class and style for days. Here, he gives us a romantic thriller, which is a weird genre mash-up if you think about it.
A detective investigating a man’s death meets the man’s wife whilst trying to solve the case.
This feels like a classic thriller with touches of Hitchcock thrown in for good measure.
The cinematography is stunning as we would expect from Park Chan Wook and the cast is tremendous led by Park Hae Il as the detective and Chinese actress Tang Wei as the dead man’s wife.
The style oozes out of this brilliant film.


BODIES BODIES BODIES

Bodies Bodies Bodies poster


A24 does it again. This is whip-smart. Euphoria meets Halloween. Female led, funny as fuck and with a soundtrack that rocks this horror-comedy about a group of friends staying together in a big house owned by the parents of Pete Davidson’s character for a weekend that turns pretty sour pretty quickly.
Friendships dissolve, tensions mount and people die. 


A HERO

A Hero poster


I saw this on a plane earlier in the year and was really impressed. A man is in jail for a debt he was unable to pay and is released for a two day leave. He sort of tries to do a good deed and gets caught up in his own lie and complicates his life further. This is an intelligent film about the idea of ‘doing good’ and the agendas behind the deed. Directed by Iranian Academy Award winning director, Asghar Farhadi, this is a film that takes you on a journey about an unlucky soul and his efforts to make amends.


THE QUIET GIRL

The Quiet Girl poster


Another one that surprised me. It was on at the Sydney Film Festival and was quite rightly lauded with praise. Set in rural Ireland in 1981 this is a story of a young girl who is sent to a distant cousins for the summer as her dysfunctional parents can’t afford to keep her and don’t seem to have the love to give her. She gets to experience what its like to be properly looked after and cared for. It is heart-breaking and very touching in an implied way rather than overly sentimental. The film is mostly in Gaelic and thus allows the viewer to be placed in the thick of the story.
First time feature director Colm Bairéad delivers a touching film about family and a special mention must go to the lead actress Catherine Clinch who imbues Cáit with such humanity and honest energy I would be surprised if we didn’t see her cropping up again and again in the near future.


BARBARIAN

Barbarian poster


This was probably the most surprising movie of the year. It came along with a publicity trail that for once was deserved. The trailer was brilliantly mysterious and didn’t give away any of the fucked up plot. It was scary, surprising and paced along nicely.
Best for you to go in as blind as possible and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.


BROKER

Broker poster


Stealing babies and selling them on sounds like a horror film, right? How Kore-eda Hirokazu manages to make this warm, funny, moving film is a feat indeed. He is helped along by the immense talent of Song Kang Ho and the rest of the cast who manage to form a functionally dysfunctional slap shoddy family of sorts.
Read my review HERE.


TRIANGLE OF SADNESS

Triangle of Sadness poster


This was so so good and deservedly the recipient of the Palme D’Or at Cannes this year. A scathing indictment of the spoilt wealthy tier of society, this is satire at its finest.
Director Ruben Östlund is landing classic after classic and this is no exception.
Check out my review HERE.


EMERGENCY DECLARATION

Emergency Declaration poster


The action film of the year delivers on all levels. It is a lesson on how to make a film with all the elements. The characters are built up with proper foundation so that when jeopardy arrives the audience is invested. The second film starring Song Kang Ho of this year here, he plays a cop who is trying to thwart a potential airline disaster. Also starring another South Korean superstar actor, Lee Byung Hun this was my favourite actioner of the year.


THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN

The Banshees of Inershin poster


A late contender as I only saw it a couple of days ago but thoroughly enjoyed it. This intimate, witty, commentary on war, both personal and societal is written and directed beautifully by Martin McDonough coming off the back of Three Billboards and reuniting the mighty Colin Farrell and the brilliant Brendan Gleeson and co-starring the always interesting Barry Keoghan and the always great Kerry Condon this tale of a friendship gone sour shows that nothing lasts forever.


EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE

Everything Everywhere All at Once poster


I have gushed about this to most everyone I know. Give it all the awards.
This is my number one favourite film of the year 2022.
Heart warming, surprising, beautiful, funny, daring, out-there, imaginative, inventive, hot dog fingers, the music, the choreography, the acting, the direction, everything, everything everything…..all at once.
An absolute gem of a film.
My review from earlier in the year is HERE.


Actor of the year-Colin Farrell.
He was subtle and gentle in After Yang, rough as guts in The North Water, funny and massively watchable as the Penguin in The Batman and slow and again funny in The Banshees of Inershin.
He wins 2022.


Fun Fact: The film company, A24 had 6 films in the above list (After Yang, Marcel, X, Pearl, Bodies Bodies Bodies and Everything Everywhere) so A24 wins 2022 for distribution and inventiveness.

