An Oscars Best Picture nominee in which Cate Blanchett “dominates every single frame … she slinks into” and a doco about an English dairy cow are among a Melbourne film expert’s picks for 2022’s top flicks.
Reece Goodwin, film and TV curator at Australia’s only screen museum, ACMI, has shared his five favourite movies of the year – and some of them will surprise you.
ACMI will screen several of the flicks over summer as part of its Best 22 of 2022 film program, which runs until January 29.
For those who prefer the small screen, Goodwin has also recommended five standout TV shows from 2022 that are sure to cover all tastes.
BEST FILMS OF 2022
Memoria is “slow, meditative, and unnerving”, Goodwin says.
Goodwin’s review: “Something strange is going on. When Jessica (Tilda Swinton) wakes to a loud sound that only she can hear, she sets out on a journey to discover what it is. Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s beguiling film is slow, meditative, and unnerving. Memoria casts a mysterious spell over its audience but is best experienced by a patient viewer willing to take things slow.”
Screening at ACMI on December 31 and January 15
Triangle of Sadness
Triangle of Sadness won the Cannes Film Festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or, in addition to best picture, director, actor and screenplay at this year’s European film awards.
Goodwin’s review: “Two Instagram-ready models are invited on a luxury cruise where they rub shoulders with the super wealthy and impossibly privileged. However, things get nasty when bad weather interrupts their picture-perfect surrounds. Director Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning comedy shines a light on the wafer-thin security that wealth and beauty can bring. It’s thought-provoking, truly hilarious and totally cool.”
Nightmare Alley was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year.
Goodwin’s review: “Director Guillermo del Toro had a huge year in 2022, beginning with the release of the super stylish Nightmare Alley in Australia. Bradley Cooper is great as a conman rising through the ranks of a carnival as a mentalist before taking on the elite of 1940s New York City. But as soon as Cate Blanchett arrives on the scene, she dominates every single frame of the film that she slinks into.”
Screening at ACMI on January 14
While Cow didn’t get a big-screen release, Goodwin says it’s worth a watch.
Goodwin’s review: “Andrea Arnold’s documentary about the life of an English dairy cow named Luma didn’t get a big-screen release, but it totally deserves a look. A cow’s eye view of life on the farm, complete with milking stations pumping out tunes by Billie Eilish and Kali Uchis. By the end, you’ll wonder whether Luma has become more human or if you’ve become more bovine.”
Screening at ACMI on January 15
You Won’t Be Alone
Noomi Rapace stars as Bosilka in You Won’t Be Alone. Picture: Branko Starcevic / Focus Features
Goodwin’s review: “This Australian horror-adjacent period piece wowed audience at Sundance Film Festival. It’s best described as a drama about self-discovery with supernatural themes that has elements of The Witch (2015). To say more is probably to say too much, but it’s best to learn what it’s about as the central character learns on screen. It’s dark, and it’s beautiful and it’s the Australian film that seemed to come out of nowhere.”
Screening at ACMI on January 7 and 27
BEST TV SHOWS OF 2022
Andor, starring Diego Luna, is “guaranteed to have you fist pumping”, Goodwin says.
Goodwin’s review: “We love our ever-expanding cinematic universes. While Marvel branches out into the multiverse, Star Wars has been jumping between different eras (The High Republic, the New Republic). When Andor made its premiere in September, we went back (almost) to where the original 1977 Star Wars film began. Aesthetic wise, Andor harks back to ’70s sci-fi, sometimes feeling more like Logan’s Run than The Phantom Menace. Guaranteed to have you fist pumping from the settee.”
Available to stream on Disney+. Andor has been renewed for a second season.
The Australian Wars
Rachel Perkins’ docuseries “should be essential viewing for all Australians”.
Goodwin’s review: “Forget everything you think you know. The war between colonial forces and Australia’s First Nations people isn’t often spoken about and officials struggle to define the conflict as a war at all. Rachel Perkins shines a light on the most significant war on Australian soil, and one that forever changed the continent in her three-part, truth-telling docuseries that should be essential viewing for all Australians.”
Available to stream on SBS On Demand.
Bill Hader’s Barry took a “brilliantly dark turn” in 2022.
Goodwin’s review: “We need to talk about Barry. When SNL alumnus Bill Hader introduced us to Barry back in 2018, we were sold on the premise of a hit man wanting to change career paths by taking up acting classes. Funny, right? Yes, but when the series returned this year after a three-year Covid-induced wait, it had taken a brilliantly dark turn taking us to a place closer to Breaking Bad than we imagined possible.”
Available to stream on Binge. Barry has been renewed for a final season.
Heartstopper is “the sweetest show of the year”, according to Goodwin. Picture: Netflix
Goodwin’s review: “Graphic novels are often fertile ground for TV adaptations. It feels like less can go wrong when you’re adapting from one visual media into another, but there’s also less room for surprises. Heartstopper, though, was the big surprise of 2022. Best described as a queer, teenage, coming-of-age love story, Heartstopper didn’t so much stop our hearts as warm them into a giggly mess. Probably the sweetest show of the year.”
Available to stream on Netflix. Heartstopper has been renewed for a second season.
The excellent Slow Horses follows washed-up MI5 rejects. Picture: AppleTV+
Goodwin’s review: “It’s a good sign when a series is renewed before it has premiered, but Slow Horses was renewed so fast that Apple TV+ have been able to deliver two seasons in the same year. Doing away with the glamorous tropes of the spy subgenre, the series comprises of a group of washed-up MI5 rejects relegated to the dowdy Slough House. Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas are excellent alongside House of the Dragon’s Olivia Cooke.”
Available to stream on Apple TV+. Slow Horses has been renewed for a third and fourth season.
Originally published as ACMI expert reveals 2022 film and TV show recommendations
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