Saturday, December 31, 2022

Movies for Music Lovers: 2022 Edition

Click here for the 2021 edition. 

This list represents my favorite films of the year. I missed a lot, I always do, so there are omissions that might have made the cut if I had gotten to them in time. There are also widely-acclaimed films I just didn't like. If you're curious, you can find a few of the former in the "Missed" section (and maybe I won't enjoy them as much as I hope; only time will tell). 

These days I've been writing more about old movies than new ones, so that influenced my list. I watch every new film I would like to see, in addition to those I feel I should see, but I don't have enough time and money to see it all, and non-local film fests aren't an option at present. 

Plus, some runs are so short that I don't find out about them until after the fact--like Please Baby Please at the Grand Illusion or Peter von Kant at the Uptown--because I didn't check the movie listings that week or because no publicists reached out to me (and I'm on a lot of mailing lists). It happens. Okay! Enough excuses, here's my list.   

Links lead to my reviews for Seattle Film Blog, Rock & Roll Globe, and Video Librarian. 

Top 10

1. EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)
2. Decision to Leave (Park Chan-wook) 
3. Benediction (Terence Davies) 
4. Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg) 
5. Lost Illusions (Xavier Giannoli) 
6. Happening (Audrey Diwal) 
7. Aftersun (Charlotte Wells) 
8. X (Ti West) 
9. Great Freedom (Sebastian Meise)  
10. Compartment Number 6 (Juho Kuosmanen) 

Note: I'm salty that Decision to Leave missed out on an Oscar nomination. I'm not sure Park Chan-wook will get the chance again, but you never know. He's hardly predictable.    

11. White Noise (Noah Baumbach) 
12. The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg) 
13. TÁR (Todd Field) 
14. The Unknown Man of Shandigor (Jean-Louis Roy) 
15. Armageddon Time (James Gray) 
16. Kimi (Steven Soderbergh) 
17. The Wonder (Sebastian Lelio) 
18. The Inspection (Elegance Bratton) 
19. She Said (Maria Schrader) 
20. Watcher (Chloe Okuno) 

Note: I loved White Noise. I didn't write about it, because I didn't have time to re-read the novel (I re-read the first chapter before time got away from me). It isn't 100% faithful, and nor should it be, but it feels personal, even as Noah Baumbach veers into action-adventure territory, i.e. the parallels with his own life aren't hard to find, and he's addressed it vis-a-vis his professorial father, who has a lot in common with Adam Driver's Jack Gladney.   

21. RRR (S. S. Ramouli)
22. Nanny (Nikyatu Jusu)
23. Flux Gourmet (Peter Strickland)
24. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)
25. Emily the Criminal (John Patton Ford) 
26. Prey (Dan Trachtenberg)
27. Confess, Fletch (Greg Mottola)
28. Till (Chinonye Chukwu)
29. Saint Omer (Anna Diop)
30. Pearl (Ti West)

31. Brighton 4th (Levan Koguashvili)
32. You Won’t Be Alone (Goran Stolevski)
33. Thirteen Lives (Ron Howard)
34. Corsage (Marie Kreutzer)
35. Pleasure (Ninja Thyberg)
36. The Northman (Robert Eggers)
37. Both Sides of the Blade (Claire Denis)
38. Mad God (Phil Tippett)
39. Stars at Noon (Claire Denis)
40. Lingui, the Sacred Bonds (Mahamat Saleh Haroun)

41. After Yang (Kogonada)
42. A New Old Play (Qiu Jiongjiong)
43. Barbarian (Zach Cregger)
44. Nope (Jordan Peele)
45. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)
46. Bodies Bodies Bodies (Halina Reijn) 
47. Neptune Frost (Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman)
48. The Silent Twins (Agnieszka Smoczynska)
49. Hatching (Hanna Bergholm)
50. Hit the Road (Paha Panahi)

Note: Pachinko, on Apple TV+, was created by Kogonada. I really need to catch up with it. Also, in April, Saul Williams is coming to the Northwest Film Forum with Neptune Frost.

