- The Serpent Queen (2022): This is what House of the Dragon could have been, if they weren't fucking cowards. It has basically the same themes of marriage slavery, child brides and political assassinations, but it doesn't read like it was written by some sweaty gross dude getting off on how cool that all sounds. Also, not shot in the dark and doesn't have crappy CGI lizards.
- Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2022): Girl wakes up psychic from a coma in the loony bin, busts out, befriends stripper, does crimes. It's a lot of fun.
- The Invitation (2022): This is fantastic. A black artist from New York takes a DNA test and finds out she's related to rich English twits. Things Are Not As They Seem! It takes a classic Hammer turn.
- Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo (2022): This is everything I wanted from a Scooby Doo movie; so much better than that 3D thing from a couple years ago. It is more self-aware than usual, and surprisingly anti-cop and anti-prison!
- Thor, Love and Thunder (2022): This was fine, I guess. It wasn't as funny as Ragnarok, and the whole Jane Foster thing was really poorly explained. Her character was kind of wasted, really. What does it mean to be "a Thor", anyway. It's a job description now? But isn't he supposed to be like two thousand years old?
- Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022): Idris Elba is no Robin Williams, but this was cute.
- Confess, Fletch (2022): A fun, wisecracking, low-stakes detective story. The opposite of grimdark. I've already forgotten it.
- Bullet Train (2022): Who let all these mother fucking assassins on this mother fucking train? It's dumb fun. I've already forgotten it.
- Meet Cute (2022): Someone gave Harley Quinn a 24 hour time machine and she uses it for repeating a first date. It's pretty funny.
- Emily the Criminal (2022): Aubrey Plaza does a low-key Breaking Bad. It's very tense, because you just know all of these bad decisions are going to pile up.
- Lou (2022): Alison Janney and June Smollett fuck up a bad dad and some commandos in the woods. It's fun.
- Fall (2022): Two women climb an abandoned radio tower and get stuck. I thought this would just be a forgettable Open Water kind of thing, and I also thought I wasn't afraid of heights, but this movie was absolutely terrifying.
- Clerks III (2022): Ok, objectively, this is a bad movie. But nostalgically, it's like slipping into a warm bath. With a bottle of whiskey and a straight razor.
- Andor (2022): This really is fantastic. It's often very slow, and pretty non-episodic despite being divided into episodes, which leads to some episodes feeling like not much happened, but it's more like: the episode stopped at 48 minutes, but the act break was somewhere else entirely. There's very little action for a Star War, though the action scenes are particularly intense. It's mostly about personalities and politics, which is a nice change. This show is not about "prop up the monarchy" or "find the MacGuffin", it is about the banality of fascism, and that is amazing.
Also the sets are just gorgeous. I am constantly hitting pause to admire the backgrounds and architecture. And it's not just a re-tread of the designs we've seen in every other Star War. The soaring damp-concrete brutalism of
TrantorCoruscant (sorry, I always forget which of those is Greek and which is Roman) just feels so much more lived in than any other depiction of that kind of world.
- Cyberpunk Edgerunners (2022): This is such a slog, and so bad. I have never played the game, so maybe if I had shot people as these people I would give a shit, but this was just a bunch of amazingly cliched characters doing cliched things, most of whom had no personality or backstory beyond "I'm big" or "I smoke a lot". Also the animation was so basic and boring. It made me pine for Altered Carbon and I hated Altered Carbon.
- Pantheon (2022): This, on the other hand, is fantastic! Characters with real personality, great voice acting, smart dialog, characters come into conflict not because one is just "evil" but because they have different ideas about how to deal with fucked up situations. It owes a lot to one of my all-time favorites, Serial Experiments Lain, but it is not as surreal.
(By the way, if anyone has a torrent of an HD version of Lain with with both English and Japanese audio and non-hardcoded subs, lemme know. I've only found some of those things but not all four.)
- Little Demon (2022): Danny Devito is Satan and knocked up Aubrey Plaza? Shit man that's all you had to say. This is delightfully foul.
- The Midnight Club (2022): A bunch of kids in an implausibly-fancy hospice tell spooky stories. Interestingly this inverts the usual anthology framing-story structure, in that the framing story is the meatier story, where usually the frame is paper thin and just and excuse to do the sub-stories. Also, there aren't really any villains, except, like, cancer. They do a few fake-outs where they start setting up one of the characters as a heel but then that turns out to be no big deal.
- Cabinet of Curiosities (2022): The first four episodes were just kind of dull. Every character is shitty and when they get their shitty asses killed I don't care. Lots of screaming in the dark, and so, so much dark. It's the new trend: I can't see what the fuck is going on. I expected better from Del Toro.
- Hellraiser (2022): Having seen some Hellraisers in my time, this was... an adequate Hellraiser. I was not wowed but it was ok. You will be shocked to learn that it, also, is often too dark too see.
- Barbarian (2022): This was scary, and does not take the completely predictable path I expected from the trailer. I am, however, left with some pretty major questions about the dynamics behind the whole thing, though, particularly related to AirBnB customer support. It's hard to say more without spoilers, but I was left with an awful lot of, "but... wait... how??"
- Blade of the 47 Ronin (2022): Snappy dialog, good fight choreography, and most refreshingly, even the night scenes were well lit.
There's a quote I've heard attributed to Peter Jackson: when lighting a battle scene, someone asked him, "Where will the audience think the light is coming from?" and he said, "The same place the music is coming from."