2022: Watchlist, Honorable Mentions & “Guilty” Pleasures

Another year over, never the wiser!

Let’s start off with my watchlist of new releases in 2022:

  1. The Souvenir Part II
  2. The 355
  3. Licorice Pizza
  4. Scream
  5. Belfast 
  6. Nightmare Alley
  7. Sing a Bit of Harmony
  8. 2025-The World Enslaved by a Virus
  9. Torn
  10. A Journal for Jordan
  11. Moonfall
  12. Belle
  13. Jackass Forever
  14. Parallel Mothers
  15. You are Not My Mother
  16. Keep it a Secret
  17. The Duke
  18. Cyrano
  19. Studio 66
  20. The Island
  21. Futura
  22. Three Minutes a Lengthening 
  23. The Batman
  24. Playground 
  25. Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest
  26. Nitram
  27. Cop Secret
  28. You Resemble Me
  29. Evolution
  30. Dark Horse of the Wind
  31. The Drover’s Wife, The Legend of Molly Johnson
  32. Turning Red
  33. Skies of Lebanon
  34. Honey Cigar
  35. Young Plato
  36. Red Rocket
  37. The Phantom of the Open
  38. X  
  39. Hive
  40. Wolf
  41. Ambulance 
  42. Umma
  43. The Worst Person in the World
  44. The Cellar
  45. Coppelia
  46. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  47. Morbius
  48. Coast Road
  49. Bound to Work
  50. Ito
  51. The Pursuit of Perfection
  52. The Bad Guys
  53. The Outfit
  54. One of these Days
  55. The Lost City
  56. The Northman
  57. Operation Mincemeat
  58. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent 
  59. Happening 
  60. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnes
  61. Three Floors
  62. Prayers for the Stolen
  63. Firestarter
  64. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  65. Murina
  66. Casablanca Beats
  67. Swing Ride
  68. A Girl Returned
  69. Europa
  70. The Tale of King Crab
  71. The Great Silence
  72. Ennio
  73. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers
  74. The Quiet Girl
  75. The Velvet Queen
  76. Top Gun: Maverick
  77. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  78. Vortex
  79. The Bob’s Burgers Movie
  80. Benediction 
  81. The Adam Project
  82. Men
  83. No Exit
  84. 365 Days-This Day
  85. Jurassic World Dominion
  86. Better Nate than Ever
  87. Lightyear
  88. Elvis
  89. The Black Phone
  90. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
  91. Leave No Traces
  92. Pompo the Cinéphile
  93. The Princess
  94. Thor Love and Thunder
  95. Brian and Charles
  96. Bergman Island
  97. The Princess
  98. Everything Went Fine
  99. Where the Crawdads Sing
  100. Joyride
  101. The Good Boss
  102. The Deer King
  103. The Gray Man
  104. Bullet Train
  105. Norte Dame on Fire
  106. The Girl and the Spider
  107. Nope
  108. Fortune Favours Lady Nikuko  
  109. Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
  110. Beast
  111. The Next 365 Days
  112. Robust
  113. The Invitation
  114. Where is Anne Frank
  115. Three Thousand Years of Longing
  116. Blackbird
  117. The Crossing
  118. Both Sides of the Blade
  119. Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
  120. The Forgiven
  121. Hole in the Head
  122. The Cry of Granuaile 
  123. Bodies Bodies Bodies
  124. See How They Run
  125. Róise & Frank
  126. Fire of Love
  127. Crimes of the Future
  128. Kimi
  129. The House
  130. Do Revenge
  131. Official Competition
  132. After Yang
  133. Moonage Daydream
  134. Don’t Worry Darling
  135. Juniper
  136. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
  137. Vengeance
  138. Nothing Compares
  139. My Son Hunter
  140. After Blue
  141. Smile
  142. Vicky
  143. The Lost King
  144. The Woman King
  145. Halloween Ends
  146. It Is in Us All
  147. Emily
  148. The Banshees of Inisherin
  149. Flux Gourmet
  150. Barbarian
  151. The Last Client
  152. Huesara: The Bone Woman
  153. Candy Land
  154. Pussycake
  155. The Leech
  156. The Lake
  157. Something in the Dirt
  158. Wendell and Wild
  159. Cult of VHS
  160. Bros
  161. Neptune Frost
  162. Clerks 3
  163. Decision to Leave
  164. Call Jane
  165. Aisha
  166. Man on Earth
  167. Metronom
  168. Unicorn Wars
  169. Nocebo
  170. Retrograde
  171. Aftersun
  172. Watcher
  173. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  174. Enys Men
  175. Last Dance
  176. Piaffe
  177. How to Save a Dead Friend
  178. If You are a Man
  179. Calendar Girls
  180. Blue Jean
  181. Into the Ice
  182. Battleground 
  183. Karaoke Paradise
  184. Cesária Ėvora
  185. The Gates 
  186. Empire of Light
  187. A Perfect Day for Caribou
  188. Terroir to Table
  189. Nightsiren
  190. The Menu
  191. Black Mambas
  192. Armageddon Time
  193. Glass Onion 
  194. Guillermo Del Toro Pinocchio 
  195. Aisling Trí Néallaibh: Clouded Reveries
  196. Matilda the Musical
  197. She Said
  198. Strange World
  199. Nanny
  200. Three Day Millionaire
  201. How to Tell a Secret
  202. Violent Night
  203. Bones and All
  204. Triangle of Sadness
  205. The Silent Twins
  206. Ghosts of Baggotonia
  207. North Circular
  208. Avatar: The Way of Water
  209. Prey 
  210. Below Dreams
  211. This Much I Know to be True
  212. The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes
  213. Comets 
  214. Blonde
  215. RRR
  216. The Wonder
  217. Looking for Venera
  218. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
  219. Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
  220. The Scary of Sixty First
  221. Mad God
  222. Fresh
  223. Pleasure
  224. Fire Island
  225. They/Them
  226. The Tinder Swindler
  227. White Noise
  228. Mass
  229. “Sr.”

