Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
Sometimes, life just gets in the way. For one reason or another, there are films this year that I just never reviewed. Whether it be because I didn't have time or I just didn't know what to say, this article goes over the ones the first half of this year I never reviewed. There are a few that are not on this list that I just haven't gotten around to seeing yet or that I didn't see in theaters. Generally I don't review films once they've left theaters. I will make exceptions for films that go straight to streaming, which is why Firestarter and A Madea Homecoming are on the list below.
"The 355" - Released January 7, 2022
The 355 was a film that was loaded with action, great performances and chemistry, and was directed by the wonderfully talented Simon Kinberg. The problem? I had no idea what was going on half the time. The essential plot is that a top-secret weapon fell into mercenary hands so, much to her superiors chagrin, a CIA agent joins forces with three international female agents to retrieve the weapon all the while another mysterious woman is tracking their movements and is always a step behind them.
So, when the film is making sense, it has a good plot and solid acting from Chastain and Kruger, but it feels like there's about 10 minutes missing from the film that connects a few scenes together that otherwise you just shrug and decide to go with it because you're having too much fun.
I give it a 2.5 out of 4.
"Scream" - Released January 14, 2022
The fifth Scream installment was the refreshing reboot that the series needed and was such a fantastic entry that it puts parts 2-4 to shame. Even though it's pretty easy to guess who the killer is (because it follows the same formula as part 1), it still manages to throw some major twists in there to shake things up, such as a major character's death and a betrayal by someone you think is a victim. Fantastic writing and directing, and brilliant performances by Jenny Ortega and Jack Quaid. It was nice to see Neve, Courtney, and David all back together again, and I'm definitely looking forward to part 6 next year.
I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
"The King's Daughter" - Released January 21, 2022
While critics panned and berated this film for whatever reasons they could, I found The King's Daughter to be a charming, romantic tale and a cautionary tale rolled into one. There were several different types of love shown in the film, the love between a father and daughter, the love between a princess and her protector, the love an unbiased creature has for all kind life, and the love one has for oneself. It shows the struggle between choosing selfish desires or choosing family and the difference between choosing kindness to others and kindness to ones you like. There actually are a lot of deep themes here that the film shows and explores, explaining them in a way that people of all ages can understand and enjoy. For some reason critics have a problem with kindness winning the day, but the viewers who can see this film for what it tried to say are the true winners.
I give this film a 3.5 out of 4.
"Moonfall" - Released February 4, 2022
"I don't believe a word of it, but it was a lot of fun." - Literally the first sentence I said after leaving the theater. Moonfall at least tried to be original, which is more than I can say for most end-of-the-world disaster flicks out there. Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry, and John Bradley lead the film and keep their characters' chemistry lively throughout. The CGI was pretty good although some sections left a lot to be desired. Michael Pena was a welcome addition to the cast, as usual, because the man makes everything good.
The story had a good idea. The moon is actually a megastructure rather than an actual moon, built by alien life as they expanded throughout the galaxy. But, their AI turned on them and began destroying civilization after civilization. Now, they've come to destroy the moon megastructure, which has hurtled it toward Earth, threatening our very existence.
It's a decent enough story, and it does ask questions that NASA can't - or won't - answer. It is a decent attempt at originality, however it focuses far too much on the destruction of earth than it does on the storyline it spends an entire film setting up, which is why I gave Moonfall a 2.8 out of 4.
"Dog" - Released February 18, 2022
Dog is a military film through and through with a great family values message. Dogs are truly man's best friend, especially the ones who have been through unspeakable trauma. People don't seem to stop and think that dogs have their own emotions and can experience PTSD and loss too, they just can't vocalize and express it like humans can so it comes out as aggressive behavior. What Dog teaches us is that sometimes it takes a person with similar pain to understand what a struggling creature is going through.
I give this film a 4 out of 4.
"Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - Released February 18, 2022
I mean, what can really be said about this film? People go to a deserted Texas town, stumble upon Leatherface, and get chased around for an hour. The film does integrate some story into it and some new cinematography that showcases some pretty gnarly kills but, otherwise, it's your standard slasher.
I give it a 2.8 out of 4.
"A Madea Homecoming" - February 25, 2022
Finally, after some truly horrendous entries (looking at you Boo and Boo 2), Madea returns to her former glory with the Netflix-released A Madea Homecoming in which there's a big family get-together. I love that this film returned to Madea's comedic and dramatic roots to flush out a fantastic story and comedy that's actually funny.
I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
"Umma" - Released March 18, 2022
Umma was an unexpected film. It had horror elements but was much more dramatic than it was horror. It tackled the fear of turning into a person you don't recognize, or rather, someone you recognize a little too well. Sandra Oh plays a mom who has sheltered her daughter and kept her at home out of fear of losing her, however, in doing so she's finding that she's becoming her own mother who was abusive and hateful and controlling too. It's the story of the struggle against oneself and one's inner demons and learning to trust again.
I give the film a 4 out of 4.
