As we say goodbye to 2021 and turn our attention to the new horizons of 2022 it is a time of reflection and looking forwards. 2021 was a difficult year for cinema, with numerous major releases being delayed and many cinemas sadly having to close as a result of the pandemic, but we should all remember that the year also saw some fantastic releases to put a shiver down your spine, a lump in your throat and, most importantly, a smile on your face!
2022 seems in prime position to meet these high standards again, with several incredible high-profile releases slated for the year. So, to make sure you don’t miss out on a single cinematic sensation this season here’s our list of the Top 10 not to miss this year!
10. Nightmare Alley
The newest film from one of the most twisted directors in the business is sure to kick off the new year with a bang, as Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley promises to bring a thrillingly sinister story to the silver screen. Exploring the magical world of the carnival and the mystic mythology that surrounds it, Nightmare Alley boasts an all-star cast with Bradley Cooper taking the reins and a plethora of stunning supports from Willem Dafoe to Cate Blanchett to Ron Perlman. Whilst this frightening fairground ride of a film might be a bit too scary for the fainter of heart, those who relish a hair-raising experience will find it right down Nightmare Alley.
Release Date: 21 January 2022
9. Sherlock Holmes 3
This one has been a long time in the making. Due to be released a full ten years after the series’ last instalment, Sherlock Holmes 3 seeks to become the best of its saga and to capture the magic of the original two films. This sequel’s development has very much been defined by both change and continuity, seeing Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson but replacing Guy Ritchie with Dexter Fletcher as director. The return of Downey Jr and Law come as welcome developments as their combative chemistry remains the highlight of the series so far, but the attachment of Fletcher suggests this new entry will have its own voice, moving away from Ritchie’s fast paced action towards a more character driven affair. For another memorable trip to Baker Street, this is the film for you!
Release date: 2022 (Exact date as yet unconfirmed)
8. Licorice Pizza
Paul Thomas Anderson’s first coming-of-age film looks to be an absolute titan of the genre, already deemed to be the best directed trailer of the last 12 months. Licorice Pizza has what seems to be a basic plot at the surface, following a teenage boy struggling to become an actor and the relationship that develops between him and his friend. However, its performances and characters give it a certain depth that really has to be seen to be believed. Whilst many other films on this list feature a veritable cornucopia of Hollywood heavyweights, Licorice Pizza chooses to fill out its ranks with a number of up-and-coming actors, many featuring in their first major film.
Whilst it does star Sean Penn as the most recognisable name on the cast list the male star Cooper Hoffman (the son of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman) makes his acting debut. Amongst all the upcoming Hollywood blockbusters of 2022, Licorice Pizza offers something different, a charming, gripping story starring the next generation of cinema.
Release date: January 7th 2022
This is one for all those Indiana Jones fans out there who haven’t been able to quench their thirst for adventure since Indy hung up his hat and retired his whip. Based on the best-selling video game series of the same name, Uncharted follows Nathan Drake, a wise-cracking treasure hunter on his first expedition to discover El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. The film will undoubtably attempt to capture the essence of the original game series and there are many encouraging signs to indicate this already, the largest of which is the casting of Tom Holland as Drake, the perfect candidate for the smug explorer. Whilst it might be a bit early to say now, Uncharted looks set to launch a new titan franchise to rival Indiana Jones for its title as the greatest adventure films in cinema and is therefore definitely a release to keep a close eye on this year.
Release date: 18th February 2022
6. The Black Phone
The upcoming release from one of, if not the, biggest names in modern horror, Blumhouse Productions, is certain to give sleepless nights to all those brave enough to lay eyes upon it. The Black Phone tells the story of Finney Shaw, a young boy who must escape the dwelling of Ethan Hawke’s blood-chilling villain The Grabber, with help from the deceased, channelled through the eponymous black phone.
The Black Phone looks set to be the scariest film of 2022 with its horrifying trailer firmly setting the tone for the film’s release, showing scary scenes and differentiating itself from other upcoming horror flicks like Nightmare Alley. Where Nightmare Alley hopes to be fantastically fearsome, The Black Phone is truly terrifying, not hoping to engage in the same kind of wonder of adventure, only interested in causing hairs to stand on end. For a terrifying time call The Black Phone.
Release date: 24th June 2022
5. Knives Out 2
Very little is known about the sequel to 2019’s magnificent murder mystery movie with released information being limited to returning staff and new stars as well as a vague 2022 release date but, as limited as information may be, it is still worth getting excited about. The return of writer and director Rian Johnson, the brain behind the first film, promises to keep the gripping suspense and delightful characterisation of the original, providing a murder mystery film for the modern age, whilst the reappearance of Daniel Craig as the wonder detective Benoit Blanc means a witty and engaging lead to drive the narrative.
