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The Best Movies Of 2022

Decision to Leave
MUBI
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Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in Decision to Leave

A thriller from South Korea that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud tops this year's list compiled by KERA's resident film buff.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association is out with its list of the best movies of 2022. I’m a voting member of the group, and so I’m sharing my personal list of the year’s best.

"Decision to Leave" – Possibly the most Hitchcockian movie not made by the British master. Director Park Chan-wook’s story of a detective falling in and out of love with a woman who may or may not have killed her husband feels like “Vertigo” for the 21st Century.

"Babylon" – Everyone in Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood epic comes to Tinsel Town to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And while they all experience dizzying highs, the real lesson is that the moviemaking machine chews up and spits out people at its discretion and without warning. Justin Hurwitz’s jazzy score is half the thrill. Chazelle talks more about the ideas he's exploring with Courtney Collins on a recent episode of Think.

Everything Everywhere All at Once
A24
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Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" – What a treat that the year’s oddest, most mind-bending film is also one of its biggest pleasures. The sprint through the multiverse and all the 'saving the world' talk is fun, but Michelle Yeoh’s performance as a woman assessing the lives she could’ve lived while also trying to reconnect with the one she did keeps the story grounded in reality.

"Moonage Daydream" – You can’t tell the story of David Bowie’s artistic journey through a talking heads, “Behind the Music”-style doc. Fortunately, director Bret Morgen is up to the challenge as he mixes concert footage, Bowie voiceovers and what must add up to thousands of bits of video and abstract images to capture the creative spirit of one of the 20th century’s true visionaries.

Pinocchio
Netflix
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Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio" streams on Netflix.

"Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" – Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”) injects a timely vibe by setting his version against the backdrop of Mussolini’s fascist Italy. But the tale of a father trying to reconnect with his lost son is truly timeless, and the stop-motion animation lends a sense of having one foot in the past and another in the present.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" – The 1930 adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel won a best-picture Oscar for its American cast and crew. Now, more than 90 years later, actual Germans get to tell their version of this story of young men signing up to fight in The Great War for the Fatherland. As in all versions, the scene of a young German solider attempting to kill his French counterpart only to then desperately attempt to save him tells you all you need to know about the incompatibility of war and humanity.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" – Too often, comic-book movies are a two-hour slog to a climactic battle whose victory is never in doubt. Not here. Ryan Coogler has crafted a story in which the “bad guys” are justified in their opposition and our hero’s actions at the end also say something about her character. As in the original, the world building – this time under water and above – is stunning.

Tar
Focus Features
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Cate Blanchett in Tar.

"Tár" – It must be said: At 158 minutes, “Tár” is way (way) too long. But Cate Blanchett is captivating as ever – she learned to play the piano, conduct and speak German for the role (no biggie!). And there’s plenty to think about here when it comes to the long leash we allow for unethical geniuses.

"She Said" – Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan capture the life of an ink-stained wretch in the digital age as "New York Times" reporters trying to crack the Harvey Weinstein story and kick off the #metoo era. As a reformed newspaperman myself, the antennae are always up for even the smallest inaccuracies in stories like this. What a pleasure when I couldn’t really find any.

The Fa
Universal Pictures
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Mateo Zoryan and Michelle Williams in "The Fabelmans."

"The Fabelmans" – “The Fablemans” isn’t the kind of blockbuster that Steven Spielberg has built his career on. Rather, it’s a window into where all those aliens and archaeologists came from as the director takes us back to his formative years through this lightly fictionalized autobiography. Michelle Williams as the family matriarch and Judd Hirsch as a beloved uncle highlight a top-notch cast.

Honorable Mentions: "Till," "Emily the Criminal," "Top Gun: Maverick," "All that Breathes," "The Whale," "Pleasure"

Stephen Becker is senior producer of the Think show , which airs on more than 25 stations across Texas and beyond. Prior to joining the Think team in 2013, as part of the Art&Seek team, Stephen produced radio and digital stories and hosted "The Big Screen" — a weekly radio segment about North Texas film — with Chris Vognar. His 2011 story about the history of eight-track tapes was featured nationally on NPR's All Things Considered. His works has been recognized with numerous state and national awards.