"X" - Released March 18, 2022
X is a film that does exactly what it says it's going to do but also throws in a few twists that's sure to gross out viewers and make them very uncomfortable. That's what true horror is, though, right? Make people as uncomfortable as possible in all the best ways imaginable? It's crude, crass, and unapologetic, exactly what a film like this needs to be. I also loved how it looked like it was filmed on old 70s/80s celluloid just like indies of the genre were back in the day, such as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the original I Spit on Your Grave.
I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
"The Lost City" - Released March 25, 2022
This one I ended up having to wait until its digital release. There were so many things going on when it was released theatrically that I just couldn't make it to the theater. But, even on the small screen, it was a fun movie that had a ton of heart and comedy. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum were the perfect duo and shared remarkable chemistry on-screen. In fact, I would not be opposed to seeing them work together again. Daniel Radcliffe was pure genius as the villain of the film, proving once again he has some incredible range and can do anything he sets his mind to doing.
I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
"Morbius" - Released April 1, 2022
I get so sick of the toxic fandom. And I don't mean just Marvel. Toxic people are in every fandom. Marvel, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek....you name it, there's some purist out there who hates something about the extended universe instead of just being grateful they're even getting more content in the first place. Kevin Smith once said he would never say a bad thing about a comic book movie because he grew up wishing they existed on the level they do today. When Spider-Man and X-Men were coming out back in the early 2000s, it was like a dream come true. The the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008 and we started getting 2 a year, then three a year plus a show....now, it's insane the amount of content being made. Somewhere along the way, people that dreamed and wished for Nerd Culture to become mainstream lost their sense of wonder and hate on everything that comes out.
Morbius is no exception. It received more hate than Venom did and honestly both of them were fine for what they were. Would it be awesome to have an R-rated bloodbath? Sure. But Disney owns Marvel and Marvel's deal with Sony only permits so much. So, we get what we get. I enjoyed Morbius and I'm tired of people hating on it for literally no reason. You ever notice how people who hate on it all say the same thing? CGI was bad, story was dull. Almost word for word exactly what the original hater said. The CGI was NOT bad. In fact, it was pretty terrifying at times. Matt Smith's CGI could have been better, sure, but I have seen much much worse in far bigger budget films. The story was solid and kept a good pace throughout. It had a beautiful dynamic of good vs evil with the good being tempted to go past that line. There's a great theme there, one that those toxic people I was talking about need to think about while looking in the mirror.
Jared Leto is a brilliant actor and his work in Dallas Buyers Club proves that. Had Morbius not been plagued with rewrites and being pushed back three times due to the pandemic, it probably would have been received better. Sony doesn't seem to care what people think as they are moving ahead with Kraven and Madame Web. Big middle-finger to you, haters.
I give Morbius a 3 out of 4 and I'm not ashamed of liking it.
"You Won't Be Alone" - Released April 1, 2022
The only reason this masterpiece didn't get a perfect score is because it had a bit of a slow section in the middle but otherwise, it's perfection. The film follows the life of a girl whose voice was taken away by a witch after the girl's mother promised to give her up at 16. I can't divulge much more without spoiling certain story elements but it's a beautiful circle of life story that is cinematically gorgeous and almost always engaging, riddled with perfect performances and directing. This is one international film that deserves more praise than it has gotten.
I give it a 3.5 out of 4.
"Ambulance" - Released April 8, 2022
For a Michael Bay film, Ambulance was actually a very well-put-together film that had some emotion, some shocks, a ton of action, and a surprising amount of heart. Of course, being Michael Bay, it's gotta be over-the-top. I mean, there's no one else that can turn a simple bank heist into a nearly two hour chase but, he finds a way. While the film has its highs, it's simply just way too drawn out just like every other Bay film in existence. It's a great ride but come on, you can only suspend belief for so long.
I give it a 3 out of 4.
"Sonic the Hedgehog 2" - Released April 8, 2022
Sonic! Tails! Knuckles! Jim Carrey - I mean, Robotnik! The sequel to the first Sonic the Hedgehog film has its highs and a whole bunch of fandom callbacks, and an exciting end-credit scene! I think the first film was still overall better, however, there were attributes the second film had that definitely makes it a close race. The addition of Tails and Knuckles certainly evens up the playing field and I loved the lore behind the Chaos Emerald. The storyline was well-paced and I loved the dynamic between Sonic and Knuckles. The only thing I didn't really like was that Knuckles was essentially a big, dumb brute that was all brawn and no brain. While Robotnik does have superior intellect and indeed manipulated Knuckles in the game lore, Knuckles was not stupid as portrayed in the film. I also thought the humor was utilized better in the first film and the whole dance-off scene was a bit silly. Overall, still a great addition to the franchise and am looking forward to part 3.
I give the film a 3 out of 4.
