Our Drink in the Movies team have compiled a comprehensive year-end piece that provides a shared look at each of our top 10 films of 2022. You can see our selected titles below in the text list or by pressing the arrows on the Poster Carousel Images.
Alexander Reams: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ (VOD)
Anna Harrison: ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ (VOD)
Let’s just get this out of the way: there were probably better movies that could have made my top ten this year. In fact, there are more than a few movies that I rated higher than Halina Reijn’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” but you know what? Sometimes you just want to include a fun movie on your top ten list, and “Bodies Bodies Bodies” more than scratches that itch, not skimping on the tension (though it doesn’t have too many frights and, not to brag or anything, I called the twist at the beginning of the movie) and excelling at the comedy—most especially if you’re a terminally online Gen Z-er like myself. Never have the words “upper middle class” been funnier, and of all the movies and shows to try and get Gen Z right (warts and all), “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is the most accurate (even “TÁR,” which I’ve ranked much higher on this list, fumbles ever so slightly with its handling of an exaggerated, stereotypical college student); its top-notch cast, including a scene-stealing Rachel Sennott, keeps the characters over-the-top while still convincing the audience that the stakes are real for them—stakes which are upped by some spooky direction by Reijn and clever lighting involving glow sticks and iPhones once the power goes out. But the thing that kept “Bodies Bodies Bodies” in my top ten time and time again, even when there were other outstanding options, was that it’s just damn funny. I mean, come on—how can you not laugh at a podcast about “hanging out with your smartest, funniest friends”?
Jeff Sparks: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘Fresh’ (Hulu)
Michael Clawson: ‘Crimes of the Future’ (VOD)
Nick McCann: ‘Kimi’ (HBO Max)
Patrick Hao: ‘Hit the Road’ (VOD)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘RRR’ (Netflix)
Taylor Baker: ‘Kimi’ (HBO Max)
Alexander Reams: ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ (Netflix)
Anna Harrison: ‘The Batman’ (VOD)
Jeff Sparks: ‘Blonde’ (Netflix)
“Blonde.” Hated by fans. Hated by critics. But at the same time loved by fans, and loved by critics. The way I see it there are two reasons why it is such a polarizing film. Its portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, and how it was released. “Blonde” is not a Monroe biopic. It’s a fictional portrayal of her life used to explore themes of duality by way of Norma Jean’s struggle to maintain her Marilyn Monroe persona throughout her conflicted experiences in her everyday life and her overnight fame. Having Monroe as the main character garnered hefty expectations. Most assumed “Blonde” would be a standard biopic akin to “Elvis” or “Rocketman.” But director Andrew Dominik had no interest in making a by-the-books mainstream experience. Instead, he made a contemplative piece that isn’t accessible to casual moviegoers, which brings me to my next point. “Blonde” was released on Netflix and heavily advertised on the home page. Most of the originals that come from Netflix are popcorn movies like “The Gray Man” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” And when there are arthouse films like “Blonde” they are rarely put in the forefront. So when average Netflix users turned on “Blonde,” it’s no surprise that it was panned.
When you look past the controversy, “Blonde” is a wholly unique film. The cinematography, shapeshifting aspect ratio, metaphorical imagery, fluctuating color format, and dreamlike tone make for a unique experience. Because I’m not a Marilyn Monroe fan I was not offended by her portrayal so I cannot put myself in the shoes of the disgruntled viewers when viewing “Blonde.” I can only consider the intriguing themes and stunning imagery that Dominik put on the screen as well as the dedicated performances from Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, and Toby Huss.
Maria Athayde: ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ (VOD)
Michael Clawson: ‘Wood and Water’ (Criterion Channel)
Nick McCann: ‘The Black Phone’ (VOD)
Patrick Hao: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (VOD)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘Broker’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Taylor Baker: ‘Official Competition’ (VOD)
Alexander Reams: ‘Benediction’ (VOD)
Anna Harrison: ‘Nope’ (VOD)
Jeff Sparks: ‘To Leslie’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘Fire Island’ (VOD)
Michael Clawson: ‘Aftersun’ (VOD)
Nick McCann: ‘Prey’ (Hulu)
Patrick Hao: ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ (Hulu)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’ (Netflix)
Directed by legendary Mexican director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, “BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” is his follow-up to 2015’s “The Revenant.” Daniel Giménez Cacho plays Silverio Gama, a filmmaker who embarks on an exploration of his past and present as an artist, father, and human being. “BARDO” is an important film in the career of Iñárritu as it’s his first film since “Amores Perros” which he shot entirely in Mexico. This means as much to the modern auteur as it does to his homeland. Alejandro González Iñárritu is my favorite director of all time. It’s hard to explain exactly how much his films have inspired my own work.
