Beast (2022) – Not Lion Around

Released: 24th August
Seen: 2nd December

Man VS Beast is possibly the simplest and oldest story type that exists and one that has certainly been a mainstay of cinema for years. From big-time blockbusters like Jaws to smaller-budgeted films like Crawl, putting a human being up against a ravenous animal is a pretty simple and effective way to create some decent horror. In the case of Beast the man is Idris Elba and the creature is a lion, so you pretty much know what the entire film will be from start to finish and it doesn’t really do much to deviate from the exact plot that you have already begun writing in your mind.

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Orphan: First Kill (2022) – Esther Begins

Released: 1st September
Seen: 2nd December

Orphan: First Kill Info

In 2009 the film Orphan was released to an audience who were there to learn the answer to one fateful question… “What’s wrong with Esther?”. The question of just what was going on with the young girl in the poster is the most notable thing about that movie, its shocking third-act reveal (which I have to assume you know if you’re curious about the prequel, but I’ll hold off on stating it explicitly until the third paragraph just in case) being the thing that elevated the original Orphan into something truly unique and memorable for anyone who saw it.

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) – Layered

Released: 23rd November (Theatrical), 23rd December (Netflix)
Seen: 29th November

Glass Onion Info

In 2019, Rian Johnson released the film Knives Out to absolutely overwhelming rave reviews. It was nothing short of a phenomenon, with some of the most incredible actors playing some outrageous and despicable people telling one of the greatest whodunnit mysteries in recent memory. Shortly after it became a huge success, Netflix paid 400 million dollars for 2 new films… and then the pandemic started so it took a little while for Rian to be able to produce any of those sequels but here we are at the end of 2022 and we have the first sequel in the Knives Out franchise, Glass Onion. The expectations for this film couldn’t possibly be higher, and somehow Glass Onion meets every single one of them.

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Falling For Christmas (2022) – Snowed In

Released: 10th November
Seen: 27th November

In 1998 the world was introduced to Lindsay Lohan in a little film called The Parent Trap, a film that would instantly turn her into one of the biggest child stars on the planet. She followed it up with the beloved 2003 Freaky Friday, then the cult classic, Mean Girls. That trilogy of films turned her into an absolute superstar, one who could carry a film just on her name alone which she did for a while until she fell into some serious personal problems that derailed her career severely, her last lead role being in The Canyons back in 2013. Fortunately, Lindsay seems to have gotten through her troubles stronger than ever and has returned to the screen with the Netflix Christmas romcom Falling for Christmas which might not be great, but it’s certainly charming enough and a reminder of just how special Lindsay is as a performer.

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Is That Black Enough for You?!? – Powerful

Released: 11th November
Seen: 28th November

Ever since cinema began, people have been striving for better representation to appear on that great wall of light and shadow that we pay an exorbitant amount to enjoy every now and then. The history of representation in cinema, no matter what group it’s for, is always genuinely fascinating to witness in any format. Be it queer history on television from docuseries like Visible or be it the history of trans representation in film like with Disclosure, if your film is about the history of a minority group throughout the history of entertainment then the subject matter alone is going to make it fascinating if you present it well. Is That Black Enough for You?!? not only presents its material well, but it’s also one of the most fascinating documentaries about cinematic representation to come out in quite a long time.

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The Menu (2022) – Eat Up

Released: 24th November
Seen: 27th November

When reading film criticism, one comparison you will often find is the critics comparing a piece of art to food. It’s so common that it’s basically a cliche, if you want to make fun of a critic you merely need to say something in a slightly upper-crust accent and compare whatever you’re talking about to a common item of food. For example “The painting’s colour palette is as vivacious as a freshly grown strawberry”, it means absolutely nothing but sounds just intellectual enough to work in most cases.

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In Search Of Darkness III (2022) – Going Out On Top

Released: 26th November
Seen: 26th November

In 2019 the first instalment of In Search Of Darkness came out and was a joyous celebration of 80s horror, albeit just a little bit on the repetitive side. In 2020 we got the second instalment of In Search Of Darkness which went even deeper into the glory of the 80s horror and started diving into the weirder titles that littered the shelves of the local video store, with a lot fewer repetitions to pad out the runtime. For a while, it seemed like that would be the end of it but fortunately not because In Search of Darkness 3 just released and it’s a fitting finale to one of the most fun 80s retrospectives ever.

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Spirited (2022) – Good Afternoon!

Released: 18th November
Seen: 23rd November

Spirited Info

Of all the stories ever written, it’s a fair bet to say one of the most adapted is Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Its simple story of some asshole being visited by three ghosts in order to learn to be a better person is so malleable that it can be shoved into almost any intellectual property (like Blackadder, Mickey Mouse or Mr. Magoo) or be told in various ways, from the straight forward versions to more meta interpretations like The Man Who Invented Christmas… of course, every version pales in comparison to the one that they did featuring the Muppets back in 1992 but hey, they keep churning them out because it’s pretty hard to screw up A Christmas Carol.

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Men (2022) – Uggh, Men

Released: 18th August
Seen: 20th November

There’s been a strange trend recently of people pretending that horror films have never been political before roughly 2016. It might seem harsh to say they’re pretending but the alternative is to assume they’re just incredibly media illiterate. Horror as a genre has been political since the start and horror in film is regularly political, even if it’s incredibly subtle about it. 

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The Outfit (2022) – See My Vest

Released: 18th August
Seen: 16th November

The Outfit Info

There really is nothing quite like a gangster film, it’s such a fascinating underground world that can often lead to a story full of intrigue, backstabbing and murder if done right. Of course, the problem is that there have been so many truly great films in this genre that it’s hard to do something to stand out. You could go the Guy Ritchie route with something like The Gentlemen and make a big broad comedy full of fast quipping characters, a ton of extravagant action scenes and just blow the budget on going all out or you could take the route The Outfit takes and be a little quieter, calculated and generally intriguing.

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