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Best Movies Of 2022 (So Far)

What were the best films of 2022 released in cinemas, streaming services, or topping the most popular film festivals?

Although the pandemic still looms as a recurring threat, cinema distribution is gaining momentum. After the number of theatrical releases dropped by more than 55% between 2019 and 2020, this year shows a positive trend. Quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, right?

As usual, film festivals provided a bunch of awesome flicks. After Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, and Tribeca Film Festival, many independent films have already landed a theatrical release – including Fresh (2022), The Unbearable Weight Of Talent (2022), or Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022).

The year’s second half often brings more blockbusters as they line up for the award season. For now, it seems that Top Gun: Maverick (2022) has taken the world by storm, but previous years have proven that big studio movies tend to aim for an October, November, or December release.

Without further ado, let’s look at the best films of 2022 so far. Note that the movies listed below are not in any particular order.

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) Movie poster

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

After making a name for themselves with A Swiss Army Man (2016) – the famous Sundance hit starring Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse – the directing duo known as Daniels spread their wings in Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). Fiercely helmed by Michelle Yeoh, it’s a film that bursts with eclectic energy, comprising a multitude of inspirations and zany ideas glued together by a never-stopping thrill ride of a script. At the heart of Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) flows a moving story about an immigrant family battling the generation gap and the inability to connect emotionally with the closest ones. Daniels pulled off a unique piece of art – exhilarating to look at, intelligent and funny, yet also inspiring and uplifting.

Jessie Buckley as Harper sitting on old stairs - Men (2022) still

Men (2022)

We have finally buried the hatchet and thoroughly enjoyed a film directed by Alex Garland. Men (2022), a gripping folk horror with polarizing tones of feminism, relationship abuse, grief, and patriarchy-obsessed society, earns its spot among the top scary films of 2022. Garland’s horror follows Harper (Jessie Buckley), who recently lost her husband after a cumbersome relationship. Healing won’t be easy, but Harper’s decision to clean her mind in a remotely situated cottage sounds too perfect to be true. On one fatal stroll in the woods, Harper wakes up a vengeful entity that begins to haunt her. Matching the outstanding visual horrors of Annihilation (2018), Alex Garland opens Pandora’s Box, where Rory Kinnear’s face gets a CGI makeover in a variety of creepy characters. Although Men (2022) features a few jump scares, Garland bets on an atmosphere of an overwhelming siege, an abusive breach of privacy seen as the threat of men that weighs heavily on Harper’s mind.

Continue reading:

Poster of Batman (2022)

The Batman (2022)

Matt Reeves carried an unimaginable weight to live up to the legend of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy – a task that fatefully overwhelmed Zack Snyder. Reeves adhered to the comic book vision of Gotham City and the Caped Crusader, mustering an array of familiar villains against the backdrop of the world terrorized in fancy new, tech-savvy ways. Reeves’ script plays with modern fears in the same fashion that The Dark Knight (2009) did, and this decision pays off immensely. The Riddler’s every bit creepy (forget Jim Carrey’s looney take), oozing an aura of horror and twisted barbarism hidden behind a dark costume that’s very different from Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker (2019); however, also equally disturbing and grounded in modern days. Supported by Collin Farrel’s surprising turn as Penguin and Zoe Kravitz’s heartfelt Catwoman, the collection of antagonists has the best nemesis in the flesh of Robert Pattinson. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne captures the more intense, untamed nature of the early days of the masked vigilante. On top of it comes the brilliant music from Michael Giacchino and a nifty script that meanders between the grim alleys of Gotham.

Thandiwe Newton starring in God's Country (2022)

God’s Country (2022)

Thandiwe Newton flexes her muscles in this tight thriller from director Julian Higgins. Newton stars as a professor who lives remotely near the entrance to a national park and whose peace is disturbed one day by a bunch of marauders. Escalation follows, and what begins as a simple premise of a revenge tale eventually morphs into a film about alienation and social ostracism in extreme measures. While many stories about seeking justice revolve around the sense of justified retribution, God’s Country (2022) seeks answers for the roots of solid apprehension-turned-hostility that often has no explanation. That’s what terrifies the most – the triviality of the whole quarrel that ends in a catastrophe.

Karlis Arnolds Avots in January (2022)

January (2022)

Set against the backdrop of the Soviet Union’s collapse, January (2022) signs off as a love letter to the art of cinema, understood as both meticulous documentation of history and a creative process of capturing raw emotions on camera. Director Viesturs Kairiss follows an aspiring filmmaker, Jazis, as he navigates his cinematic education in the turbulent times of a boiling revolt in Latvia. January (2022) discusses the responsibility of artists as storytellers and bards. Kairiss weaves the canvas with threads that either express the artistic urges of Jazis or see his struggle in fulfilling dreams when torn apart between love and the call of duty.

Continue reading: Exploring the responsibility of being a filmmaker in Latvian drama January (2022).

Noomi Rapace in You Won't Be Alone (2022)

You Won’t Be Alone (2022)

The most admirable aspect of Goran Stolevski’s folk horror is that it escapes beaten paths. Set in the remote mountains of Macedonia in the 19th century, You Won’t Be Alone (2022) unravels a part-grisly, part-whimsical fable of what it means to be human. The story follows a young apprentice of a witch who learns the ropes of existing among villagers under various disguises. The idea of body snatching gives Stolevski space for philosophical ruminations about one’s search for identity, while the journey’s also frequently gory and satisfying for horror fans. Stolevski’s also a gifted visual artist, judging from the extravagant camerawork that often brings Terrence Malick to mind. Consequently, You Won’t Be Alone (2022) is as elegant as poignant – a mystical creation of filmmaking extravaganza that immediately adds Goran Stolevski to the list of top horror filmmakers to follow.

Continue reading: Review of Goran Stolevski’s horror tale You Won’t Be Alone (2022).

Still from Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (2022)

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (2022)

Sweet, poignant, and witty in equal measure, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (2022) talks about intimacy and sexuality from the perspective of two people who meet in a hotel room – a widow Nancy (Emma Thompson) and sex worker Leo (Daryl McCormack). Katy Brand’s script fleshes out all sorts of appearance-related anxieties that inadvertently arrive as life begins to be more of a memory than the future. Emma Thompson’s impeccable performance has all the nuances the actress got us used to. Still, it’s her courage and personal dimension – her acceptance of passing the time and its stamp on the human body – that makes Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (2022) hit so close to home. Equally brilliant is her counterpart, played by Daryl McCormack. As the titular Leo Grande, McCormack contradicts common misconceptions and hurtful stigmas concerning sex work. No other comedy this year felt so light-hearted and spirited while also touching on a sensitive topic with utmost subtlety.

Continue reading: What makes Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (2022) such a delightful gem from Sundance.

Austin Butler starring in Elvis (2022)

Elvis (2022)

Baz Lurhmann’s explosive Elvis (2022) is a hippy trip that washes away any traces of a negative image of the king of rock’n’roll. Portrayed by the unbelievably charismatic Austin Butler, Elvis lives again, in flesh and blood, with shaky hips, flawless stylizations, and unforgettable performances. Lurhmann achieves a unique shape of Elvis (2022), a shape of a biopic that begs to differ from any other of its kind. It’s fast like a speeding train, with a magnificent score that ranges from melodic classics to rearrangements of Presley’s variegated music styles.

Top movies of 2022

There you go – here’s the list of the films that so far have topped my 2022 list. Take a look at some other lists to populate your watchlist:

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