Top Documentaries 
1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
2. Nothing Compares (Kathryn Ferguson)
3. Fire of Love (Sarah Dosa)
4. Sweetheart Deal (Elisa Levine and Gabriel Miller)
5. Is This Black Enough for You?!? (Elvis Mitchell)
6. Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes (Peter Schnall)
7. Navalny (Daniel Rohrer)
8. Cane Fire (Anthony Banua-Simon)
9. Bad Axe (David Siev)
10. All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen)

Note: I've been off the documentary beat at Video Librarian, so I didn't see as many as I normally do. I'll try harder in 2023. It was easier when titles were assigned to me.

The rest (in alphabetical order): After BlueAhed’s KneeAll Quiet on the Western Front, AmbuLAnceAmsterdamApollo 10 ½Apples, Argentina 1985The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverBlondeBones and AllBreaking, BrokerCat Daddies, CausewayCha Cha Real Smooth, Close, Deep Water, Earwig, Elvis, Empire of Light, Fresh, Funny Pages, Descendant, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, God’s Creatures, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, Holy Spider, Hellraiser, I Didn't See You There, Jane by Charlotte, The Jangling Man: The Story of Martin Newell, Living, A Love Song, Marcel the Shell with Shoes OnMeet Me in the Bathroom, Men, The Menu, Montana StoryMoonage Daydream, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Murina, My Best Part, No Fucks Given, Official Competition, The Outfit, Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, Quant, The Quiet Girl, Resurrection, Sr., There ThereTop Gun: Maverick, Triangle of SadnessTurning RedVortex, Wendell & Wild, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, The Whale, The Woman King, and Women Talking.

Note: I enjoyed many of these films, like Michael Bay's AmbuLAnce. Better yet, I got to see Yayha Abdul-Mateen II in person in Topdog/Underdog on Broadway--he was great! 

2021 Holdovers: Being the Ricardos, Don’t Look Up, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Raging Fire, Val, and West Side Story.

Missed (or Haven't Seen Yet): Avatar: The Way of WaterBardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, The CathedralDon't Worry, Darling, The Eternal Daughter, No BearsPeter von Kant, Please Baby PleasePuss in Boots: The Last WishSmileThree Minutes: A Lengthening, and Utama. I plan to catch up with a few before the Oscar ceremony; I may be reviewing others for Video Librarian.  

Non-2022 Movies: Abby, The Accused (1949), Alice, Sweet Alice, Bad Manners, The Beach, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Black Caesar, Blood Beat, Bloodthirsty Butchers, Bone, Broken Lullaby, Buck and the Preacher, Burnt Offerings, Candyman (2021), The Chase (1946), Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Chircales, Clouds of Sils Maria, Coming Apart, Conrad Veidt--My Life, The Corruption of Chris Miller, Crimes of the Future (1970), Crimes of Passion, Cruising, Dark (2017), Deep Red, Detour, A Double Life, The Double Life of Paul Henreid, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Electra Glide in Blue, Ema, Empire Records, Expresso Bongo, Eyes of Laura Mars, Farewell (Abschied), Fast Company, Fast Times at Ridgemont HighFreeway, Getting to Know the Big, Wide World, Girls in Prison, God Told Me To, The Go-Go’s, Going Places, Grace Jones: A One Man Show, The Grand Illusion, Grand Slam, The Great Moment, Happy Birthday to Me, Hardcore, Hell Up in Harlem, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Horror Express, Images, In Bruges, In the Realm of the Senses, Ingrid Caven: Music and Voice, It’s Alive, Jane B. par Agnès V, Katalin Varga, Kill List, King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen, KRON, Kummatty, La Strada, Last House on the Left, Léon, the Professional, Lonelyhearts, Losing Ground, Love Bites, Lured, Lust, Caution, Mad Dog and Glory, Mademoiselle, Martin und Hans, Metropolitan, Mission Impossible: Fallout, Monsieur Hire, Moonrise, Mother’s Day (Muttertag), Moulin Rouge (1952), The Mystery of Picasso, Naked Alibi, Nathalie…, The Nice Guys, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Night Moves, Night of the Werewolf, Nightbirds, Nitram, Nobody’s Watching, Normal Life, Of Time and the City, One-Eyed Jacks, Only the Animals, Out of Sight, Patty Hearst, Phenomena, The Ploughman’s Lunch, Pontypool, Prevenge, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Pump Up the Volume, Pushing Hands, The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!, Red Angel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, The Rubber Gun, Sambizanga, Secondhand Hearts, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Shivers, The Shout, The Sightseers, The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender, Sparrows, Special Effects, The Stuff, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Suture, Targets, Thirst, Times Square, To Find a Man, Top of the Heap, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Vamp, The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk, Walker, Walking and Talking, The Wanderers, Wild Things, and World’s Greatest Dad.

