During the pandemic, Hollywood had many delays, from big films to studios, and the release schedule is still catching up with the backed-up movies. However, by 2022, many English films had filled the void that fans had been missing. Hollywood provided a wide range of genre releases, from the action film Uncharted to Tom Cruise’s hit sequel Top Gun: Maverick. Warner Bros. has abandoned its aggressive strategy of simultaneously releasing all of its new films in theatres and on HBO Max. Still, the gap between theatrical release and availability on streaming platforms has shrunk across the industry. Regardless of where or how audiences choose movies, the pandemic’s drought of new releases appears to have ended.
After Yang and Emergency:
You’ve heard of “elevated horror,” so get to know its close cousin, “quiet sci-fi.” “After Yang” is a character drama about a father who suffers a loss when Yang, a lifelike programmed to connect his adopted daughter to her Chinese heritage, shuts down unexpectedly. While he searches for a way to repair himself, he and his family are forced to consider Yang’s place in their lives as well as Yang’s own inner life, which he chooses to keep hidden from them. “Emergency” is one part college buddy movie, one part thriller, with a dash of social commentary thrown in for good measure. Some college seniors intend to be the university’s first Black students.
Emily the Criminal and Good Luck to You, Leo Grande:
“Emily the Criminal” is a thriller born of the current moment, as a generation burdened by debt and unable to find full-time work struggles to make ends meet in the “gig economy.” Aubrey Plaza plays Emily, who works a variety of menial jobs for insufficient wages to pay off her student loans. During the COVID-19 era, several “locked room” feature films were produced with a small cast in a remote location to reduce the risks and costs of working during a pandemic. “Good Luck, Leo Grande” stands out in this unintentional genre as a two-person play set nearly wholly in a London hotel room.
Jackass Forever and KIMI:
Who must have predicted that “Jackass Forever” would be the first true critical darling of 2022? Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and the gang punish their bodies with elaborate pranks and dares in the installment of the film series based on the MTV prank show of the same name. “KIMI” is a thriller that is very much of the moment. Angela, played by Zoe Kravitz, is a programmer whose job is to manually review garbled or misunderstood communications between KIMI, an Alexa-style electronic assistant, and its users. When Angela comes across an audio recording of a heinous crime, she must try to get the evidence into the hands of the right people without revealing the culprits.
Resurrection and Scream:
“Resurrection,” which premiered at Sundance and will be released in theatres and on streaming platforms later in 2022, is a white-knuckle psychological horror film in which star Rebecca Hall gives one of the year’s first great performances. With “Scream,” director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson usher in a new era of horror films in 1996, as a group of teenagers are pursued by a mysterious killer obsessed with slasher films. As each “Scream” has commented on the nature of horror and the changing landscape of cinema, this fifth installment addresses the modern trend of the “requel,” in which “legacy characters” pass the baton to a younger breed.
The Worst Person in the World and The Batman:
The story of one woman’s journey in and out as she tries to figure out what she wants from her life has been described as an “anti-romantic comedy.” “Worst Person,” led by Renate Reinsve’s rich and captivating performance, is a refreshingly honest and non-judgmental look at the millennial condition. It was nominated for an Academy Award for International Film. Gotham City’s streets have never been grittier than in “The Batman,” a new take on DC’s most famous superhero, even though this is yet another reboot that returns the character to “basics” as a lone crimefighter pursuing gangsters and serial killers.
Many of the most films of the year have already hit theatres in the year’s first half. Top Gun fans waited 37 years for the sequel, which debuted at the top of the box office in May. It was not only a commercial success, but it also received positive reviews, demonstrating that when done correctly, reboots and sequels can be just as exciting and successful as the original. Seeing the audience’s reactions to this year’s best films in person was a treat. As much as streaming has changed how we watch movies, movies are meant to be communal experiences that bring moviegoers together, and the recent box office boom bodes well for the film industry’s future.