The Better Films I Saw in 2022
(film comments by Mark R. Leeper)

All these films would be rated somewhere between a high +2 and a +3 (-4 to +4), but are close enough that I will just list them alphabetically.

AMSTERDAM: AMSTERDAM starts in the 1930s, but then jumps back to World War I and its aftermath before returning to the 1930s. The production design by Judy Becker and art direction by Danielle Osborne and Alexander Wei, the cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki, and the script by David O. Russell all capture both periods.

APOLLO 10-1/2: APOLLO 10-1/2: A SPACE AGE CHILDHOOD starts out as the story of a young boy chosen for an Apollo mission because the lunar lander was accidentally built too small for an adult astronaut. In actuality, it is a reminiscence of growing up in the 1960s, specifically in Houston, but almost everything would strike a chord with anyone of that age. A wonderfully nostalgic film, and recommended.

BULLET TRAIN: The people who see BULLET TRAIN are going to have problems following it if they haven't taken the Evelyn Wood speed-watching-and-listening course. The dialogue is delivered really fast, as are the action sequences, and with five assassins trying to various people (mostly each other), there is a lot of action. But even if the film is a little hard to follow, what you can follow makes this film a lot of fun.

ELVIS: ELVIS is told as a series of reminiscences by Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks, in a very atypical role), his lifetime manager. Baz Luhrmann is the writer and director, so you know the film will be compelling in both its visuals and its script.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE: GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE is a two-hander featuring Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack, but it is clearly Emma Thompson's film. McCormack is there mostly to react and respond to Thompson (both as a character and as an actor). This is yet another film that focuses on women, and in this case older women, as characters in their own right, not just adjuncts to men.

JERRY & MARGE GO LARGE: JERRY AND MARGE GO LARGE is that rare film that makes mathematics look like fun with a seemingly super-powered handling of multiplication. The film is reasonably accurate about Jerry and Marge's lottery scheme, although the ending is perhaps more sentimental than real life. A delightful movie for an adult audience.

THE OUTFIT: THE OUTFIT is another tour de force for Mark Rylance (BRIDGE OF SPIES). Rylance is Leonard Burling, a cutter (*not* a tailor--tailors just do buttons and hems, according to his character) who has left England and come to 1950s Chicago, where he ends up making bespoke suits for a family of gangsters. The film relies on an excellent script, with all the action contained within the two rooms of Burling's tailor shop.

SIDNEY: SIDNEY is a fairly straightforward biography of Sidney Poitier; its interest lies in the story of Poitier's experiences and how they shaped his life and his work. His effect was felt not just within the Hollywood community, but throughout the wider society, particularly during the civil rights years.

TILL: TILL is the story of Mamie Till-Bradley, the mother of Emmett Till. While it does show some of Emmett's life, it concentrates more on her fight for justice. As such, it does not show Emmett's torture and murder, but does show his body at his open-coffin funeral.

WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED: WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED--A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR is a 194-minute documentary on "folk horror" in cinema and an amazing in-depth study that every folk horror fan should see.

Honorable Mentions:


					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2023 Mark R. Leeper