Cult Of The Cinema Top Films of 2022
Well, another cinematic year has passed and the times are still a changing in the colourful world of cinema. As the very nature of cinema is adapting, with the CoVid pandemic now two ears on and still with us, though the media makes less of a deal about out than it should, global cinema is recovering, but it is a changed animal, with the larger studios now lessening their cinema to home movie window considerably, as revenue form returns have shrunk, and audiences are choosing to either watch their films at the movie theatres or watch them at home, steaming or even physical media. The viewing patterns are a changing and so is the way all studios distribute their films. Smaller studios have been using the digital platform foe many years to simultaneously release their films, it is now the major studios globally who are following suit, in the end they have their profit margins to.
Enough of that waffle and onto the Cult’s top films of 2022. I have chosen fifteen films, all UK first releases at the cinema and/or streaming. Oddly, there are no films I have watched that were released on physical media, not that has been the scenario in the past, the window for most films to home entertainment market has changed as noted earlier, it is the breakdown has changed, example would be: cinema release, then streaming (unless simulations), then physical media (in most cases). Again this is the nature of the global health situation and the ever changing way we watch and enjoy films.
- ENNIO (2021) Director Giuseppe Tornatore This weighty documentary explores the life of legendary composer Ennio Morricone, from his early life as a musical student, under the wing of his jazz trumpeting playing father, to his time at musical university and then a varied career in classical, pop and his many film scores. Between stories from the great El Maestro himself actors, directors and musicians of his peerage talk about the man called Ennio. For me this composer has been the soundtrack to my cinematic life and will always be till the day I die.
- THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (2022) Director Martin McDonagh This film is a simple story of two old friends, Padraic and Colm (Farrell and Gleeson) whose friendship falls apart as the men come to terms with having ver little in common. What stats as a strikingly comic tale of manners, depends into something darker, lifting the lid of the village life and opening up hidden secrets. Beautifully shot, brilliantly acted in a darkly comic drama.
- DON’T LOOK UP (2021) Director Adam McKay A giant meteorite is about to hit the earth and the whole of America in on thenderhooks as to wether anyone will survive. Fro this scenario, intrepid scientists try to starve off the apocalypse, while politicians use the occasion to bolster their ratings fogs while a strange tech svengali wants to harvest the minerals on the meteorite to further his ambitions. Politics in the US are given a left wing swing as insanity rules one of the most powerful; countries in the work. It is also a very funny film, in a dark sort of way.
- BOLING POINT (2021) Director Philip Baratini Stephen Graham plays Andy Jones, top chef at a London nightspot who in the several hours we witness through his eyes, his whole world, both business and personal comes crashing to the ground, with nothing he can do ab out it but survive on his wits and stubbornness. Graham is superb, with a cast that matches his energy, set in a ‘real time’ situation.
- BENEDETTA (2021) Director Paul Verhoeven Verhoeven directs his take on cloistered nuns and sexual repression in 17th century Italy as a nun, Benedetta has religious and erotic visions while she becomes close and begins a relationship with Bartolomea a newly inaugurated nun in the convent. Holy visions and hints of blasphemy entail as Benedetta becomes to mother superior off the convent. Erotic, explicit and beautifully shot, exploitive? Maybe…
- THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH (2021) Director Joel Coen To watch Denzil Washington is enough of a draw to watch this film. Add director Joel Coen doing a solo project and the great Frances McDormand as Lady MacBeth you will be in for an evocative e film ride, all shot in stark black and white photography
- BELFAST (2021) Director Kenneth Branagh Branagh’s love letter to his home city of Belfast, very much autobiographical, this grassroots film of a city full of history is engrossing and touching in all the right ways. Taking a non stance to the politics, this is a down to earth portrait of a city whose neighbours were torn apart by sectartiniams but tried to continue some sort of peaceful life. Again this is beautifully shot in black and white
- THE BATMAN (2022) Director Matt Reeves Forgetting all the DC Universe clap trap that has shaped and re-shaped the whole DC cinematic universe, this initially unnesscary version of Batman is very well made, directed, shot and acted which is a credit to Reeves and maybe this film will become a classic Batman and sit alongside Tims Burton and Christopher Nolan visions of the dark vigilante. Loved the film from start to finish, which is tribute to a film which did not need be made at all.
