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My Top 15 Movies and TV Series for 2022

Happy New Year 2023!!

While we are all going into our third year of lockdown, many of us craved new content to watch, and feel like we are either running out of choices or there are too many to choose from.  Some are less well-known and under-the-radar.  Well, this year I have fifteen to recommend.

Here are the reviews I wrote this past year with the criteria that they were available online since movie theaters were either shut down or offered very limited screenings. Of the 52 reviews I posted this year, here are my favorites.  Yet another difficult year to make my “listicle”, but not as difficult as last year.  As in past years, both television and cinema have continued to produce phenomenal story-telling and intriguing characters. And this year many of the indie/foreign films could have easily fallen into my “Psychological, Political, and Sociological” category.  I listed them under Indie/Foreign because of limited circulation and publicity for these films.

The following list is not ranked, only grouped by genre and date of review.  


1. Tragedy of Macbeth—Blood Will Have Blood (February 20 review)

In the opening scene three witches make a horrific prediction as Macbeth (Denzel Washington) and Banquo (Bertie Carvel) approach: “Double, double, toil and trouble.”  They predict that Macbeth will become King of Scotland.  Although Macbeth has earned a reputation as a brave Scottish general who has just won a major battle against the Danes for King Duncan, he is not particularly expecting greater fame and power.  Until now.  The worm of greed and ambition starts to slither inside his skull.  The cinematic equivalent of a haiku, where a whole world is conveyed in a few syllables, The Tragedy of Macbeth is absolutely gorgeous to behold: as photographic, moral, and emotional images. This rendition of Macbeth is a must for Shakespeare enthusiasts!

2) The Last Duel—A Fight to the End  (March 1 review)

Set during the decade after the Black Death, and the calamitous Hundred Years’ War, social disturbances have ravaged France with debt and a reduced population to support the feckless aristocracy.  Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) is one such landowning but illiterate nobleman deeply in debt.  Forced to become a mercenary to maintain his father’s castle, Carrouges fights bravely for his king alongside his friend Jacque Le Gris (Adam Driver) and is knighted after saving the battle and Le Gris’s life.  Widowed and grief-stricken for the loss of his young son, Carrouges seeks out an exceptionally educated and beautiful noblewoman Marguerite (Jodie Comer) who has coveted estates and land. 

3)  The Gilded AgeGreed and Betrayal (March 29 review)

 The penniless but “pedigreed” young Marian Brook (newcomer Louisa Jacobson)  has little recourse but to move to New York to live  with her wealthy Aunt Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and her Aunt Ada (Cynthia Nixon). A young aspiring Black writer, Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), lends money to Marian for a train ticket to New York and their unlikely friendship begins. The Gilded Age skewers   class and race bigotry, including a lot of “upstairs-downstairs” scenes we would expect from the creator of “Downton Abbey.”  And the dialogue is as witty and hilarious as Maggie Smith’s character in “Downton Abbey.”

4) Line of DutyA Killer of a Murder Mystery (March 21)

Tense, edge-of-the-seat unnerving, and chilling, Line of Duty is arguably one of the best written procedural dramas ever created. Brilliantly acted, with twisted character arcs, Line of Duty is replete with psychological and evidentiary argumentation tightly interwoven in plot and subplots from season to season. This slow-burn thriller will leave you, at times, breathless with its dislocating surprises and flawed characters’ unanticipated behavior.

5) The Last Kingdom –The Final Battle? (March 15)

Uhtred’s quest for Bebbanburg in a fiery, unbelievable climax is set up for continued  conflict with King  Edward, whose obsession is to fulfill his  father’s dream of establishing a united England. Some villains may have been slain, but others remain. And Uhtred’s youngest son, Osbert, now looms on the cusp of becoming an important ally or foe of his father. Uhtred will keep Northumbria independent: “We will remain between the two, sworn to neither, to ensure peace.”  And this is where the movie in development will continue this medieval saga.  Season 5 definitely does not signal the last battle! [For the first four seasons, see my December 21, 2021 review.]

6) Tokyo Vice— Yakuza on Ice (June 13 review)

Tokyo Vice is a thrilling police procedural which highlights both the grime and crime of Tokyo.  As with all other major metropolises, Tokyo has its own vibe indispensable to the drama.  Just as Jake Adelstein feels that he knows the culture, he discovers that he really doesn’t. Jake is challenged by relationships and questions of trust. His is a story of someone in his twenties, alone in a big city in a foreign country, determined to make his own life with no real idea how to do it.

7) Good Luck to You, Leo Grande—Full Exposure  (July 3 review)

Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), a sixty-three year old recent widow, has never had an orgasm in her 31-year marriage.  Fearing that this may be her last chance to find out what she has been missing, she hires a young 24-year-old male sex worker, Leo Grande.  Nancy is both determined and frightened of what may happen.  Leo Grande (astounding Daryl McCormack) appears at the door–a golden fantasy of male beauty, but so kind and open, funny, and confident, that the expected sex-comedy of over-the-top ludicrous one-liners or cheap laughs never occur.

