Feef's Fave Flicks 2022
What a year, what a year, whatta year.
Before I digress, let's look at some lists.
First, let's talk about the movies you need to see.
FEEF'S TOP FAVES:
Maybe not in order of best, as it is tough to rate these, within this category.
1. THE FABELMANS. Breezy, funny, light, until it is not. I feel Spielberg is vulnerable here. There is a frenetic energy to the family, a tension, and a self-consciousness to Sammy, our protagonist. You are feeling for and with him all the way. I do not want to give anything away here. Only to say that not fitting in can drive us to seek shelter and comfort and place in the art we choose to make. That art reflects who we are, our families, where we come from. There is a loneliness in being a Creative. And there are deep reasons as to why some are driven to make movies, songs, stories. Real life is bittersweet and The Fabelmans captures this so heartbreakingly.
2. ARMAGEDDON TIME. Again, a memoir on family. But the dialogue is so fresh and so real, and the kids so believable. This movie is a kid's adventure and pain. Anthony Hopkins has never felt so perfect as a granddad. Paul Graff, young Jewish kid makes friends with Johnny, African American kid.
It's a tangible friendship. The film is airy and moves effortlessly. You feel disaster coming, impending sadness, but you get also the sense of resilience, energy. The Reagan years.
3. EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Have to say see this. Just for Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward. And Roger Deakins' cinematography. Again, this is a story about racial injustice. But more than that, it is about mental illness, and friendship, as well as the camaraderie that exists inside a magnificent old picture house. I do hope those big cinema days are not gone.
4.SHE SAID. This move is like an ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN for the ME TOO times. The pacing is delicious and the newspaper room vibe communal and exciting. Two intrepid reporters set out to discover the truths, buried in signed non-disclosures, as so many women were forced into silence about abuse. Forced to abandon promising careers, because of the actions of one uncontrolled predator. Not a bad performance here, and Zoey Kazan and Carey Mulligan pull this off with female balls. Samantha Morton has a scene stealing spot, as a woman who comes forth with a big reveal that flips everything.
5. CLOSE. in French. Two boys, school pals, come under examination by their peers and gay-bashed. What happens next puts a very hollow feeling in your gut. But this is a movie about being male, and young, and surviving other kids, as well as learning how to feel and deal with loss.
6. HUSTLE. If all of this family drama feels a bit much, put this movie on. It is non stop fun. A basketball agent jets about looking for the next big thing for the 76ers. Adam Sandler is note-perfect. Queen Latifah is a delightful surprise. Ben Foster is a mean arsehole. But the basketball is mucho fun to watch and the movie feels a bit "Rocky"-esque as our Spanish b-ball star finds his way to a happy ending.
7. TAR. Cate Blanchett. See this one for her. What a ride you will go on, as you fly around with this mad-brilliant conductor. The film plays with you. You may love Tar. You may hate her. But you will want to talk about what happens. The movie is dizzy-smart. Kind of sexy and kind of not. This film will be a Blanchett classic.
8. THE WHALE. Ok. This movie will NOT be for everyone. It is painful. It feels long. It feels like you are watching a play. HOWEVER. You will not see a more genuine performance. Brendan Fraser feels to be channeling some of his own existential angst. Warning. This is not a fun movie. It is multi-layered, well written, acted, and draws you in, as you ask big questions. Where is God in the world? What is evil? What does it mean to love? What happens to people who hurt too much? What is forgiveness? NO pun intended, but this film is HEAVY. And worth the lift.
9. WOMEN TALKING. Another film that is not anywhere close to a MARVEL adventure, and demands things of you. I am so happy I saw this on the big screen. I needed to get immersed in this barn and the eight women inside it. This film is all about the language. The stories are revealed, but you have to focus, pay attention and absorb. If you do, you feel. And as you feel, you might relate.
Claire Foy, Mara Rooney, Judith Ivey are especially translucent, but in truth the entire cast is stellar.
You might watch and take issue with the point of view here. That is ok. If you can give this movie your attention, it does spur thought, and a need to discuss. So it will get WOMEN TALKING, most def! And maybe guys too!
10. TOP GUN: MAVERICK. I know. Weird Feef pick? Well, the movie moves. It is exciting from beginning to end. The Val Kilmer sequence is so sad and memorable. The stunts are so much fun. And Jennifer Connelly is beautiful. Tom Cruise. Sorry. I know about his weird Scientological background. But I will still go see him in anything he does. A girl needs a bit of movie star in her big screen diet sometimes.
HAVEN'T SEEN YET: Pinocchio, All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar, White Noise, Till, The Woman King. Everything Everywhere All at Once. Bardo.
JUST NOT GREAT:
GLASS ONION. Fun, but too long. I saw the reveal way before it happened. Clever, but no KNIVES OUT.
BABYLON. It did babble on. And on. Bloviated, This film needs an editor. More Brad Pitt. Less Margot Robbie. She's great, and beautiful, but very one-note. Also the dialogue. Did people really say "fuck" every other word in those days? Or even now? An elephant's mess.
CAUSEWAY. Makes me mad that an actor as brilliant as Brian Tyree Henry is not given as much character development as the camera-loves-her star Jennifer Lawrence who was pretty one-dimensional and not believable as a PTSD veteran.
AMSTERDAM. JUST OVERLONG. JUST AWFUL. Just that every character sounded like David O. Russell.
PERSUASION. Horrible. And unnecessary. Shonda Rimes did it so much better with Bridgerton.
Truly, there were few 2022 movies I would call "bombs."
The documentaries this year were stunning. from MCENROE to NOTHING COMPARES (about Sinead O'Connor) to SIDNEY. MAKE SURE YOU SEE: FIRE OF LOVE, GOOD NIGHT OPPY. LOUIS ARMSTRONG'S BLACK AND BLUES. ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED.
IS THAT BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU.
As I write, I realize that I have so many more films to see. And see I shall. This year, I will choose to go to cinema as much as I can, rather than watch every filmic experience on my computer, IPAD or television.
I am going to go to cinema with friends and make sure to leave time for a drink after.
The best part of the immersive experience is coming down from the high and processing that with someone who was also there.
Wishing you a very Cinematic 23!
for "Life should be a movie, a film that runs forever!"