Quick picks 2022

Some very quick picks indeed this year, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the major streaming platforms — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, Disney+ — all sought to entrench their position in the film food chain, with many major releases going direct to people’s homes. This didn’t affect me too much, as I’ve only been in a cinema a couple of times in the last decade. However, the other thing about a lot of direct-to-streaming releases is that they never come out on DVD. As time goes on, I suspect this is a situation that will only get worse, as cinemas and DVDs both become fossilized cultural artefacts. But then, so are blogs. Social media itself might soon be going the same way.

Second, I didn’t get around to seeing many new releases even on DVD, and those I did see were mostly crap. Or, to be a bit more charitable, movies that I thought might be at least passable but turned out to be somewhat below that. I’m starting to think that new movies just don’t interest me all that much, which shouldn’t surprise me since new fiction doesn’t interest me as much as it used to either. I usually try to plow through as many new releases as I can in November and December in order to prep for this post, but this year I just couldn’t be bothered with what I saw on the shelves.

In any event, here we are with the 2022 releases that I watched in 2022.

The Batman
Bullet Train
Crimes of the Future
Death on the Nile
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Gasoline Alley
Infinite Storm
The Northman
Thor: Love and Thunder

Just you try picking some winners out of that field of beauties!

Best Film: I did not think Bullet Train was a great movie. But it was at least pretty much as advertised, meaning a jokey, slickly turned-out fairground ride. I can’t say the same for any of the other movies on this list, though many of them were going for the same audience. So Bullet Train it is.

Worst Film: Look, there’s no denying that Gasoline Alley was the worst movie on this list. But it also had a tenth, or less than a tenth, of the budget of many of the others and I don’t even think that the people who made it thought it was going to be any good. Moonfall was laughable, as was Morbius. Blacklight was very bad, with Liam Neeson’s turn as an action star bottoming out. Crimes of the Future was just disappointing. The megabudget epics were dead on arrival. So there was a lot of garbage here to choose from. But I guess if I’m being honest and fair I have to stick with calling the worst the worst and make it Gasoline Alley.

Best Actor: I actually liked Devon Sawa in Gasoline Alley. He was trying his best in a lost cause. Rory Kinnear gets a tip of the hat for playing all those different parts in Men. Brad Pitt didn’t do anything beyond his usual Brad Pitt thing in Bullet Train, but he did have to carry everything with his copious charm. A true star, he is always watchable. So Brad Pitt in Bullet Train.

Best Actress: It’s hard to get excited about anyone here, though there was some good work handed in. I thought Zoë Kravitz was a really good Catwoman, but she didn’t impress me with her acting so much as she nailed a certain look. Naomi Watts was good in Infinite Storm, but it was a one-woman show and I didn’t like the show that much. So I’ll go with Jessie Buckley in Men here.

Best Screenplay: Another year to again wonder if this category is even worth keeping. There wasn’t a single moment watching any of these movies where I said to myself “This is quite well written” or “I really like what the screenwriter did there.” The movies that should be in the running here — Crimes of the Future and Men — were both pretentious and unoriginal. So I’ll cast my eye at two movies that had to labour under heavy, heavy franchise expectations and yet still managed to come up with something at least sporadically interesting: The Batman and Scream. Given that Scream was still too much of a retread and had too much bad stuff in it, I’ll say The Batman. But if you ask me why I think it’s a good screenplay I can only respond with a shrug. I mean, the Riddler’s riddles weren’t even clever or interesting.

And there you have it. Am I looking forward to 2023? Not a bit. I’m pretty sure the coming year will be just as disappointing, on every front. But if I’m expecting to be disappointed, can what happens really be a disappointment? We’ll see!

15 thoughts on “Quick picks 2022

  1. fragglerocking

    I’ve only seen three of those, Thor, Northman and Bullet Train, the latter being my fave of those, not a great year but RRR is a standout for me which I don’t think you’ve seen.

  2. Bookstooge

    Movies, schmovies. It’s all dreck. I keep trying to tell Eddie this Truth but he just won’t listen to me.
    Everything I’m watching on prime now is before 2010 (I think). “The Story” is slowly being destroyed and I’m afraid that ’23 will see some big slides instead of the gradual slip we’ve been watching over the past 5 or 6 years.

    But don’t let my negativity in any way deter you from planning on being disappointed. Because you will be disappointed. Period 😀

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I’m afraid Eddie may be beyond our help.

      I’m also afraid you’re right about things only getting worse in 2023, but I look forward to being disappointed!

      1. Bookstooge

        Much like Luke and Darth Vader, I still have faith he can be saved from the Video Side.

        You’re a masochist aren’t you?
        * shakes magic 8 ball *
        All Signs Point to Yes
        Ha, I knew it….

      2. Alex Good Post author

        Think of how much happier you are when you pursue disappointment! You always get more than you bargain for. I mean, some things can’t be bettered, but anything can get worse.

  3. Alex's Review Corner

    You mean you’re not look forward to Cocaine Bear? Or *checks notes* Barbie?

    I got to admit I liked more of this year’s movies than you but the viewing experience was still kind of sucky. When I went to the cinema I felt I’d have been okay if some of those movies just went straight to streaming, but when I watched a movie at home I often thought how great it would be in cinema. But I don’t think folks in the studios care about that, so much as how much they can milk it all for cash when it’s released. It’s too greedy now for me, which is where new movies are starting to jade me. I either pay for a subscription and make 10 accounts for 10 different free trials, or pay £30 and sit through 30 minutes of adverts for shit I’ll never buy, all just to watch a movie I might like. Eh.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I think the platforms really want to put the cinemas out of business and set up their own corporate fiefdoms, with vertical integration over the entire product line. I don’t know how well that will work. I don’t subscribe to any services or stream at all (except with the one free account I have with the library, which doesn’t stream new movies), but I do wonder at how people have the kind of money to sign up for three or four different ones. I don’t think that’s sustainable for the industry.

      I am looking forward to Cocaine Bear!

      1. Alex's Review Corner

        I pay for Disney+, my partner pays for Amazon Prime and we leach off the family Netflix that my parents have been paying for since I was in high school.

        Prime makes sense if you use amazon frequently anyway or want to rent a movie rather than go down the store to buy it. Disney+ is trash atm. Going to be cancelling it. And Netflix is going down the gutter with reports of it stopping password sharing. So who knows, maybe I’ll become a pirate?

      2. Alex Good Post author

        I can see more and more people taking that route. It’s crazy how these platforms have to ramp up their production to the point where most of what they put out there has to be crap. The business model is to just flood the zone with shit and hope something goes viral.

      3. Alex's Review Corner

        The problem then is that people have to choose between services. So when a platform does make a genuinely good film, it doesn’t go viral or remain in public discussion because half the people who would have loved it are split between that platform’s competitors. Then studios write the film off as a failure, despite the quality not being the issue. So I guess like VHS and DVD’s, we’re just waiting for streaming to die.

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