During the pandemic of the last 2 1/2 years, like many people my movie-going was curtailed by off-and-on shutdowns, and I got into the habit of getting my cinema fix from streaming platforms like Netflix.
Strictly speaking, I don’t recognize watching a movie on Netflix as the same as watching it in a movie theatre in the company of other moviegoers. It’s just not the same, IMHO. So, I will restrict my picks to movies I saw in cinemas.
Not being a fan of comic book adventure movies like Thor, Black Adam, Spiderman or remakes like Top Gun, my choices lean towards quirky independent productions and the like.
First on my list is the German remake of Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel All Quiet On The Western Front, a gripping story of a young German soldier and his comrades on the Western Front of World War I. The film’s gritty realism and outstanding cinematography capture the horrors of First World War trenches, where its sterling ensemble cast, especially Felix Kammerer as the doe-eyed Paul Bäumer, learn firsthand the futility of war.
View the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/hf8EYbVxtCY
Another film I enjoyed in 2022 was director Olivia Newman’s Where The Crawdads Sing, based on the 2018 novel by Delia Owens and produced by Reese Witherspoon. While panned by many critics and theatre-goers, I suspect that in many cases, they had not read the novel first before seeing the movie adaptation.
It’s often been said that some novels are impossible to bring to the screen. While that might be a bit of an exaggeration in this case, IMHO, an understanding of the novel is absolutely essential to appreciating this movie.
Daisy Edgar-Jones turns in an admirable performance as Catherine “Kya” Clark, the Swamp Girl, who is accused of murder in the North Carolina marsh.
Don’t believe me? Read the novel and catch the film afterwards. See for yourself.
Watch the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/ZRXAYFfRs4M
Another film I enjoyed was the highly stylized and excessive Elvis biopic starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Roll. Tom Hanks puts in a bizarre performance as his greedy manager Col. Tom Parker who shifted Elvis out of playing the devil’s music and into formula movies and grueling Vegas gigs that sped to his tragic physical decline. The musical scenes are mesmerizing.
Watch the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/Gp2BNHwbwvI
And finally, one of my other favourite films is Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, a dark tragicomedy about two lifelong friends played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson on the fictional Irish isle of Inisherin, who find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship. The cinematography which depicts the lushness of the island is beautiful and haunting. It is a film that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next.
Watch the Trailer here: https://youtu.be/uRu3zLOJN2c
In my next Best of 2022 segment, I will identify the Live Theatre performances I enjoyed most in 2022.