Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). It is pretty amazing how much emotion this film could wring out of me while also being a crazy crazy rollercoaster of sci-fi craziness. This film engages in a pretty abstract sci-fi concept about people swapping bodies while traveling from universe to universe and this generates many scenes that are not easy to interpret if you are not paying attention. (Again with the multiverses, I know, but this is a good one.)The film becomes a kaleidoscope of genres as Michelle Yeoh has to act different versions of herself, which she does brilliantly. And because the main cast of characters are all well-written, quirky and funny people, there is an emotional core to the story that made me tear up with happy feelings towards the end. Besides all that, this film is hilarious and very imaginative. I was glued to the screen for two hours. I laughed, I cried, and so did everyone else in the theatre. It has the acting and absurdity of a wacky art-house film combined with innovative special effects and a complexity of script and film that you hardly ever see in the theatre. I expect this film to be my favourite of the year.
Morbius (2022). Perhaps Marvel’s worst film to date. The first 20 minutes are alright, but then Jared Leto injects himself with bat blood and somehow gains supernatural powers and the whole film goes down the drain from there. There’s no inspiration behind it. It’s like this was shot in a warehouse one day with bad lighting with an AI generated script and some stock music. It’s the same old formulaic origin story and feels 20 years old.
The Lost City (2022). It’s a competently made modern-day take on Romancing the Stone (1984). The writing sounded inspired and the film as a whole came across as a project that was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum have enough chemistry to make their roles work and there are some fun cameos. Nice jungle locations that don’t have Dwayne Johnson in them for a change. Daniel Radcliffe plays an excellent bastard. I’d recommend this film as a lighthearted adventurous comedy.
Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022). Wow this was something different. Instead of a tepid life-action reboot, this is a Who Framed Roger Rabbit inspired, sardonic spoof on Hollywood and showbiz, in which Dale leaves the original Rescue Rangers show to have CGI surgery to become 3D. Once other Disney cartoons start disappearing, Chip and Dale, as middle-aged former actors, need to resolve their differences to reunite the Rangers and become actual detectives. There are tons of cartoon cameos and background jokes. I even wonder if this movie is more suited for adults than children because of all the mature themes about getting ahead in life. For a 90 minute movie, this one is stuffed. But there is a point when all the references start overwhelming the story. When Chip and Dale are running through a Comic Con, you know that that scene is put in there to squeeze even more references into it. And references by themselves are not enough to carry a movie. The jokes get a bit tiring and with that the whole movie as well.
Top Gun: Maverick (2022). A pretty good sequel. I was never a huge fan of the original Top Gun, but this sequel like Maverick himself flies through an obstacle-course of Hollywood-pitfalls and emerges unscathed at the other end. The superficial emotional beats of the old film, like his relationship and his tragedy with his wingman, are taken up again and are given more depth. The film wins you over by being respectful to the old film and to the audience both.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022). The “wizarding world” of Harry Potter is a great setting with lots of potential for telling any magic-related story that you would wish. But the stories being told in there are uninspired and keep treading over old ground. The film tries, but feels unbalanced with too much emphasis on gloomy political struggles with basic writing, and lacks the emotional core of a character trio like Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Jurassic World: Dominion (2022). The Jurassic Park franchise is, like so many other Hollywood franchises, an endurance test in disappointment. The story persists in some idiotic directions, including the human clone thing, raptors as weapons, genetic manipulations and the blue raptor who gets his own POV with some Morgenstimmung background music. Chris Pratt keeps doing his trick of calming every animals by holding up his hand. Seriously, that hand thing drove me nuts. The CGI and animatronics both look old, unfinished before shooting. The film tries to be many things but is an incongruous, brainless chaos. It shamelessly copies endlessly from the first Jurassic Park film while not earning any of its moments.
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). If you liked the previous Thor film, chances are that you will like this one as well. Both are directed by Taika Waititi and feature his trademark irreverent comedy. Eh, that’s all I have to say about it. It’s standard stuff and superficial. Fun at times, though not all the comedy worked for me and actually the more I think about it the more tired the comedy felt. The soundtrack choices were repetitive and insistent.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021). A really well-shot, well edited documentary about Bourdain’s life. Perfect if you feel that you are missing his presence on screen. But don’t make the mistake in thinking that it will be like watching one of his old shows. That feeling will never come again, and will forever be marred by how it all ended. Expect to be crying at the end.
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Peacemaker season 1 (2022). As a non-American it took me a moment to understand this character, but now I get it. If Captain America represents the United States as it wants to see itself – a strong, morally good gentleman – then Peacemaker represents what the United States is often accused of being. A buffed-up dude who has a good heart but is dumber than mud and doesn’t realise how rude and insensitive he is, who wants to bring peace no matter how many people he needs to kill to achieve it, who drives around in a muscle car with an American flag paint job and a pet eagle named Eagly. He has a terrible racist and sexist father who keeps supplying him with high-tech weaponry to play with. I really enjoyed this show. The comedy is so over the top crude that it became funny again, and the soundtrack is fantastic. The show just wants to go for a laugh and is consistently entertaining all the way through.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1 (2022). In my review of Star Trek: Picard season 2, I pronounced Star Trek dead. Well, it’s not. Strange New Worlds returns to the episodic storytelling of old and it is as if the studio had to reinvent the wheel to blow new life into the franchise. The stories are shorter, tighter and much better; less room for plotholes, less 10-episode messy arcs, less end-of-the-universe nonsense. What a relief! Not only that, but the series has a good cast that is not dominated by a single character like Burnham in Star Trek Discovery or Picard in Picard, which means that every crew-member gets their moment to shine. There’s space exploration and mystery and less semi-intelligent speechifying and crying. I can’t believe what I’m seeing!