Coated in the surrealist fashion that calls back to Federico Fellini’s “8 ½,” “BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” is Iñárritu’s most personal work yet. An excellently crafted film that’s built around the jaw-dropping cinematography from Darius Khondji. Yes, “BARDO” looks and sounds great but its strengths are found in its discussion of displacement, national identity, aging, and art. Alejandro González Iñárritu uses the structure of dreams to build his surrealist atmosphere where the film excels in its stylism. Giménez Cacho’s performance is the backbone of this personal journey. He’s joined by a cast of talented actors portraying friends, family, and colleagues. The film’s runtime flies by with its carefully handled pace providing a richly stylized contemplative piece.
Taylor Baker: ‘TÁR’ (VOD)
Alexander Reams: ‘White Noise’ (Netflix)
Anna Harrison: ‘Women Talking’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Jeff Sparks: ‘Italian Studies’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘The Batman’ (VOD)
Michael Clawson: ‘Friends and Strangers’ (Mubi)
Nick McCann: ‘The Menu’ (Theatrical Release)
Patrick Hao: ‘Babylon’ (Theatrical Release)
In a movie year filled with films about “the magic of the movies,” there is a film like “Babylon,” a film that can only be made by Damien Chazelle at this stage in his career. With his virtuosic direction about the sins of Old Hollywood, Chazelle manages to make an earnest film about his love for those that came before him, with the cynical tone of the industry that ruined them. While many have criticized the three-hour runtime and its mania, “Babylon” is controlled chaos at its finest. What truly distinguishes “Babylon” from films like “Empire of Light” and “The Fabelmans” is the evident self-consciousness of Chazelle’s direction. As a wunderkind with immense success for someone of his young age, Chazelle’s prevalent themes of the strive for greatness and the constant clash between artistic freedom with labor and the entertainment industry speak to a filmmaker who is constantly in flux with his positioning within the industry. While his characters may be representative of Clara Bow, John Gilbert, and other titans of Old Hollywood, they are all amalgamations of Chazelles’ own anxieties. This persistent conversation between artists, products, and history makes “Babylon” messy and great all at the same time.
Raúl Mendoza: ‘I Didn’t See You There’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Taylor Baker: ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Netflix)
Alexander Reams: ‘Babylon’ (Theatrical Release)
Anna Harrison: ‘RRR’ (Netflix)
Jeff Sparks: ‘Babylon’ (Theatrical Release)
Maria Athayde: ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ (Netflix)
Michael Clawson: ‘Il Buco’ (Projectr)
Nick McCann: ‘The Fabelmans’ (VOD)
Patrick Hao: ‘The Banshees of the Inisherin’ (VOD)
“The Banshees of Inisherin” is about one of the great battles. Is it better to be a great artist that is remembered or is it better to just be a good guy? A simple premise that Martin McDonagh is able to transform into a darkly tragic fable. The simplicity of its premise is buoyed by the amazing performances of its central four cast members, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, and Kerry Condon, all of whom bring much-needed pathos that is the undercurrent of McDonagh’s patented glib humor. It is through their performances and the moral engine of the story that it becomes a great film of existential despair. The duality of the diametrically opposed Farrell and Gleeson in which neither is completely right or wrong. It is that emotional and moral complexity, the spiritual civil war, that makes “The Banshees of Inishirin” one of the best films of the year.
Raúl Mendoza: ‘After Yang’ (VOD)
Taylor Baker: ‘The Whale’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Alexander Reams: ‘Terrifier 2’ (VOD)
Anna Harrison: ‘The Northman’ (VOD)
Jeff Sparks: ‘Cocoon’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (VOD)
Michael Clawson: ‘TÁR’ (VOD)
You can definitely call it a comeback. After a sixteen-year absence from feature filmmaking, the Cate Blanchett-starring “TÁR” marks a major return to form for writer/director Todd Field (“Little Children,” “In the Bedroom”).