8) El Marginal—No Boundaries (July 26 review)

The first Argentine TV series (five seasons) acquired by Netflix (2016), the multiple-award winning El Marginal is, on one hand, a tortuous, vicious, and extremely violent prison drama and on the other hand, extremely well-crafted and attention-getting.  Set in a decaying, unspeakably corrupt prison, –San Onofre,– in Buenos Aires, the prisoners each have their story.  This is The Wire meets Oz times ten on steroids! How complicated it is to live with other people is a theme throughout the series. 

9) The Outfit  –Suitable Response (September 12 review)

In early 1950s Chicago, only a few years after the end of the Second World War, proud sixty-something British Savile Row tailor Leonard Burling (the renowned stage actor Mark Rylance), meticulously cuts and sews bespoke suits primarily for organized crime.  Although the mobsters consider Leonard “almost family”, they underestimate him which Leonard almost imperceptibly weaponizes. Can Leonard keep his quiet life together, his shop and his assistant’s livelihood, and still outwit the murderous thugs in a deadly cat-and-mouse game?

10) Extraordinary Attorney Woo—Palindromes Anyone?  (November 21 review)

Woo Young Woo (the exceptional Park Eun-bin) has just graduated from prestigious Seoul National University School of Law and is hired by one of the two top law firms in Seoul.  It is somewhat unusual that the two top law firms are headed by female CEOs.  But even more noteworthy is the fact that young attorney Woo has autism.  She introduces herself with palindromes.  And so we enter a portal to the brilliant mind of a young female attorney, so different from her neurotypical colleagues– underscored by flights of fanciful whales and dolphins floating in her mind as she analyzes each legal case as a savant. 


11) Flee-A Flight to Hell and Back (April 4 review)

The true story of Amin Nawabi follows his journey from a nine-year old boy through his adulthood. The story is a conversation with a therapist recording his harrowing experience as an Afghan refugee fleeing with his older brother and mother.  Amir has been living a secret life in Denmark for over twenty years.  Due to the exigencies of the asylum processing of young children, Amin’s traumatic escape from Russia to Denmark costs him extreme grief at the separation from his family. Told primarily through animation in a series of flashback scenes, Flee is a stunning therapeutic release of pain and agony from the adult Amin in acknowledging what he has sacrificed.

12) Thirteen Lives –An Unlucky Number? (August 18 review)

A dozen Thai soccer players aged 11 to 16, and their coach are trapped in a flooded, terrifyingly claustrophobic cave system during an unexpected monsoon rainstorm in northern Thailand on June 23, 2018.  A massive international rescue effort of more than 10,000 people are deployed to save the twelve soccer players and their coach.  This breathtakingly­­­­ tense story of plugging sinkholes, sandbagging, and diverting the pumped-out cave water into the farmers’ fields reveals how families and local rescuers unite to save the village boys, no matter what the cost and sacrifice.   Most of all, Thirteen Lives is a stunning tribute to teamwork and human endurance in one of the most nightmarish, panic-inducing environments on earth – a flooded, suffocatingly narrow, dark cave of rising, murky water.

13) Five Days at Memorial –No Emergency Exit (September 18 review)

In the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Anna Pou (in a tightly conflicted persona played with perfection by Vera Farmiga), a well-respected cancer surgeon, finds herself in the eye of the storm.  She, along with her colleagues, make impossibly complex life-or-death decisions that will haunt them for years to come. 

Thousands of staff, patients and evacuees are trapped inside the building awaiting evacuation by boat or helicopter. Near the end of the five-day crisis, a stoic hospital administrator, Diane Robichaux (the formidable Cherry Jones), under siege, pleads for help from the Tenet Corporation, owner of Memorial Medical, to  evacuate more than 180 patients. They promise to send private ambulances, helicopters, and boats so everyone waits.  The local government’s rescue efforts and communications are in chaos.  And at the eleventh hour Air Force One flies over New Orleans with President Bush surveying the devastation.


14) Ozark (Finale)—No Exit  (May 4 review)

Ozark is exhausting, brimming with betrayal, murder, money-laundering, and more murder, and brutal family dynamics.  What’s the meaning of it all? The viewer sees character arcs over four seasons that always hint that the two parents, Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney), and their children will redeem themselves.  After all, they have committed unspeakable acts with the excuse that their intentions are for the greater good of the family.  And the compartmentalization is stunningly cold and unconscionable.  An execution and then back to a family dinner.   Ozark is not for everyone.  Dark, dystopian, and astringent, this is a bitter account of the world and how it works.  The major theme: Deceit changes us.  And in the process we become capable of believing and accepting everything we say and do regardless of deceitfulness. 

15) The Good Fight—A Knock-Out (October 24 review)

Ripped-from-the-headlines issues were the basis for the legal cases in “The Good Wife,” and in The Good Fight (a purported sequel) they take on more controversial material:  Trump’s sexual assaults, impeachment, and obstruction of justice, fake news, twitter weaponizing, police brutality, and racism hiding under the surface of “diversity”. Perhaps the most original and creative contribution that co-creators Michelle and Robert King make to prestige television is to embed a different perspective–Black–into the popular genre of legal thrillers.  Each episode does not have to articulate the range of diversity in the legal system and throughout the workplace.  It is simply there to witness.

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