From indies to blockbusters, 2022 offered plenty to see for cinephiles - Albuquerque Journal

From indies to blockbusters, 2022 offered plenty to see for cinephiles

Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia Tár in director Todd Field’s indie film “TÁR.” (Courtesy of Focus Features)

This has been an incredible year to go to the movies. From mind-blowing blockbusters to the smallest indies, the year has been packed with diverse filmmaking all around. Here are the 10 best movies I saw this year.

10. “Three Thousand Years of Longing”

George Miller’s films have an excess of style and cinematic grandiosity; “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is no different. A visual treat that excels at showing its audience the sharp contrast between Western and Eastern culture. It’s also a modern, adult fairy tale for the ages that could also be seen as a warm ode to the power of fiction and storytelling. It’s a perfect showcase for a writer’s talents, and the ability to blend reality with fiction, highlighting the importance of magic amid our otherwise cold existence. (Available on Video On-Demand)

9. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Channeling Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels, the “Knives Out” sequel sets out to differentiate itself from its predecessor from the get go. Rian Johnson once again brings his touch of brilliant visual storytelling making for a movie that is always a treat to watch. It’s a movie with lots of pop, commercial appeal and a marvelous ensemble that worked in the best way possible. (Streaming on Netflix)

8. “Barbarian”

This one was definitely the biggest surprise of the year for me. Its setup is designed to create certain expectations that are wildly subverted in the best way possible. The fact that people went in expecting the obvious is much more of a comment on the current state of the horror genre than on the people who watch it. Zach Cregger brought both some of the year’s most nightmarish imagery paired with some of the funniest moments thanks to a good performance by Justin Long. (Streaming on HBO Max)

7. “Moonage Daydream”

This criminally unseen David Bowie documentary is less like any other you’ve seen and more like one that Bowie himself would’ve loved. Rather than the traditional way of delving into an artist’s life work, Brett Morgen created a gorgeous amalgamation of Bowie’s life through rare interviews, lost footage and of course, his titanic body of work, which he frequently allows to speak for itself. (Available on Video On-Demand)

6. “Triangle of Sadness”

On the heels of “Parasite” comes “Triangle of Sadness,” Ruben Östlund’s Palm d’Or winner. Amid a recent surge of class satires – a genre clearly on the rise – Östlund turns up the comedy and outrageousness. Perhaps not as subtle as other movies within the genre, nor as smart as it thinks it is, but certainly a bold one. (Available on Video On-Demand)

5. “Nope”

Jordan Peele returned to the big screen with his biggest movie to date, and those IMAX cameras he used for this movie can barely contain his vision. Is it a Western? A sci-fi thriller or a horror movie? Truth is, “Nope” is a summer blockbuster like no other – one that doesn’t have a single dull frame in it – mostly due to Peele’s confidence as a director. Likable characters, breathtaking cinematography and great spin on the UFO movie makes “Nope” an instant classic. (Streaming on Peacock)

4. “The Banshees of Inisherin”

In his latest feature, Martin McDonagh shies away from his usual cynicism to create this deeply melancholic yet humorous story of two best friends having a fallout. Led by incredible performances from Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan, “Banshees” revels in its powerful screenplay and is further elevated through McDonagh’s beautiful way of shooting the fictional Irish island of Inisherin. (Streaming on HBO Max)

3. “Bones and All”

A coming-of-age cannibal love story would seem like a risky venture for any director. But make no mistake, if anyone could adapt such a dark, complex and romantic story it’s Luca Guadagnino. “Bones and All” is a sweet homage to the American outlaw romance.Guadagnino meticulously crafts a movie encapsulating the restless energy of its inspirations, the rebellious youth mindset that populates both the historical context and the art that sprung as a result. Taylor Russel and Timothee Chalamet fit like two puzzle pieces as Lee and Maren. (Available to rent)

2. “Aftersun”

While many of us sat in theaters and witnessed the much-deserved comeback of the blockbuster on the big screen, 2022 brought some understated gems such as the incredible “Aftersun,” directed by Charlotte Wells. The setting is a decadent Turkish resort in the ’90s where a parent and child wander around, trying to have a fun vacation and hopefully connect. Scene after scene, it slowly but effectively builds up with complex emotion and discreet glances, making the audience ask the question: Do we really know who our parents are? “Aftersun” is a sad, thought-provoking work of art that features some of the best filmmaking to come out this year. (Available to rent).

1. “TÁR”

This tragic story of the rise and fall of a world-renowned orchestra composer, the fictional Lydia Tár, is a complete success all around. It’s a rich, layered study on its titular character and an exploration of the dynamics of power and just how much it can corrupt people. It’s set against our current digital world, making it one of the definitive works about cancel culture so far. It’s simultaneously a ghost story, as Tár is haunted by the many ghosts of her actions, and her descent into paranoia matches that of a horror movie. Todd Field, who hasn’t directed a movie since 2006, expertly frames its central figure with impeccable style while managing to poke fun at the whole thing. Not to mention Cate Blanchett, who ties it all together with the year’s best performance and a career-best. (Available to rent).

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