Somehow, 2022 is a little over halfway over. It’s been a wild year for so many reasons and the movies that have come out have followed suit. We’ve seen everything bagels, flying tigers, fanboy murderers, and giant red pandas, just to name a few. The unpredictability and originality of the films has been over the top but incredibly welcome.
With summer in full effect, sure there are plenty of mega-blockbusters to go and check out in theatres. Some of them are even really, really good. But if you don’t want to pay for a sitter, drive to the theatre, and buy expensive popcorn, but still want a great genre experience, we’ve got 12 excellent films that came out earlier this year that you should seek out.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
You knew this was going to be on here, right? The Daniels’ fantastic blend of science fiction and martial arts action with relatable characters in gobsmackingly wild situations has to be seen to be believed. The lead performance by Michelle Yeoh is glorious, but it’s her family, played by Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, that really steals the show. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a genre masterpiece that’s already carved out its own place in film history.
Speaking of genre masterpieces, you simply are not ready for the perfection that is RRR. At its core, it’s a period piece about two men who become incredible friends without the knowledge they’re mortal enemies. That story plays out as director S. S. Rajamouli unleashes some of the most dynamic, exciting set pieces you’ve ever seen. Most of those are incredible action sequences, but also huge dance sequences and more. It’s long but never, ever boring, and the second it’s over, you’ll want to watch it again immediately.
Brian and Charles
A man creates a best friend in Brian and Charles, an original, feel-good sci-fi dramedy that’s simple and wonderful. When lonely inventor Brian (David Earl) builds a robot named Charles (Charles Hayward), the two are inseparable — at first. But as Charles continues to grow and Brian learns some key life lessons, the result is a heartwarming (and often hilarious) tale of friendship, love, and all the things that make you feel good.
The Adam Project
Considering this movie is rocking a borderline 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, we’ll admit, this choice might be controversial. But we thought The Adam Project was delightful. It’s a very Amblin-inspired sci-fi action adventure starring Ryan Reynolds as a man who has to team up with his younger self to save the world. It’s excitingly propulsive, the supporting cast is stellar (Zoe Saldana! Jennifer Garner! Mark Ruffalo! Catherine Keener!), and the story is touching. We highly recommend it but realise it’s not for everyone.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a hilarious, joyous film with an awful title. If you see that title, you have no idea what it’s about. But if I told you it’s a movie about Nicolas Cage, playing himself, being recruited by law enforcement to take down a drug cartel leader played by Pedro Pascal, you’d probably be very interested, right? Of course. And the movie tells that story perfectly, with plenty of jokes and heart and wow, it’s just awesome.
After Yang is proof that sci-fi can be almost anything it wants to be. Colin Farrell stars as a father trying to figure out what happened to the android he and his wife bought for their daughter. The journey, which on the surface is simple, becomes an exploration of humanity, fatherhood, and so much more. But it all originates from this realistic robot. A slow burn, but stupendous film.
Scream (2022), not to be confused with Scream (1996), is everything fans love about the popular franchise and more. Brutal kills? Check. Mysterious whodunnit? Check. An acute self-awareness that this is a movie? Check. But then, this fifth film went further by making itself ultra timely using online fandom and the internet as part of its film-forward story. It’s scary, funny, and fun.
You Won’t Be Alone
You Won’t Be Alone is a brutal, beautiful, extremely dark fairy tale. Set in 19th century Macedonia, it follows a girl claimed at birth by a jealous witch, who imbues her with the ability to shapeshift into the bodies of others — but then realises she’s more of a rival than an ally. From first time feature director Goran Stolevski, the film mixes horror elements with unique family dynamics and character development. It’s as unexpected as it is great.
Pixar has released two films in 2022 and while only one got a theatrical release, the other is arguably better. That’s Turning Red, the loveable, hilarious, heartwarming tale of a young girl who turns into a giant red panda and must deal with not just the consequences, but the family history of it all. A perfect balance of pop culture with Chinese culture, Turning Red has everything you’d want in a great family film.
Did you think we were going to not have The Batman on here? Come on now. Matt Reeves’ new take on the popular DC character rose above expectations by not being a traditional superhero movie. It’s more of a detective film, which is an aspect of Batman that the films only usually touch upon. Every facet of the production is top-notch and we’re anxious to see what’s next for this version of the Caped Crusader.
Phil Tippett is a literal filmmaking legend so when he finally released Mad God, a film he’s been working on for decades, you had to take notice. And we’re glad we did. The experimental, mostly dialogue-free film is as beautiful and impressive a visual feat as we’ve seen in some time. It’s mostly told through stop-motion animation, and Tippett creates an array of images — mostly brutal and gross, but gorgeously so — that you can’t look away from.
Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers
If you have fond memories of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or any video the Lonely Island gang did on Saturday Night Live, you should watch Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers. Not merely a feature film version of the once-popular TV show, this live-action animated hybrid is wickedly funny and filled with pop culture references and iconography that give it a real voice and edge. But not one that makes it too over the top for kids. It’s just a wonderful surprise.
Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.