Set in the rarified world of classical music, Blanchett is spectacular as one Lydia Tár, a celebrated conductor and composer whose current post is at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic. Lydia is an imposing, statuesque figure: her résumé bursts with accolades, and she moves through the world with supreme self-confidence and stateliness. “TÁR” charts the slow cracking of Lydia’s carefully mantled façade as she becomes haunted by past transgressions, and is met with damning accusations of sexual misconduct.
While Field’s camera style is fanatically, mesmerizingly controlled, his moral stance towards his towering main character is rigorously noncommittal. In any outwardly unambiguous way, “TÁR” refuses to express contempt for Lydia’s abuses of her power, and it also refuses to suggest that Lydia’s artistry is worthy of celebration outside of her wrongdoing – a move that has made the film among, if not the most divisive of 2022. Provocatively, “TÁR” demands that you find your own way through its thorns.
The experience is utterly compelling. Clean editing and steadiness in Field’s direction give “TÁR” an icy surface (the shadowy, angular interiors of concert halls are terrifically forbidding), all the better to accentuate the brilliant performances from Blanchett, Nina Hoss (as Lydia’s quietly distrustful wife), and Noémie Merlant (Lydia’s loyal and ambitious personal assistant). A chilling movie about power and ego that also manages, sneakily, to be quite funny, “TÁR” is an immense achievement.
Nick McCann: ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ (VOD)
Patrick Hao: ‘Aftersun’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘Decision to Leave’ (Mubi)
Taylor Baker: ‘Vortex’ (VOD)
Alexander Reams: ‘The Batman’ (VOD)
Anna Harrison: ‘Babylon’ (Theatrical Release)
Jeff Sparks: ‘You Won’t Be Alone’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘RRR’ (Netflix)
Michael Clawson: ‘Decision to Leave’ (Mubi)
Nick McCann: ‘Nope’ (VOD)
Jordan Peele goes bigger and more ambitious, bringing his flavor of social commentary to a good old-fashioned UFO blockbuster. Not only does he remain in top form, but this may be my favorite of his lot. Evoking the vibes of antiquated alien invader films and the golden days of Amblin Entertainment, “Nope” contains a whole heap of material to unpack. Man’s overconfidence to control, exploit, and profit from unbound forces is just one of the many avenues that’s explored. Conventions are flipped on their head and Peele retains an atmosphere that bridges together uneasiness and comedy. All that is held down with solid performances that ooze with depth, be it Daniel Kaluuya’s strong quietness, Keke Palmer’s outgoing shine, or Steven Yeun’s buried trauma. The IMAX cinematography will have you fearing the next bit of cloud cover you see, the visual effects tap into that immense wonder of cosmic horror, and the sound design will haunt your nightmares. The spectacle and narrative undertone are married together exquisitely. Even if you don’t get it all by the end, “Nope” is fun enough to invite you back for a closer look inside. Just don’t look it in the eye.
Patrick Hao: ‘Armageddon Time’ (VOD)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ (Netflix)
Taylor Baker: ‘Babylon’ (Theatrical Release)
Alexander Reams: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ (Theatrical Release)
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is one of the most significant accomplishments in cinema this year because Cameron accomplished the impossible. Making a sequel to a movie that came out 13 years ago–and in that time frame, we’ve gone through 3 presidents, a pandemic, the #metoo movement, and a complete change in the ownership of the business in which Cameron has made his name–and he made a film that surpasses the original. Even with all the build-up, hype, and concern, “Avatar: The Way of Water” manages to achieve a balance between story and spectacle, a common criticism of the original was its lack of character depth. Here, Cameron gives in in spades, making the spectacle in direct relation to the story and thus making the action all the more involving.
Cameron didn’t skimp on his performers, bringing back the brilliant grouping of Sigourney Weaver (as Jake and Neytiri’s teenage daughter Kiri), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri), Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), and Stephen Lang (Miles Quaritch) to lead this installment of the “Avatar“ saga. With Lang back in his antagonist role, he is not only given a shot at redemption in life but also more brilliant one-liners than one might expect to find in a space epic set on a moon with flying dragons and sea beasts. Much like the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is an achievement in film.
