Monday, January 2, 2023

Top 20 Best New Movies of 2022

According to: Selina
 

[Note: These are the best new movies of the year that we’ve reviewed on Trust the Dice. If it wasn't reviewed on the site, it's not eligible.]
 
 

Reviewed on: December 4
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 26min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: It's Christmas Eve and Tori just wants to get drunk and party, but when a robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire and begins a rampant killing spree through her small town, she's forced into a battle for survival.
 
I fell in absolute love with Christmas Bloody Christmas. It was fun, bloody, and the banter was second to none. I can’t pass up a movie with good banter, it hits me right in my funny bone. In this case, Christmas Bloody Christmas also blessed us with a badass final girl and a robot with laser beam eyes.
 
What’s not to love?
 
19 – Deadstream
 

Reviewed on: October 3
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 27min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: A disgraced internet personality attempts to win back his followers by livestreaming one night alone in a haunted house. But when he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life.
 
This low budget flick took everyone by complete surprise. There are other films that I could have put here in its place, but the way it blew high above all expectations made me feel like it NEEDED to be here.
 
Deadstream is a found footage horror film that negates all the reasons someone might not like a found footage horror. The camera is steadier, there’s less jump scares that are meant to be fake outs, etc.
 
It was a passion project by a husband-and-wife team, Joseph Winter (V/H/S/99, It Came from the Lab, Abandoned in Space) and Vanessa Winter (V/H/S/99, Studio C, Loving Lyfe), and it shows.
 
18 – Day Shift
 

Reviewed on: August 17
Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Rated: R
Length: 1h 53min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: A hard-working, blue-collar dad just wants to provide a good life for his quick-witted 10-year-old daughter. His mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income: hunting and killing vampires.
 
Day Shift is a great example of why I think directors that were once in stunts have a leg up on all other action directors.
 
Who else but J.J. Perry (F9: The Fast Saga, Bloodshot, John Wick: Chapter 2), a highly experienced stunt coordinator, would have thought to hire contortionists? It seems like such a small thing, but that one choice caused the vampires in this film to be so much creepier than in most other undead movies to come out in the last couple of decades.
 
I’m surprised that critics didn’t like Day Shift much, because it DID kind of reinvent the wheel. It introduced a whole new level of practical effects and casting to the horror genre.
 
Day Shift is a great movie that’s readily available on Netflix.
 
 

Reviewed on: April 13
Genre: Comedy, Music
Rated: R
Length: 1h 37min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: Two friends try to form a heavy metal band with a cellist for a Battle of the Bands.
 
My all-time favorite movie is SLC Punk (1998). Part of my love for it comes from my love for punk music and the punk scene. The movie itself is a love letter to all of it. It has that ‘fuck the system’ heart woven in with a killer story and some extreme acting.
 
That’s what Metal Lords is to the metalhead scene.
 
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve always leaned more punk than anything else. So, I wasn’t really the target demographic for this metal love letter. My best friend, however, is.
 
Even though he has a depth of hatred for coming-of-age films, I forced him to sit down and watch Metal Lords. By the end of it, he was glad that I annoyed him into it. For anyone with a love of all things metal, Metal Lords is simply required viewing.
 
Cat, in all her gentle fluffiness, also has a love for metal music – and so Metal Lords spoke to her more than it did to me. Still, I can’t deny the parallels between it and my all-time favorite. I appreciate it for what it is.
 
 

Reviewed on: July 15
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 52min
Selina’s Rating: 4
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: A reclusive romance novelist on a book tour with her cover model gets swept up in a kidnapping attempt that lands them both in a cutthroat jungle adventure.
 
If someone were to design a high-budget parody of Uncharted (2022) or Tomb Raider (2001), The Lost City is how it would turn out.
 
It’s a cute action film with characters that should never be dropped in an action story. Who doesn’t like that kind of underdog tale? Especially when there’s just a ton of humor woven throughout.
 
Daniel Radcliffe (Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Miracle Workers, Guns Akimbo) also makes a hell of a creepy antagonist. Gotta love that for him.
 
15 – Glorious
 

Reviewed on: August 15
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 19min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 3.5
 
IMDb Blurb: After a breakup, Wes ends up at a remote rest stop. He finds himself locked inside the bathroom with a mysterious figure speaking from an adjacent stall. Soon Wes realizes he is involved in a situation more terrible than he could imagine.
 
