Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Best Movies of 2022, #9, #8 and #7

What these three movies have in common is that they all fell into the year’s trend of serious movies being box office bombs, which not only dimmed their own prospects but put at risk the prospect of any adult movies getting made in the future. I guess the only thing that might save adult movies is that kids movies like Lightyear and Strange World were megaflops as well, so Hollywood may just decide that they simply don’t know how to market anything anymore. Hopefully they’ll realize that the movies aren’t letting them down, they’re letting down the movies.

I don’t have a lot to say about these, so I’ll cover them in one day.

#9: Three Thousand Years of Longing

Especially for someone who doesn’t make movies very often, has any director had more varied output than George Miller? Four Mad Max movies, two Happy Feet movies, two Babe movies, The Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo’s Oil... Now after another many-year break, he returns with his first romance. I saw this on date night with my wife and we both loved it.

Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba are very appealing performers who have been mostly sexless on screen so it’s wonderful that they got to generate some heat here as a scholar and the genie she releases, in a modern story paralleled with various historic tales. Beautiful imagery and a satisfying story.

#8: White Noise

The movie made very little money in its brief theatrical window and equally little impact on its subsequent Netflix run, but surely it’s time to put a new push behind it, giving what’s going on in East Palestine, Ohio. Has there ever been a more timely movie? Well, yes, one… This movie has very much become the China Syndrome of its generation. That movie about the danger of nuclear plant meltdowns came out twelve days before the near meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, sending people to the theaters in droves to find out more about the danger. Now that White Noise has proven to be so oddly prescient, will people also rush to belatedly discover this tale of a deadly cloud rising from a rail disaster chemical spill?

If they do they’ll discover a delightful and disturbing movie. Capturing the delicate tone of a Don DeLillo novel is a tricky business, but writer/director Noah Baumbach does it well, with ample help from the always great Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig.

#7: Amsterdam

The reviews were dreadful so everybody I know skipped this one, but I knew that I always find David O. Russell movies appealing whether they’re hits or flops, and I’m a big fan of the cast: Christian Bale is always worth watching, and the rest of the sprawling cast, Margot Robbie, John David Washington (sounding more and more like his father Denzel as his voice matures), Anya Taylor Joy, Rami Malek, Robert DeNiro, Chris Rock, Michael Shannon, Zoe Saldana and many others are reliable performers.

The movie is at its best in flashback sequences to World War I and its aftermath, but the non-flashback portions of the story, unraveling a massive conspiracy in the late 1930s, are also quite good. A very enjoyable movie which you almost certainly missed and well worth checking out.

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