The 10 Best (and 5 Worst) Movies of 2022 so far
2022 has proven to be a genuinely pretty great year for movies so far.
We're now exactly half-way through the year. Six months down, six to go!
With the rest of the big summer blockbusters still to go, not to mention the big Oscar-y favourites that will be released in the run-up to Christmas, we're sure there will be plenty more absolute crackers to come in 2022.
However, we're celebrating this six-month-ivversary of the year so far by taking a look at the 10 best and 5 worst movies of the year so far.
The 10 Best of 2022 so far:
10. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
Nic Cage playing himself in a movie about a waning movie star was always going to go one of two ways. Either it would be too self-indulgent to be enjoyable, or it was going to be a meta-moment of pure genius. Thankfully, this comedy leans strongly towards the latter, and Cage is paired with an adorably joyous Pedro Pascal.
9. THE QUIET GIRL
Aka An Cailín Ciúin, aka the Irish language drama that surprised audiences both at home and abroad with its gorgeous performances and heart-tugging story. Catherine Clinch is staggeringly good as the young girl who is sent to live with her auntie when her own parents have a newborn baby and fear they can't afford to have all their kids at home anymore.
Robocop and Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven proves that even at the age of 83, he still has the power to shock. Based on the true story of the sexual awakening of a 17th century nun in Italy, it contains all the usual sex and violence you might expect from a Verhoeven film, but also a bitterly dark sense of humour some might find a pleasant surprise.
What if Quentin Tarantino made a proper horror movie? Not a weird, not-really-horror-movie like Death Proof, but a legitimate nod towards the 70s slashers that he obviously loves. X is that movie, with writer/director Ti West (The House of the Devil, V/H/S) putting the cast and crew of a porno basically right in the middle of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A match made in heaven as it turns out.
6. THE BATMAN
Did the world really need another big screen adaption of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego? Nope. But we're still very glad we got one, as Matt Reeves delivered a take that stands out from the crowd. Aimed directly at adults, fiercely copying notes from serial killer thrillers, and filled with some fantastic performances (including our own Colin Farrell, see below), The Batman is likely to only appreciate in value as the sequels eventually arrive.
5. CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH
Arriving to little fanfare over here on Apple TV+, this romantic-comedy-drama about a 22-year-old (Cooper Raiff, who also wrote and directed the movie) who begins to fall in love with a slightly older woman (Dakota Johnson) will be painfully familiar to anyone who has ever not been sure what to do with their lives. Or anyone who has ever fallen in love. So, y'know, pretty much everyone.
4. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
Michelle Yeoh headlines this eye-popping, brain-melting sci-fi adventure about a dry cleaner who discovers she may be the only one who can stop all of existence from being wiped out. While it tackles some very big ideas about fate vs. determinism and nature vs. nurture, it ultimately comes down to the story of a struggling mother willing to do anything to reconnect with her daughter. Yes, the action is fantastic, but it is the emotions that you'll still be remembering long after the credits roll.
3. THE NORTHMAN
Giving $90 million to the director of micro-budgeted quirk-fests like The Witch and The Lighthouse so he can make a viking action epic? Bring it on. Alexander Skarsgard is phenomenal as the brooding behemoth who just wants to be loved and belong, his primality and musculature perfectly matched by the freezing and/or scorching beauty of the world around him.
2. TOP GUN: MAVERICK
This had no right being as good as it is. It also puts to rest forever the argument that no sequel has ever been better than the original. We imagine, years from now, this will still be shown in IMAX screens, if only to continue to impress with the eardrum-rattling sound design and heart-stopping verticality of the action sequences. And, as always, Tom Cruise reminds us why he is still one of the world's best movie stars.
1. THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD
Don't worry if you never heard of it. A darkly comedic Norwegian drama about a young woman (Renate Reinsve) trying to find her way through life doesn't sound like it could be better than the Cruise in a jet or Vikings axing each other to pieces. But trust us when we say this is the most intelligent, emotional, relatable piece of cinema you'll see all year, if not the last few years.
The Five Worst of 2022 so far:
5. CHOOSE OR DIE
Netflix's first of three entries on this end of the list. The plot can be summed up in two words: Evil Jumanji. A group of players get unwittingly caught up in the rules of an '80s video game that goes through some big hoops to torture each of them is increasingly violent ways. It could've been fun, but takes itself way too seriously, so ends up being weirdly boring. But at least the acting is also terrible, so... (shrugs).
The second attempt to adapt Stephen King's novel - which was itself basically just Carrie again, except not as interesting - has baby-faced Zac Efron as the single dad of a young girl trying to hide her pyrotechnic powers from the big, bad government. Not scary, not interesting, not even so-bad-it's-good. The 1984 adaptation with Drew Barrymore was considered at the time to be one of the worst King adaptations. This new one is even worse.
Outside of Spider-Man, it is still clear that Sony doesn't fully know what its doing with its Marvel properties. At least with Venom, there was so entertainment to be gleaned from Tom Hardy's OTT performance. Here, between the really sub-par special effects and action sequences, the mostly blood-less horror and adrenaline-less action, and Jared Leto taking it all too seriously, it is impossible to mine for any kind of fun.
2. THE BUBBLE
Everyone had a tough time during Covid, but we should spare a thought for the millionaire celebrities out there! That is the central concept of The Bubble, in which a group of actors are trying to make a big budget blockbuster in the midst of a global pandemic and lockdown. Director Judd Apatow has fallen a long way from the comedy heights of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Trainwreck.
Elsa Pataky (some of the Fast & Furious movies) clearly wants to be an action star, and she tried to accomplish that with this Die Hard clone, which features exactly zero of the excitement, intrigue, wit, intelligence or general capability of the action classic it is taking inspiration from. Exactly the kind of bottom-of-the-barrel dreck that Netflix should be actively avoiding.