Anna Harrison: ‘TÁR’ (VOD)
Jeff Sparks: ‘The Northman’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ (AppleTV+)
Michael Clawson: ‘The Girl and the Spider’ (VOD)
Nick McCann: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (VOD)
Patrick Hao: ‘The Fabelmans’ (VOD)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘Vortex’ (VOD)
Taylor Baker: ‘Jackass Forever’ (VOD)
Alexander Reams: ‘Jackass Forever’ (VOD)
Anna Harrison: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ (VOD)
Jeff Sparks: ‘TÁR’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘Aftersun’ (VOD)
In a recent interview with the “Financial Times,” Paul Mescal mentioned he is “interested in the extremes of male vitality, brutality, and physicality”. With each new performance, Mescal embodies these traits with an ease that is well beyond his years. I was transfixed by Mescal’s breakout performance as Connell Waldron in the miniseries “Normal People.” There was this quiet charm and vulnerability that he brought to Connell that transformed the source material the series was based on. This time around Mescal is able to take his abilities to new heights in the fantastic first feature from director Charlotte Wells. A melancholic piece of filmmaking, a story of grief, closure, and memory “Aftersun” tells us the story of Calum (Paul Mescal) and his daughter Sophie (the extraordinary Frankie Corio) while on vacation in Turkey. While child actors can often be hit or miss Corio was a natural and it is hard to believe this was Frankie’s first role. A stunning portrait of parenthood and childhood that made me think about my past and envision my future. Mescal and Corio’s bond combined with Georgory Oke’s cinematography, Blair McClendon’s editing, soundtrack (particularly the use of “Under Pressure”), and personal screenplay penned by Wells made this film overwhelming in the best possible sense. “Aftersun” is the type of film that the less you know about it the better. Experience it for yourself and thank me later.
Michael Clawson: ‘Mr. Bachmann and His Class’ (Mubi)
Nick McCann: ‘The Northman’ (VOD)
Patrick Hao: ‘No Bears’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘Triangle of Sadness’ (VOD)
Taylor Baker: ‘Blonde’ (Netflix)
Alexander Reams: ‘TÁR’ (VOD)
Anna Harrison: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (VOD)
Every so often, even in this terrible Netflix age we live in, there comes along a miracle. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” from the guys who did the (wonderful) “Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie,” is one of them, making over $100 million against a $14.3 million budget. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a frenetic rollercoaster of a movie, so wild and inventive that you can’t help but wonder what drugs its directing duo known as Daniels was on: in a time when multiverse movies are more prevalent than ever, this one stands out with its sheer audacity and ingenuity. A world where we have hot dogs for fingers? Sure! A world that appears to be directed by Wong Kar-Wai and shot by Christopher Doyle? Why not! Movies like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” showcase why I love sci-fi so much—take a concept that’s been done before (a middle-aged woman has a midlife crisis, immigrant and her second-generation immigrant child butt heads, et cetera) and then, by throwing it into impossible scenarios, everything suddenly takes on new, weightier meaning. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is totally absurd, but that’s what makes it work; of course, it’s buoyed by talented performers as well, especially Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, the latter of whom returns from a 20-year-long acting break; while Quan is certainly older than he was in “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” he still has that sweet charm which made him so good in his younger year, and Yeoh slips between different multiverses with ease. Yes, the movie is absurd; the dreaded “Film Twitter” side of the internet has decided that this movie’s message—that we are insignificant, and so we have to make our time and our relationships count—is juvenile. But “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” in all its long, weird, butt plug-heavy glory, is a wild swing for the fences that we don’t see that often anymore. And besides, it’s not every movie that can make you tear up with some rocks and some googly eyes.
Jeff Sparks: ‘Lux Æterna’ (VOD)
Maria Athayde: ‘Argentina, 1985’ (Prime Video)
Michael Clawson: ‘The Eternal Daughter’ (VOD)
Nick McCann: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (VOD)
Patrick Hao: ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’ (Limited Theatrical Release)
Raúl Mendoza: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (VOD)
Taylor Baker: ‘Lux Æterna’ (VOD)