Now let’s start with my honorary mentions-movies I loved but didn’t quite make the best list:

Barbarian: Baller 3-beat horror flick with great social commentary twists around every corner and a killer performance from Justin Long-never thought I’d consider him a highlight in a film

The Batman: The Caped Crusader certainly is overshot in film but with a voice this distinctive for the character and a cast this great I’ll take all the Batman all the time

Belle: It’s only crime is reminding me of a better film but don’t let that deter you! Great mystery and commentary on VR that seemed pertinent when people assumed Meta would be a thing

Benediction: Poetic and emotionally resonant film about the struggles of gay identity in the early 20th century and the traumas distilled by the so-called Great War

Bergman Island: Exploring a filmmaking couple at the etch of a really ugly personal discovery of themselves in the world of Bergman-the worst director possible to help reflect on these issues-great stuff!

Blonde: Controversial for sure, but this is a hard to watch and incisive blow at patriarchal standards, forging images out of women to profit, and using one of the most famous one of them all. I get the concerns around this but I was gripped throughout

Bones and All: It’s great to see Guadagnino back even if this didn’t wow me like his others. Still a great showcase of strange love and the burden of the outsider, as well as a killer performance from Mark Rylance

Both Sides of the Blade:  It’s Clare Denis, it’s a love triangle-it’s bound to be fascinating and ugly all at once. Great commentary interlaced with this nightmare of a situation too

Brian and Charles: A man makes a robot and they become a family. Some confusing choices with the framing device, however this was still really funny and utterly charmingly earnest.

An Cailín Ciúin: Fantastic outing for Ireland with this nearly-entirely as Gaeilge film that manages to balance social realism with an immense amount of heart, not a dry eye in the house by the end

Candy Land: A fun and earnest depiction of sex work in a 90s American truck stop peppered in with manic terror and possibly the best needle drop of any movie I’ve seen all year

Decision to Leave: This only really loses points for me because I didn’t love it like I was hoping but to be honest mid Park Chan-wook is like the best movie most filmmakers will ever do. Lean, slick and incredibly engaging thriller with an amazing ending

Enys Men: I loved Bait so this follow up having all of the staples of that but taking it in this quiet unnerving folk horror direction was right up my alley-I can’t wait to see this again

