2022 was a good year for genre movies; Sci-Fi and super hero films showed that they were capable of portraying diverse characters and ideas in a way that mainstream films struggled with. A couple of great Shakespeare adaptations too.
Best movie of the year was Everything, Everywhere All At Once in which an infinite number of Michelle Yeohs battle an infinite number of evil Jamie Lee Curtis across parallel worlds using infinite chop socky. A great actionn comedy, and loads of fun.
Technically the Eyes of Tammy Faye came out in 2021 but it didn’t hit the cinemas in the North East until early this year. Superb comedy tracing the life of Tammy Faye Bakker, the wife of disgraced telly-evangelist Jim Bakker. Very funny, and the scenes where she breaks the rules of US evangelism to connect with AIDS patients are very lovely. Manages to show that the US evangelism industry is both brutally homophobic and incredibly camp all at the same time
Prey is a great example of how a genre movie can go places the mainstream wouldn’t. A coming of age film set among the Comanche Native Americans in the early C18th a brother and sister compete to be the best tracker and the best warrior. As they get deeper into the woods, hunting deer, fighting bears and avoiding French trappers they begin to suspect that something horrifying might be tracking them.
The only superhero movie you need to see this year is Wakanda Forever, another movie that uses a genre format to represent diverse characters in a way that the mainstream still struggles with. Great action, totally over the top, Afro-futurist epic. An honourable mention to Robert Patterson’s Batman, which was great, but gloomy and far too long.
The Banshees of Inisherin is an off beat drama comedy starring Brendan Gleason and Colin Farrell as 2 friends who live on a tiny island off the coast of Ireland early in the C20th. Their lives involve little more than trips to the pub and chatting. When Gleason breaks off the friendship Farrell is left lonely and baffled. At times a bit stagey, and with a whiff of the vanity project, but still a very god watch
Peter Dinklage’s Cryano is an idiosyncratic musical comedy adaptation of the Roxanne/Cyrano story. In this version rather than Cyrano being marked by an enormous nose, he is achondroplasic. Loads of fun
Finally 2 Shakespeare adapatations. The Northman is Hamlet is Robert Egger’s version of Hamlet, set on a Viking settlement in Iceland. Alexander Skarsgaard is suitably brutal. Denzil Washington’s MacBeth is moody and arty and Joel Coen’s direction allows Denzel Washington to show what a great actor he is.
And an hounourable mention of Jordan Peele’s bonkers but brilliant “Nope”, which refueses to resolve it’s plot lines, leaving audiences split whether it was great or just baffling