Sunday, May 26, 2024

List: Christian Eulinberg’s Top 10 Films of 2022

Another movie year has passed, and I’ve had plenty of time to ponder on all of the silver screen experiences I’ve had this year. Fortunately for me, narrowing down my top 10 favorite movies of the year was rather simple this year. If I’m being honest, I felt 2022 was one of the weaker years for cinema; it appears that we are still in that transition time when movies are slowly returning to theaters and the ramifications of 2020 continue to hang over Hollywood. But that’s not to say there weren’t a few titles that surprised me. 

  1. The Fabelmans

“You do what your heart says you have to. ‘Cause you don’t owe anyone your life. Not even me.” Coming-of-age films are my kryptonite, and Steven Spielberg has done it again. The narrative about a boy who fell in love with the power of movies while simultaneously discovering a shocking family secret is a deadly combination that makes for a sweet and emotional tale. I was immediately smitten by Gabriel Labelle and Michelle Williams’ performances as Sammy and Mrs. Fabelman, as well as their chemistry. If you’re a sucker for coming-of-age dramas like me, this film is for you. It’s brilliantly narrated, shot, and well-directed. Spielberg never fails to deliver. 

  1. Causeway

Would you want to make the offer again? It would be good to have someone around. Have coffee with in the morning. Smoke in the evening. Cook dinner sometimes.” I feel like this film flew under a lot of people’s radars, and it almost sailed under mine. With the anticipation of Don’t Look Up, it feels like it’s been a while since we’ve seen Jennifer Lawrence in a prominent role. On the surface, this film does not appear to have much to offer, yet it is a compelling narrative of two strangers who develop an unexpected friendship. Jennifer and Bryan Tyree Henry’s relationship has to be my favorite actor pairing from 2022. My attachment to this film was significant. Being forced to return to your hometown due to an unexpected incident is a difficult pill to take, especially after working so hard to leave in the first place.

  1. The Whale

“Do you ever get the feeling people are incapable of not caring? People are amazing”. I love seeing plays translated into films, and I believe Darren Aronofsky smacked the ball out of the park with this one. The Whale portrays its characters in such a raw and vulnerable manner that you can’t help but empathize with them. This movie is not for the faint of heart because it deals with several substantial topics such as depression, suicide, and religion. Brendan Fraser delivers an outstanding performance alongside Sadie Sink and Hong Chau. If I were to describe this film in one word, it would be melancholy; it is practically flawless, at least in my opinion, and conveys the notion that people are inherently kind

  1. White Noise

“Maybe when we die, the first thing we will say is, “I know this feeling. I was here before.” In my opinion, Noah Baumbach is a perfect 2-for-2 when it comes to marital stories. White Noise was not on my radar at the start of 2022, but it rapidly became a film that made me reflect on how limited and vulnerable we are as people. I can’t think of many films that approach the subject of death so casually. This picture is the ideal combination of comedy, sci-fi, and drama; I would even go so far as to call it a dark comedy depending on how you look at the screenplay, which is excellent. The banter and responses between Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig were so sharp, witty, and brilliant that if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear they were married in real life.

  1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?”. Wakanda Forever is the pinnacle of art infused with life. The film achieves the ideal mix of discussing the cycle of sorrow while also tenderly honoring Chadwick Boseman’s memory. In the company of Tenoch Huerta, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright shines out. I admire how Ryan Coogler made this a stand-alone tale accessible to fans of the first film. Unlike the other Marvel films released in 2022, Wakanda Forever seems like the most genuine sequel of the bunch. What makes this film so impressive is that Coogler also was given the daunting challenge of creating a sequel to one of Marvel’s most adored characters, and he managed to pull it off. This was a fantastic way to wrap out Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

“I don’t need puzzles or games. The last thing I need is a vacation. I need danger, a hunt, a challenge”. Rian Johnson has done it again with another intriguing whodunit mystery featuring a standout cast, culprit, and motivation. I was fortunate enough to watch this film in cinemas during Thanksgiving weekend, and it was definitely worth the trip. This is the kind of movie that should have gotten a lengthier theatrical run than a week, but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. If you do see this film, I recommend seeing it with a large group of people as there are too many hilarious moments, pop culture analogies, and fantastic performances to enjoy it alone. 

  1. The Batman

“They think I’m hiding in the shadows, but I am the shadows”.

Despite my belief that this picture should have been released in the fall of 2022, The Batman is the best comic book film of 2022. Matt Reeves has created the ultimate brew of the caped crusader. The cinematography is among the greatest I’ve seen in a comic book picture in quite some time. Gotham City feels like a character in this film and is reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series. The city appears to be on its final legs, and the blood-orange sky is a sight to behold. People questioned whether Robert Pattinson could portray Batman, and I believe his performance as the Dark Knight is proof that he is more than qualified. His portrayal of Batman is one I’ve been looking forward to seeing on the big screen for a long time. This is Batman in his second year of battling crime, so he still has a lot to learn. His chemistry with Selina Kyle (Zöe Kravtiz) is satisfying, and his banter with Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) is on par with Christian Bale and Gary Oldman’s time with these roles.

  1. The Woman King

“You Are Powerful. More Than You Even Know. Do Not Give Your Power Away.” I’m kicking myself for not watching this movie in cinemas when it was first released. However, I was astounded by the film’s sheer determination. Regardless of its historical inaccuracies, Viola Davis and her team worked on this project with love, passion, and pride. The action scenes were thrilling and exciting, and the film knew when to slow down and provide us with the conversation and emotional beats we require to connect with these characters. The Woman King achieves cinematic royalty with its extremely skillful, well-crafted, and purposeful picture that tells a narrative of empowerment and humanity. It’s well-crafted from start to finish, with Davis shining in the starring role.

  1. Avatar: The Way Of Water

The way of water has no beginning and no end. The sea is around you and in you. The sea is your home, before your birth and after your death”. I was skeptical that James Cameron would take the world by storm and provide a successful sequel to one of the most successful films of all time. And I must say, I was astounded. This is a film that must be seen in a theater and was designed solely for the 3D experience. In short, it was fantastic. The visual effects were spectacular, and despite its 3-hour and 15-minute run length, this is a well-paced film with plenty of action, compelling characters, world-building, and a strong feeling of community. I’ve always got the impression that James Cameron admires Hayao Miyazaki’s imaginative approach to environmental challenges. The preservation of our woods is the central topic of the first Avatar film and the topic of Avatar: The Way Of Water is ocean preservation. To summarize, don’t doubt James Cameron

  1. Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

“The Only Thing I Do Know Is That We Have To Be Kind. Please, Be Kind. Especially When We Don’t Know What’s Going On.” This is undoubtedly A24’s greatest picture to date, and it surprised everyone, including me. This was one of the first movies I saw in 2022, and it has been at the top of my list ever since. I could sit here all day talking about how amazing the action was and how creative the numerous universes we visit throughout the film are. But what drew my attention to this film was the message and the difficulties and hardships this family faces in attempting to restore the self-inflicting damage they had done to their household. Michelle Yeoh, Stephani Hsu, and Ke Huy Quan had the finest on-screen chemistry I’ve ever seen in a film. These characters and their problems feel authentic, and the writing is poignant and heartfelt. The Daniels accomplished something wonderful for the audience, and I hope people see this film and understand why I love this story so deeply.

 

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