Watching the trailer, you’d never expect Glorious to live up to its name. Featuring two people stuck in a rest stop bathroom with a touch of the supernatural sprinkled in might not be a description that attracts all audiences.
 
I was not prepared for just how good it actually was.
 
J.K. Simmons (Night Sky, Marmaduke, Spider-Man: No Way Home) has the perfect voice for a disembodied celestial being in a toilet stall, while Ryan Kwanten (Expired, Section 8, 2067) has just the right kind of clueless sense of humor to create a harmony. It was a short movie, tightly edited, with no time to look away.
 
Glorious could have been a very basic story from start to finish, and I still would have loved it. When the twists were woven in, everything just got exponentially better.
 
This was one of the best movies we found on Shudder in 2022.
 
 

Reviewed on: March 16
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 40min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: A 13-year-old girl named Meilin turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.
 
Turning Red is a cringe-filled, furry look at coming of age.
 
If anything, it’s a testament to how far Disney’s come. The starring family is full of culture, there’s talk of menstruation, and even more discussion around breaking generational trauma cycles. Not all the comedy was for me, but that was personal. Overall, it took the animated coming-of-age story into our century, finally.
 
Nothing was sugar coated, but it was all still perfectly crafted for pre-teens.
 
 

Reviewed on: July 25
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 2min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
  
IMDb Blurb: When the CIA's most skilled operative, whose true identity is known to none, accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, a psychopathic former colleague puts a bounty on his head, setting off a global manhunt by international assassins.
 
Critics HATED The Gray Man, but I will stand behind it with all my being.
 
It was a popcorn film that was fun, fast-paced, and had all the glorious banter you could ever want. The sarcastic variety that Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Drive, First Man) is a god at. Clearly, no one making The Gray Man was worried about the critics. It was all about the audience and I absolutely support that style of movie making.
 
It didn’t reinvent the wheel, but not every flick has to. It was pure action.
 
Although it followed tropes, it never leaned toward the more obnoxious variety, and even called out other actions films through little sniping jokes in the script. I think, in a few years, it might be re-examined by critics. Hopefully with some of the stick pulled out of their asses.
 
We’ve been quoting The Gray Man to each other since we saw it. After all, who throws a loaded gun?
 
12 – The Batman
 

Reviewed on: July 22
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 56min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: When a sadistic serial killer begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city's hidden corruption and question his family's involvement.
 
I know a lot of people would argue with The Batman being this low on the list. They’re not completely wrong. It’s a great movie with some incredible performances.
 
Robert Pattinson (The Devil All the Time, Tenet, The Lighthouse) made a better Batman than anyone could have possibly predicted. Zoë Kravitz (Viena and the Fantomes, Kimi, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) had all the poise of a proper Catwoman. I can’t say enough about how Colin Farrell (Ava, Thirteen Lives, The Banshees of Inisherin) disappeared into the Penguin.
 
The actor that made the biggest mark on me, however, was Paul Dano (Pantheon, The Guilty, Okja). There’s a part where his face is moving in such odd ways that it gave me that awful uncanny valley feeling. I had to actively look away from the screen while it was going on, because it creeped me out so much.
 
The only reason I can’t put it higher on this list is because it was just way too long. It could have easily been made into two different movies, each over an hour and a half long. Together in one film, it was impossible for me to sit through. Despite how good it was.
 
11 – Mad God
 

Reviewed on: June 13
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 23min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: Equipped with a gas mask and a crumbling map, the Assassin, an iron-clad humanoid, descends into a rusty, peril-laden underworld of grime, blood, and unsettling monstrosities. As the stealthy invader meanders through the labyrinthine post-apocalyptic wasteland on a mysterious mission, going deeper and deeper in the nightmarish realm, the Assassin gradually reaches his final destination: the heart of this grotesque tower of torture. But what cruel, vindictive deity allows fear and suffering to take its most complete creation further and further into despair? Only a Mad God would revel in humankind's ordeal.
 
This script-less entry was 30-years in the making. It was fully stop motion and painstakingly created by Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Starship Troopers), and his students, over decades. It’s full of horrific and gory visuals that sink into a masterpiece of world building.
 
Every minute of Mad God is nightmare inducing. Every second is something I guarantee you’ve never seen before, and never will again.
 
It’s a fascinating story told without dialogue by a master of his craft.
 

 

Reviewed on: June 24
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 6min
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: Doctor Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses, to battle multiple threats, including other-universe versions of himself, which threaten to wipe out millions across the multiverse. They seek help from Wanda the Scarlet Witch, Wong and others.
 
