Aaron’s Top Ten Films of 2022

Aaron’s Top Ten Films of 2022

10. Kimi

Steven Soderbergh teams with writer David Koepp for something specifically placed yet crowd-pleasing, even feeling as though it could serve as a superhero origin story for Zoë Kravitz’s Angela Childs, who finds herself investigating a possible murder captured over the Alexa-like device, Kimi. With that in mind, the film’s way of navigating the politics surrounding smart devices while fully acknowledging and incorporating the current pandemic allows for a thematically and cinematically exciting thriller anchored by a strong lead performance.

9. Neptune Frost

Writer/director/composer Saul Williams and co-director Anisia Uzeyman have constructed an Afrofuturist musical designed to address and critique the power of technology, the exploitation of miners, the transformative nature of the future, and more. It approaches all this through striking imagery, a tricky dual lead performance (where two actors of different genders play the same character), and frequent pulsating musical numbers that vary between raps, rallying cries, and expressive tone poems. As some sort of cosmic adventure, there’s nothing like this movie. 

8. Athena

The film is perhaps most notable for its incredibly structured long takes, immersing the viewer further into the anarchy unfolding in a French banlieue. Perhaps the stylization is too much of a way to sensationalize its story, yet seeing this exciting form of creativity bring more attention to such an area seems entirely fitting of what art can accomplish.

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

Even if one puts the strengthened characterizations aside, recognizing a familiar narrative structure matters little when watching how Cameron can stage incredible action sequences to balance out the time spent with the characters inhabiting a whole new world featuring never-before-seen aquatic creatures. Add to that emotionally compelling stakes and a fascinating bond between a teenage Na’vi and a space whale (Payakan rules!), and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.

6. Nope

A film that only becomes more interesting as time passes, what could have simply been a fun take on the UFO/alien abduction sci-fi/horror sub-genre functions as a metaphor regarding spectacle, exploitation, and filmmaking itself. Add in thoughts on the marginalized roles of people of color working behind the scenes, man’s capacity to understand nature, and the revisionist history when it comes to the erasure of Black cowboys, and there’s a film here that is full of ideas and layers to peel back. 

Aaron’s Top Ten Films of 2022

5. Decision to Leave

Director Park Chan-wook is entirely in his zone here, even while holding back from his more extreme depictions of what various genre exercises can offer. If this does lead to more audience crossover, it’s well worth it, thanks to his concentration on depicting both an intriguing mystery and a superb romance.

4. The Banshees of Inisherin

What a skill it is for Martin McDonagh to find a way to balance pitch-black humor with tragedy, delivering entertaining features in the process. I’ve enjoyed the film career this playwright has had thus far. It’s only improved when considering just how well McDonagh has expanded on these character-focused stories and his efforts at putting real cinema on display. 

3. The Fabelmans

This is not a film in need of interrogating Spielberg as a cinematic savant. Instead, there’s a deeply felt drama surrounding a young man’s realization that his parents have issues, and his best way of processing this is through the creative lens in his head, pushing him to see the best way he could frame the fallout of his family’s dysfunction. And it’s given more shape by the Beard’s top collaborators.

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

I took in Everything Everywhere All At Once within the same week as my number one film, and it’s the best example of this year when I felt I could say to myself, “Wow, movies!” This absurdist action-comedy-drama from the director duo the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) feels like a cinematic miracle.   

1. RRR

RRR feels like the exact answer to the question of what else cinema can do to really impress upon audiences what kind of creativity is still out there, especially when moving beyond the boundaries of films produced by Hollywood without any sense of boldness.   

Aaron’s Top Ten Films of 2022

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