Written by ArtsQuest | 1.25.2023

Anthony DeSanctis

Programming Manager, Lead Programmer, Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas

  1. Everything Everywhere All At Once – The best multiverse movie of the year. One of the most original and unique films I’ve ever seen that at its heart is a story about family, love, and relationships. In the same movie where we have truly powerful moments between mother and daughter or husband and wife, we also have hot dog fingers. And it works! Masterpiece. This is the kind of film that really showcases just what the medium is capable of. I’ll be very surprised if this doesn’t make my top 10 films of the decade list in 2030!
  2. The Whale - This movie broke me. I bawled my eyes out at the end and thought about it long after it ended. Brendan Fraser’s triumphant return. Fingers crossed he wins the Oscar!
  3. RRR – Probably my favorite movie going experience of the year… and I was in a theater all by myself ☹ But I was screaming and cheering for the other 189 people not in the theater. Easily one of the most entertaining and incredible spectacles I’ve seen on screen in years. RRR is the reason movies need to be seen on the big screen.
  4. Turning Red – I really wish this had been a theatrical release because I feel it would have been a smash. I found it to be a hilarious, charming, heartwarming coming of age tale of the struggles to express yourself to your family and friends as you grow up and find yourself. One of my favorite Pixar films of the last decade.
  5. The Northman – A simple revenge tale executed very well. Had this come out later in the year, I think it would have swept the Academy Award nominations in all of the technical categories… and hopefully a few of the bigger ones. It’s a perfect showcase of every aspect of filmmaking. Hands down my favorite visuals of the year. The cinematography is breathtaking. Robert Eggers is 3 for 3 in my book and one of my favorite upcoming directors. I will see anything he releases.
  6. Girl Picture – A Finnish coming of age tale I saw at Sundance in 2022 that won the Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic. It’s sweet, honest, and really wears its heart on its sleeve. When I saw it for the first time back in January, I said there’s no way this isn’t making top 10 of 2022 at the end of the year. And it’s still here!
  7. The Batman – Okay, I may be a little biased as I love all things Batman. Okay, maybe not Batman & Robin, but everything else. But what Matt Reeves did with his take on The Batman is nothing short of spectacular. Rather than making a superhero movie, he took a page from Se7en and Silence of the Lambs and basically made a crime mystery thriller that just so happen to have Batman be your detective and The Riddler your killer. AND IT WORKS! Incredible performances from Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, and Paul Dano but it’s Colin Farrell as The Penguin who really steals the show!
  8. Triangle of Sadness – Another director who is 3 for 3 in my book! Ruben Östlund really knows how to lean into the cringe but in the best way possible. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed being so uncomfortable watching a movie. It’s an absolute blast that I honestly didn’t want to end. I could have watched six more hours of this.
  9. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish – I love the Shrek films and Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots has always been one of my favorite voice performances of the last twenty years. But I’ll be honest, the trailers didn’t do it for me. And then I saw the movie. Within five minutes, I told myself “This will be one of my favorite movies of the year.” I really enjoyed the new direction they took with the animation and how they grounded Puss in Boots’ character. Despite the nonstop laughter, this is actually a very honest approach to exploring one’s own mortality.
  10. The Banshees of Inisherin – Brendan Gleason stops being friends with Colin Farrell because he finds him boring and Farrell doesn’t take it well. That’s the plot of the film but it’s so much more. I’ve always been a fan of Martin McDonagh, but his film and stage work. He has a signature wit and dark sense of humor that I think really makes him such a distinct voice in the entertainment industry. I think this one may be my favorite of his films because it actually feels the most like his plays which makes this the perfect showcase for his talents.

Ryan Hill

Sr. Director of Programming

  1. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – only a select few movies have ever made me laugh like that while also making me cry like that.
  2. Aftersun – it’s so hard to not overdo it on a film as deeply personal as this one; the restraint is as impressive as the acting.
  3. Everything Everywhere All At Once – a fantastic answer to those who say there’s no originality left in cinema.
  4. George Carlin’s American Dream – the title is perfect; this is a story about Cold War-era America as much as it is a brilliant comic.
  5. Petit Maman – Céline Sciamma continues her mastery of quiet cinema, and much respect to anyone brave enough to put out a movie less than an hour and a half long these days.
  6. 32 Sounds – arguably more of an interactive experience than a movie, but one that ensures you’ll never take the sense of hearing for granted again.
  7. Fire Island – the funniest movie I saw all year.
  8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story – on the nose in some spots, but still incredibly fun cinema.
  9. The Banshees of Inisherin – the only real way to tell the story of male depression is to place it in a pitch black anti-buddy movie set in 1920s Ireland and involve a donkey.
  10. The Automat – Anthony (the guy above me on this list) recommended this on a trip to NYC, which I quickly dismissed because it sounded way too little. I was way too wrong