I’m a Marvel fan girl. So is Cat. That makes it a little strange that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not higher on this list. For me, that’s because it didn’t feel like a Marvel film. It felt like a Sam Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead, Rake, Drag Me to Hell) film.
 
That is not a bad thing. I love me some Sam Raimi, and the movie was a great watch. It had all the mind-breaking moments you’d want from Doctor Strange as a character, as well.
 
I loved seeing a character we’d all grown attached to turn heel. It was about time we got something like that.
 
It was a solid offering from Marvel. Even if it’s not at the top of our list.
 
9 – Hustle
 

Reviewed on: June 10
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sport
Rated: R
Length: 1h 57min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4
 
IMDb Blurb: A basketball scout discovers a phenomenal street ball player while in Spain and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back into the NBA.
 
Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems, Murder Mystery, The Week Of) is a drama actor. That’s it. People need to stop thinking otherwise.
 
If you see a comedy released that doesn’t have drama as a shared genre, and Sandler is in it – it might be better avoided. If his name is mentioned in the same sentence as a drama, though, make sure to add it to your ‘to see’ list.
 
Hustle destroyed any expectations I could have had for it. What I thought was going to be a typical sports film had more heart in it than anything else this year did. And Sandler knocked his performance out of the park (sorry, I don’t know enough basketball to make the sports metaphor based around it).
 
Cat doesn’t even like sports films, and she had to give it credit. That says a lot.
 
 

Reviewed on: December 21
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Rated: R
Length: 1h 52min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas).
 
Violent Night was a late addition to our Best Movies of the Year. It was the last movie we watched before our holiday break.
 
It left us off on a very strong note.
 
It was the perfect mix of Home Alone (1990) and Die Hard (1988). David Harbour (Black Widow, Stranger Things, Extraction) was bad-ass and brought a charisma to Santa Claus that could have otherwise been lost in all the violence. Little Leah Brady (Erin’s Guide to Kissing Girls, The Umbrella Academy, Hunting a Documentary) was the perfect child actor to work along side him, and brought an innocence to the film that made it easier to watch.
 
The bloodiness of the action scenes juxtaposed against everything that Santa Claus is was just as hilarious as expected. What caught me off-guard was that it was still very much a Christmas movie. It had all the lessons you’d find in a cut and paste Hallmark film, with none of the desire to slam your head into a wall.
 
As far as I’m concerned, this is the new annual holiday film in this house. Right after Anna and the Apocalypse (2017).
 
 

Reviewed on: March 11
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 46min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.
 
Ryan Reynolds (Spirited, Red Notice, Free Guy) is the king of banter. That’s why Cat and I follow him to every movie he takes part in. We have very different senses of humor – but banter is the bridge. Both of us go nuts for good, funny, fast-paced dialogue.
 
The Adam Project had that in spades.
 
It’s not the newest idea for a film, but it’s executed expertly and hilarious.
 
We were both also impressed by Walker Scobell’s (Secret Headquarters, Percy Jackson and the Olympians) ability to keep up with Mr. Reynolds. That’s not an easy feat for anyone, let alone a pre-teen. He held his own exceptionally well and proved that he has a hell of a career ahead of him.
 
6 – Saloum
 

Reviewed on: September 5
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 24min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: In 2003, a trio of mercenaries escaping a coup in Guinea-Bissau take refuge in a hidden region on the Saloum river of Senegal. But something from beyond the grave awaits them there.
 
This movie was one of the ones we received from Shudder in 2022. I hadn’t heard anything about it, except through them, and didn’t really know what to expect.
 
It started in the crime genre, and it was interesting, but when it took that hard left into the supernatural, I no longer found it possible to look away. I got to see a completely unfamiliar story from the viewpoint of an African culture that I had never seen anything from. It was incredible.
 
Saloum did have the feel of a low budget film, but it was backed up by big budget ideas, immersive acting, and a setting that played into every bit of the story.
 
It’s still available on Shudder, and I couldn’t recommend it more.
 
 

Reviewed on: July 13
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 2h 17min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: A young Viking prince is on a quest to avenge his father's murder.
 
The Northman is criminally underrated by audiences. I know why, too. It’s grungy, dark, and bleak. There’s no mirth in it at all. There’s maybe 30 seconds of cuteness in the beginning and then it all turns to blood and vengeance.
 
