Best Movies of 2022
by Albert DeSantis
Honourable mentions: Top Gun: Maverick, Prey, Emily the Criminal, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, The Menu, Nope, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, All Quiet on the Western Front
10. Thor: Love and Thunder
A hilariously weird, and emotional flick that skips from comedic zaniness to heartfelt pathos. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is visited by his former girlfriend, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who controls his old magic hammer. When the children of Asgard are kidnapped by Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), Jane, Thor, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (writer and director Taika Waititi) and a pair of screaming goats go on a mission to Eternity. There’s silliness with sentient weapons, tragedy with Jane, darkness with Gorr and awesome lightning bunny blasting set to November Rain. Space Viking life is wild as the insane tonal flipping is a feature, not a bug.
9. Three Thousand Years of Longing
A Djinn (Idris Elba) comes into the possession of a lonely academic, Alithea (Tilda Swinton) and relates his history of thousands of years of love, loss, and magic. Director George Miller (Mad Max) makes a fascinating anthology that bends genres, tones and stylistic extremes. There’s the Djinn falling for the beautiful Queen of Sheeba, palace intrigue, feeble heirs to the throne and knowledge as a curse. Elba’s Djinn has a world weariness from eons of being discarded but still pushes Alithea to love. The real joy is the visual spectacle presented with lush, colourful vibrancy across the centuries.
8. Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe
The modern world may have changed but Beavis and Butt-Head (voiced by creator Mike Judge), totally haven’t. While screwing around on a space shuttle in ‘90s they fall through a wormhole into 2022. The boys find cell phones and think they’re awesome little TVs, e-paying their way into nacho excess, and amazing benefits of free stuff from White Privilege. But things get crazier when the multiverse of Beavis and Butt-Head threatens to crack. It’s awesome to see them return and proclaim if something “rules” or “sucks” in a new world, and the dumbness of their responses becomes sublimely hilarious.
7. The Whale
A profound experience about an obese shut-in, Charlie (Brendan Fraser), and his struggle for love. His friend and nurse, Liz (Hong Chau) is desperately trying to save him when into Charlie’s world lands an overzealous religious missionary, Thomas (Ty Simpkins), and Charlie’s estranged daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink). Sink had quite a 2022 from reading essays to Fraser in The Whale and running up that hill from Venca in Stranger Things, and she nails teenage rage but slowly uncovering empathy for her absentee father. Fraser’s performance is heart wrenching as director Darren Aronofsky finds moments of power in Charlie’s life.
A horror movie that twists and shocks with laughs and surprises. Tess (Georgina Campbell) has stopped at an air BnB and finds another man, Keith (Bill Skarsgård) already there. Is it bad luck or something sinister? Eventually, the arrival of a disgraced actor, AJ (Justin Long) further complicates matters. The reveals of the layers of the house are great, bursts of humour from AJ add levity, and the flashbacks into the origins are compellingly disturbing. Featuring one of the best song end credits needle drops in 2022 and a motivation for a monster that makes twisted sense.
5. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
An ingenious blend of stop-motion and live action, Marcel is a talking and walking shell. The warmly innocent voice-over by Jenny Slate gives Marcel life. He is living with his grandmother (Isabella Rossellini) after his shell family disappeared with the previous owner. After he becomes a YouTube sensation, Marcel learns about the wide world, deals with his grandmother’s fading health, and the binding power of 60 Minutes. Marcel is funny, cute, philosophical, and heartbreaking as the shell connects to a larger universe simply sitting by a window.
4. Banshees of Inisherin
A sad yet darkly amusing tale set in 1923 about Padraic (Colin Farrell) and his best friend, Colm (Brendan Gleeson) who doesn’t want to be Padraic’s friend anymore. What starts off as a simple dismissal gets worse as Colm reactions get more extreme. There’s also Padraic’s frustrated sister, Siobhan (Kerry Condon), the local yahoo Dominic (Barry Keoghan) awkwardly taking the place of Padraic’s friend, and Dominic’s abusive police officer father, Peadar (Gary Lydon) tormenting them. What is darkly funny is the lengths that Colm will go to convince Padraic he’s not his friend (he just thinks Padraic is a distraction), leading to an inevitably tragic resolution.
3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
A superhero origin story that also is a meditation upon grief. When Wakanda’s King T’Challa dies, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) seeks to protect her country’s precious vibranium supply, made more difficult when the sea dwelling Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) arrives. T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), must make important decisions about the mantle of the Black Panther. With great widescreen action, solid comedic relief from M’Baku (Winston Duke), the core is Shuri accepting the loss of her brother and using the power of the Black Panther to move on as she becomes what she could always be.
2. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is invited to a weekend Murder Mystery party on the private island of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) and his group of Disruptors but things get complicated when someone ends up dead for real. There’s fantastic, looping narrative trickery and the Disruptors are a fascinating bunch of weirdos and schemers. The fun is in a hilariously snarky, satirical script that constantly upends conventions. Writer and director Rian Johnson tweaks what the audience knows as genius Benoit Blanc confronts his biggest weakness, solving something dumb.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
An inventive sci-fi movie with heart. A laundry store owner, Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), is told by her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan, alternately awesome and heartbreaking), that she can tap into the multiverse to acquire powers. And the threat of breaking all reality is personified by their own daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Everything bounces between multiverses as characters become movie stars, or get hot dog fingers, or become actual sentient rocks, and put all of reality on a bagel. There is tons of action with Jamie Lee Curtis’ foreboding goon Deirdre, but the heart of the story of a family staying together is stirring.