When I wrote the first version of this list, I was a bit down on the films of 2022, but given this much time and the opportunity to see more movies from last year, I have somewhat changed my mind. The movies I’ve liked from last year now extend well into the second page of search results on IMDb. With 50 movies par page, that’s pretty good.
Partial order here: With any given two films on the list, it is likely that I would consider the one that is listed first as the better of the two, but I haven’t put much thought into the actual order.
Anything that’s in the old version that I dropped from this list.
- Pearl: Wonderful little horror movie. You don’t often see horror movies shot in Technicolor, but I guess that’s partly because you don’t see Technicolor at all these days. A nice companion to X. While that movie grainy and blunt, this is clean and pure with a little bit of surrealism.
- Top Gun: Maverick: In the world where studios just churn out sequels, it’s wonderful to see a sequel with some passion behind it (you could say the same thing about the preivous movie as well). Sure, it’s sappy and I really liked a fan theory that assumed Maverick died in the beginning of the movie and the rest was his version of heaven (he gets together with the woman of his dreams, he gets back to combat missions, where he somehow ends up in the now-obsolete plane of the first movie, he reconciles with Goose’s son and gets to push back against his bosses without real consequences)
- Nope: Not quite as good as Get Out or Us, but still very good.
- Aftersun: A very emotional movie made with incredible subtlety
- Corsage: In general, it’s hard to get me to symphatize with an empress, but this does manage to do it, although it does often get close to the line. Part of my enjoyment was (admittedly) the deliberate anachronisms in the movie, which often made me think if something would have been possible at the time
… and on to the actual list…
Lydia has two problems: She is finding creativity impossible and her past uses of her position are coming back to bite her. It’s a story of cancellation, but because the target here is a woman, that affects our point of view as well. I like Cate Blanchett very much, which definitely helps as well. I could also say that this is a great example of the new, improved generation of the Oscar-bait movies. There was a time, when they were just kind of made on a template and there was at least one “Oscar moment” for the star, who was often a very big name. This newer generation is much less ego-driven and I, for one, am all for it. (Not that those ego-driven movies generally even won major prizes outside of those for the male actors.)
A weird, microbudgeted Finnish movie about a dystopian future. Part of the interest here is definitely the personal evolution of Anna Eriksson from a safe, ingenue pop standards star into a maverick, alternative filmmaker. There’s a refreshing avant garde feel to her work. She is very willing to go to lenghts most filmmakers can only wish they would be able to do. Sure, it also means that finding an audience is hard, but we also need this kind of experimentation, even if the end result is something that is unwatchable to a lot of people… and sadly this is that, but hopefully those of us indocrinated into the weirder side of movies can find something of interest here (besides me, because I have to acknowledge that making movies just for me is not really sustainable).
Faux art shit about faux art shit. This could have been incredibly bad, but it does seem to be so self-aware that it totally brings the whole thing around for me. The bickering and egos make the most mundane little details the focus of lenghty feuds. Some just try to go with the flow, while
Everything Everywhere All at Once
It’s kind of weird that this is the fourth year in a row where I’m happy with the Best Film winner at Oscars…. well, from the pool of nominees, at least. Sure, I think Tár is better, but it’s great that a weird sci-fi-inspired, LGBTQ+ friendly little action movie, which in the end finds an alternative to the violence, can somehow be considered the best movie of the year by an very conservative group of people. (Not conservative politically, mind you, but in their approach to movies.)
RRR (Rise Roar Revolt)
It’s weird that this movie seemed to be ubiquitous, but it didn’t actually do that well at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, it made $166 million worldwide, of which $130 million was from India. Of course, in the age of streaming, this probably just means that many people just saw it on Netflix. Also, it might not be tracked and/or reported properly either, which can happen with movies from outside of the US.
While I’m a bit iffy on some of the messaging here (because I’m not quite sure where they are going with it), it’s just shameless action at superhero levels, even if the main characters are not superheroes. As this is an Indian movie, there are things that tug on your heartstrings quite obviously, but it doesn’t really matter.
I just like this new take on the character, that feels much more grounded than the other versions. It’s actually kind of shocking how the managed to get away with so little action and the action there is, is not the kind of fast-paced and incredible kind we are used to from superhero movies for about two decades now. It focuses much more on the detective side and, as has been reported widely, it has the feel of something like Se7en.
The Banshees of Inisherin
An acting masterclass. All major players got their Oscar nominations, even if none of them won (neither did the movie win in any of the five other categories). Sadly, Jenny, the real star of the movie, was not eligible. The story is an interesting combination of unexplained and completely understandable. We never really find out why Colm decides to take such a drastic stance with Pádraic, but that is not important.
I like the dichotomy here. The subject matter is extemely dark, but at the same time, there is a certain amount of levity, as the women are left on their own and are no longer constrained by the limitations put on them by the men. This is loosely based on a real situation (although it has more in common with the real history of this than most movies that claim to be historical), which was horrific, but the women here are able to come together. People are creative, even if they have been pushed down their whole lives.
This is kind of a convoluted criticism of toxic masculinity. Amleth has killed a lot of people on his way to avenging the death of his father and to save her mother, but in the end, it’s for nothing except to feed his own ego. He is even offered a way out, but is unable to do it, because of his ego. I do like how the amount of research also shows on the screen.
Well, well, well… it has come to this. Two Finnish movies on the same list. Considering the poor quality of Finnish movies in general, I’m actually quite happy about this, as it would seem that Finnish movies have finally become worthwhile. Sure, there have been good Finnish movies here and there, but there hasn’t been consistent output like there is now, and obviously, the reason is partly that these movies are just going against the grain.
In many ways, this is just a fairly stupid action movie, but I really don’t mind that. This is just so Finnish. There isn’t Finnish dialogue until the very end. Our hero doesn’t really talk. When he meets some Finnish women, there are no words exchanged, because everyone just understands. They also make the best of the very small budget they had. Every euro is on the screen.