With theaters finally fully back this year, 2022 offered some incredible movies, from huge franchise blockbusters to inventive animation to beautiful and daring arthouse films. Some of the Atom Tickets staff sat down to think about our favorite movies of the year and these are the movies we each personally held nearest and dearest to us this year. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it gives you an idea of the vast variety of film that 2022 offered, with more to come in the last few weeks of the year.
Which one was your favorite movie of 2022?
Prey for the Devil
Prey for the Devil is a graphic horror film that delves into the secret world of the Vatican. The film follows Sister Ann, a nun who becomes the first woman to perform an exorcism at the St. Michael Archangel School of Exorcism. As she struggles to overcome her own personal demons a young girl named Natalie enters care at St. Michael as she is considered to be possessed, Sister Ann must navigate the hidden politics and intrigue of the Vatican, while taking very personal care of Natalie.
The film is notable for its intense and disturbing visuals, as well as its exploration of the psychological effects of exorcism on both the possessed and the exorcist. Sister Ann is a deeply flawed and complex character, and her struggle to come to terms with her own past traumas adds an extra layer of depth to the story. Overall, Prey for the Devil is a well-made and thought-provoking horror film that is sure to leave a lasting impression on audiences. The performances by the cast are all strong, and the film’s exploration of the secret world of the Vatican is truly fascinating. While the film may not be for the faint of heart, it is definitely worth checking out for fans of the horror genre. – Eric Leino
Everything Everywhere All At Once
As a lifelong fan of Sci-Fi, fantasy, and hot dogs, I feel like this movie was made specifically for me. My favorite movie of 2022 is also most certainly the weirdest as well. Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert were somehow able to weave together a cohesive story that is equal parts family drama, martial arts epic, slapstick comedy, and multiverse saga. Some have described the genre as ‘absurdist comedy-drama sci-fi,’ but I’ll just call it controlled anarchy. It’s also an absolutely beautiful film that will delight your senses, with changing aspect ratios, diverse color palettes, and innovative sound design.
The acting is top-notch across the board. If you weren’t already a fan of Michelle Yeoh (what’s wrong with you!?), then you will 100% be after this. She glides from scene to scene, effortlessly blending her combat skills, humor, and emotion. Ke Huy Quan, who you may remember from his iconic roles in the 80s in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, is the surprise breakout star. Both he and Yeoh are locks for actor and actress nominations at the Oscars next year.
You could teach an entire film course on the references made throughout, but just to name a few, I spotted homages to: The Matrix, Paprika, Ratatouille, 2001: A Space Odyssey, various Wong Kar-wai films, Repo Man, and even Super Smash Bros. Most importantly, it’s the most fun movie I saw this year. In the end, that’s really all that matters. – Michael Amouyal
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Wakanda Forever is undeniably the most emotional entry into the MCU to date. It’s impossible to talk about this franchise without addressing the elephant in the room: the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman. The film opens (and closes) with a heartfelt and satisfying tribute to Boseman, and the story is drenched in so much passion and love throughout, that we can easily overlook a few of its flaws. Ryan Coogler continues to prove he is the master of world-building for the big screen. Talokan, the underwater city, comes to life with stunning and meticulous attention to detail. Namor, portrayed brilliantly by Tenoch Huerta, is one of the most compelling and nuanced Marvel villains of all time. You come for the big-budget visuals and inventive battle sequences, but stay for the sentimental high points and the lasting impact this franchise has had on its fanbase over the last ~5 years – Claudia Herrera
There were a ton of great movies this year, which makes it hard to pick a favorite! Between the incredible performances by all in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once – especially Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan – Jordan Peele knocking it out of the park again with Nope, the way I’m crossing my fingers for an Oscar nomination for Viola Davis in The Woman King, and the endless amount of tears I shed during multiple viewings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it was impactful to see a wide variety of stories told on the big screen. And while I wouldn’t say it was more cinematically ambitious or more important than any of the other films, sometimes it’s just nice to have fun while watching a movie. And for me, the movie that I had the most fun watching this year would have to be Bullet Train.
Action movies aren’t usually my forte, but the non-stop comedic elements in the film had me genuinely laughing out loud in the theater. Come on, you’re going to tell me that watching Brad Pitt fight a cute, giant Japanese mascot isn’t hilarious? Or a truck making a perfectly timed citrus delivery right at the film’s final moments? Bullet Train isn’t just your typical action movie – though it doesn’t disappoint there either, as at its core, it centers around a group of assassins, including the highly unlucky Ladybug (Pitt), all after the same briefcase on a Japanese bullet train – but it has some surprisingly heartwarming moments as well that tie it all together, particularly between the twin brothers, Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry). Never did I think I would cry over a bunch of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers, but here we are. And, did you know that it’s actually based off of a Japanese trilogy of hitmen novels by Kōtarō Isaka? That at least gives me hope that we will soon get a sequel that’s just as darkly comedic as the first. It’s lighthearted, though definitely a little bit on the violent side at times, and overall just makes for an enjoyable experience. – Kaitlyn Nickol
The Banshees of Inisherin
In 2008, actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, and writer-director Martin McDonagh teamed up for a black little comedy called In Bruges that went on to become a beloved cult classic for the discerning movie lover. Fourteen years later, they’ve reteamed for The Banshees of Inisherin. It’s a film that only flexes how much each has grown in the almost decade and a half since they made their first movie together.
McDonagh’s deft touch with finding humor in the darkness and absurdity of life is on full display here as he weaves a tale of a lifelong friendship being abruptly ended by one party with no explanation why. Friends falling out happens every day, but setting it in a tiny village in Ireland, where former friends Pádraic and Colm can’t help but see each other with regularity, and where everyone in the village knows their business, is a touch of genius. Rejection, despair, revenge, and the strongest human emotions are hard for Pádraic to keep to himself when everyone is sharing their thoughts on the matter. Colin Farrell has never been better than he is in the black tragicomedy. If he’s not a strong contender for a Best Actor Oscar, it would be unfathomable.
With his unique style and insight into human emotion, McDonagh weaves a masterful story that gives you the sense he knows these men down to their bones. Farrell and Gleeson inhabit the characters of Pádraic and Colm with the ease of slipping into an old, well-loved t-shirt. The highest compliment that can be paid to the boys and The Banshees of Inisherin is that you find your thoughts returning to it again and again, long after you’ve left the theater. If that’s not the mark of an excellent movie, nothing is.