Nobody said it was easy. Being a film critic in the year 2022 was certainly difficult, as this year goes down in the history books as one of the worst I’ve ever seen.
2022 saw one of the most lackluster of all Sundance Festivals (although I found a few gems), David O. Russell made his only bad film (“Amsterdam”) and the public turned their backs on directors such as Steven Spielberg and Robert Eggers, who gave us some of their best works.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, as James Cameron brilliantly returned us to the stunning worlds of “Avatar,” making the sequel even bigger and better than the first film. Barry Levinson and Ron Howard made their best and most important films in years, and (in the biggest surprise of the century) “Top Gun: Maverick” turned out to be not only a very good film, but a grand and exciting old school entertainment that showed modern Hollywood how to play well with clichés while not insulting the audience.
Here are my choices for the top ten films of 2022:
- “The Fabelmans” (Steven Spielberg): An honest and beautifully-crafted picture about the power of the image, the live of the filmmaking craft, and the lasting bond of family. For me, the filmmaker’s finest work since 1993’s “Schindler’s List.”
- “The Northman” (Robert Eggers): A work of bloody Art! A primal film born of blood and steel, and one infused with the warrior spirit of filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa and John Milius.
- “She Said” (Maria Schrader): A timely and powerful piece. Expertly-acted and directed. An important film that shows the impact of proper journalism and the power of the truth.
- “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Martin McDonagh): A quietly powerful character piece. Smart dialogue and excellent performances from Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson guide this smart and sad film.
- “A Love Song” (Max Walker-Silverman): The shining jewel of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Dale Dickey and Wes Studi give the two best performances of 2022.
- “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Don Kwan & Daniel Scheinert): One if the year’s smartest, funniest, and most moving pictures. Original and full of ideas in every frame.
- “Three Thousand Years of Longing” (George Miller): A fantasy film that uses its intelligence as much as its visuals.
- “Aftersun” (Charlotte Wells): a most welcome film for adults. Deeply moving and filled with artful imagery that shows true storytelling skills from Director Wells.
- Tár (Todd Field): Todd Field’s excellent return to directing. Cate Blanchett Is toweringly excellent in a challenging film made for people who like to use their brain.
- “Avatar: The Way of Water” (James Cameron): Eye candy with a soul. After years of superhero and comic book “amusement park ride” drivel that leaves the mind once the body leaves the theater, Cameron reminds us why he is one of modern cinema’s great sci-fi filmmakers. This film is gloriously excellent. A film of sight and sound for the soul.