2022 is drawing to a close and following two years of the pandemic we have now seen the cinema open up again and there was plenty of excitement for film fans to look forward to this year.
Check out our favourite films of 2022 below:
Unbelievably original and freakishly scary, writer/director Zach Cregger’s Barbarian was one extremely clever piece of horror that came right out of left field and delivered on all the terror. From its foreboding opening scenes to the excessive gore of its closing moments, Barbarian was a hell of a watch, and it really put the fear into audiences. This was a film that was unexpected and completely took audiences by surprise and its jump scares and repellent horror elements made for one of the best horror experiences of the year.
Noted filmmaker Joe Wright returned behind the camera for the opulent tale of the historical classic Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano, and this musical-historical-romance was a cinematic extravaganza. Show with a very luxurious eye and styled with beautiful baroqueness this film explores the very notion of love and its control over our souls. Peter Dinklage again commanded the very centre of the screen and as an audience member you could not but be caught up in the beauty and elegance of this amazing work.
Visionary director Guillermo del Toro brought his unique gothic sensibilities to the outlaw carnival realm of the 1930s in his gripping and intense psychological thriller Nightmare Alley. And the result was film noir with a mean sense of bite. Re-adapting William Lindsay Gresham classic thriller to the big screen, del Toro narrowed in on the complexities of power and the dark side of man as Bradley Cooper’s ambitious carnie Stanton ‘Stan’ Carlisle would do anything for fame and fortune. With its dramatic scale and nerve-racking vigour, Nightmare Alley was a cinematic experience that kept audiences on edge the whole way through.
A cinematic experience of full force, Robert Eggers’ The Northman was a teutonic movie of epic power and bold mythology and in watching it you felt the full fury of the Viking Age. Balancing the blood-letting ferocity of the past with the mysticism of the pagan era, The Northman was a beast of a movie and its savage power made you sit up in your seat. Alexander Skarsgard went to an extreme edge to become the murderous Prince Amleth, and this was a cinematic presentation that hit with the force of a battle axe!
Renowned for his mastery of the cinematic arts, Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers was a piece of cinema that completely wrapped you up in the complexity of its layered storytelling and its dramatic severity made a lasting impact on the audience. Exploring themes of love, motherhood, family, trauma and history, Parallel Mothers was a film that surprised you at every moment and its narrative turns led to plenty of shocking exposition. Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit created a very meaningful sense of chemistry between one another, and all of Almodóvar’s creativity and focus were refined down in this picture.
With a brooding film noir presence director Matt Reeves brought the Dark Knight back to cinemas and this was a new type of Batman that audiences had never witnessed before. Laced with shadows and psychological complexity, The Batman was a rough and tumble portrait of an all-new Batman and it made for a very severe watch. Robert Pattinson brought a new quality to his obsessive and extreme portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman, which was matched with the seductive sensuality of Zoe Kravitz Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Then there was the psychopathic villainy of Paul Dano’s The Riddler and the old-school gangster bravado of Colin Farrell’s The Penguin, and all of it made for a new kind of watch. The Batman was bold and operatic in its cinematic presentation and its opening 20 minutes is some of the best cinematic presence ever captured on film. A new Dark Knight rose with The Batman, and audiences were spellbound.
After 13 years visionary filmmaker James Cameron returned to cinemas with the much-awaited sequel to his 2008 triumph Avatar, with Avatar: The Way of Water, and this was an utter masterpiece. Pushing the art of cinema further than it had ever been pushed before, Avatar: The Way of Water dialled up the technology of its storytelling to present an utterly beautiful presentation, and the action and intensity of this film ran at speed. Cameron jumped on the accelerator with this picture, and for those lucky enough to see it in IMAX, this was a film that delivered on the sheer scale that only cinema can present.
With its heartfelt storyline, loveable characters and gorgeous haute couture style, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was simply one of the best films of the year and audiences would be spellbound by its presentation. Anchored by a flawless performance by Lesley Manville, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was a beautiful movie-going experience right from start and you couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the lovely little story. Every part of this production came together with a beautiful sense of refined elegance and it was an utterly magical piece of cinema to watch.
In terms of cinematic satire, nothing was sharper this year than director Mark Mylod’s The Menu and from beginning to end audiences were in for one hell of a shock. With a pitch-perfect cast, clever narrative, elegant decor and acute moments of horror, The Menu was horror cinema with a pulse and it certainly served up something new to the genre. Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes engaged in one hell of a standoff in this picture, and the shock factor of this picture kept the audience guessing at every single moment.
In 2022 Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise once again stepped back onto the flight deck and buckled in for the adrenaline rush of Top Gun: Maverick as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, and this was a film that pulled audiences right back into the danger zone. With its non-stop adrenaline, heartfelt nostalgia and cinematic technology that put you right into the centre of an F-18 at full velocity, this was a blockbuster extravaganza and it was a picture that brought audiences back to the power of the cinema. From beginning to end, Top Gun: Maverick was a rush of energy and fun, and audiences looking to have their adrenaline maxed out were well rewarded by this picture. It was just AWESOME!
But when it comes to the cinema of 2022 one film reigned supreme and that was Baz Luhrmann’s auteur rock ‘n’ roll epic Elvis! And damn did this picture groove. With his unique sense of glamour, style and pop energy, Luhrmann brought the life of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll , Elvis Presley, to the cinema as only he could. This was a film of pure spectacle and marked rising star Austin Butler as one performer to seriously keep an eye on. His commitment was complete and total and he rocked out completely as The King! Elvis was a cinematic experience of pure energy and you found yourself fully grooving out in your seat with this picture, and watching it in the dark of the cinema, with a full audience around me was one of the best experiences of the year.