I know, I know! Who drops a ‘favourite movies of the year’ list at the end of February? Well, someone who hadn’t gotten around to all the 2022 movies they’d wanted to see until now… like me. Sure, there are a few remaining outliers, but after consulting extensively with my editor (also me), we decided there was no point in delaying further. So here they are My Top Movie Picks of 2022!
10) Fire Island (Andrew Ahn)
Cute and completely charming, it’s the gay Pride and Prejudice we never knew we needed. Ahn takes a shot at self-appointed ‘alpha’ gays and myths of the desexualized Gaysian male while putting his own stamp on a timeless story. It’s that rarity in 2022 (though there were two of them), a gay rom-com I'll have on standby at the end of a hard day.
9) Barbarian (Zach Cregger)
Packed with surprises, by the time Barbarian jumps into its slightly absurd third act, you don’t care. You’re completely drawn into this bonkers, claustrophobic world of the Air BnB from hell. Go in blind. It’ll make the underground sequences that much freakier.
8) Men (Alex Garland)
If we needed any reassurance of how important style is in the horror movie – particularly the so-called ‘art’ horror movie – Alex Garland absolutely served it in Men. Avoiding familiar feminist beats, Men brings the same smart respect for Garland's female protagonists we saw in Annihilation to a deliciously bonkers take on the Green Man fable. Pure style, and a masterpiece of sound design.
7) Bros (Nicholas Stoller)
I loved this bit of arguably retro nonsense. Sure, it should have come out 15 years ago, but you know what? We never got that movie, so... better late than straight! Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane commit completely to the kinds of characters they do best, creating plenty of big laughs that capture the best and worst of the LGBTQIA+ community. I was charmed, the performances are solid, and I wanted the guys together in the end. What more do you want from a rom-com?
6) The Batman (Matt Reeves)
I know, a superhero movie in my top 10??? Well, I don’t actually have anything against superhero movies, and Reeves’ grit-core The Batman is an exceptional one. After Gorshin, Astin, and *shudder* Carrey, it takes a lot to make The Riddler a scary villain (Cory Michael Smith was a great Riddler in the campy Gotham, but never a scary one). Reeves and Paul Dano succeed in spades. Also, shout out Patterson who makes this emo Batman all his own, and Zoe Kravitz for breathing yet more fresh life into the oft-overused Selina Kyle.
5) The Northman (Robert Eggers)
Robert Eggers is not a filmmaker you can throw on for a casual Friday night’s viewing while playing on your phone. His movies demand undivided attention, and in The Northman, a movie whose genre I’m frankly… not that fussed about, it pays back in spades with gorgeous visuals and brilliantly thoughtful use of Norse mythology.
4) X and Pearl (Ti West)
I ummed and erred about listing X and Pearl together, but the fact is, you’re going to want to see both, even though they’re completely different moviegoing experiences. That's part of what makes them so great. They each feature… I want to say a career-defining performance from Mia Goth, but I have a strong feeling the best is still to come. And come it will, again, and again. Just like Pearl’s protagonist with a smile on her face that will never, ever, ever leave you.
3) Babylon (Damien Chazelle)
The somewhat put-upon Babylon had me from its jaw-dropping opening through its well-worn beats, pitch-black humour, and unapologetic love of all things old Hollywood. The result was a magical three hours. I didn’t care if we diverted through the absurd, or that the plot was basically Boogie Nights with an elephant (not a word!). Chazelle seduced me early with sheer audacity, a quality sorely lacking from so many more ‘respected’ films, and there was no going back.
2) Three Thousand Years of Longing (George Miller)
How do you craft a story that’s both epic and intimate at the same time? Cast two of Britain’s best actors, Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, in the story of an imprisoned djinn and the no-nonsense academic trying to understand his story. It’s a whimsical fantasy for adults, weaving an intelligent love story into the familiar tropes on which its tale depends.
1) The Menu (Mark Mylod)
The Menu takes aim at the pretentiousness of fine dining, but oh lord, we were not ready. It’s not that there are twists or turns. In fact, The Menu basically spoils its own plot, allowing you instead to focus on the razor-sharp humour, pacing, and satire Chef Mylod is prepared. Taylor-Joy and Fiennes deliver perfectly dry performances surrounded by a star-studded supporting cast. It’s delightful, demented, and forks down my favourite film of 2022.
Best Surprise - Sequels and Remakes That Didn't Suck
Yup, we're going there! I'm in the minority of people who actually enjoyed Halloween Ends for exploring where evil comes from without committing the cardinal sin of trying to explain where Michael Myers' evil comes from. Now, true, that meant we got a movie with not a lot of Myers in it, but if you can take it on its own terms, Halloween Ends is actually a pretty smart and effective horror film that I won't be surprised to see age well, not unlike the misunderstood Halloween 3: Season of the Witch.
Then, there was Hellraiser, which brings the beloved BDSM demon franchise back to Barker's original vision while giving it a chic update and some truly killer visuals. I'm a total Jamie Clayton stan, and her take on the gender-ambiguous hell priest Pinhead did not disappoint. It's not quite up with Barker's original (what could be?) but in the canon of requels, it sits nicely alongside Candyman for fans.