The list in full:
After Yang
Drive My Car
The Innocents
The Black Phone
Prey
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
X
Pearl
Decision to Leave
Bodies Bodies Bodies
A Hero
The Quiet Girl
Barbarian
Broker
Triangle of Sadness
Emergency Declaration
The Banshees of Inershin
Everything Everywhere All at Once


I hope you enjoyed my list. Art is after all totally subjective so there are no wrong answers (for the most part ;O))

Let me know what your faves were in the comments below.
I appreciate y’all.
Merry new year.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (2022)

A24 does it again.

It is a rare occurrence for me to see a film at the cinema twice in a short period of time and I am lucky that this film was popular enough to remain showing at the cinema on its first run. I saw this one three months apart and after seeing it earlier in the year in April I knew I had seen one of my favourite films of the year, I wanted to revisit to see if I still felt the same way.

I did. Even moreso, if possible. I have yet to see one that has topped it this year.
In the 3 months between seeing it I had listened to the soundtrack by Son Lux many times and so when watching it for the second time I was very familiar with the music which gave me a deeper experience.

Son Lux is an experimental musical band that was originally the brainchild of Ryan Lott, and transformed into a three piece on their fourth album Bones and now includes Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia. Listening to their soundtrack of this film led me to listening to some of their earlier pieces. They are definitely worth a listen and this soundtrack is brilliant featuring flute playing from Andre 3000 from Outkast and the song This is a Life featuring Mitski and David Byrne being a stand out track. Listen below:

This film crosses genres and manages to defy categorization. What is it?
It is a sci-fi, kung-fu, action film, romantic comedy and a family drama and manages to skate between each with ease and skill. This is no easy feat.

Stephanie Tsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan

Written and directed by The Daniels, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, they weave a wonderful tale about a Chinese-American family going through an existential crisis whilst being audited by the tax office and consequently thrust into the multiverse.

Michelle Yeoh is wonderful as usual and here she plays Evelyn Wang and gets to show off many sides to her acting abilities, most notably her comedic skills, Ke Huy Quan plays Waymond Wang (Evelyn’s husband) and he returns to the world of acting after many years (this is a long way from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies), Stephanie Tsu plays their daughter, Joy Wang and gives one of the most enjoyable, entertaining and unhinged performances I have seen for a while, she has a lot of fun with the character, James Wong plays Evelyn’s father Gong Gong, the actor still going strong at 92 years young. Also starring is the wonderful Jamie Leigh-Curtis as the tax auditor assigned to Evelyn Wang’s case and she is brilliant. Her comedy timing is spot on and she shows again why she is one of the most entertaining actors out there. Special mentions go out to Jenny Slate and her dog and Harry Shum Jr and his raccoon.

The film reminds me of the joke;

‘A Buddhist monk, visiting New York City for the first time in twenty years, walked up to a hot dog vendor, handed him a twenty dollar bill, and said,
“Make me one with everything.”
The vendor pocketed the money, and handed the Buddhist monk his hot dog. The monk, after waiting for a moment, asked for his change. The vendor looked at him and said, “Change comes from within.”
With a wistful smile, the monk walked away.’

A film with everything on it if you will but it never feels overloaded. The multiverse aspect is used to the fullest extent and the images and ideas come in thick and fast.

It takes quite a film to affect me in such a way; this film managed to tread un-mined areas.
It was a surprise. There were moments that were unexpected and definitely came out of left-field. This is another reason that I loved it. The film made my eyes leak both times, even more so the second time. It moved me, film should move you, in one way or another, surely that’s the point of it. It is art, after all.

This is a film about limitless possibilities and the idea that the grass is rarely greener.
We are exactly where we are meant to be.
If you don’t like it, change it.

Michelle Yeoh knows Kung Fu

In essence this film is about, love, laundry and taxes with a dash of mental health.
Isn’t everything all about mental health in the end?
It is about hope, acceptance, bagels, family, the infinite possibilities, the choices we make, our dreams and our realities.

A quick note about the production and distribution company A24. Founded in 2012 they have gone from strength to strength and are now a well established company that is, at least for me, a benchmark of quality, they co-produced with HBO, the excellent tv series Euphoria and the also brilliant recent fare, Irma Vep, notable films on their roster include: Enemy, A Most Violent Year, Ex Machina, Amy, Room, The Witch, 20th Century Women, The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lady Bird, Hereditary, Midsommar, The Lighthouse, Minari, The Green Knight, After Yang, X and recently Alex Garland’s nutty horror film Men. I get excited when I see the logo. It usually means I’m in for a treat and this treat was absolutely delicious.

Jamie Leigh-Curtis, Stephanie Tsu, Michelle Yeoh and James Wong

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a truly beautiful film that is funny, moving, surprising and exciting.

Do yourself a favour, go ahead, watch it and be moved.

2 hours and 19 minutes

5/5