TV (in alphabetical order): All Creatures Great and Small S2; American Masters: Ailey, Marian Anderson - The Whole World in Her Hands, Althea Gibson - She Always Wanted To Be Somebody, Raúl Juliá - The World's a Stage, Bombshell - The Hedy Lamarr Story, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, Terrence McNally - Every Act of Life, Rita Moreno - Just A Girl Who Decided to Go for It, Rothko - Pictures Must Be Miraculous, Oliver Sacks - His Own Life, and Laura Ingalls Wilder - Prairie to Page; America Outside with Baratunde Thurston; Andor; Annika S1; Around the World in 80 Days; Atlanta S3; Barry S3; The Bear S1; Before We Die (UK), Benjamin Franklin; Bosch Legacy; Call My Agent! S1-4; Call the Midwife S11; Classic Albums: The Band, Black Sabbath, Phil Collins, Cream, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Elvis Presley, Queen, Lou Reed, Rush, Sex Pistols, Carly Simon, and The Who; The Crown S2-3; Devs; The End of the F***ing World S2; Endeavor S8; Finding Your Roots S8; Friend of the Family; The Good Lord Bird; Great Performances: Uncle Vanya; Guilt S2; Hacks S2; Harlem Godfather S1; Hotel Portofino S1, Independent Lens: Storm Lake and Try Harder!; The Indian Doctor S1-3; Irma Vep; Jamaica Inn; Kidnap & Ransom S1-3; The Kids in the Hall S6; The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks; The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey; The Last Movie Stars; Law & Order S21; Law & Order: SVU S23; Light & Magic; Lovejoy; The Making of a Lady; Masterpiece: Magpie Murders, Ridley Road, and Sanditon S2; Minx S1; Miss Scarlet and the Duke S2-3; Moon Knight; Mossback’s Northwest S1-2; Ms. Marvel S1; Now Hear This S1-3; Reilly, Ace of Spies; Reservation Dogs S1-3; Severance S1; Sex Education S1-3; Show Me a Hero; Slow Horses S1-2; Station Eleven; Suspects S1-5; The Trick; Tokyo Vice S1; Under the Banner of Heaven; and The U.S. and the Holocaust.

Movie (and Music) Podcasts: I listened to every episode of The Rialto Report, Supporting Characters, Video Archives, and You Must Remember This, in addition to several from The Projection Booth. I also enjoyed the limited series on Siskel and Ebert and Sylvester.   

Thanks: To the Pop Conference for letting me talk about Tim Curry (on video) and to Crypticon for letting me talk about Alex Garland, Peter Strickland, and Ben Wheatley (in-person) with Jason Weiss and Matt Oakes. Since the pandemic, these sorts of opportunities have been few and far between. I participated in more live events prior to 2020, and I miss them. To KUOW, Rock & Roll Globe, and Video Librarian for letting me write/talk about any film or soundtrack that caught my fancy (and for paying on time). And to Aaron Hillis (Playtime) and Martin Scorsese (The Film Foundation) for introducing--and re-introducing--me to many fine films, all for the low cost of no dollars.      

Images: EO (Sideshow / Janus Films / The New Yorker), Decision to Leave (Mubi / The New York Times), White Noise (Netflix / Everyeye Cinema), After Yang (A24 / The Atlantic), AmbuLAnce (Universal / Cinema Blend), and The Last Movie Stars (HBO / TV Insider).

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