Lauren Tocci

Co-Curator of the First Saturday Horror Series, and Cinema Member

For a moment I am going to do the thing Cinefix does with any “top” list and throw a bunch of films that should have been contenders. This was a year that saw people united about their love of film over a Top Gun sequel. I didn’t have that on my 2022 cinema bingo card, and I am happy for the surprise. It kicked off with yet another vision for The Batman, one that I think highlighted where DC films can go and the undeniable talent of Robert Pattinson (or as I call him RBatz). Bodies, Bodies, Bodies whodunit, madcap, and brilliantly lit and composed satire of Gen Z was truly hilarious. It was a year where horror won, okay not all of it, but in many ways, it is the genre that dominated and occupied many of the bests of the year (even if The Academy will continue to pretend that’s not the case). I settled on a top 5 for this yearly count, because these are films that I think will stay with me long past this year.

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once: Is too cheesy to say this movie has everything? I don’t care if it is because that’s how it feels. This is that rare film that comes out and gives you the opportunity to feel everything. It’s creative and clever in ways that innovate and break the form. Backed by insanely profound performances it’s the kind of film that years from now will still be referenced, taught, and be that niche film that if you know this, then you are someone who loves great films. As Hollywood finds it footing at the stage of the pandemic, I hope this is the path collectively that cinema keeps taking.
  2. X & Pearl: Can you choose two movies at once? Because I have to do it! Mia Goth. Mia Goth. Mia Goth. I will repeat her name over and over again for what she accomplished in these two films. Also, Ti West too. I refuse to pick which one I love more, Pearl definitely panders to my sensibilities, but X challenged me and started conversations about beauty, age, violence in a way that didn’t feel like an overreach for the craft of the filmmaker and screenwriter. 
  3. The Fablemans – Best. Cameo. Ever. Aside from that, I am a Spielberg kid. I will never tire of how he tells stories, the emotional depth and grace he affords flawed adults and wonderous children. In many of Spielberg’s films I always marvel at the whole, however, there is always one moment that catches my breath. This movie definitely has that.
  4. Nope – In any year if Jordan Peele is putting out a movie, then it is likely to be something that beleaguered friends can admit, I talk way too much about. This film walks the line of combining several genres with their packed expectations and has a lot of fun turning those notions on their heads. It also truly had a scene that makes me more uncomfortable each time I think about it.
  5. Turning Red – This year saw animation as a form have many contenders that could be counted in the conversation of best films of the year. I was blown away by Turning Red. Call it nostalgia for my own boyband-obsessed years or remembering with cringe-inducing realness that moment of growing up, but this movie just hit everything right.

Catherine Ford

Co-Curator of the LGBTQ+ Series, and Cinema Committee Member

  1. Petite Maman - Wonderful movie by director/writer, Céline Sciamma. Easily my favorite of 2022. Lovely cinematography and heartfelt story that is rarely told with such gentleness and depth. It captured me from beginning to its beautiful ending.
  2. Official Competition - Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas at their best. The script is great. A comedy satire about the film industry that I thoroughly enjoyed.
  3. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On - Loved this "mockumentary" about a one-inch shell and family. Moments of hysterical laughter and at times a tear or two. The voices of Jenny Slate as Marcel and Isabelle Rossellini as their grandma are magic.
  4. Good Luck to You Leo Grande - Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack and a hotel room are the leads in this comedy/drama. Sensual, sensitive, and funny.
  5. Everything Everywhere All at Once - Simply Entertaining! Refreshing with some life lessons thrown in.  Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis are fantastic.
  6. Girl Picture - Loved this coming-of-age story out of Finland directed by Alli Happasalo. It's filled with so much emotional nuance and exceptional storytelling not seen in similar films. Both Entertaining & Heartfelt. Awesome performances by the three young female leads Milonoff, Leino and Kauhanen.
  7. Fire Island - Never expected a gay romcom set in 1995 to be adapted by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in 2022. But thrilled that it did. Fun, light-hearted and sensitive. The cast was wonderful, especially Joel Kim Booster, plus I never miss a chance to catch Margaret Cho.
  8. Nothing Compares - Documentary about Sinead O'Connor that provides insights that told me so much of what I did not know of this iconic artist of the 90s. It clearly shows how O'Connor was 20 years ahead of her time. A must see whether or not one is familiar with her fame, unwavering activism or fall from stardom.
  9. The Banshees of Inisherin - Beautiful cinematography that completely contrasts with the melancholy and sadness of the film (which appeals to me). Appreciated the symbolism throughout. Although Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are the leads, I found Kerry Condon a breath of fresh air in her supporting role, a bright spot in a dark movie.
  10. Ester Newton Made Me Gay - I was fortunate to meet the director, Jean Carlomusto, at Provincetown International Film Festival where it won best documentary. This film explores the life and times of cultural anthropologist Esther Newton. It tells her story of awakening to gay life in the 1950’s. Appreciated the raw footage and the journey Ester Newton traveled. A trailblazer!! 

