All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) – War Is Hell

Released: 28th October 2022
Seen: 26th January 2023

All Quiet On The Western Front Info

With Oscar nominations announced, the time has come to go back and look over films that were nominated that I somehow missed over the last year so that I’m able to make a semi-justifiable post guessing what the winners will be in a month’s time. To start this little trip through the nominees I’m going to talk about the second most nominated film this year, All Quiet On The Western Front which is the third adaptation of the 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque. This time the film was actually made in Germany, the country that the novel is set in, and it appears that personal connection has allowed the filmmakers to truly explore the darkness of the material.

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The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) – Finger Flicking Good

Released: 26 December 2022
Seen: 12th January 2023

Martin McDonaugh is a strange but fascinating filmmaker. With three films under his belt (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) the man has already developed a specific style of tragicomedy that can be so dark and bizarre that it’s strangely captivating. His first film, In Bruges, is still probably his best because of the rapid-fire dialogue and the undeniable chemistry of the two lead actors. Something about the combination of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson just worked so spectacularly together, so much so that clearly Martin wanted to recreate that magic again with The Banshees of Inisherin and for the most part he has.

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Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical (2022) – A Miracle

Released: 25th December
Seen: 27th December

In 1988, Roald Dahl released Matilda onto the world and with it his last truly great character (yes he released 3 books after Matilda but chances are good that you couldn’t name a single character from Esio Trot, The Vicar of Nibbleswickle or The Minpins). The character of a book-smart little girl with the power of telekinesis who takes on the ultimate wicked headmaster was absolutely inspired and almost instantly lit up the imaginations of readers everywhere. It was the kind of story that was destined for adaptation, first with a 1996 cult film and eventually with the musical that was the foundation for this Netflix movie. With the musical being insanely popular and well-loved, the question everyone had is if the magic would translate from the stage to the screen… turns out, Matilda has enough magic to work in almost every medium.

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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022) – Absolutely Magical

Released: 9th December
Seen: 10th December

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio

It would be fair to say that adaptations of Pinocchio haven’t exactly been spectacular lately. This year alone we had possibly one of the more disappointing entries in the history of Pinocchio adaptations when Disney decided to do another remake of one of their classics and one that had Pauly Shore playing the titular puppet (never reviewed it but it did get memed into oblivion). There was also the strange nightmare one that was released a few years ago that inexplicably was an Oscar contender. 

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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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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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Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022) – Charmed, I’m Sure

Released: 18th August
Seen: 7th November

The two-hander is a fascinating thing in film. Placing a pair of actors in a room and letting the conversation between them carry the film from start to finish is something very few can actually pull off. There’s a not-insignificant risk to it, it can make the work feel stagey and if the two actors lack chemistry or drop the ball for even so much as a second it can all fall apart. However, if the leads have chemistry and are able to keep up with each other and the script is good enough then a two-hander can be something truly magical… Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is something truly magical.

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