Cordially invite to 2022’s best-reviewed Entertainment Movie! All eyes are on the film schedule in 2022, the first season since the global epidemic lockdown that saw theatres return to full capacity. The year began with Scream in January, becoming the franchise’s first Certified Fresh film since 1997’s Scream 2. The growing season saw a string of critical hits, including The Batman’s dark crime epic, Pixar’s spirited YA comedy Turning Red, and two from A24: some throwback horror with X, and Everything Everywhere All At Once, which would surpass Hereditary as A24’s biggest box office hit.
The slate of big new movies remains a little (ok, a lot) thinner than usual, and release dates have continued to shift, with more than one major release relocating to the safer confines of 2023. Even the lingering effect of Covid hasn’t stopped it from being a frequent spectacle, occasionally exhilarating six months. From award winners like Parallel Mothers and Licorice Pizza to virtuoso indie gems like British chef thriller Boiling Point and Aftersun to popcorn perfection like RRR and Top Gun: Maverick, there’s a lot to be excited about this year. Here are our picks for the best of the year so far.
Until Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Domee Shi came along with this adorable creature feature about a 13-year-old girl who transforms into a red panda when big emotions come knocking, no Pixar film had been solo directed by a female filmmaker. It’s based on her childhood – okay, not the panda part – and filled with authentic adolescent growing pains. The only disappointment is that it was only available on Disney+ because its surprisingly Godzilla-like climax would have glanced epic on the big screen.
Few places feel the impacts of climate alter more acutely than Bolivian farmers, who face an imminent crisis from a devastating drought. In Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s engrossing film, a married couple of llama farmers (assuredly played by non-professionals) face a bleak future as their community, herd, and way of life perish. The result is the year’s most surprising large-screen feeling.
Bones and All
Like Badlands, this delicate yet bristly adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’ set-to-come novel charted a pair of strangers cruising the outskirts of a closed-off society. They also happen to eat human flesh. It’s not a big deal. Beyond starring Timothée Chalamet, it’s a million miles away from director Luca Guadagnino’s sun-kissed Call Me By Your Name, but there’s a connective tissue in its thorough insight of teenage love and the provisional connections of sensitive souls. Taylor Russell will also make an eye-catching appearance.
Terence Davies’ touching, immaculately mounted biopic of Great War poet Siegfried Sassoon manages to be both emotionally sad and PG Wodehouse-funny. Peter Capaldi plays the once-closeted gay writer in his older, disheveled years, but it’s Jack Lowton who stands out as the younger version, struggling to find himself among the buzzing gadflies of London’s post-war social scene. The writing bayonet sharp, when Sassoon is haughtily informed that his poetry has ‘gone from the sublime to the meticulous’. Benediction is yet another example of Davies’ mastery of the medium.
Doctor Strange 2
A box office list wouldn’t be complete unless there was one Marvel film near the top, and “Doctor Strange 2” is that Entertainment Movie for the calendar year 2022. This latest MCU entry, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular wizard and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, is the first to accept and embrace the horror genre, with many viewers attending through cracks in their fingers.
For the sixth and final time, welcome to Jurassic Park. Director Colin Trevorrow marks the end of the franchise by bringing together the original cast (Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldberg) with the newcomers (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) to protect the mainland from the dinosaur threat. While critics divided, audiences devoured it with the ferocity of a T-Rex devouring a goat.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
When it debuted over the Fourth of July weekend, this fifth installment in the “Despicable Me” franchise far exceeded expectations. The Entertainment Movie tells the origin story of the infamous villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell).