Another year of the 2020s down, and it was another one to chuck straight in the bin. Time to look forward to the (hopefully) brighter days of 2022 by checking out some of the most exciting movies heading our way.
10: The Fabelmans (Dir; Steven Spielberg, Starring; Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Paul Dano)
Hot on the heels of his wonderful take on West Side Story, Steven Spielberg jumps on the ‘auteur autobiography’ bandwagon with The Fabelmans, following the legendary director’s own childhood. Few, if any, filmmakers are better than Spielberg at capturing the contours of middle-class life, so this promises to be a rich and heartfelt family drama, brought to life by an outstanding cast that is sure to make a major splash at the next Oscars.
9: Nope (Dir; Jordan Peele, Starring; Steven Yeun, Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer)
As we might expect from the new Jordan Peele horror, Nope is shrouded in the kind of secrecy generally reserved for CIA operations, but the little we do have is more than enough to get excited. Peele is one of the few directors able to command a serious budget for genuinely original films, and his lead trio is made up of some of the most exciting young actors currently working. The single poster released so far might suggest a wider scope than Get Out and Us, but that is pure speculation. With Peele, you can only expect the unexpected.
8: The Banshees of Inisherin (Dir; Martin McDonagh, Starring; Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan)
It’s taken a while for Martin McDonagh to find his next project after the massive success of Three Billboards, and it appears that, after two trips to America, he’s now going back to his roots with The Banshees of Inisherin. Set on a small island off the Irish coast, it reunites the In Bruges pairing of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, this time as a pair of friends rocked by the revelation that one of them simply wants out of their friendship. Hilarious and heartfelt is always where McDonagh has pitched his films, and anything that can recapture that In Bruges magic is something to be excited for.
7: Knives Out 2 (Dir; Rian Johnson, Starring; Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, Edward Norton)
In an era of endless and tiresome sequels and reboots, it takes a really special film to immediately have audiences clamouring for a follow-up, but Knives Out was exactly that kind of film. Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc returns for another murder mystery caper, this time moving the action from Massachusetts to the sunny Greek islands and keeping the whodunit tradition of a ridiculously starry cast. This promises to be one of 2022’s most purely enjoyable movies and if, like me, you’d happily watch another thousand of these, you’ll be pleased to know that Knives Out 3 is already on the table too.
6: The Northman (Dir; Robert Eggers, Starring; Alexander Skarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman)
With Vikings and The Last Kingdom on TV and videogames like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the rebooted God of War, the last few years have rather burnt me out on Viking history and Norse myth, but if there’s anyone who can rekindle the interest it’s Robert Eggers, loosely adapting the saga that may well have inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After two painstakingly historically accurate masterpieces in The Witch and The Lighthouse, this is easily his biggest film to date, a crunching and violent epic that already has some of the year’s coolest action beats in its trailer alone. With a stacked cast and the promise of a bruising tale of revenge, The Northman could end up as one of 2022’s real crossover hits.
5: The Brutalist (Dir; Brady Corbet, Starring; Joel Edgerton, Mark Rylance, Marion Cotillard)
Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux was one of my absolute favourite films of the 2010s, and he’s assembled his starriest cast yet for his follow-up, which will examine post-WW2 America through the eyes of an emigre architect working on his masterpiece. Corbet has an incredible knack for mapping the stories of entire nations, or even continents, onto single individuals without sacrificing any of the intimacy or personality of their own stories, and The Brutalist looks to be his most ambitious crack at this technique yet, set to span over 30 years. Corbet has already tackled the monsters of fascism and fame, and I can’t wait to see what he does with the inherent conflict between American capital and artistic integrity.
4: Mission Impossible 7 (Dir; Christopher McQuarrie, Starring; Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Esai Morales)
The next entry into pretty much the only blockbuster franchise to get better as it goes along, Mission Impossible 7 looks to be one of 2022’s defining ‘Big Screen Movies’ as McQuarrie and Cruise attempt to top the delirious stunt and action highs of 2018’s Fallout. Mission Impossible is always a testament to how much better action is when done in-camera and, based on some of the set footage we’ve been treated to, 7 will be no different, Cruise crashing cars, motorbikes, and even trains entirely for real. Not many actors are willing to actually risk their lives for our entertainment, but that’s Cruise’s commitment to the movies, and we’d all be worse off without him.
3: White Noise (Dir; Noah Baumbach, Starring; Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy)
Don DeLillo has long been ranked amongst the ‘unadaptable’ authors, the one major attempt being the so-so Cosmopolis from David Cronenberg, but if there’s one filmmaker with the raw power over words to make it work, it’s Noah Baumbach. One of DeLillo’s most iconic novels, White Noise‘s focus on dialogue should make it a brilliant fit for Baumbach, as should its searing examination of the American psyche. White Noise also reunites Baumbach’s two muses, Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig (back in front of the camera after the exceptional directorial one-two of Lady Bird and Little Women) for one of the most intriguing Hollywood literary adaptations in years.
2: Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse (Dirs; Joaquim dos Santos and Kemp Powers, Starring; Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac)
Into the Spider-Verse was up there with both the very best superhero movies and the very best animated movies of the 2010s, so a chance to dive back into its gorgeously rendered world is thrilling. With the trailer promising that Miles himself will get a chance to hop between dimensions, the potential for variety in the animation itself (think of the anime Peni Parker or the Tex Avery-esque Spider-Ham of the original) looks like it’ll be worth the price of admission alone, and that’s before we even get to the possible litany of new Spider-Heroes we’ll get to meet. We already know that one of them will be the Spider-Man of the future, voiced by Oscar Isaac, but there’s bound to be more – the conspicuous ‘Part One’ at the end of the trailer is hinting that this story is going to be *BIG*.
1: Kitbag (Dir; Ridley Scott, Starring; Joaquin Phoenix, Jodie Comer, Youssef Kerkour)
The modern master of large scale cinematic battles taking on the life story of perhaps the greatest military mind of all time? That’s all I need to hear to be fully on board for Ridley Scott’s Napoleon biopic Kitbag. Napoleon’s life has proven something of an impossible dream for Hollywood – even Stanley Kubrick couldn’t quite get his planned epic off the ground – but, with the cast assembling and Scott in command, it looks like we’re finally getting the film to do the man justice. There’s a chance that this gets pushed to 2023, but with Scott’s near-peerless ability to blitz through massive shoots, even the vague hope that this will land in 2022 is enough to put it right on top of my list.