- A HERO (2021) Director Asghar Farad Following the release of a fraudster, Rahim, who owes money to a one time associate, Rahim tries to make amends and eventually he comes a media ‘hero’ for finding and returning gold stolen earlier. Things do not go according to plan as Rahim’s story starts to unravel and his efforts to make amends spiral out of control. I enjoyed the film, and felt much empathy for Rahim, even when trouble falls at his feet.
- THE NORTHMAN (2022) Director Robert Eggers Vikings and the Northman mythology are given a stark and violent makeover from director Eggers, with fantastic visuals and story telling. I saw this film three times and enjoyed it more with every watch. I think Eggers is a superb director and one I look forward to seeing any work he creates.
- the UNBEARABLE WEIGHT of MASSIVE TALENT (2022) Director Tom Gormican. The idea of Nicolas Cage playing himself in a mock action comedy is, well, a clever idea. Why not? Gormican takes Cage and throws him into a plot littered with drug dealers, high rolling money men and the CIA, howe will cage deal with the real world? Watch this very funny action comedy and see for yourself.
- CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (2022) Director David Cronenberg Cronenberg returns to is trademark body horror roots and brings ups an update to an old idea of his as a mankind and synthetic world mix as humans can harvest organs themselves and this is where Saul Tenser and Caprice (Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux) both harvest and perform with these organs to a paying audience. Liked the whole premise, nice to see another Cronenberg movie which was not disappointing at all.
- PARALLEL MOTHERS (2021) Director Pedro Almodòvar. Almodòvar has another take on female relationships, this time intertwined with the un earthing of mass graves of people killed in the Spanish Civil War, Parallel Mothers has two women, both give b birth at the same time who’s babies may have been swapped at birth. One child lives, the other dies and a whole gamut of guilt, friendship and grief is outpoured onto the screen. Almodòvar delivers a thoughtful drama which tugs at heart strings, but asks the audience to be sympathetic too.
- EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (2022) Director Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert. Michelle Yeoh starring in a time paradox film with her life imploding and exploding all at the same time, why is not too like? Originality is at the forefront of this movie and it is breath of fresh air that Hollywood can produced a film which is original in. It’s concept. Loved the taking rocks too!
- THE MENU (2022) Director Mark Mylod I thoroughly enjoyed the poems of this film and I was not disappointed. Maybe not original in its storyline, the ensemble cast, led my Finnes is high calibre and the sense of a not very happy ending almost hangs with every scene in the film. Food and potential death have not been so finely qaatune as in this film. You want to watch it till the end, even though you might know what will happen you still stay to the end. I did and was not disappointed.
- OFFICIAL COMPETITION (2021) Director Mariano Cohn & Gaston Dupart This laugh out loud dark comedy drama has a well know auteur director who is asked to direct and unadaptable book into a movie, with her to lead actors, one a thespian of high acting morals, another a money oriented super start actor both embroiled in the production of the film. Scenes such as the rehearse of a love scene, with forty seven microphones and a very accommodating actress our off set by the two leads, reading the script in character under a giant suspended bolder above their heads made me laugh out loud, totally enjoyable made all the better by he leads, Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martinnez.
So there you have it, the Cult’s Fifteen for 2022. There are a few films that I would have liked to add to the list, but varying reasons I did not, but hey, them sis the breaks as they say. Thanks for reading the list, maybe you agree, possibly disagree, but it is the nature of cinema that we as a film community, can shout, talk laugh and cry about what films we like. See you in 2023.