Favorites of 2022: Ben Reiser
Ben Reiser is Director of Operations for the Wisconsin Film Festival and a Programmer for the Cinematheque.
Ben Reiser’s Fourteen Favorite Movies Seen in Movie Theaters in 2022
In alphabetical order
AFTERSUN (2022, Charlotte Wells) – A sense memory piece that miraculously balances precise details with a fathomless sense of the unknown. Somehow both achingly sad and filled with dread yet beautiful and strangely comforting.
AMSTERDAM (2022, David O Russell) – I’ve rarely connected with a movie so quickly and so completely. I was sold within the first thirty seconds, and after two viewings, I’m ready for a third. Featuring terrific, effervescent turns not only from Christian Bale, Margot Robie and John David Washington, but also by actors I don’t normally enjoy, including Rami Malek and Mike Meyers.
ARMAGEDDON TIME (2022, James Gray) – Like an atom bomb dropped directly on my adolescence, James Gray’s fearlessly honest and clear-eyed account of a Jewish family living in 1980s Queens features another late-career highlight from Anthony Hopkins that left me in tears.
BABYLON (2022, Damien Chazelle) – A swing for the fences that ultimately gets caught at the warning track, but man is it ever fun to watch it’s long slow descent down to earth.
BARBARIAN (2022, Zach Cregger) I had a lot of luck this year with films I’d heard negative things about in advance, but this one lived up to all the positive hype and then some. Barbarian weaponizes our knowledge of horror movie tropes against us in all the best ways.
BONES AND ALL (2022, Luca Guadagnino) – Guadagnino, like James Gray, is a director whose work I’ve admired more than loved, but I was completely hypnotized by this YA tale that somehow taps into the emotionally devastating vibe of George A. Romero’s Martin and milks it for all its worth.
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (2022, David Cronenberg) – I love David Cronenberg and this is my favorite film of his since Existenz.
THE FABELMANS (2022, Steven Spielberg) – How amazing that we got both Armageddon Time and this in the same year? My favorite Spielberg since A.I..
FUNNY PAGES (2022 Owen Kline) – I haven’t laughed this long and hard since our Cinematheque screening of What’s Up Doc?, and that is rarified air.
HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE (2022, Daniel Goldhaber) An urgent political tract dressed up as a big, dumb, ridiculously entertaining action movie. Oceans 11 written by Abbie Hoffman.
LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG (2022, Antonio Lukich) – This Ukranian comedy about two brothers – one a cop, the other, a ne’er-do-well - is consistently funny and surprising, and ultimately, quite moving.
PETER VON KANT (2022, François Ozon) – Is it heresy to admit I prefer this funny, lighthearted remake to Fassbender’s original, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant? Well, I’m on record.
RIMINI (2022, Ulrich Seidl) – Ulrich Seidl’s latest is a typically disturbing, funny, sad, brilliantly observed character piece. It’s almost a remake of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, but better.
A WOUNDED FAWN (2022, Travis Stevens) – This giallo meets The Evil Dead mashup has a first half that might be even more terrifying than the first act of Barbarian. And then it gets freaky.
Movies I wish I’d seen in a theater, but enjoyed quite a bit at home:
GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO (2022, Guillermo Del Toro, Mark Gustafson)
RRR (2022, S.S Rajamouli)
SPEAK NO EVIL (2022, Christian Tafdrup)