Honorable Mentions.

  • Tár - Loved and hated this movie which means it's in my top favorites list. Intense! Cate Blanchard is incredible but so is the entire cast.  Appreciated the contrast between Tár and spouse, along with the musical score that magnified the tension.
  • Emily the Criminal - Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is weighted down by student debt and works hard to follow the right path but finds it impossible because of her minor criminal record. Plaza is terrific in this thriller, as my sympathies for her slowly evolved to OMG!!!

Alessandra Fanelli

Curator of Cinema Significa Series, Co-Curator of the LGBTQ+ Series, and Cinema Committee Member

  1. Lucy and Desi - My favorite documentary of the year. Poignant and fascinating. I will never not love learning about them.
  2. White Noise - I would watch Adam Driver eat a sandwich, and a few times in this film I had to remind myself of that. However, I was very locked into this one.
  3. The Whale - This is a story that resonates with me that I did not realize I needed to see on the screen. It activated a huge emotional reaction in me and for Brendan Fraser's performance mostly (which by itself would be #1). This was a huge favorite.
  4. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent - I don't know what I was expecting from this, but it was not to thoroughly enjoy it as much as I did. It was meta, warm, charming, and... a Nicholas Cage movie actually worthy of a theatrical release.
  5. Elvis - Some super neat sequences and, yes, a great performance by Austin Butler. The scene where Priscilla leaves (sorry, spoiler) was enough to put this one on my list.
  6. The Batman - Similar sentiment to Adam Driver, but with Robert Pattinson. Inner torment and Zoë Kravitz-what more could you want? I hyped this one up for myself and while I feel it fell short in a lot of ways, still one of my favorite watches of the year.
  7. Bodies Bodies Bodies - It wasn't a sexy slasher and balanced out enough entertainment with annoyance and anxiety, and for that, I have to award it kudos.
  8. Top Gun: Maverick - I was morally against this one and still couldn't turn away the entire time. I don't know why I loved it. But I did.
  9. DC League of the Super-Pets - Bat-Hound Puppyhood Trauma. Natasha Lyonne. That's all.
  10. Thor: Love and Thunder - This took Avatar's place because of the frame rate. I really enjoyed watching this- it wasn't like other MCU and wasn't groundbreaking, but had a lot of good dialogue and visuals.

Professor Bob Kilker

Cinema Committee Member

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once - I just love how inventive and emotionally resonant this movie is.  The Daniels know how to thread that needle. And Michelle Yeoh proves what a gift to cinema she truly is.
  2. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story - It's funny and well-observed look at a particular cultural moment. 
  3. The Menu - I keep revisiting this dark and snarky commentary on privilege and critic culture.
  4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On - The movie is sweet, but never saccharine.  Truly a delight.
  5. The Banshees of Inisherin - A grim story to be sure, but still a pleasure to see this depiction of a crumbling friendship.
  6. Nope - This horror film didn't get the attention paid to Us or Get Out, but it's still a fascinating film and Keke Palmer is especially good in it.
  7. Prey - This prequel to Predator focused on indigenous Americans isn't just a representational victory; it's a compelling and endlessly rewatchable action film.
  8. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story - It's as charmingly silly as you'd want a parody biopic of Weird Al Yankovic to be.
  9. The Lost City - I loved this Romancing the Stone-style throwback; we need more movies like this.
  10. The Woman King - Viola Davis is always brilliant, but Lashana Lynch stole this movie with a powerful performance.

Adrianna Gober

Co-Curator of the First Saturday Horror Series, Co-Curator of the LGTBQ+ Series, Co-Curator of The Unknown Planet Film Society, and Cinema Committee Member

  1. Tár
  2. All The Beauty and the Bloodshed
  3. The Banshees of Insihirin
  4. Saint Omer
  5. Aftersun
  6. Decision to Leave
  7. Flux Gourmet
  8. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  9. We’re Going to the World’s Fair
  10. Crimes of the Future

Jen Suwak & Steve Abruzzese

Cinema Committee Members

  1. Everything, Everywhere All at Once
  2. Barbarian
  3. The Last Movie Stars
  4. Top Gun Maverick
  5. The Fablemans
  6. The Menu
  7. Smile
  8. All that Breathes
  9. The Batman
  10. Nope

Lou Fromm

Cinema Committee Member

In no particular order:

  • The Whale
  • The Tender Bar
  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • Hustle
  • White Noise

To keep your "Must-Watch List" growing, be sure to see what's playing at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas!