As I noted in November, I didn’t post my 2021 films for some reason and I still don’t remember why but here they are. Shang-Chi was pretty great.
Did I do anything this year? Did I go anywhere? I feel like I did visit Walsingham but don’t remember anything about it – oh, I remember now. I actually went on holiday to Ipswich and then drove to visit Walsingham on one of the days I was there and that’s why I don’t remember staying in Walsingham.
I also attended one of the London e-prix and had the great idea of staying the night before in a hotel nearby because lol I am not waking up early to get there. That was also about the time I fell on my car and smacked my shin so hard on the doorframe that it got infected and I had the exciting opportunity to “enjoy” two different rounds of antibiotics. It’s still not the right colour, but that’ll get better in time.
I saw Daði Freyr at the Roundhouse, an event that I bought the ticket for over a year in advance thinking “the whole pandemic stuff will be gone by then” and it’s not really but it turns out that I’m one of those people for whom wearing a mask tight against my face for hours isn’t a hardship (even though I wear glasses and now that I’ve got a pair with the arms that curl round my ears rather than being straight, I’m less likely to have them just fall off my face). Sort of related – I’m pondering going to see Måneskin next year but am extremely ambivalent about the O2 Arena AND it’ll be when I have a week off and maybe I will want to go somewhere that week. We’ll see. Maybe if there are tickets still on sale closer to the time, I’ll decide then.
Anyway, onto the new films I saw in 2022, from least favourite to most favourite as is customary:
- The Middle Ages -I saw two films set during the pandemic lockdown season and this was the worst. It seemed like an interesting idea at the time I put it on my “to watch” list but it just wasn’t fun.
- Our Lady of the Chinese Shop – I am, obviously, a big fan of Catholic-adjacent tat and this film is named for that. Felt like it wasn’t finished.
- Blind Yellow Sunshine – Knowing something about the Rime of the Ancient Mariner improves this, but since I knew nothing while I was watching – at least it was short.
- Roary – it says something that 6 minutes of the MGM lion just… roaring was better than the first 3 films on this list.
- The Estate – Unfunny. Which is a shame because the cast were doing their best.
- Crows Are White – The director/main character’s wife is a literal saint and must super love him to put up with his shenanigans.
- Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power – Interesting documentary, but weird that the director’s films are irreproachable masterpieces and all other female filmmakers’ work is infected by the male gaze.
- Inside the Mind of a Cat – I’m not a cat person, but it was interesting to see all the cat people and was a frothy light hour or so of viewing when that was what I needed.
- Geographies of Solitude – Turns out documentaries about scientists doing research in remote places is a thing I enjoy. The sporadic bits of film processed on the island with bits of the island added a good contrast of texture.
- The Blue Rose of Forgetfulness – I liked some of the individual works more than others but thinking about them now I don’t know that I can remember any but Alcestis.
- God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines – I didn’t know anything about the history of techno music so this was educational. I can recognise the nerding out about synthesizers in musicians I know now.
- See How They Run – I think maybe this film was trying to capture that Knives Out vibe but just doesn’t manage it because they were reading from the “how to Wes Anderson” instruction manual.
- Unicorn Wars – Did I see this just because it was teddy bears going to war? Yes.
- My Robot Brother – I feel like I’m getting closer to the top 10 because I’m starting to get to films that was actually “good” rather than just “I watched them.” Has kind of the feel of those educational TV series we used to watch at school like “Through The Dragon’s Eye” if that had been turned into a film solely for entertainment.
- Staging Death – 8 minutes of Udo Kier’s death scenes cut together. The highlight is recognising all the ones you’ve already seen.
- After Sherman – This was another film telling a part of the director’s personal experience and this one has the extreme benefit of not having a deeply frustrating director that sabotages his own life.
- Jill, Uncredited – Anthony Ing manages to weave a story out of a selection of clips of the thousands of Jill Goldston’s appearances as an extra in film and TV which really illustrates just how many productions she was a part of to make that possible (and there were many appearances that just didn’t make the cut on top of these). Jill was at the screening I saw and it was a delight to hear just how much she loved being part of these films and had the best experiences doing them.
- The Wonder – Not sure about the framing device, but this was a good watch.
- Corsage – I discovered that a whole bunch of films was made recently about Empress Elisabeth of Austria and I want to check them out. It works better if you know a bit more about the real Elisabeth.
- Thor: Love and Thunder – I did think when I saw this film that it would be higher up the list and yes, it is good and enjoyable (even when you’re familiar with the comics so there’s less surprise). I think it’s a combo of “this film could have been better” and “I saw a number of satisfying films this year.”
- Living – This was great. I saw Aimee Lou Wood in Uncle Vanya and she was a delight in that and she’s great here too.
- Into The Ice – This is the other scientists doing research in remote places film I saw and seeing all of the giant holes in the ice was just wild and mindblowing.
- Meet Me in the Bathroom – Documentary about the New York music scene in the early 2000s and yes I was only there for Interpol, whose first album is the only CD I ever wore out, but it was fascinating to hear about the other bands too. Was weirdly like someone did a time-travel to shoot the early 00s footage, but obviously they just recorded video at the time and it’s wild to think that in 10-20 years there could be something like this built out of band’s insta/tiktok videos.
- Hidden Letters – I knew some stuff about Nushu already so hearing from some of the women who have kept this language alive was interesting and touching. “Loved” that moment where some man asked how they could make Nushu, a language that had survived in secret for hundreds and hundreds of years, continue to survive without commercialising it in the cheapest possible way and only saw that as an option.
- Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – I am so glad that loads of people have now seen this because I have been waiting for months, MONTHS, to hear about people’s enjoyment of this film. This takes the thing I love about Columbo and Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple and Poirot (i.e. helping the little guy obtain justice and sticking it to the man) and just SLAPS IT RIGHT DOWN ON SILLY OLD MILES BRON’S FACE. The thing I took away from seeing this in a cinema was that I was surrounded by people who did not know who Yo-Yo Ma is and that was in my top 3 cameos in the film. Re-watching it now that it’s out on Netflix has only improved it because I can spot the things I didn’t spot on the first viewing AND I have the benefit of seeing things that other people who know stuff have picked up on. Knives Out was my 2nd favourite film of 2019 and it’s deeply satisfying that this one was so enjoyable.