Europa: A cleverly framed and achingly tense and frustrating thriller highlighting the horrors of the refugee crisis entirely from the perspective of a man fleeing for his safety-portentous and truly resonant

Evolution: Has one of the strongest openings I’ve seen all year, and while it never reaches that height again it’s a subtle and harrowing drama from the director of White God and Pieces of a Woman

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery: Benoit Blanc is back! And here with another fun mystery with the political savviness of its predecessor yet flashier, sillier and a hell of a lot of fun start to finish. I wish I could enjoy myself as much as Craig does in this part

Good Luck to You Leo Grande: This honestly would have hit my best if not for how much I do not like the conflict in the third act and I have some issues with its attitude towards sex work (watch this vid for more context). Otherwise it’s excellently written and beautifully performed and I liked how much they made the limited setting of mostly being in this room work for them

Happening: Sadly very relevant and maddening depiction of a woman trying to terminate a pregnancy in 1960s France. It’s wonderfully told and got a good sense of ramped up tension I just wouldn’t watch it if you don’t want to feel like breaking something afterwards

Karaoke Paradise: I love karaoke so I gravitated to this doc immediately, a powerful treatise on isolation and the revealing passions of belting out a track

Licorice Pizza: Paul Thomas Anderson rarely fails to delivers and this love letter to the LA of his childhood is permeated through one of the most fascinating if utterly destructive pairings in cinema

Mad God: Phil Tippett slaved away on this idea for about 3 decades and the pay off was all the worth it. An insanely detailed and lovingly gross world as we descend into hell with some of the best stop motion animation ever put to screen

Nanny: Another subtle treatise on immigration, this one a lot more horror focused. Excellent central performance and some truly disturbing imagery makes this one of the most tantalising debuts of 2022.

:  Insanely clever and creative comedy-drama focused on the difficulties of maintaining a relationship in contemporary times told with bizarre and cutting imagery. Very Roy Andersson in tone and truly underrated

Nocebo: Vivarium was great, and this manages to be better being another intricate and psychologically exhausting thriller but examining privilege global exploitation and what it means to be dependent on those you cannot even trust. Some of the most striking and horrifying visuals I’ve seen all year

The Northman: Robert Eggers does such deft and fascinating explorations of gender roles and this time taking that lens to Viking settings truly brings out some exciting tones and a dismal, shocking physicality you don’t get in a lot of other films. Another one that barely just missed my best list

Parallel Mothers: Pedro Almodóvar’s usual panache for soap-level melodrama and colourful yet grounded aesthetic akin to a more restrained Jacques Demy is at full force here with some of Penelope Cruz’ best work only to be matched by co star Milena Smit. I don’t really care for the direction the ending goes in otherwise I fucking loved this

A Perfect Day of Caribou: Mesmerising exploration of generational trauma the general malaise of contemporary America in a humourous, stark and quasi-avant garde way, like if the Coen Brothers collabed with Jim Jarmusch

RRR: Telegu adventure like no other, manages to be uncompromisingly political (though maybe not in the way us Westerners are presuming) while also being dementedly fun with one of the best bromances ever put to film

Something in the Dirt: Two dudes mess around during COVID and appropriately make an insular film about conspiracies really demonstrating what rabbit holing idiocy it can lead you down. Fascinating and unafraid to be convoluted and messy, like any good theory.

The Souvenir Part II: Another one that barely missed the best list, and while I don’t like it as much as the first one, it depicts the drive and passion of filmmaking better than so many others that have attempted. Hogg’s incredible attention to realistic-feeling filmmaking really captures this struggle in an unsentimental matter

Unicorn Wars:  Hilarious skewering of war and prejudice by using childlike whimsical characters in brightly coloured, cutesified animated form and playing this deadly seriously, blood and guts and hardship galore. Manages to take a pitch this ridiculous and be a really adept character study about how wars warp people.

