Updated: Jan 23, 2022
Ranking these was the hardest part of making this list, because they’re all must-watches. I’m excited about these ten movies for different reasons; but ultimately, I think each one is set to tell a really unique and powerful story about the world we do, can or will live in:
- Triangle of Sadness
- Disappointment Blvd.
- The Northman
- Killers of the Flower Moon
10. Asteroid City
- Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch had barely made its way onto many Top 10 lists for 2021 when it was announced that production for his 2022 film, Asteroid City, had already wrapped in early Fall of last year. While details remain scant, we know it’s a romance film about ‘a group of brainy teens,’ with one of the most stacked casts ever seen in an Anderson film—and that’s saying a lot! Beyond his well-known aesthetics, I’ve always been a fan of how this Houston-born director blends tragedy and comedy, and look forward to this powerful talent being on full display in the coming months.
9. The Killer
- David Fincher’s upcoming graphic novel adaptation starring Michael Fassbender has been predicted to either be released via Netflix in the later half of 2022 or early 2023. Centered on a hitman in moral crisis, we should all hope this case study of “a man alone, armed to the teeth and slowly losing his mind” hits Netflix sooner than later. In Fincher’s hands, it’s bound to not only be a visual feat, but should also provide a fascinating exploration of social mores and the very concept of self.
8. Infinity Pool
- Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor was one of the best films I saw in 2020, and I couldn’t have been more excited to hear of his return to full-length films with 2022’s Infinity Pool. This movie focuses on a couple’s all-inclusive beach vacation being ruined by “the resort’s perverse subculture of hedonistic tourism, reckless violence and surreal horrors,” and seems to be one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking explorations of colonialism, class and the environment we’re likely to get all year.
7. École de l’air
- Robin Campillo’s upcoming film is about a young boy living in French-colonized Madagascar during the 60’s and 70’s; a cross between coming of age film and social commentary, I look forward to seeing how these two modes of story enhance and deepen one another.
6. Crimes of the Future
- To put it plainly, David Cronenberg’s Scanners and Videodrome are two of the reasons I got into film. So when I heard he was expanding an old short into a full-length feature, meditating once again on themes of bodily transformation and human progress (or regress), I knew 2022’s Crimes of the Future would find its way onto this list.
- Jordan Peele had the entire internet dropping theories on what the plot of this movie would be the moment he tweeted its poster. For now, it looks like we’ll have to wait until July to find out; but with Peele behind the camera and a standout cast of actors, there’s no denying it’ll be one of the cinematic events of the year.
- Argentine director Lisandro Alonso’s upcoming film has been called ‘one of the boldest upcoming art films from Latin America.’ Starring Viggo Mortensen as a man trying to find his kidnapped daughter, full of narrative jumps in space and time, Alonso describes the film as his way of “capturing the tragedy of modernity, a sense of disconnect with nature and an ancestral past in a world alienated by its pursuit of wealth.” In many ways, it couldn’t be more relevant.
3. Bardo, or a False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
- The first film Iñárritu has shot entirely in Mexico since his acclaimed Amores Perros (2000), Bardo (2022) is centered around a renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker who returns to his native country, “facing his identity, familial relationships, the folly of his memories as well as the past and new reality of his country.”
2. Everything Everywhere All at Once
- One of A24’s latest offerings, directed and written by the ‘Daniels’ collective, just might provide one of the most spectacular visual feasts of the year. With hints of the martial arts and sci-fi genres focused around themes of family, class and the passage of time, there’s almost nothing this film doesn’t seem set to deliver.
1. Blossoms Shanghai
- Even though this has been slated as a TV show since it was first announced, Wong Kar Wai has openly called Blossoms Shanghai the newest installment in what has become known as his Love Trilogy, previously including Days of Being Wild, In the Mood for Love and 2046, the latter two both being on my top 10 movies of all time. If we know anything about one of Hong Kong’s best auteurs, we know to expect gorgeous cinematography (now headed by Academy Award-winning Peter Pau instead of Christopher Doyle) and profound meditations on alienation and loneliness. Wong Kar Wai is a titan of film, and his return is easily the thing I'm most excited to watch this year.
STREAM OF THE WEEK: Labyrinth of Cinema
- Perhaps most well known in America for his 1977 experimental comedy-horror House, Nobuhiko Obayashi's Labyrinth of Cinema (2019) is currently streaming on MUBI and Amazon Prime, and is bound to be the best thing you'll watch this week. As we follow four people who disappear into the screen during a local theater's war movie marathon, viewers are not only given as many visual delights as we can stand, but are also treated to an expansive exploration of the horrors of war and the generational trauma it creates. What was most impressive is that, despite themes as heavy as these, the film exudes a kind of optimism. In Obayashi's hands, there is a delicate balance of violence and beauty. Color-soaked shots and bits of poetry cited throughout help guide viewers through the harsh subject matter, towards one of my favorite scenes at the end where the very course of history is literally altered, reminding us that films/art/culture can not only help change the future, but also how we interpret and interact with the past. There's a kind of call to action here, one that says we can't be like the other viewers who remained in the theater, merely staring at the screen, being entertained and callous to such horrific atrocities, some even falling asleep. Instead, we must ban together as communities and take active roles in changing the world, as these four people did. The fact that they did so unwillingly is perhaps more effective than if they'd chosen to get absorbed into the movie screen; it highlights the need for action in modern society, regardless of what we do and don't feel like doing.
Those who've been lucky enough to see House (streaming on HBOMax) will recognize the hyper-stylized editing style which permeates Labyrinth of Cinema and really gives it an almost frenetic type of energy that viewers can't help but get swept up in. On top of all this, Labyrinth of Cinema is truly one of the most eye-popping movie's I've seen this year (or ever). There's a lot of CGI which I read was purposefully made to 'look fake,' and I think that was a genius aesthetic choice that speaks to this connection between art and real life, culture and history that is at the film's core. As Obayashi's final film, this gorgeous and wild epic provides a most fitting swansong for one of cinema's most innovative, imaginative and hopeful voices.