The best films of 2022: ‘Fabelmans’, ‘Avatar’ and more

For a moment, let’s forget about the difficulties cinemas are facing – few people want to see non-Marvel movies anymore, it turns out – and celebrate what has been an energizing, unexpected and often scary year for cinema.

2022 marked a comeback for many great directors. Baz Luhrmann has ended a nine-year hiatus to direct a fantastic ‘Elvis’ biopic, while James Cameron has finally finished ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ after 13 years and constant delays. And Todd Field triumphed with ‘Tár’ after the longest hiatus of all – it was the first film he’s directed since 2006’s ‘Little Children’.

We were also treated to a feast of fantastic performances by women. Cate Blanchett in “Tár,” Michelle Williams in “The Fabelmans,” Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and Angela Bassett in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” all burned the screen.

And, at 75, Steven Spielberg has made the most beautiful film of the year. Here are the best movies of 2022 — for a bunch of them, you won’t have to go farther than your couch.

The Fabelmans

My favorite film of 2022 was “Les Fabelmans”. We all know Spielberg can make a great movie. The visionary behind ‘Jaws’, ‘ET’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ is still working towards a steady clip decades into his career, churning out seven films in the last 10 years alone. But his haunting new semi-autobiographical film about a young boy named Sammy learning to love movies in the 1950s and 1960s while dealing with difficult family drama was a happy throwback to his rambling past in more ways than one. . You learn a lot about the emotional life of a genius – and his mother, played by the miraculous Michelle Williams – and get carried away by what he did.

In theaters

Tar

Todd Field’s “Tár” is also about a genius, only she’s fictional – and a monster. Cate Blanchett, like a bulldozer ballerina, embodies Lydia Tár, the most famous conductor in the world. But when rumors of her inappropriate behavior begin to knock her off her divine cultural perch, Field’s meticulously crafted film morphs into a psychological thriller – albeit with far more sophistication and dread than this genre usually does. It’s the performance of a lifetime for Blanchett.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

Avatar: The Way of the Water

It took James Cameron 13 years to complete the sensational sequel to 2009’s ‘Avatar’ – the adventures of Jake Sully and the bright blue Na’vi were never meant to break narrative norms or be witty and clever, but to inspire and move us with breathtaking images and timeless stories. The Ocean Sequel is that kind of movie that reminds us why we go to the movies.

In theaters

triangle of sadness

Speaking of water, director Ruben Östlund’s hilarious class satire will have you reconsidering planning your next cruise. One of the grossest scenes you’ll see all year takes place aboard a storm-tossed luxury yacht, when oligarchs, influential models and arms dealers all lose their lunch as the champagne is flowing. Besides being aware of the vomit-a-rama, you should go cold. “Triangle” is a sagacious denunciation of the super-rich, told in three parts, each more scandalous than the next.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

“Elvis”

This one was definitely a four star movie which I downgraded to 3½ at the time because of Tom Hanks casting it as the king’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. But months later, I find myself still moved by Luhrmann’s infusion of modern energy and sex appeal in the story of a brilliant musician who, sadly, has become a punchline over the years. Austin Butler’s turn of the ace as Presley made the star, and paired with Luhrmann’s Monster Energy drinking style, makes “Elvis” ridiculously enjoyable.

Broadcast on HBO Max

The Banshees of Inisherin

If you’re looking for dark, dry, mean-spirited Irish hilarity, Martin McDonagh is always your man. The writer-director’s last film, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” was obviously firmly rooted in America, but the comedian is at his best writing small but crazy scenes set in regions away from Ireland, or Northern Ireland in the UK (as in his amazing play “Hangmen”). In the berserk “Banshees” the plot is as simple as possible. One day, Colm (Brendan Gleeson) refuses to speak to his best friend Pádraic (Colin Farrell) again. The blood is spilled.

Broadcast on HBO Max

Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro

Pinocchio is the cutest animated creature since Paddington.
PA

2022 has been a banner year for animation. Pixar’s “Lightyear” and Disney’s “Strange World” underperformed, both critically and at the box office. Pixar’s “Turning Red” was decent, if unnecessarily controversial. But “Pan’s Labyrinth” director Guillermo del Toro’s corroded, magical spin on Netflix’s “Pinocchio” for Netflix, using stop-motion, slipped gloriously just before Christmas. The film looks spectacular and takes some wonderfully weird turns. Who knew Pinocchio would meet Benito Mussolini?

Streaming on Netflix

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Great acting and the Marvel Cinematic Universe don’t have to be mutually exclusive. As Queen Ramonda of Wakanda, Angela Bassett gives a heartbreaking performance following the death of the Queen’s son, T’Challa (late Chadwick Boseman). Director Ryan Coogler introduces a lush undersea kingdom based on South American lore and delivers a bigger, meatier movie than you’d usually find in the 30-movie MCU.

In theaters

Everything everywhere all at once

A scene from “Everything, everywhere, all at once”.
Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh in a scene from ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’.
AP/Allyson Riggs

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert explores the enormous artistic possibilities of “comic book” films. The film, which looks like it could have been based on a graphic novel, has an unlikely hero in the form of laundromat owner Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), and her multiverse, searing adventure is combined with a hearty scoop. of philosophy. Yeoh is a wow, but Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan are just as brilliant. It was the rare arthouse film to attract moviegoers, earning $103 million worldwide.

Stream on Showtime anytime

Cha Cha real smooth

When Apple bought “Cha Cha Real Smooth” from Sundance in January for $15 million, they were clearly on the hunt for the next “CODA,” which led them to Oscar glory at this year’s awards. While the feel-good flick won’t earn them more statuettes, director-writer-lead actor Cooper Raiff’s adorable comedy about a New Jersey college grad trying to figure out his life wins hearts.

Streaming on AppleTV+

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