Both theaters and streaming services alike provided a remarkable variety of hit films that had audiences of all ages excited to grab some popcorn and become immersed in the movie of their choosing.
- “All Quiet On The Western Front”
Kicking off the list is a film that is as technically marvelous as it is harrowing. “All Quiet On The Western Front,” which is based on Erich Maria Remarque’s novel of the same name, follows young German soldiers throughout World War I and depicts their slow realization that war, in any era, is one of the most despicable acts of humankind. Ole Miss freshman Joshua Yates described the film as “one of the most eye-opening war movies” he has ever seen. “This movie shows how teenage boys would enlist with dreams of being heroes,” Yates said. “But when they get on the battlefield they realize the brutality of war.”
- “Bones and All”
Director Luca Guadagnino’s latest attempt at body horror is one that uses the absurdity of its story and characters to tell a shockingly profound tale of romance and belonging. Much like his previous works, Guadagnino lets the camera linger on landscapes and actors allowing them to properly chew up the scenery. The rawness of this film is visible in its presentation, but also in its themes. It is a film that I don’t imagine anyone will forget anytime soon. For better or for worse.
- “The Northman”
This is a film that knows precisely what it is and it wastes no time in relaying its ideas to the audience. Those ideas were visceral entertainment for nearly 2 and 1/2 hours. Ole Miss junior Joseph Welch found great enjoyment in the film’s combination of “the brutality of the viking age with beautiful depictions of Norse culture and Icelandic landscapes.” He went on to say the film “harkens back to the adventure films of Hollywood’s Golden Age of cinema in a culture bloated with superhero movies.”
With “Elvis,” director Baz Luhrmann provides one of the most controversial, yet relentlessly entertaining, biopics in recent memory. While highly stylized, the film never shies away from the maturity of its themes. Austin Butler gives a career defining performance as the “King of Rock and Roll,” and his work is elevated by the often insane film that he inhabits.
- “Bodies Bodies Bodies”
This film provides a darkly comedic take on the now flourishing whodunit genre in a way that left audiences incredibly entertained. While films like “Knives Out” and the recent “Death On The Nile” don’t shy away from the comedic elements of the genre, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” takes things a step further with a hilariously self-aware screenplay that boldly challenges its target demographic.
- “The Batman”
Gorgeous cinematography, an astounding score and incredibly bold character choices are but a few of the many qualities of Matt Reeves’s “The Batman” that make it my favorite comic book film of the last five years. Like many live action adaptations of the caped crusader before it, “The Batman” toes the line between entertainment and thought-provoking storytelling. The film recognizes why the character is special, but isn’t afraid to try new things and it is all the better for it.
- “The Fabelmans”
With “The Fabelmans,” Steven Spielberg crafts an astonishingly personal semi-autobiographical masterwork that cuts deeper than anything else he has done in the last 20 years. His love for this project is felt through every frame and line of dialogue. The film is both a condemnation and a love-letter to cinema as an art form, and it shook me to my core in a way that few films have.
Cate Blanchett gives a bone-chilling performance as world-renowned composer, Lydia Tár, in a meticulously crafted juggernaut of a film. Despite a 16-year hiatus, director Todd Field doesn’t miss a beat behind the camera. He provides a disturbingly realistic look into one character’s slow but bombastic fall from grace and I was enthralled by each frame.
- “Top Gun: Maverick”
Box office numbers would indicate that I am not alone in my admiration for this action-packed extravaganza. From the opening scene to the last, “Top Gun: Maverick” grabs on and doesn’t let go. The shockingly profound character work elevates the already awe-inspiring aerial sequences in a way that had entire theaters gripping their armrests. With immersiveness unlike most action films before it, including its predecessor, “Top Gun: Maverick” soars.
- “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
This film challenges its audience with each passing scene. It never holds back and it remains steadfast in its mission to absolutely stun. From the opening moments, I was transfixed and immediately cast under its spell. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a remarkable achievement of creativity and is pure filmmaking in every sense of the word. It tackles multiple genres within its multiversal canvas and excels at each. The vastness of the plot never takes away from the central family dynamic which slowly builds until the eventual explosion of emotions towards the film’s conclusion. The writers, directors and crew crafted what is easily one of my favorite films of all time, and I don’t imagine its impact will lessen anytime soon.