In the past few years, humor has been what audiences have flocked to. Is there any wonder why? The world has been a terrifyingly awful place lately, and people just want to turn off their brains and laugh.
 
That is not what happens with The Northman.
 
Still, the story is entrancing, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the action scenes are expertly choreographed. Alexander Skarsgård (The Stand, Godzilla vs. Kong, Passing) is unrecognizably brutal in most of his scenes, and impossible to not root for. Even as the story warps while unfolding.
 
Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse, The Witch, Brothers) has proven himself, again, to be an irreplaceable writer/director.
 
I’m not surprised that critics loved The Northman. I think audiences need to give it another chance.
 
 

Reviewed on: October 28
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 45min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4
 
IMDb Blurb: Two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot to summon them to the Land of the Living.
 
Henry Selick (Little Nightmares, Coraline, Monkeybone) and Jordan Peele (Nope, Us, Get Out) are both geniuses. It’s not a stretch to believe that something they worked on together would be brilliant. Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what Wendell & Wild was.
 
It was insightful, hilarious, beautifully animated, and it was tied together by a killer soundtrack.
 
Wendell & Wild avoided tropes and was just impossible to look away from. During a more emotional scene, it had me ugly crying in a way I never thought something like this could. It was a comedy, after all.
 
If it were up to me, Wendell & Wild would be much higher on this list, but I had to fight Cat to even get it here. It deserves to be higher.
 
 

Reviewed on: September 14
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 43min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4.5
 
IMDb Blurb: After being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer's previous victims.
 
It is with The Black Phone that I decided I prefer Joe Hill’s (Locke & Key, In the Tall Grass, Horns) stories to his father’s. At least in movie form.
 
Granted, I haven’t read the short story this film is based on, but if they didn’t drastically change anything then my statement stands. Stephen King’s (Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, Firestarter, It) endings always tend to leave something to be desired, but Hill nails it.
 
His antagonists are usually well rounded as well. And, in this case, they couldn’t have gotten someone better to represent the Grabber.
 
Ethan Hawke (The Northman, Moon Knight, Tesla) gave me literal nightmares with his performance. Normally that would be a bad thing, but in this case it was unparalleled. He was creepy on every level. His voices, his movement, all of it done without the help of facial expressions. I put his performance in The Black Phone at the same level as Anthony Hopkins (The Son, Elyse, Hitchcock) as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs (1991). It was flawless.
 
The Black Phone was one of the most anticipated films of 2022, and it was worth every bit of the hype.
 
2 – Prey
 

Reviewed on: August 5
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 1h 40min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: Naru, a skilled warrior of the Comanche Nation, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.
 
Prequels can be hit or miss. More often, if we’re honest, a miss. That said, Prey managed to be everything we hoped for and then some.
 
Not a whole lot was done to expand the Predator (1987) world, but just going into the first appearance of the titular antagonist on Earth was interesting. It gave us that feel of the original, while offering up cleaner visuals and more in-depth characters.
 
Not only that, but Amber Midthunder (The Ice Road, The Wheel, She’s Missing) revealed herself to be a superstar in the making. She was absolutely glorious as the stubborn and capable Naru. She needs to see a hell of a lot more screen time. Midthunder absolutely made this film as fantastic as it was. Without her, there might be something different in this place on the list.
 
 

Reviewed on: May 27
Genre: Action, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 10min
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
 
IMDb Blurb: After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN's elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.
 
If I had to give an example of a nostalgia sequel that was as close to perfect as possible, it would be Top Gun: Maverick.
 
I’m not even the biggest fan of the original Top Gun (1986). Still, Maverick struck me as an amazing mix of the old with the new. It held the feel of the original while offering more updated ideas, and characters that the newer generations could attach themselves to. It widened the world of the original by giving us insight into what happened to some audience favorites.
 
As great as Tom Cruise (American Made, Edge of Tomorrow, Mission Impossible) was in it, he didn’t overshadow anyone. Revisiting Val Kilmer’s (Paydirt, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Cinema Twain) Iceman and getting to meet Jennifer Connelly’s (Alita: Battle Angel, Only the Brave, Aloft) only discussed in the first movie, Penny, felt monumental. Anyone who didn’t tear up at Kilmer’s scene is clearly dead inside. On the other hand, getting to meet Goose’s son, played by Miles Teller (Whiplash, Divergent, Only the Brave), felt like getting to meet the descendant of an old friend.
 
Top Gun: Maverick did everything right. It will stand as the prime example of a nostalgia sequel for a long time.

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