The list of familiar faces is a cause for celebration and is surely enough to get mouths watering across the land with Kathryn Hahn, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Dave Bautista appearing as potential suspects. While it may seem easy to ignore this mystifying movie as so little is known about it, do not let it pass you by upon its release as it’s already tipped to be one of the most entertaining films of the year.
Release date: 2022 (Exact date as yet unknown)
Another film that is keeping its cards very close to its chest – almost all information that we have on the film comes from one image released on the director’s twitter in July. The hype for Nope comes down almost entirely to the identity of the director and writer taking charge of the film, Jordan Peele. Peele has made a name for himself in filmmaking recently with some of the best and most interesting horror films of the past 5 years, Get Out and Us, and he will undoubtably seek to continue this trend with Nope.
There are many theories circling on the internet concerning Nope’s plot with suggestions of sentient clouds or malevolent fog banded about and you can spend hours guessing what Peele’s twisted mind has in store for audiences, but one thing that is for certain is the exciting cast. Starring Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya, Hustlers’ Keke Palmer and The Walking Dead’s Stephen Yeun, the all-star cast has huge amounts of promise, mixing horror, drama and Peele’s pedigree for what is certain to be the most memorable horror film of 2022.
Release date: 22nd July 2022
3. The Batman
There have been many cinematic incarnations of Batman, from Adam West to Michael Keaton, to Christian Bale, each with their own unique flavour and voice but Robert Pattison’s upcoming turn in the cowl is a much darker and grittier take on the famous character from director Matt Reeves. The Batman plays into the dark side of Batman and gives the often-overlooked character of Bruce Wayne a starring role. Focusing on Bruce and on the darker side of the mythology already sets The Batman apart from other takes on the character and the more realistic and grounded setting of an almost noir Gotham makes it unique amongst all comic book films released in the last ten years.
Of course, we can’t really call it a Batman film without the hero’s most defining feature, his villains. Whilst there are appearances of Catwoman portrayed by Zoë Kravitz and The Penguin, played by Colin Farrell, it is The Riddler that takes centre stage in this latest flick. Paul Dano’s take on the character will bring a sense of dread and malevolence to the film (having based his Riddler on the infamous Zodiac Killer) that is sure to creep into the nightmares of audiences in a way unlike any other comic book villains. Fans of the Caped Crusader cannot afford to miss this masterpiece.
Release date: 4th March 2022
2. The Northman
There are two types of people in this world, fans of the films of Robert Eggers and people who haven’t yet seen the films of Robert Eggers. The mind behind the Salem horror, The Witch and the surrealist sea dog tale The Lighthouse, Eggers has one of the best track records in cinema right now with both of his already released films being the most innovative and compelling films of their respective years (and are both well worth a watch if you’re unfamiliar with his work). The fact that Eggers is releasing a new film at all is enough to be excited about but especially when you learn more about this Danish drama.
The Northman is described as a Viking take on the story of Hamlet, with Alexander Skarsgård playing the character Amleth, a Viking prince whose father was killed and whose kingdom was usurped. Whilst the story seems to stay very loyal to Shakespeare’s original tragedy, Eggers mixes in his own trademark metaphorical madness that will no doubt make the film a feast for the senses, with the trailer already showing off some scenes of ethereal Nordic imagery, Valkyries and hermits.
Whilst this film will not be a crowd pleasing blockbuster, as Eggers loves to revel in the vagueness of his stories, The Northman will undoubtably be one of the most thought-provoking films of 2022 and will no doubt stay with audiences long after the credits have rolled.
Release date: 22nd April 2022
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One
It is often very difficult to pick the top spot when ordering films, with almost every film from number 5 to number 2 usually being of such quality that listing them can be tricky, but this is not the case with the number one entry here. The sequel to 2018’s Enter the Spider-Verse promises to capture the same cartoonishly cathartic magic of the original whilst building on the story of Miles Morales; following his transition from trainee to full-fledged Spider-Man in the original.
Several other Spider-People have been confirmed to be appearing in this latest instalment, including the fan favourites Spider-Gwen and Peter B. Parker from the original as well as the new Spider-Woman and Spider-Man 2099. There is no confirmation how many more wall-crawlers will be joining the cast but after the original’s inclusion of Penny Parker and Spider-Ham the scope is almost infinite and it would not be surprising to see many more joining the adventure. The sequel is set to continue with its absolutely stellar casting as Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld and Jake Johnson are all set return to reprise their roles from the original whilst adding the talents of Oscar Isaac and Issa Rae as Miguel O’Hara and Jessica Drew respectively. The characters and their chemistry were one of the many highlights of Enter the Spider-Verse and with this casting news, that trend looks set to continue.
Whilst details of the plot are scarce at the moment, the ending of the original and the evocative ‘Part One’ in the title promises big things in this instalment and frankly, if it manages to capture half the charm of the original it will be the best film of the year. Quite simply, if you only see one film in 2022 make it this one.
Release date: 7th October 2022
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