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Top 15 Must Watch Movies for 2022

List of movies that defined the cinema year and where to watch them

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Here's a list of movies that defined the 2022 cinema year and we have the links to trailers and where to watch them full length. From the Batman, Wakanda Forever, the woman King to Deep Water and Babylon. It's all in there.

15. Deep Water

Based on a kinky Patricia Highsmith story, director Adrian Lyne’s return to his ‘80s erotic-thriller pinnacle (9 ½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction) stars Affleck as a filthy rich dude who made his fortune dealing death as a designer of military drones who now spends his early retirement riding his mountain bike, tending to his collection of snails, and fuming with jealousy while his wife (de Armas) flirts and has affairs with a string of young men in plain sight.

Lyne is a maestro of this kind of softcore skinemax stuff, and he ratchets up the heat like the old horndog that he is, but it’s the two stars who turn Deep Water into such naughty fun.

14. Orphan: First Kill

You may be wondering if the prequel to 2009's Orphan is worth the hype. Or even really needed a follow-up, 13 years later. Well, guess what? Director William Brent Bell's stab at an origin story for the precocious Esther might just be better than the original.

Orphan: First Kill finally gives us a look into how Esther came to be in the adoption system, when she’s actually a 30-something-year-old mental institution escapee. Horror movie logic! Never gets old. This prequel takes the wild concept of the original and spins it in an entirely new direction. We don't want to spoil anything for you, but there are quite a few unhinged scenes that’ll have you cheering for an unexpected hero.

13. Don't Worry Darling

Sure, Olivia Wilde’s Don't Worry Darling was a bit overhyped, but luckily, it turned out to be incredibly entertaining. The film follows Jack (Harry Styles) and Alice (Florence Pugh), a young couple who live in an idyllic '50s suburb called Victory. Every day, the men in town leave their wives to work on a mysterious project, while the women spend their days drinking, gossiping, shopping, and tending to the house.

For Alice, it’s the perfect setup… until a tragic event makes her wonder what the “Victory Project” really is. Though Don’t Worry Darling did include a few plot holes (what happened to the airplane?) Pugh's stunning performance vaults the film on this list.

12. Everything Everywhere All at Once

It's rare to see a film where you can't predict what will happen by the end, and rarer still to see one where you can't predict what will happen from one scene to the next. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is an example of the rarest of all: a film where you don't know what will happen from one shot to the next.

11. Babylon

A bombastic epic as artistically ambitious as those made during the height of the silent era, writer/director Damien Chazelle's “Babylon” takes the audience on a visceral odyssey through the highest highs and lowest lows of late-1920s Hollywood, from orgiastic parties and chaotic film sets to personal triumphs and melancholic moments of utter despair.

10. Prey

Fittingly for a movie with a cloaking device at its heart, we did not see this period-set Predator flick coming, Sure, the trailer looked sufficiently promising to banish awkward memories of the last few outings from this creaking franchise, but just how much fresh life talented director Dan Trachtenberg has managed to inject into it amid all the gory, inventive offings still came as a very happy surprise.

Yes, it belongs on the big screen rather than a straight-to-Hulu release but at least it's easily rewatchable – and with part-Sioux actress Amber Midthunder providing its ridiculously engaging action hero and that mandibled space bastard actually scary again, it'll be on our favourites list for years to come.

9. A Hero

A kind of Iranian Ken Loach, Asghar Farhadi is a master at weaving thorny morality tales into a wider social framework. This Cannes hit is another probing look at life in a hierarchical, judgmental society. Its protagonist, Ramin, emerges from imprisonment for bankruptcy and finds a shot at redemption in the form of 17 gold coins found by his girlfriend.

Does he do the right thing or milk the situation for financial or social capital? The genius of A Hero is in the ways Farhadi finds to turn this basic moral dilemma into a nightmarish Gordian knot that shows up a malfunctioning social order for what it is.

