OPINION: 2022 Movie Reviews

January: The Fallout (Warning: sensitive topics discussed ahead)

Technically premiering March 17, 2021, at a film festival, but released January 27th, 2022, The Fallout, follows the life of high school student Vada Cavell played by the now-popular Jenna Ortega. After a tragic school shooting occurs, it leads to unlikely friendships, tension in family relationships, and unfortunate anxiety. During the devastating event, Cavell hides in a bathroom stall with fashionable Mia Reed, played by the former Dance Moms star, Maddie Ziegler, and Quinton Hasland, played by Niles Fitch. Cavell grows closer to both Reed and Hasland as they comfort each other through the time of the community’s recovery, and although the three, especially Cavell and Reed, have nothing in common, the event brings them together. I had no expectations starting this movie but was positively surprised. Ortega delivered a captivating emotional performance, and so did the rest of the cast. I was impressed with Zieglers growing acting skills and thought she did a good job. I felt this movie portrayed family relationships and the teen mentality and the topic of school shootings very well. My few complaints with this movie include Ziegler’s character being a dancer. I understand she is a good dancer and it wasn’t a major character trait, but I just feel that it holds her past of being on Dance Moms. Also, some of the teen dialogue felt forced, such as Ortega’s character saying “LOL”, but other than that the dialogue was similar to how teens talk today, so no one can complain too much, and I felt like some things were brought up just to not be talked about again. Other than those points, I think this movie was pretty good, just not one I would typically watch. 3 out of 5 stars.

February: Uncharted

February 2022 was lacking in good movies- to say the least. Uncharted was out in theaters on February 18th starring Tom Holland and Mark Walberg, not people I would picture together, but it sort of worked. Uncharted is a video game turned movie with the concept of people traveling the world looking for treasure, a concept I usually love, but this was a no for me. Nate Drake, Holland’s character, has learned extensive historical knowledge from his older brother Sam, who disappears from young Nate to search for treasure himself. This leads to Walberg’s character, Victor Sullivan, working with older Nate to find a treasure because he knew of Nate from previously working with Sam. Sullivan sort of becomes this awkward older mentor working with Drake and it just felt like Holland was playing a treasure hunter Peter Parker, which gave the movie some funny moments. Although this movie was very action-packed with good fights and chase scenes, it was extremely predictable. If this movie had been more in-depth and had a stronger script, it could have been a lot better. Honestly, I thought the best part was Nolan North, the voice actor of Nate Drake in the video game, making a cameo. Unless you’re a Tom Holland super fan don’t waste your time with this, watch the classic Indiana Jones or even National Treasure instead. 2 out of 5 stars.

March: The Batman

This movie just made March; the hype that surrounded it is iconic. I think one of the things contributing to the success of this movie was everyone wanting to see former Twilight star, Robert Pattison. I personally think he did a stellar job adopting the role of the elusive Bruce Wayne and it was cool to see the character shine with a new actor. I also think Paul Dano did an eerily good job portraying the psychotic Riddler, and it was entertaining seeing the Riddler as the villain rather than the classic Joker (RIP Heath Ledger). Even the dark aesthetic of Gotham and the soundtrack from this movie are still plastered in my mind. The entrancing Selina Kyle, played by Zoe Kravitz, was a great addition to the cast of characters, even though I do not care for romance in the middle of a thriller like Batman, it doesn’t feel forced from either side. Also, the car chase scene with the iconic batmobile against the Penguin was incredibly well done by director Matt Reeves and was probably my favorite part of the movie. The only thing that didn’t make this movie perfect for me was the part when they arrest the Riddler because you think it’s over, but no, there’s more. It took me a bit to get roped back in, but the ending was incredibly action-packed, which made it epically entertaining. 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

April: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Laugh at and hate on these movies all you want, but they’re pretty decent. Although these movies are for kids, they are funny, especially with the nostalgia of Sonic and the stacked cast with people like Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and Criminal Minds star, Shemar Moore. Although the jokes may be corny at times, the stupidity of them is what’s funny. This movie also upped the nostalgia bringing in the geeky Tails and the violent Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba. The CGI of the creatures (I don’t know what to call them because they are all different animals) isn’t terrible since they are saturated with color and it matches the movie and the action scenes were also pretty well done. If you are looking for a mindless, playful movie with some laughable moments, this is one to consider. 3 out of 5 stars.

May: Top Gun: Maverick

This was my movie of the summer and could possibly be the movie of the year. Tom Cruise once again delivered 36 years later with the real jets used in the action scenes keeping CGI to a minimum and they once again stunned me. The plot of this sequel was also incredibly well done, connecting it back to the original 1986 Top Gun. If you haven’t watched the original before this one, I think you are missing out on understanding the riff between Maverick and Rooster, played by the star, Miles Teller, and just any other connection to the original movie. I loved seeing the new pilots in action, especially the mentor and mentee relationship between them and Maverick. Also, Val Kilmer’s cameo was very touching and inclusive; with Kilmer’s throat cancer, they used a voice AI and old footage to produce a voice for him. Just everything about this movie was perfect for me as a fan of the original, this movie made me nostalgic and I wish I could watch it again for the first time. 5 out of 5 stars.

