By Josh Reilly B. and George Bate
As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the best movies of the past 12 months. Here are The HoloFiles’ Top 10 movies of the year.
Honorable Mention: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Our honorable mention is a film that sports one of the year’s most unusual premises. Nicolas Cage plays himself as he is recruited by the CIA to infiltrate the layer of a Nic Cage superfan and drug kingpin played by Pedro Pascal. While not as wacky as one might expect given the premise, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was a surprisingly heartfelt journey of unexpected friendship and emphasized, once again, why Nicolas Cage is one of the most interesting actors working today.
Coming in at number 10 is a film that further cements Jordan Peele as one of the most intriguing filmmakers working today. Nope leans into unexpected Spielberg territory, feeling at times more like an E.T. than a Get Out. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer are fantastic as a dynamic, brother-sister duo investigating an extraterrestrial presence on their family farm. A meticulously put together film, down to stunning IMAX shots, breathtaking cinematography, and ominous sound design, Nope excels in so many areas and is an undoubtedly enjoyable and crowd-pleasing experience that demands a big-screen, theatrical viewing.
9. Bodies Bodies Bodies
Agatha Christie meets Euphoria in this horror, murder mystery event filled to the brim with Gen Z commentary. On the surface, Bodies Bodies Bodies is a murder mystery (and a fine one at that), but it’s as the film progresses that it becomes clear that this is a horror film about the terror and tension that can come to light when friendships are pushed to the test. In an ensemble cast, Rachel Sennott is the stand-out and delivers one of the year’s best performances.
Fresh is a surprisingly stylized and poignant entry in the subgenre of romantic horror cinema. Discussing the plot of Fresh is a disservice to the brilliant twists and turns in store, so simply sit back and watch this film knowing as little as possible beforehand. Commanding lead performances from Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan are accompanied by a sharp and mysterious screenplay from Lauryn Kahn in a gripping horror film from Mimi Cave in her directorial debut. Fresh is a film that is equally disturbing, timely, and fun, making it a must watch for horror fans and general movie lovers alike.
7. The Banshees of Inisherin
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunite in this period piece drama that focuses on the dissolution of a lifelong friendship between two individuals. The Banshees of Inishirin is as thematic as it is emotional, providing excellent commentary on aging, memory, and relationships with others as an adult. Farrell in particular is a highlight, giving one of the performances of the year.
6. Barbarian AND X
Yes, the number 6 slot is occupied by two films, but that’s simply because these two horror movies are so difficult to split.
No film on this list is more unexpected and unpredictable than Barbarian. Director Zach Cregger crafts a wildly unpredictable film with seemingly every scene featuring some kind of twist or turn. This fosters an immersive, visceral experience as audiences will wait with baited breath from moment to moment as they try to even get a slight grasp of what the movie is about and where it’s going. Sporting lead performances that beautifully play into this sense of moment-to-moment unpredictability, and a surprising shift in tone as well, Barbarian excels in every department and is the kind of original, inspired horror filmmaking that makes going to the movies so much fun.
Meanwhile, Ti West’s X takes the slasher sub genre in such an interesting direction. West’s film is a rare piece of psycho-biddy horror in which older woman are portrayed as violent and terrifying. With this mix of slasher and psycho-biddy, West deftly explores themes of aging and longing. Mia Goth’s dual performances as Maxine and Pearl are fantastic and immersive. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre influences all over X, but it’s much more than a mere tribute.
5. Top Gun: Maverick
As of this writing, the highest grossing film of the year is also one of the year’s best films. No one expected Tom Cruise’s long-awaited follow-up to the 80s classic to be as good as it was, and certainly no one expected it to surpass the original. But, Top Gun: Maverick did the impossible. As crowd pleasing as movies get, Top Gun: Maverick is fist-pumpingly enjoyable from the very beginning to the very end. There’s an emotional core to the movie too though as Tom Cruise’s Maverick suffers from the grief of the passing of his best friend and the difficulties training his son Rooster, played by Miles Teller.
4. The Fabelmans
The Fabelmans proves that the legendary Steven Spielberg has most certainly not lost his magic touch. A deeply intimate journey into Spielberg’s past, his latest film is a beautiful love letter to the art of film that will undoubtedly resonate with so many moviegoers. Deftly exploring difficult topics of anti-Semitisim, divorce, the conflict between family and art, and financial problems, Spielberg demonstrates a seamless blend of warmth and endearment with serious reflection. Cameos from Judd Hirsch and David Lynch are icing on the cake of what is easily one of 2022’s best films.
3. The Batman
The Batman is easily the best Batman film since The Dark Knight. Matt Reeves crafts a sprawling and intricate mystery film that evokes elements of Fincher mysteries like Se7en and Zodiac. A slightly underwhelming conclusion to this mystery is offset by superb work in every department. DP Greig Fraser and Reeves team up again to deliver a truly beautiful looking film that is bolstered by Michael Giacchino’s dramatic and grand score. Pattinson proves to be an excellent choice for Batman and navigates the role particularly well considering the character is masked and suited up for the bulk of the running time. All of this makes for a unique, grounded, and beautiful take on Batman that finally explores the detective side of the character, while delivering everything we love about the caped crusader. Three hours fly by in a film that leaves you desperately wanting more from this world.
2. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Rian Johnson proves he is one of the most creative voices working in film today as he crafts a murder mystery with so much wit and an abundance of twists and turns. Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc is easily becoming this generation’s Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, and leads an ensemble cast through a modern take of an Agatha Christie mystery. Glass Onion is, undoubtedly, the most entertaining movie of 2022.
1. The Whale
Darren Aronofsky’s latest film centers on a morbidly obese man in the final days of his life. In his remaining time, Charlie, played by Brendan Fraser, attempts to reconnect with his daughter and reconcile with his own guilt over decisions made in the past. The Whale is deeply emotional, breaking the audience’s heart while also putting it back together again. Much of the attention towards the film has been focused on Fraser, and for good reason. The Canadian-American actor gives a transformative physical performance that the Academy so often gushes over, while also injecting so much heart and soul to the film. He’s expected to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, and understandably so, such is the sheer strength of Fraser’s performance and the quality of the film in general.