After a Covid-hit few years 2022 was a bumper 12 months for movies and our reviewer has somehow tried to pick her favouroites
A sequel to a 1980s hit that equalled or bettered it more than 36 years later? Now that’s a feat that only the likes of Tom Cruise could have pulled off.
Both an affectionate nod to its predecessor and a standalone summer blockbuster in its own right, Maverick managed to be both fun and moving, while director Joseph Kosinski made it a visually dazzling experience.
Where to see it: Rent on Apple TV and Sky Store
Hollywood has found a remarkable new action heroine in Amber Midthunder for its new movie in the much-loved Predator series.
She is simply terrific as a Native American warrior who takes on an malevolent alien monster in what is one of the best movies in the series.
While it tackles many of the themes seen in other Predator movies ever since Arnie Schwarzenegger first grappled with an alien warrior in the 1980s smash, Prey is very much its own animal.
Where to see it: On Disney+ now
8. Róise & Frank
Irish-language cinema is having quite a moment. Róise & Frank tells the story of a recently bereaved widow, living in a small Irish village, who finds hope when a stray dog comes into her life - and starts to believe it’s the reincarnation of her late husband.
A movie about love and life and grief and all the big stuff, it says big things in the simplest of ways.
Where to see it: In cinemas and on IFI@home
7. Nothing Compares
“They tried to bury me, but they didn’t realise I was a seed,” says Sinéad O’Connor in a terrific new documentary set in the early days of her rapid rise to fame.
Focusing on the period between 1987 and 1993 as she became a huge global star, Nothing Compares focuses on how O’Connor vowed to stay true to her principles under massive public and music-industry pressure. It also celebrates the joyful, maverick power of her music.
Where to see it: To buy on Rakuten and Sky Store
6. After Yang
A tender and moving sci-fi about a humanoid robot, Yang is the robot a young family have brought into their lives.
When he malfunctions and goes still, his heartbroken family desperately try to find a way to bring him back to life.
Low-key and thoughtful, After Yang is worth seeing for the terrific opening-scene credits alone. Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith bring the empathy.
Where to see it: On Sky and Now TV
5. The Batman
Gotham is brought spectacularly to life in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, featuring Robert Pattinson’s turn as the Caped Crusader.
The man who brought us Cloverfield and the most recent Planet of the Apes films channels the sense of horror of the former and the punkish spirit of the Apes movies, creating a Batman that feels truly original and standalone.
Zoe Kravitz is super as Selina Kyle, while Greig Fraser’s cinematography and Michael Giacchino’s score are standouts.
Where to see it: On Sky and several rental platforms.
4. Parallel Mothers
Working with her long-time collaborator, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz is superb as a woman facing a huge dilemma in this powerful movie.
She is Janis, who forms a bond with her birthing room-mate Ana, a younger woman who is afraid at the prospect of motherhood.
The film is bookended by Janis’s family’s search for their missing loved ones, among 100,000 Spanish people untraced to this day since the Spanish Civil War.
Where to see it: On MUBI and several rental platforms.
Paul Mescal shares a very special dynamic with young star Frankie Corio in this memoir of a remarkable childhood holiday.
This melancholy and powerful tale packs quite an emotional punch but for me will go down as one of the movies of the year.
That it’s a feature debut from writer-director Charlotte Wells makes it all the more remarkable.
Where to see it: In selected cinemas
2. The Banshees of Inisherin
Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s West of Ireland western takes an already unique tipping point and brings it to crazy, melancholy and darkly hilarious places.
Though Colin Farrell deserves every bit of the early Oscars chatter he’s been getting, all of the cast are superb here.
Like McDonagh’s plays, which are often ferociously funny in their darkest moments, Banshees mines for pitch-black humour even within its most sombre moments.
Where to see it: Selected cinemas and on Disney+
1. An Cailín Ciúin
Told in the Irish language, this drama is destined to find its place among the all-time greats of Irish cinema.
Catherine Clinch shines as Cáit, a quiet and withdrawn little girl who is sent to live with relatives over one memorable and formative summer in 1980s Ireland. It’s a very special coming-of-age tale about learning to find your voice.
An Cailín Ciúin deserves all the love it’s finding at home and abroad.
Where to see it: On various rental platforms.