Thursday, 19 January 2023

A Man Called Otto (2023) - Movie Review

Tom Hanks as “the grumpiest man in America”.

As I got into last year with his villainous role in Elvis, Hanks isn’t as bad a fit for abrasive characters as his public persona would imply. But that’s not necessarily what he’s doing here, at least from what I saw. His performance as the titular Otto is more melancholic than outright ‘grumpy’, dealing with the loss of a loved one and just wanting the world to leave him in peace… while he plans his exit from it. The film is set up to take him on a personal journey where he learns to move past his grief and live life again, making him come out of his shell and all that, but I’d argue that the film doesn’t do that well with the idea.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Top 20 Best Films Of 2022

2022 was when blockbusters felt big again. Not just being cynically marketed as blockbusters and event releases, but being designed and built from the ground-up as features meant to be seen on the big screen. While cinemas have been slowly starting to open back up over the latter months of 2021, now they were starting to get the right kind of material to bring audiences back. Sure, some of it came in the form of bog-standard fare that made an impact just because they reminiscent of the norm pre-COVID, like rom-coms, period dramas, and B-action flicks, but a lot of the better films of this year, and indeed a good amount of the entries on this list, had the sense of grandeur that made going back to the cinemas worth doing, regardless of whoever else may or may not be in attendance.

Hell, even beyond the return of the spectacle on the big screen, when they were able to break the general air of disappointment that kept invading the year’s releases, 2022 provided a lot of amazing stories and experiences. Directors behind some terrific work in previous years returned to show off new high points in their respective careers, niche genres and filmmaking styles got to share in the mainstream spotlight, and that Self-Insert theme that spread through so much of the year’s worst films? Even that led to some great works of cinematic art.

So, to round off our look at a pretty damn good year for the movies, here are my pick for the 20 best films of 2022.

Monday, 2 January 2023

Top 20 Worst Films Of 2022

2022 saw the world slowly start to return to normal (or whatever can be considered ‘normal’ for us nowadays) after COVID threw everything out of whack across 2020 and 2021. Public spaces were opening back up, the collective mood was much less dire, and the cinemas were bringing back the big tentpole blockbusters that usually mark the year as it passes. At a time when the life expectancy of the physical cinema was beginning to look like it’s on its death knell, between streaming and their closure during lockdown, film releases began to feel like events again. And on top of that, some of those event releases turned out really damn good, and we’ll absolutely be looking at a few of those when we get to the Best Of list.

Of course, with that return to normalcy also came the return of the usual bleh-ness of mainstream cinema, where a lot of the year wound up just being ‘okay’ or slightly-less-than, and I say that as someone who still liked most of what I saw this year. There was a larger amount of disappointment to the year’s produce as well, where I found myself really looking forward to films that wound up falling short.

Hell, this might be the first time I actively went out of my way not to watch movies, turning down FilmInk commissions to review Amsterdam and the new Fantastic Beasts sequel because, quite literally, you couldn’t pay me to give any kind of attention to the shitpersons at the heart of those productions. As such, this list won’t be as vitriolic as in past years, since most of what I consider this year’s worst films land more on the underwhelming and disappointing side of things than outright making me angry. Oh, rest assured, some of these still got me riled up, but not nearly as many as I was expecting.

But even with how many I passed on, I still managed to watch enough films to fill up this list. As such, let’s go over my picks for the Top 20 Worst Films Of 2022.