The Best 2022 Movies… So Far (V1.0)
The early months of every new year are normally rough for movie releases. The Oscar bait waits until the end of the year where they can gain steam before the campaign season and the blockbusters wait until summer. I’ve noticed that this trend is changing just a bit in the last few years – streaming surely being a catalyst for it. Because I have seen quite a few 2022 movies so far, I thought it would be fun to list out a few recommendations for films I’ve enjoyed during this early, early period.
Perhaps the biggest shift for the movie calendar over the past decade has happened right in this current period of time in the year. Streaming services don’t necessarily release their big blockbusters, but they do release about one or two noteworthy films each. The MVP of January/Early February is probably HBO Max for distributing three notable and entertaining films already. Amazon Prime also gets a nod for finally letting us see a long-awaited international film and a George Clooney-Ben Affleck collaboration.
And then there’s the theatrical slate of 2022 movies. It hasn’t been all bad for theaters thus far. Horror had a big release last month (we’ll get to that in a second) and February has been filled with a few intriguing, even if not good, titles.
It’s encouraging that moviegoing seems to be transforming into a year-round hobby. This normally is the downtime. I would usually be catching up on miniseries or films that slipped by me the past year. I still have 20+ films to watch from last year that I haven’t been able to get to because this year has had so many releases. It’s encouraging, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be stopping anytime soon (bring on The Batman!!). These aren’t going to be in any particular order. Some of these may be considered 2021 releases, but I’m going for what is readily available to see in the United States currently. I will also link to any reviews or articles that I wrote regarding these 2022 movies as they come up.
Asghar Farhadi’s social dilemma film had me anticipating what was to come for the duration of its runtime. It builds and builds until it releases the tension in a subdued, but powerful and well-directed third act. The performances are riveting and mature and every once of the premise is squeezed out. I walked away thinking that it wasn’t flashy, but the material was portrayed on screen exactly as it had to be. Think Uncut Gems but less aggressive. I’m still not sure what a good deed is supposed to mean. Watch on Prime Video.
Soderbergh is so freaking cool. He doesn’t deliver his films in pretentious or corny fashion and his films don’t feel dated or stale. A film about an agoraphobic stay-at-home worker during the pandemic seems like it shouldn’t work. But that’s not what Soderbergh is worried about. Flashy camerawork and Zoe Kravitz stand out in this chamber piece turned thriller. It may not be the headiest work Soderbergh has ever crafted, but it sure is fun. Like I mentioned above, we just don’t normally get material like this in February. Watch on HBO Max. Review here.
The crew is back and they are here to retake the crown. I’m a bit shocked at how well this film has done in theaters and that it’s inserted itself into the culture this seamlessly. Media services like YouTube were made for content like this but Jackass apparently lives in a vein all by itself. There are stunts involving vultures, bears, tarantulas, bees, turtles and scorpions. I’m sure I forgot five or six others. Snakes, there are snakes too. The Jackass films are meant to be talked about and built upon. Remember when they ran down a hall with suspended tasers? Remember when Knoxville got hit by a bull? Remember when Bam fell into a pit of snakes? This film picks up right where the last one left off. See it in theaters. Review here.
Scream is attempting one of the toughest balancing acts in quite some time. It introduces an eclectic range of new cast members, stays *mostly* faithful to the original icons and comments on the current climate of other films trying to do these exact two things. At times I thought it got a bit too meta, but I had a fun time nevertheless. Seeing Ghostface on the big screen is always a pleasure and Scream delivered enough laughs, scares, and kills to warrant a hearty recommendation. See it in theaters. Review here.
The Watcher / The Worst Person in the World / After Yang
Some of these may count as 2021 releases and some may not even be easily accessible to the public so I’m going to cram them into the final section. All three were riveting films that I vividly remembered after leaving Sundance – each for achieving different effects. I can’t wait to revisit them when they are available in theaters or on streaming. Read about my Sundance experience here.
I will be sure to update this group of 2022 movies as the year moves along and there are more noteworthy releases. As for now, here’s to hoping the next few months deliver some great gems!
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