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8. Nope

While the rest of us were mastering sourdough, Jordan Peele spent the pandemic fusing sci-fi, horror and westerns to create a whole new kind of monster movie. The result – with no disrespect to any our baking efforts – was even better: an unnervy, unsettling and frequently funny third Peele effort, lit up by Keke Palmer’s livewire performance, a killer score and terrifying sound design.

It’s easy to over-lionise the filmmaker as the savour of horror – as one poor tweeter discovered – and Nope isn’t without flaws. But it’s a blockbuster that’d unafraid to be depart radically from the norm, securing a likely spot in the midnight movie pantheon in the process.

7. Happening

In a year in which the US Supreme Court put Roe v Wade in its crosshairs, Audrey Diwan’s tumultous, hard-hitting drama arrives to show the realities of illegal abortions. It’s not for the faint hearted – it goes further than Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake in depicting this bleak world – but it’s a gripping story of a pregnant student who risks prison in ’60s France, and Anamaria Vartolomei makes a luminous heroine full of gritty determination.

6. The Northman

‘A widescreen rallying cry for cinema in the age of streaming’. So read Time Out’s admittedly fairly breathless appraisal of Robert Eggers’ brilliant, blood-soaked Viking epic when it landed in (smashed into? Ransacked?) cinemas in April. But the sentiment stands, because in an age increasingly dominated by streaming sites, The Northman is a useful reminder that the place to witness the grandest, boldest cinematic visions is on the biggest screen possible – and unless you live in an IMAX, that won’t be in your front room.

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Okay, hands up who saw this practically flawless blockbuster coming? A few people probably did – this long-in-the-making Top Gun sequel was originally due out two years ago – but that enforced delay detracts not one iota from the purest widescreen thrill ride of the year so far.

Tom Cruise’s ace pilot provides heart, soul and some fighter jet manoeuvres that we’re pretty sure defy every law of physics in the book. Mind you, the book gets binned early (and literally) in this one, to reinvent the so-called ‘legacy sequel’ into something that soars way above hollow Hollywood cash-ins.

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

Brace yourself for 1918. Netflix’s often awe-striking German-language reimagining of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic antiwar novel takes place in the dying embers of the Great War. And ‘dying’ is the operative word, because this vision of conflict is as violent a film as you’ll see this year – a cacophony of screaming shells, rumbling tanks and the rat-a-tat of flying bullets. In the middle of it all is a young German conscript (talented newcomer Felix Kammerer) just trying to stay alive. It’ll leave you dazed.

3. The Woman King

A historic action epic about Black women, The Woman King is as entertaining as it is culturally significant. It's immense fun watching Viola Davis and her Amazonian warriors train up and fight the bad guys in 1800s Africa, and it’s moving when you realise how groundbreaking and empowering this is.

Already a big hit in America, it’s proving that Black female stories can smash it at the box office. Bring hankies for this emotional epic in the vein of Braveheart and Gladiator.

2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, director Ryan Coogler genuinely did the impossible. Even within Marvel’s bloated cinematic universe, Coogler and the cast of Black Panther were able to tell a story that both pays respect to the legendary Chadwick Boseman and lays the groundwork for the franchise to continue beyond the actor’s death.

Featuring what may very well be the best film score of the year, Wakanda Forever will make even the most stubborn MCU skeptic shed a tear.

1. The Batman

It's jarring to see a capes and costumes flick like The Batman dare to experiment with cinematography! Music! But after a rewatch at home, my that was pretty good! response to The Batman turned into a do I like this better than Christopher Nolan's Batfilms? I've gotta say: I'd take Pattinson over Bale any day.

The Batman dared to be vibe-y, heavy on detective work. That's not even mentioning the nuclear amount of prosthetics that turned an unhinged Colin Farrell into one of my favorite movie villains of all time. Let's just hope Reeves makes the sequel just as special.

Bryan

Person for people. Reader of writings. Writer of readings.

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