I had the chance to see 190 cinema releases during 2022 and, as I’ve done every year since 1996, I like to put together a list which outlines my favourites. We’ve all got different tastes but hopefully it inspires a few people out there to hunt down these movies and watch something great they may otherwise have missed. I went this through this list on ABC Brisbane breakfast radio a couple of weeks ago.
Honourable mentions this year which I couldn’t quite squeeze into my top 10 were – A Hero, Barbarian, Red Rocket, Blaze, King Richard, Belfast, Decision to Leave, The Good Boss, Petite Maman, All Quiet on the Western Front, Cyrano, Moonage Daydream, Happening, Triangle of Sadness, Bardo False Chronicles of a Handful of Truths, and Nowhere Special.
The above films are all worth a look but to narrow it down to my top 10 of the year…
10. Full Time (out Jul 28) is an intense French drama about a single mum (Laure Calamy) having a tough time. We may not personally relate to her problems but, thanks to the skills of writer-director Eric Gravel, it feels like we’re walking alongside her throughout, and this provides us with a deep appreciation of her troubled life and fragile emotional state.
9. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (out Jun 2) is the first movie from Bhutan to be nominated at the Oscars for best international feature film. It's the tale of a young teacher who is posted to "the most remote school in the world" to educate a small group of kids. This is a beautiful film which offers much to reflect upon.
8. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (out Aug 18) is an interesting, progressive character study that offers up material we don’t usually see on the big screen. It’ll provide great talking points with family/friends and is not to be missed. It's the tale of 60-something-year-old Nancy (Emma Thompson) who, having had a disappointing sex life with her late husband, hires a young escort to fulfil her needs.
7. Quo Vadis, Aida? (out Feb 17) was nominated at last year’s Oscars for best international feature. Taking place in July 1995 and based on actual events, it’s the story of a Bosnian woman, working for the UN, who tries to save her family when Serbian troops invade the town. Shot like a documentary, this is a powerful, depressing piece of cinema that shines the spotlight on events that should never be forgotten.
6. C’mon C’mon (out Feb 17) is the story of a unmarried man with no kids (Joaquin Phoenix) asked by his sister to care for his 8-year-old nephew while she deals with family issues. He finds the experience both rewarding and exhausting. The way writer-director Mike Mills can make audiences care so deeply about characters in the space of two hours is a skill many other filmmakers struggle to master.
5. Flee (out Feb 17) is the first film to be nominated at the Academy Awards for best international feature, best animated feature and best documentary feature. It’s the story of a boy who fled war torn Afghanistan with his family in 1980s and sought a new home and a new future. Blending different styles of animation, this is an incredibly moving film that highlights the emotional scars forever carried by refugees.
4. The Banshees of Inisherin (out Dec 26) is an engaging, throught-provoking 1923 dark comedy about two friends on a remote Irish island who have a bizarre falling out. There are many rich, fascinating layers to peel back here. Every member of the cast is in peak form.
3. Top Gun Maverick (out May 26) is a sensational film that surpasses its predecessor in almost every way. The flight scenes will have you twitching in your seat, the splashes of comedy are perfectly timed, and the story is kept short and straightforward. I can't imagine too many people being disappointed. Editor Eddie Hamilton deserves a lot of praise.
2. Lost Illusions (out Jun 23) is a French 19th Century drama which won seven César Awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars) including best film and best adapted screenplay. It’s a fascinating tale about a young journalist caught up in a dodgy media world. It’s filled with rich, interesting characters playing power games and trying to outmanoeuvre their adversaries.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (out Apr 14) is one of the year’s best and most original feature films. It's like Sliding Doors on steroids. A storyline which is insanely crazy (characters existing in multiple universes) with a touching finale offering heartfelt joy and significant life lessons. A rich, wonderful, audacious project.