"Everything Everywhere All at Once" - April 8, 2022
This was one I so desperately wanted to see in theaters but, alas, I live in an area where films such as this never grace my community's theater screens. Small towns tend to only get blockbusters and I can understand that. Small towns need to be able to make money whereas cities can take more risks. That's okay because I was finally able to see it on digital and holy wow did it blow my mind. Michelle Yeoh has always been a superstar to me but this film was her greatest achievement. You know, I'm glad Jackie Chan turned the film down. Michelle and Ke Huy Quan had amazing chemistry together and I can't imagine either of them being replaced. Stephanie Hsu was hilarious and terrifying both in her roles and Jamie Lee Curtis was about as frightening as the creepy old lady in the abandoned house nobody likes to talk about or look at. Even Jenny Slate added to the humor spread throughout. This was a Multiverse movie like you've never seen before and probably never will again.
I give it a 4 out of 4.
"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" - Released April 22, 2022
Nic Cage stars in the Cage-iest Cage film that was ever unCaged. This was over-the-top, hilarious, heartfelt, dramatic, crazy, insane and everything in between. I had an absolute blast watching this film and I have to imagine Nic himself had fun making it. Pedro Pascal also went a bit outside of his usual dramatic roles to find his funny side as the clueless criminal who's obsessed with Cage.
Crass, crude, rude, and unapologetic, this film both pokes fun at Nic's overabundant outbursts but also displays him as a human that just wants to keep working in the field he loves.
I give the film a 4 out of 4.
"Firestarter" - Released May 13, 2022
Firestarter was an update that we needed but it also was one that wasn't executed as well as it should have been. Ryan Kiera Armstrong gave a brilliant performance as young Charlie, a girl who discovers she has pyrokinetic abilities. Ryan was able to capture the shock and emotion of accidentally hurting someone with her ability and also was able to be downright chilling when she needed to be. Zac Efron was a good fit as her father, however, I think he was underplayed. The real issue is with the story. When it comes to Stephen King, the 'less is more' approach is not always the best way to handle things. His books contain a lot of content and for the film to move this slowly, one has to wonder why they didn't use the stuff they skipped and changed?
I give the film a 2 out of 4.
"Downton Abbey: A New Era" - Released May 20, 2022
Downton Abbey is a treat that I'm truly going to miss. The two movies that have released were such wonderful returns to the gorgeous Abbey that each time it was like saying goodbye to 20 of my closest friends. This time around, well, the goodbye was a little bit harder to say and for good reason. The way this film ended, I can't imagine anyone would want to make a third Downton film and honestly there probably wouldn't be much use in doing so. It had a fantastic ending and it closed out the series in a hopeful way, even though people familiar with history know what's coming and would be heartbroken to think too much about it.
The film was gorgeous in both cinematography and story, and thankfully we still got a healthy dose of Violet who, without a doubt, steals the spotlight once again.
I give the film a 4 out of 4.
"The Bob's Burgers Movie" - May 27, 2022
The thing I loved most about The Bob's Burgers Movie is that it didn't go over-the-top like The Simpsons or try to be something it isn't, it was just an hour and a half episode that was just as funny and charming and ridiculous as the show is. Mr. Fischoeder is back along with his brother Felix, which adds to the comedy as always. The realistic-based humor is what I love most about the show and the movie keeps it going with Bob celebrating paying a late loan payment. (Oh, that hit the feels.)
We finally learn why Louise wears those bunny ears all the time and at last progresses each of the kids' stories a bit. I'll be excited to see where season 12 takes us now that the movie is out.
I give the film a 4 out of 4 for not being a sell-out and delivering what it promised fans it would deliver.
"Elvis" - June 24, 2022
Very few times have I just sat in stunned amazement while the credits rolled. Elvis had an impact that I truly didn't expect, telling the story in a way only Baz Luhrman could. Austin Butler was perfectly cast as Elvis Presley, completely unrecognizable from his earlier work in The Shannara Chronicles. He perfected Elvis' signature voice and sound all the while making the role his own, differentiating his performance from anyone else.
The choreography and cinematography was astoundingly beautiful and the suits were pure electricity coursing through the theater screen. I can't imagine a more perfect Elvis film and I honestly wouldn't ask anyone to try to make one. Baz Lurman's Elvis deserves both Best Actor and Best Film.
I give Elvis a 4 out of 4.
"Where the Crawdads Sing" - Released July 15, 2022
I wanted to review this film when I saw it but I truly couldn't think of anything to say other than "it was perfection". Daisy Edgar-Jones gave a splendid performance as Kya, the Marsh Girl outcast. Taylor John Smith and Harris Dickinson were fantastic as Tate and Chase respectively, each one adopting their characters as if they were their own personas. As much as I loved David Straitharn as Kya's caring lawyer, Michael Hyatt as Mabel was probably the best side character of the entire film, being the surrogate mom that Kya needed in a time of heartbreak and crisis.
The film hits hard on some deeply emotional subjects and it's also the first time a Southern film hasn't exaggerated the accents. Everyone in this film sounded exactly like a North Carolina native would sound and I appreciated that, being from Carolina myself.
Taylor Swift's Carolina song was chilling and beautiful, giving the film an additional punch in the soul that was greatly unexpected.
I give the film a 4 out of 4.
The films below are films that I wanted to see but didn't get a chance to in theaters (or day of release) and are on my To Watch list.
- Father Stu
- Minions: The Rise of Gru
- Paws of Fury
© 2022 Nathan Jasper