Here’s what’s thrilled us the most on-screen so far this year
The first few months of the year are a fantastic time for resolutions, rejuvenation, and taking stock of one’s life, but it’s often a dull period for new films ดูหนังออนไลน์. The streaming era has modified that equation — a novelty-hungry home-viewing audience doesn’t care about the season, so more studios are sneaking fascinating films into VOD or even releasing them to cinemas during a season when they’ll have less competition.
Then there are the small treasures that were never meant for a blockbuster audience, and the powerful shocks that we weren’t expecting to move us. So, even though it’s still early in the year, we’ve begun a poll to see which 2022 releases have piqued our interest the most, from large action-adventure films to tiny indie genre films. All of these are worth seeing.
The following entries are listed in reverse order of release: The most current releases are listed first, making it easier to find the most recent additions to this list. We’ll keep upgrading it throughout 2022. We’ll also do the same for the top games, anime, and TV series of 2022.
- THE LONG WALK
Mattie Do, Laos’ first and only female film director, creates ghost stories: films in which individuals contact with the dead and learn from them, but pay a price for that knowledge. Some of the themes from her debut feature Chanthaly (which she’s posted on YouTube) and her followup, Dearest Sister (which is streaming on Shudder), get fuller, richer development in The Long Walk, a genre mashup that’s part time-travel storey and part serial-killer storey, but still deeply involved with the spirits of the dead, and how they both express and enable the desires of living people.
A Lao hermit living in a technologically advanced future goes 50 years into the past on a regular basis to interfere in events from his own painful childhood, aided by the ghost of a lady who died in the surrounding forest when he was a youngster. These are bold, striking elements that don’t entirely seem to fit together, but The Long Walk is exquisitely constructed in a way that gradually reveals its puzzle box methods, building toward an emotional end that ties all of its genres, timelines, and threads together in a startling, impressive way. —Tasha Robinson
- JUJUTSU KAISEN 0
MAPPA’s adaptation of Gege Akutami’s supernatural dark fantasy action manga Jujutsu Kaisen swiftly established itself as one of the top anime series set to show in 2020 and 2021. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Jujutsu Kaisen 0 — the series’ feature-length prologue directed by returning director Sunghoo Park — would build on that momentum even more. Set one year before the events of the anime, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 recounts the narrative of Yuta Okkotsu, an unhappy person who, like series protagonist Yuji Itadori, finds himself the involuntary host of the tremendously destructive cursed spirit in the guise of his departed childhood friend Rika. Following a horrible slaughter, Yuta is taken under the care of Jujutsu sorcerer (and famed anime heartthrob) Satoru Gojo, who teaches him how to refine his supernatural skills in humanity’s continuous battle against cursed spirits. The action is thrilling, as promised, with quick punches, brilliant flashing power techniques, and monstrous lumbering adversaries.
Yuta’s personal path matches Yuji’s, making him a likeable protagonist who is easy to cheer for and root for. Though the film as a whole is the type of “prequel” that benefits from prior knowledge of the series it precedes, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is an entertaining watch that more than deserves to be included among the finest animated films to come out of 2022. —Toussaint Egan
- TURNING RED
It’s difficult to look back fondly on the horribly uncomfortable middle-school years, but Pixar’s Turning Red examines the tumultuous ups and downs of early adolescence without flinching, and with an astounding amount of affection. Domee Shi, who directed the Pixar short Bao in 2018, makes her theatrical debut with this one-of-a-kind film that embraces quirky enchantment, cultural identity, and, most importantly, overwhelming love for little girlhood in all its messy splendour.
Mei, a thirteen-year-old girl, realises that when she is overcome by tremendous emotion, she transforms into a massive red panda – a quirk that all the ladies in her family have had from ancient times. Mei, like her family members, tries to manage the panda, but she also begins to develop and appreciate her own identity outside of her family. The enormous-red-panda-sized feelings she feels on the verge of maturity transfer into giant emotions for the audience, who may reflect on that key point in their life when everything seemed so much all at once. Turning Red blends those profound feelings with wonderful comedy and real kindness, and it’s one of Pixar’s greatest and most unusual films. —Petrana Radulovic
- AFTER YANG
After Yang, the newest film by Columbus filmmaker Kogonada is a gloomy science fiction film that balances the subject of how we should think about artificial life with the more fascinating topic of how it should think about us. Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith play adoptive parents raising a little Chinese girl with the assistance of a “techno sapiens” – an artificial design as her language instructor, cultural counsellor, and big brother. When his systems fail, his family goes through the same emotions that any family member would go through, with the extra question of what his death reveals to them about their lives and relationships. It’s a little, silent, contemplative picture, yet it’s aesthetically rich and crammed with themes about prejudice and preconceptions, cultural integration, and how everyone is navigating an inner life that would astound everyone around them. —TR
- I WAS A SIMPLE MAN.
August at Akiko’s Christopher Makoto Yogi transforms this ghost storey into a slow-burn meditation on death, memory, and what lives on after we die. As the old patriarch of a fractured family (Steve Iwamoto, superb in his first lead feature role) approaches the end of his life, he is visited by relatives from the present and spirits from the past, including his long-deceased wife (Constance Wu). Intergenerational tensions erupt when the ghosts of past battles resurface — squabbles and clashes amongst estranged family members, as well as historical issues surrounding Hawaii’s route to statehood.
I Was A Simple Man takes us on this voyage via several historical periods and with intriguing use of surrealism and dream aesthetics. It earned the Made in Hawaii Award for Best Feature at the 2021 Hawaii International Film Festival for its magnificent visuals of Hawaii’s lovely landscapes and rich textures. I Was A Simple Man is an extraordinary experience that attempts to represent the closing days of one life on Earth. —Pete Volk