Barbarian (2022)

Horror as a genre is constantly evolving, perhaps more so than others. Or at the very least, the way it keeps reshaping itself remains quite interesting in that it is both an entity that tirelessly seeks to reinvent itself and one that seeks to retain a firm connection to its roots. Moreover, horror attracts a specific pedigree of filmmakers, many of whom are driven predominantly by a desire to have fun making movie magic happen.  

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Nope (2022)

Universal

One data point is just what it is – a data point. Two data points are the minimum requirement to form a line. And for some reason it seems that quite a lot of critics and casual moviegoers alike decided that two data points are sufficient to form a trend, which is a big no-no for anyone even vaguely aware of how statistics operates as a science. So, in a way, Jordan Peele’s Nope has inadvertently fallen prey to the general public’s lack of awareness that extrapolating from small data sets is at best loaded with uncertainty and most likely completely useless. Because this movie is pretty damn solid, to say the least. 

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Bullet Train (2022)

Columbia/Sony

There is no debate: Bullet Train is a movie bound to endear a very particular (and sizeable) demographic of movie-goers. What is more, this specific group of film enthusiasts will be there for anything and everything this film has to offer. They’ll laugh uproariously at its abundance of snarky comedy, they’ll react accordingly to the film’s omnipresent slapstick humour, as they will to its overall tongue-in-cheek tone, or its hyper stylized aesthetic and flamboyant fight choreography.  

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Ambulance (2022)

Universal Pictures

If you were taken into a screening blindfolded and asked to definitively say – in the absence of opening credits – who directed the movie based solely on what it looked like, how many minutes would it take you to identify a Michael Bay movie? One? Two? Under a minute? Fair enough, the jig would be up the minute you saw a car transform, but I think a statistical audience member who doesn’t skip his blockbusters would likely identify a Bay-directed effort rather quickly just by putting together the confluence of hard and fast cuts, the golden hour sheen, canted angles, orbiting shots and era-appropriate pop/rap music blaring through the speakers.  

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X (2022)

A24

Ti West and Rob Zombie are two sides of the same coin. Although superficially their movies do not look alike at all, their connected at the hip because both filmmakers through their work express similar emotions; only differently. And X might be the definitive lynchpin between them.  

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Belfast (2021)

There’s more than one Belfast. There’s Belfast you know from history classes or from accruing knowledge about the world in your own capacity. There’s Belfast you find on postcards – “Venice of the North” as Belfast City Council would like you to see it as – brimming with nightlife, greenery and tourist attractions. There’s Belfast you can visit where you will find out that the glitz of tourism exists side-by-side with the vestiges of its troubled and bloody history. There’s Belfast you can move into where you will find truly amazing people full of warmth and candour and who are putting their best foot forward to work through an intergenerational PTSD.  

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Nightmare Alley (2021)

Searchlight Pictures

What is the point of a remake? Even more fundamentally, what is the reason for retelling any story? Well, at the most basic level, the idea of recounting the same stories is probably the most ancient way of record-keeping that predates the invention of writing, so it’s hard to criticize the general concept of reaching back into the vast expanses of pre-existing stories and giving them a do-over.

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Don’t Look Up (2021)

Netflix

I think it goes without saying that Adam McKay’s movies are about as subtle as a fart in a bathtub and despite their seemingly wide-reaching appeal, their purpose may not be that obvious. Even though he has made a departure from making out-and-out comedies like The Other Guys or Anchorman and moved towards making socially and politically aware satires like The Big Short and Vice, it is my belief that viewers by and large did not attune themselves to what he is currently doing, which is why his movies are weirdly polarizing. And his latest outing, Don’t Look Up, is no different in this regard. 

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