As the year quickly looms to a close, the final rush to get everything viewed on the 2022 watchlist is upon us. Most would agree that it's been a pretty solid year for film, but as always, there's a huge amount of releases that aren't getting the recognition they deserve. Join us as we discuss 8 great 2022 releases, that have perhaps missed your radar or been pushed to the bottom of your priority.
WRITTEN BY BECCA JOHNSON / DECEMBER 3, 2022
Cha Cha Real Smooth
After his success in 2020 with directorial debut Shithouse, Cooper Raiff is back impressing audiences with Apple TV+ release Cha Cha Real Smooth. It's a slice of life dramedy following Andrew, a 22-year-old fresh out of college, who is struggling to find a clear path forward. After taking a job as a party starter for bar/bat mitzvah's, he strikes up a friendship with a young Mum and her teenage daughter. Cha Cha Real Smooth is first and foremost a great character study, everyone being well written and fleshed out. The performances from all involved are stunning, yet Dakota Johnson and Cooper Raiff himself were flawless as our leads. Though often emotional and tugging on the heartstrings, it was incredibly uplifting and goes out of it's way to put a smile on your face. It explores the idea of right person wrong time, and how sometimes it's best to continue life without people, even if you love them. Cha Cha Real Smooth may be the most watched movie on this list, but it deserves even more viewers.
Read our review HERE
On the Count of Three
In a similar vain to Cha Cha, On the Count of Three is a dark comedy that will inevitably make you weep and laugh almost at the same time. It follows two friends, Val and Kevin, who decide to take the plunge and commit suicide – together. However, they have some unfinished business to attend to before they go. Jerrod Carmichael gives both an admirable lead performance and incredible direction, his chemistry with the very talented Christopher Abbott working nicely. Christopher Abbott is a terrific actor that has an impressive catalogue behind him, this flick being no exception. The topic of suicide is handled with care, taking a dark comedy route that really does work. It has plenty of heartbreaking scenes and it's fair share of violence, but this was balanced perfectly with it's comedic tone. It all comes to a satisfying climax, taking the route that you expect from the start but somehow, not in a way that emits predictability.
Causeway is an intimate and emotional Apple TV+ character study, looking into two individuals that carry the burden of trauma. Lynsey, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a US soldier forced to come home after suffering a traumatic brain injury, and James, played by Brian Tyree Henry, is a mechanic who she meets and forms a close friendship with. What makes the movie so effective is it's performances – Lawrence and Henry are the best they've ever been, here. It's quiet and slow, a dialogue driven affair, but it's jam packed full of emotion and each word spoken feels very intimate. Both characters are well written and explored, easy to root for and complex. The script allows us to peel back the layers of their personality as the film progresses and we discover their rocky pasts. With explorations of addiction, mental health, guilt and relationship breakdown amongst many over themes, it's a thoughtful and engaging watch for an audience that doesn't mind a slow, character and dialogue driven watch.
Read our review HERE
Netflix is well known for being hit or miss when it comes to their originals, but one of their biggest hits of the year is not reaching enough people. Written and produced by Kid Cudi, Entergalactic is an animated slice of life romance comedy that utilises gorgeous visuals, a banging original soundtrack and great voice acting. It's about an artist named Jabari who tries to balance success and love in Manhattan, after falling for his next-door neighbour. The plot, whilst simple, gives an interesting and relatable look at love that feels modern and current. A pretty large cast gets involved here, the roster featuring the likes of Cudi himself, Timothee Chalamet and Laura Harrier; they're all brilliant. The animation is comic-like in style, and uses fantastical elements that work well to elevate the real world setting. Kid Cudi's musical genius is hardly a secret, but this movie easily features some of the best tracks he's ever created. It's funny, it's smart, and it feels super
unique – especially for Netflix.
Thought provoking, profound and wistful. Kogonada impressed audiences back in 2017 with directorial debut Columbus, and After Yang continues his success. When his young daughter's beloved companion, an android named Yang malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way to repair him. It may not sound like much, but Kogonada lets us explore the importance of memories, knowing where we come from, grief, how loss can bring people together and many other themes. Despite packing a lot in, it moves at an easy, breezy pace, feeling soft and understanding in it's delivery. We mainly follow Farrell's Jake, who is on a journey of self discovery, and he learns lessons that will resonate with many viewers. It has the coolest opening sequence of the year, jaw dropping cinematography and intimate performances from all involved, particularly Haley Lu Richardson, Jodie Turner-Smith and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja.
Read our review HERE
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
A tale of two characters, this movie follows retired schoolteacher Nancy Stokes, played by Emma Thompson, who firmly believes she doesn't know good sex. She hires sex worker Leo Grande, played by Daryl McCormack, books a hotel room and sets out on a path of discovering her body and sexuality. Quite frankly, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is sexy, uplifting, funny and emotional. The talent on display in all areas is phenomenal, with amazing performances from our two leads. It couldn't have been easy to do what the pair did, particularly Thompson during the final few minutes which took a lot of bravery; their characters are fully believable and easy to love. It's refreshing in how sex positive it is, and the focus on an older woman is most welcome as it's not often explored. With a perfect balance of comedy and emotion, and a boat load of engaging dialogue, it's a flick from director Sophie Hyde that all could benefit from viewing.
A stylish and fun little crime thriller, The Outfit is a single location movie lead by Mark Rylance in the role of Leonard Burling, a tailor from London's Savile Row currently working in Chicago... for a family of gangsters. Though slightly slow to start, The Outfit is full of twists and turns that you won't see coming, utilising it's single location to it's full potential. The performances are great, not only from Rylance but from the whole supporting cast including the likes of Dylan O'Brien, Zoey Deutch and Johnny Flynn. The movie market is oversaturated with crime thrillers yet The Outfit feels very different, the focus on Rylance's life as a 'cutter' providing a unique and interesting spin on things. It's a strong directorial debut that is tied up in a neat little bow by it's cinematography, colour grading and costuming, that fully immerse you into the 1950's setting.
Riley Stearns has always managed to intrigue audiences, as his movies are always on the quirkier side. Dual is a perfect follow up to 2019's The Art of Self Defense, following in the same footsteps; a batshit premise, dark comedy and a dry, deadpan script. The movie follows a terminally ill woman, who opts for a cloning procedure to ease the loss on her friends and family. However, when she makes a miraculous recovery, the court forces her into a duel to the death with her clone. It cleverly mixes sci-fi with comedy to create something fresh and new, the line delivery and dry dark humour offering much enjoyment. Karen Gillan masters both roles with ease and perfectly understands the assignment, with Aaron Paul putting in a remarkable turn despite his lack of screentime. It borders on disturbing territory at times due to the moral dilemma at the forefront, yet it also isn't made to be taken too seriously. Cloning isn't a new premise, but Stearns definitely gives it a new angle.