Films in 2022: December

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a great time ringing in 2023. My last moments of 2022 were spent playing the new Rear Window board game with my family, so that was a lot of fun! Movie-watching-wise, my viewing habits winded down a bit in the last couple of weeks of December, but it was still pretty eventful earlier in the month. That included a few American Cinematheque screenings at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica that featured in-person Q&As for All Quiet on the Western Front (with Edward Berger and Daniel Brühl); Armageddon Time (with James Gray); Corsage (with Vicky Krieps); and BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (with Alejandro G. Iñárritu). The Academy Museum also had a great film preservation series showcasing new restorations, though I was only able to make it to the screenings for The Cardinal and Frenchman’s Creek, they were both movies that I’d been curious to see for some time, especially in the case of the latter film, which I had held off on seeing because it’d only been available in poor quality up until now. While the movie itself isn’t anything special, the restoration was absolutely gorgeous and it was great to check off one more Joan Fontaine movie (who looked so stunning in Technicolor in the period costumes). Anyway, I’ll post a wrap-up of my 2022 in film in the coming days, but in the meantime, here’s a quick look back at the last 31 days of the year.

New-to-Me: 24

Re-Watched: 19

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 1
  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 1
  • 1940s – 2
  • 1950s – 3
  • 1960s – 4
  • 1970s – 1
  • 1980s – 2
  • 1990s – 1
  • 2000s – 0
  • 2010s – 1
  • 2020s – 8

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Mister 880 (1950)
  2. Love Is News (1937)
  3. Take Her, She’s Mine (1963)
  4. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
  5. Annie (1982)
  6. Matilda (1978)
  7. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
  8. Tenth Avenue Angel (1948)
  9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)
  10. Billy Liar (1963)
  11. No Down Payment (1957)
  12. Armageddon Time (2022)
  13. The Immigrant (2013)
  14. Corsage (2022)
  15. BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022)
  16. Broken Blossoms (1919)
  17. The Cardinal (1963)
  18. Blue Sky (1994)
  19. Aftersun (2022)
  20. My Forbidden Past (1951)
  21. Good Neighbor Sam (1964)
  22. Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
  23. Frenchman’s Creek (1944)
  24. Babylon (2022)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Aftersun (2022)

Aftersun (2022), directed by Charlotte Wells

I had wanted to see Aftersun when it was in theaters a couple of months ago but never got around to it, but saw it as soon as I could at home thanks to the A24 Screening Room. Even with all the rave reviews the film had received since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, I wasn’t certain it would live up to those expectations while watching, but it really affected me, especially in the last 10 minutes, which I immediately played back again after finishing the movie. It’s a stellar debut from Charlotte Wells, and the father-daughter pair played by Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio are wonderful both together and on their own. Mescal has been on the bubble of the Best Actor conversation for the Oscars, and it’d be a pleasant surprise if he ended up getting nominated, but I think his performance and the movie as a whole may be too quiet and low-key for the Academy to notice. Regardless, he’s one of the more fascinating newcomers I’ve seen in the last couple of years (and I finally watched him in his remarkable breakout in the miniseries Normal People a couple of days ago), and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Babylon (2022)

Babylon (2022), directed by Damien Chazelle

Babylon was one of the big question marks of 2022’s film releases. The trailers practically turned me off from the movie, despite the intriguing subject matter and the movie being made by Damien Chazelle, whose prior movies I count among my favorites. But I found myself enjoying this film much more than I thought I would even with all the insanity that runs rampant throughout, which understandably has made this quite a divisive movie. While the previews for Babylon give a taste of what to expect, it only just scratches the surface, and the movie is much more than the crazy party scenes. I’ve seen a good amount of silent films, though I wouldn’t call myself an aficionado of that era by any means, but it was great to recognize many references to the stars and movies of that period, and I’m sure there are some deeper cuts I missed. I don’t want to say too much more about it, just see it in theaters and judge for yourself. The last thing I’ll add is that the film’s score by Justin Hurwitz is my favorite from any 2022 movie, and may be my favorite from the composer so far (I still enjoy the La La Land score and love the one for First Man even more than that one); Hurwitz seems to keep topping himself with every movie he makes with Chazelle.

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