After theaters were shut down for several months last year and I was only able to watch 65 films, 2021 saw theaters open again and I decided to make up for lost time and see as many films as possible. I broke my own personal record of 123 films seen in one year and saw 139 films, more than double my amount from last year. Add to that the 28 films I reviewed on various streaming services as well as 39 seasons of various TV shows and you can see why Top Pun Reviews continues to grow and bring you as many reviews from across the spectrum as possible. Unlike 2020 when 7/10 of my most anticipated films were delayed, in 2021, I got to see 6/10 with only 4/10 getting delayed until next year. Before we get into the most exciting prospects coming to theaters in 2022, let’s look back at my Top 10 from 2021 and see how they measured up…
10. Army of the Dead – 7.5/10 While it lacks logic in certain respects, Zack Snyder continues to push the zombie genre forward and break any and all rules of what zombie films should be. This visually impressive, well paced gore-fest ended up being tons of fun and creating a cinematic universe along the way.
9. The Last Duel – 7.5/10 Despite being one of the biggest box office bombs of 2021, Ridley Scott’s first of two films this year also ended up as one of the most underrated films 2021 had to offer. The true story was engaging, expertly acted and featured the epic scope and scale that we have come to expect from Scott. I’m hoping more people discover it over time.
8. West Side Story – 6.5/10 While well made and choreographed and featuring a brilliant debut from Rachel Zegler, Spielberg’s remake can’t live up to the Best Picture winning original classic, which really couldn’t be improved upon in too many areas. Ansel Elgort can’t live up to the original Tony and some woke political correctness doesn’t help this film out.
7. Beau is Afraid – *DELAYED TO 2022*
6. Babylon – *DELAYED TO 2022*
5. Don’t Look Up – 2.5/10 Adam McKay’s filmography continues to decline following the divisive “Vice”. While having still given us some of the funniest modern day comedies, “Don’t Look Up” lacks and any all laughter, wreaks of hypocrisy and offers no solutions outside of lecturing the audience. Waste of an ensemble and devoid of all fun and joy. Huge disappointment.
4. The Northman – *DELAYED TO 2022*
3. Those Who Wish Me Dead – 7/10 While taking a break from taking over the entire Paramount+ landscape, writer/director Taylor Sheridan still made time to put out this good but forgettable film. He has definitely made better, more impactful films but this film still entertains and has some meaningful performances throughout it.
2. Killers of the Flower Moon – *DELAYED TO 2022*
1. Dune – 7.5/10 While not quite on the same level as his previous directorial efforts (“Sicario”, “Arrival”, “Blade Runner 2049”), “Dune: Part I” still manages to be one of the most visually captivating films of 2021 with a first class lesson in world building. The cast is flawless and it has me hyped for Part II, which you can expect to see pop up on this list next year.
Looking back at last year’s list, I did pretty well with only one exception of one of my picks not panning out (“Don’t Look Up”). With that one exception aside, the lowest score a film received was 6.5/10 while most came in at 7.5/10. While each list generally has at least a few films that end up delayed, this might be the first year ever that all 10 films actually come out in their intended year, even if a couple were on 2021’s list and got delayed until 2022. Only time will tell if a couple of these releases come out by the end of 2022 but the vast majority certainly will. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some Honorable Mentions so we can get into the Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2022…
20. Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10th 2022)
19. The Son (November 11th 2022)
18. Blonde (September 16th 2022)
17. Maestro (*DELAYED TO 2023*)
16. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6th 2022)
15. Bones & All (November 23rd 2022)
14. The Fabelmans (November 23rd 2022)
13. The Batman (March 4th 2022)
12. The Banshees of Inisherin (October 21st 2022)
11. Avatar: The Way of Water (December 16th 2022)
10. Crimes of the Future
Release Date: June 10th 2022
Director: David Cronenberg (The Fly, Dead Ringers, A History of Violence)
Screenwriter: David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman, Tanaya Beatty, Lihi Kornowski, Don McKellar, Yorgos Karamihos, Nadia Litz, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Welket Bungué
Rating: R for strong disturbing violent content and grisly images, graphic nudity and some language
Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_bbLcJAHEo
Plot Summary: The film takes a deep dive into the not-so-distant future where humankind is learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings. This evolution moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, altering their biological makeup. While some embrace the limitless potential of transhumanism, others attempt to police it. Saul Tenser is a beloved performance artist who has embraced “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome,” sprouting new and unexpected organs in his body. Along with his partner Caprice, Tenser has turned the removal of these organs into a spectacle for his loyal followers to marvel at in real time theatre. But with both the government and a strange subculture taking note, Tenser is forced to consider what would be his most shocking performance of all.
Release Date: *DELAYED UNTIL 2023*
Director: Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Alien: Covenant)
Screenwriter: David Scarpa
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Youssef Kerkour
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon Bonaparte’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine.
8. Beau is Afraid
Release Date: *DELAYED UNTIL 2023*
Director: Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar)
Screenwriter: Ari Aster
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Ryan, Parker Posey, Michael Gandolfini, Nathan Lane, Zoe Lister-Jones, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Kylie Rogers
Trailer Link: N/A
Plot Summary: Described as an intimate, decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.
7. The Whale
Release Date: December 9th 2022
Director: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Mother!)
Screenwriter: Samuel D. Hunter
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Samantha Morton, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau, Sathya Sridharan
Rating: R for language, some drug use and sexual content
Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D30r0CwtIKc&ab_channel=A24
Plot Summary: A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.
6. The Northman
Release Date: April 22nd 2022
Director: Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse)
Screenwriters: Robert Eggers, Sjón Sigurdsson
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Björk
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some sexual content and nudity
Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMSdFM12hOw
Plot Summary: Written by Eggers and Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón Sigurdsson, Northman is described as a grounded story set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century that centres on a Nordic prince who seeks revenge for the death of his father.
Top 5 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows
5. South Park Season 25 – February 2nd 2022 (Comedy Central)
4. Stranger Things Season 4 – May 27th 2022 (Netflix)
3. Westworld Season 4 – June 26th 2022 (HBO)
2. The Mandalorian Season 3 – *DELAYED UNTIL 2023* (Disney+)
1. Yellowstone Season 5 – November 13th 2022 (Paramount+)
FINAL NOTE: Despite the China Virus still wreaking havoc all over the world, it is good to have theaters open again and the recent box office success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” proves that people are ready to go back to the movie theater. Hollywood is constantly changing and evolving as film fans and their habits do the same. Regardless, Top Pun Reviews will be here to let you know what is worth your time and what you should avoid. As always, I will Venmo $10 to anyone whom can get all 5 predictions of my #5-1 (order doesn’t matter). Congrats to last year’s winner: Grady Owen of Chicago, Illinois, who has won three years in a row. Both last year and this year a Ridley Scott film came in at #9 and this year, Joaquin Phoenix has two films back to back coming in at #9 and #8. Willem Dafoe also has two films coming in back to back at #6 and #5. Thank you for reading and stay tuned tomorrow for the Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of 2022 along with my Top 5 Most Anticipated New TV Shows. Happy New Year and may 2022 be a huge improvement over the past two years!