As 2022 comes to a close, I've gone through the 65 movies reviewed this year and settled my 10 favorites.
There were plenty of highlights and lowlights this year with it being a particularly good year for horror films which always makes me happy.
Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water delivered the goods in terms of onscreen spectacle, even if they didn't nail the story, something sorely needed after the last few years.
So, without further ado below are my 10 favorite films of 2022 in no particular order.
This list isn't necessarily based on my original grades.
There have been plenty of horror films that have tried to replicate the look and feel of Tobe Hooper's original Texas Chainsaw Massacre but never quite hitting the mark. Ti West pulled off a fun surprise with X which captured the grimy violence paired with a dark sense of humor. Its final act aims to make you squirm and it does so in spades.
The superhero genre has brought the concept of the multiverse to the masses but Everything Everywhere All At Once manages to nail the concept while delivering an emotionally poignant story which grounds the overall story.
Avatar: The Way of Water is far from a perfect film, but you can't deny the technical and visual achievements James Cameron delivered on screen. Its story never reaches those heights, but the visuals alone make it one of the more memorable big screen experiences of the year.
Alex Garland's Men isn't an easy film to digest especially as it gets more bizarre and headier in its final act. It’s the type of film that stays with you whether you loved or hated it due to searing imaginary and stellar performances from its two leads.
Martin McDonagh's films tend to be as darkly funny as they are pensive and deep. The Banshees of Inisherin reteams him with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for the first time since In Bruges. The result is an immensely watchable film that's as funny, sad and meaningful as their previous collaboration.
By this point in time, another Elvis biopic seems like beating a dead horse into the ground, but Baz Luhrmann's name was enough to get me intrigued. His exuberant, kinetic style paired with a career making performance from Austin Butler elevate the film making it feel more like a fantasy than reality.
For me, Jordan Peele's first two films were overpraised for my taste. I enjoyed them but can't say either one really blew me away. I expected more of the same with Nope and was genuinely taken aback at how much I enjoyed his twisty, genre bending film. Peele keeps you off balance by toying with your expectations throughout and once the reveal occurs you are either all in or rolling your eyes. Needless to say, I was in the first camp.
Sometimes you run across something unexpected and original like Marcel the Shell with Shoes. Its stop motion star is charming and lovable, but the story's arch is surprisingly profound, moving and heartfelt.
When I heard that Ti West and Mia Goth had written and shot a prequel to X I thought it was interesting but figured it would be a nice companion piece at best. I was utterly unprepared for the visual flair and overall craftmanship they both delivered on screen. This film is its own living breathing entity, a distinct and separate creation which more than stands on its own. Mia Goth double role in X was impressive but with Pearl she exceeds it in everyway, capped off with a monologue for the ages.
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