June: Elvis

The biopic genre of musical artists is one of my favorites because it feels like a musical, but not in an overdone way unless it’s directed by the one and only Baz Luhrmann. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Luhrmann’s creative takes, especially with movies like The Great Gatsby and Romeo + Juliet, but Elvis made me almost dizzy. Although he’s been in other movies, it felt like this was Austin Butler’s debut, delivering as Elvis. I couldn’t think of another person who could play the doomed rockstar. The movie had great graphic transitions at times which I feel emphasized Elvis’ dazzling legacy but also took away from the focus of the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the songs performed as it was Butler’s voice sometimes combined with Elvis’s which made it sound more authentic. This movie at times also felt like it was going at 2X speed and 0.5X at others, and that coupled with Tom Hanks’ obnoxious southern/dutch accent, just made it chaotic. Also, how are you going to have a movie about Elvis’ life and not talk about his love of Hawaii, he has an album dedicated to Hawaii I don’t get. Although I liked this movie, the cast, the costumes, and the songs, it was not my favorite of the year. 3 ½ out of 5 stars.

July: Nope

I am not a scary movie person, but this one became my favorite. Everything about it was eerily good. Director Jordan Peele known for his horror movies such as Get Out and Us and now this bone chilling edition of Nope, created a masterpiece. Taking place on the Haywood family farm, brother and sister OJ and Emerald, played by Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, discover a mysterious entity looming over them from the skies. This unknown being ends up terrorizing their farm and the surrounding cowboy theme park Jupiter’s Claim run by Steven Yeun’s character, Jupe Park. Park takes advantage of the mysterious being trying to turn it into a spectacle which causes devastating circumstances. When the scene came on of the being attacking the theme park, I froze. It was extremely chilling, and heart stopping, but the visual effects were amazing. I also thought that the plot was very unique with the concept of extraterrestrials and taking advantage of the unknown. The casting was done perfectly with everyone bringing their roles to life and they complimented each other perfectly, especially Kaluuya and Palmer. If you are into creepy extraterrestrial movies with amazing cinematography, this is for you. 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

August: Bullet Train

Assassin vs assassin vs assassin and so on. This movie was hilarious and honestly stressful to watch with so much going on and so many people intertwined, but it ended up being easy to follow, which I was relieved about. Even though the whole movie was mainly set on a bullet train, it didn’t feel stuck there and there were many flashback scenes shown with incredibly cinematic elements. I also really loved the color palette of this movie. It was very bright and flashy which kept my eyes glued to everything happening. This cast was also stacked with actors such as Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Brain Tyree Henry, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and they all seemed to play witty natural versions of themselves. I don’t want to give away too much of what happens because I think it’s best if you just watch and experience this action-packed comedy yourself but just know there’s a great montage of a Fuji water bottle being tossed around the train. 4 out of 5 stars.

September: Pearl

2 words: southern gothic. Although this movie is technically a prequel to the movie X, you can watch this without seeing the other-which I did. Even though it’s a slasher horror movie I was laughing at it so much, it has extremely questionable moments which makes it funny. Set in 1918 Texas, the movie follows Pearl, played by Mia Goth, and her desire to escape her chore-filled life on her immigrant parents farm. Pearl lust after stardom and to be on stage and in movies even though it’s something she is bound not to achieve. I call this movie southern gothic because the gothic cinematography of it from the transitions to the title screens is very old-fashioned straight out of a 1920s movie, which is honestly off putting, and of course with this movie being set in Texas, Pearl has this entrancing southern belle accent. Pearl may not be a movie star, but Mia Goth certainly is. Everything about her in this movie is iconic and chilling, especially her wide teary eyed smile that is shown for a good few minutes as the credits roll at the concluding of this delightfully creepy movie. 4 out of 5 stars.

October: Amsterdam

I honestly couldn’t tell you what this movie was about. I’m pretty sure it was about stopping a fascist group from taking over the American government, I just don’t know. The only thing I really remembered from this movie is that Taylor Swift’s character gets run over by a car?? But not even this star-studded cast could save this movie. I watched it for two of my all-time favorite actors, Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, and yes, they did a good performance, but that didn’t help make this movie memorable. Also, Chris Rock was in this. I don’t know what he was doing there, but he was… there. The 3 main characters kept talking about Amsterdam, so I can assume that’s why it’s the title. Just don’t waste your time with this. 2 out of 5 stars.

November: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

I live for a good murder mystery movie and I thoroughly enjoyed this Knives Out addition, but I liked the first one just a bit more. Glass Onion provided a witty mystery with dashing twists and I loved seeing how Beniot Blanc played by Daniel Craig solved the crime. I also enjoyed the variety of the cast from Edward Norton to Madelyn Cline and their respective roles in the mystery. The lighting of this movie was done very well with the blackout scene. The lighthouse that was on the island they were on provided light that made it very ominous. This movie was also set in 2020, so it was a bit corny to see some old nods to that year like playing Among Us, but it was nothing that disrupted the whole movie. There were also some random celebrity cameos from Ethan Hawke and Hugh Grant, which I enjoyed as a fan of both of them. I looked forward to this movie for a while and was not disappointed; I highly recommend giving it a watch. 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

December: Avatar: The Way of Water

What a great movie to end the year with. Avatar movies are just beautiful. I remember watching the first one as a kid and being entranced at how gorgeous it is and how revolutionary it was with being an almost completely CGI movie. This sequel was equally amazing. For example, James Cameron’s decision to shoot most of the water scenes under real water to look more natural aids to the authentic experience. I thought it was cool that the plot included a new part of Pandora we haven’t seen, and the research that went into world building a new culture was done with great depth, such as Cameron learning about Maori culture and deaf actor, CJ Jones developing the sign language used by the underwater tribe. My complaints about this movie include the watch time…3 hours. Sitting through that was extremely painful and it made it seem like parts of the movie were being dragged out. I also didn’t like how the sky people, the same villains of the first movie, were also the villains of this movie. It worked this time, bringing the sky people back, but if future movies have them return, that is just going to become unoriginal. I was so excited for this to come out and I’m looking forward to the future of the Avatar movies. 4 out of 5 stars.