Mary’s End of Year Review 2022

Another year has passed me by, I blinked and I missed it, and once again I have been defeated by the sheer amount of movies and the time I have (or rather have not) to spend on them. So yet again I have seen far too few of what looked to be fantastic movies, and I already have a list of those I must get to see going into the new year (Avatar 2 and Elvis topping that list). So my list may be small but here is a selection of my standouts.

1. Enola Holmes 2

This series just works for me, I say series because there will undoubtedly be another. I love the breaking of the fourth wall, the quirks and the witty script. I think the best way I can sum up the film is cheeky, it pushes boundaries but I love it for that. The characters are loveable despite their flaws; in fact because of them most of the time. Led by Millie Bobbie Brown, who also produces this time round, it is as fun and action-packed as the first. It has been well cast, and well produced and again I love that they stand up for women’s rights and the messages they give. In this case ‘it only takes a little flame to start a fire’. I highly recommend this for good plain fun in a neat 2-hour package, plus it’s nice to see the girls kicking ass!

Enola Holmes

2. The Banshees of Inisherin

I sat through this film in the cinema and I’m going to report on the main things that popped into my mind whilst watching. 1. This is extremely well-written and has a great cast. 2. This is a truly beautiful film. 3. There is no way they’d actually do that!…… 4. Oh my god they did it, this movie is completely bonkers! If any one of those statements sounds appealing I would highly suggest you give this one a try, if more than one appeals this is a must-see. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are both superb and their chemistry is amazing. I have yet to see In Bruges which they appeared in before this, also directed by Martin McDonagh but after this, it has shot up my must-watch list. This is a beautiful, quiet, darkly comic and emotional movie. I really hope more people see it and now that it’s on Disney+ hopefully they will.

3. Glass Onion

I was told in advance of seeing this that it was 5 stars and better than the first one, so the expectations were high going into this. I didn’t completely agree with the statement, but I can honestly say that once again Rian Johnson has written a fantastic script in which a once again massive cast plays out. The highlight once again is Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, though he didn’t seem to have quite as much fun on this one. But the stand out for me was Janelle Monae, she is masterful and I loved watching her. Edward Norton was also very good and for once I didn’t hate seeing him onscreen! I think the first movie is cosy and has warm autumn vibes which remind me of snuggling up warm with an Agatha Christie novel. Whereas this has very different vibes, it is sleek and modern and futuristic, which works very well for the story it’s telling but is not my favourite aesthetic. But if you want to see a great mystery play out this is one to watch.

4. Belfast

I watched this all the way back in January but I still remember being awed by it. There was something about it that just screamed nostalgia (which is weird because I definitely was not a child when the troubles happened. Not even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes at that point.)  I think because this story is told from the perspective of a child it doesn’t matter when you grew up it takes you back to your childhood and how you saw the world and what was important to you then. This is masterfully directed by Kenneth Brannagh and you can feel that this is a very personal story. The cast is brilliantly led by Caitriona Balfe who I continue to say and will until my dying day, was absolutely robbed of an Oscar nomination (I’m sorry but Judi Dench! She barely did anything in comparison). This is one of those rare film experiences that stuck with me for a long time afterwards and popped into my head again and again refusing to let me forget it.


5. Top Gun: Maverick

This movie refuses to go away, people have been talking about it for 6 months! It seems that it is topping a lot of lists this year for most seen and all those usual end-of-year lists you see at this time of year. But there is one very good reason for this; this movie was made for audiences, made for the big screen and made for Top Gun fans. It is packed with heart and laughs and drama. Tom Cruise I found surprisingly touching in his reprisal of one of his most memorable roles. He has grown up, grown older, and grown …. a little wiser. He knows what it is to lose and to take responsibility for difficult decisions. I was impressed with his character arc, I feel it was very well written and very well performed. Then there are all the newbies, who do a marvellous job of joining the Top Gun crew, everyone fits right in and it feels very natural and a seamless progression. I felt this had all the new you would want but all the fan service you want to see from a sequel coming 36 years after the much-loved original.

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