Looking Back and Looking Forward: 2022

Cinema is back, but sadly not with a vengeance. The world is changed irrevocably and big screen film exhibition continues to struggle.

While I try not to be too downbeat in my yearly roundup, I am worried about the future of my favourite art form. At least we still got plenty of memorable films and film moments this year, and like last time I’ll begin with my favourite scenes of the past 12 months before moving on to my Top 20 Films of 2022.

Best Scenes of 2022:

ELVIS – The Comeback Special

The scene that makes the most of Austin Butler (and Elvis Presley’s) raw, animal charisma sees the King of Rock n’ Roll defy his paymasters and, rather than present the world with a merchandisable, family friendly TV special he unleashes a leather-clad, sexy, powerful performance on his helpless audience.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE – Fanny Pack Fight

The mild-mannered Waymond Wang is body-hijacked by an a far more physically skilled version of him from another dimension and proceeds to set about audit office security guards with a surprisingly useful fanny pack (bum bag for UK readers).

THE BATMAN – Gotham Nightcrawl

The opening scene of the Dark Knight’s latest big screen iteration guides us through the grim streets of Gotham City like never before, with rain lashing and neon gleaming through the shadows, a threat – or a target for a brutal masked vigilante – around every corner.

TOP GUN: MAVERICK – Mach 10

Pete “Maverick” Mitchell lives up to his name and after fulfilling his military contract by getting an experimental stealth aircraft to hit Mach 10 against the odd, just can’t resist but push it a little further beyond its breaking point where it becomes a fireball moving at the speed of sound.

MEN – Birth of Man

In the best scene David Cronenberg never directed, after enduring days of horrific attacks from the inhabitants of a village who all appear to be uncanny male doppelgangers, Harper witness them all somehow giving birth to each other in squelchy fashion.

RRR – Menagerie Attack

Tribal warrior Bheem is on a mission to rescue his sister and so crashes the Governor of Delhi’s mansion party with the help of a truck full of the most aggressive wild animals he could find to tear into the British colonial opressors.

SCREAM – Drawn-Out Fake-Out

In a meta commentary on how to handle the buildup to, and execution of, the jump-scare, one of Ghostface’s soon-to-be-victims showers, changes and goes about his afternoon around the house, every moment you think the scare is going to come undermined for minutes on end.

PEARL – Ready for my closeup

Following her first killing spree that was brought about by her dreams of stardom being shattered, Pearl’s husband returns from the war to see the aftermath of the carnage and the camera holds on its antiheroine’s deranged, rictus grin of happiness throughout the credits.

BARBARIAN – Be My Baby

After being pursued by the Mother from her basement lair/nursery for unwilling surrogate children and miraculously surviving a fall from a water tower, Tess puts the broken maternal monster sadly but necessarily out of her misery as she cradles her and the jarringly happy “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes fills the soundtrack.

ATHENA – We are the Police

A Paris gang assaults and sacks a police station and steals vehicles, weapons and equipment to fortify their housing estate in revenge for the accidental killing of a child during an arrest, all presented in one blistering 10 minute long-take.

Best Films of 2022:

20. BRIAN AND CHARLES Review in Brief here.

19. PEARL Review in Brief here.

18. X Review in Brief here.

17. SOMETHING IN THE DIRT Review in Brief here.

16. LONG LIVE MY HAPPY HEAD Full review here.

15. TOP GUN: MAVERICK Review in Brief here.

14. THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN Review in Brief here.

13. LIVING Review in Brief here.

12. WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED: A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR

11. RED ROCKET Review in Brief here.

10. RRR Review in Brief here.

9. DECISION TO LEAVE Review in Brief to follow.

8. BARBARIAN Review in Brief to follow.

7. ALI & AVA Full review here.

6. THE HOUSE Review in Brief here.

5. NOPE Full review here.

4. AFTERSUN Review in Brief here.

3. CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH Review in Brief here.

2. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE Full review here.

1. THE QUIET GIRL Review in Brief here.

Here’s to a year with more blockbuster sequels than we’ve seen in some time, and plenty of more interesting cinematic offerings as well. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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