IT'S been yet another brilliant year for cinema-goers (and Netflix password-sharers) as 2022 has featured a host of great films in a variety of genres and moods.
After a couple of Covid-affected years in which the standards seemed to slightly drop, this year has seen high quality offerings on show throughout.
While the Marvel behemoth has slowed for now, these ten picks from 2022 prove that the film industry is as artistically healthy as ever.
Adam Sandler is a basketball scout who becomes a coach to help the rise of a Spanish phenom from a rough part of Madrid to NBA stardom.
Featuring some fun performances from current NBA stars alongside the continued renaissance of the waterboy, Hustle delivers on emotion and training montages.
It’s like catnip for any sports fan.
9. The Batman
I was skeptical about the newest installment in DC’s ongoing fight to stay relevant in a world where Marvel has become a kind of upsidedown-esque force, taking over one film at a time.
Those doubts were squashed within ten minutes of the opening titles as Robert Pattinson delivers a great monologue and that earworm of a score plays.
The main critique you can level at this film is that it suffers from the same dark cinematography that turned the final season of Game of Thrones into a bit of a joke. Turn up the lights, please.
8. Licorice Pizza
One of the problems with end of year lists is that films like Licorice Pizza can get lost in the noise. Released in the US in November 2021 and nominated for best picture, director and screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards, can it even be counted as a 2022 film?
It came out in Ireland in mid-January of this year — good enough for me. Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman deliver two of the best breakout performances of the year.
It’s one of those films that you wish could last an entire day.
7. Matilda the Musical
I’ve long been a critic of Hollywood’s need to remake/repurpose/rewrite classic films in a cynical attempt to play on our collective need for nostalgia, but…
Matilda the Musical is one of the better movie musicals to be released in recent years. The decision to cast actual children in the main roles seems a no-brainer but the producers should be commended for putting their faith in the ability of Irish youngster Alisha Weir.
It did take a minute to get used to English accents in a story that is so entwined with the performances of Danny deVito and Maya Wilson, but once you do, you're in for a treat.
6. Knives Out: Glass Onion
Coming to Netflix on December 23rd, Glass Onion is the one Christmas recommendation I would give this year.
It’s highly entertaining, full of twists and turns, and features Daniel Craig in the best role of his career (sorry, 007). The supporting cast of Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson amongst others give a great ensemble showing.
Read our full review here.
5. The Worst Person in the World
Full disclosure: I have a weakness for foreign films that explore the meaning of life, and The Worst Person in the World is exactly that.
Great performances along with a wonderful script give us a truly modern rom-com that doesn’t rely on stereotypes, and packs an emotional punch as well.
It's a film that joins the likes of Ladybird as a portrait of femininity, womanhood and growing up without pulling any punches or becoming cliché.
4. The Banshees of Inisherin
If you’ve been keeping an eye on The Southern Star’s reviews throughout this year, you’ll know that The Banshee's of Inisherin comes highly recommended from this corner of West Cork.
Colin Farrell steals the show among a group of brilliant performances, with Barry Keoghan taking the silver medal. In classic Martin McDonagh fashion, the film is funny, poignant and just the right amount of deranged.
Read our full review here.
3. Decision to Leave
A hugely rich and intense film, Decision to Leave starts out as a murder mystery and ends as a romantic exploration into why people make the choices they do.
Much like director Park Chan-wook's previous work with films like Oldboy, this film draws you in with each frame, and unlike many other murder mystery films, it focuses on much more than just solving the case.
Beautifully shot, it's a film that feels like you can almost touch it through the screen.
2. Top Gun: Maverick
It’s been a long time since the highest grossing film of any given year has also been one of the best — step forward Tom Cruis and Top Gun.
Not since as far back as 2008 and The Dark Knight has a film been so well-received both critically and at the box office, and for good reason. With this and the recent entries into the Mission Impossible series, Tom Cruise has managed to catapult himself back into the top tier of film stars.
Is it a bit dumb? Yes, but it's also what any action film should aspire for.
1. Everything Everywhere All At Once
I can honestly say I’ve never had as much fun at the cinema as I did watching Everything Everywhere All At Once.
It’s one of the maddest, funniest, most-thrilling films to be made in recent memory, and provided new perspectives on the idea of a multiverse.
It provides some of the funniest jokes of 2022 — sausage fingers, anyone?
It provides one of the most poignant scenes of 2022 in the shape of two rocks having a conversation about the meaning of life.
And it is the best family drama of the year as well. It really does have it all.