Where is Anne Frank: The director of Waltz with Bashir has another strongly political and sadly relevant film, exploring how we turn tragedy into artifice and ignore the real life displacements that happened in history, rationalise them and will not see the severity until it is way too late

Wolf: An allegorical Irish tale about people who believe they are animals and the horrific conversion treatment they go through. Extremely relevant and layered with tension, with an excellent performance from Paddy Considine one of the best of the year

X: Tai West hits us with a nutty (ha) deeply kinetic horror flick with gory creative awesome kills galore enveloped on a truly evil concept American fundamentalism.

Okay now onto the movies I thought were entertaining as shit but not actually good list!

2025-The World Enslaved by a Virus

If there is something that really rose to absolute hysterics during the pandemic it was conspiracy theories. Doubly so for conspiracy theories about the pandemic everyone was living through. Here’s one of them, and it’s dogshit politics and incredibly smug Christianity-based preachiness doesn’t turn you off maybe the fact these guys act like they’ve never held a camera in their lives. I cannot understand any person who thinks most of the world’s governments took COVID this seriously.

365 Days-This Day

365 Days is the most baffling and gloriously stupid sex dramas ever made, and also bizarrely successful, so it makes sense we get a sequel. Oh man-if you can get passed how mind numbingly boring it is to watch them struggle to do something with the lead in the first half we go into some goofy fucking shit by the second! Have fun with the needle drops every 6 seconds and none of the songs are good.

And yes I watched the sequel make of what you will that it’s not on this list as well.


This is really fun and really stupid-so it’s perfect Bay! It’s amazing you get an actor as good as Gyllenhaal and have him mug for so much of the run time. It’s gloriously excessive and really tests your patience in the baffling character stuff but that’s the ride I signed up for.


Idris Elba fights a lion. Everything leading up to this is ridiculous and pretty boring except for some incredibly baffling set pieces and how terrible the effects look. But Idris Elba does fight a lion. I had fun with this once they got away from the turgid family drama and allowed the movie to be goofy.


Michael Flatley’s long delayed opus was an absolute talking point amongst my friends and I gotta say it did not disappoint. Holy shit what an absolute train wreck! Like I don’t know why filmmakers keep on thinking they can do Cassablanca, but I’m presuming some of them have talent. One of the absolute cinema going highlights of the year for me-bound to be a so-bad-it’s-good classic.

The Invitation 

This flick is absolute trash and it gets trashier the more you realise what it’s being a quasi-spiritual sequel too (yeah they keep the inspiration pretty close to chest until the end despite it being the most obvious thing on planet Earth). Yet it’s my trash! My trash! Hot as hell lead who gives a pretty game performance in nonsense (also hot as hell love interest dot dot dot so they sizzle together)? Spooky gothic shit layered in some of the most unsubtle class commentary I have ever seen? A movie that at times has no idea what it’s doing but gotta get those pages in so we can drag the reveal out as painfully long as possible? An insane third act? Dunno my guy-the movie sucks but it ticked my boxes so fair play.


I really dug Roland Emmerich for just going balls to the wall conspiracy garbage by just, as far as I can see, making one up from whole cloth. I will not give away the reveal at the end of this movie, but I cannot express enough how mind-bogglingly batshit it is and truly elevates what’s a standard flick of his overall. The Elon Musk praise has also…..uhhhhh aged.


The meme that launched a studio to push a failed movie back into cinemas just for it to fail again. It’s about as bad as you imagine it being, but I like being transported back to 2005 cinema every now and again with one of the most painfully understated lead performances I’ve seen in quite some time. Leto is a lot of the wonk of this movie but from head to toe with bad effects a weak (if massively entertaining) villain and some of the most painful world building known to humanity-nobody knew what they wanted from this but I had my fun, that’s all that matters.

Studio 666

The Foo Fighters made a horror movie people thought was them promoting their new album (it wasn’t they just wanted to make a movie). None of them can act. Like. At all. The music’s good but they got John Carpenter so yeah. It’s incredibly cheesy and self-indulgent. But I dug that with some surprisingly decent effects and the pure hangout vibe it has being surprisingly infectious. Don’t get me wrong though-how much Grohl mugs in this one is truly inspiring. As is the absolutely out of nowhere cameo-you know what I mean if you’ve seen it.

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