Spling reviews All Quiet on the Western Front, The Grand Bolero, Dune, Everything, Everywhere All at Once and The Alpinist as part of his Top 5 Best Reviewed Films of 2022 as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
Since it’s the first episode of 2023, we’re talking about five of the best reviewed films on Talking Movies in 2022.
Starting off with number 5…
A young German soldier’s terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.
Director: Edward Berger
Stars: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch and Aaron Hilmer
This epic war drama thriller, a re-adaptation and the director’s film debut, is a visual masterpiece that goes to great lengths to capture the bleak mud and blood of trench warfare in World War I. From the perspective of a German soldier, this wide-eyed chronicle follows several young conscripts as their experiences fighting for their country shape, break, or kill them. All Quiet on the Western Front is an absolute spectacle, creating visceral and sprawling war scenes that craft an immersive and gut wrenching cinematic experience about the utter meaninglessness of war. Driven by a minimalist soundtrack, this visually arresting film runs nearly two and a half hours, but its cinematography, artful execution, raw authenticity, and transportive mis-en-scene keep you transfixed.
At number 4…
A gruff middle-aged pipe organ restorer struggles to control her obsessive attraction to her new 20-year-old mute assistant.
Writer-Director: Gabriele Fabbro
Stars: Lidia Vitale, Ludovica Mancini and Marcello Mariani
Set in an old church, the location’s exquisite detail pervades every frame, conjuring up history, religion, and humanity all at once to create a rich human drama against the backdrop of a fairy tale forest. The organ music fills one’s ears with a vivid soundtrack to match the visual on-screen decadence and sense of precarious intimacy. Vitale’s commanding voice and powerhouse performance captures the driving, pent up energy of The Grand Bolero. There are a few leaps of faith, but the gorgeous combination of sound, visuals, story, and performance overwhelms the senses to the point where you’re bewitched. The Grand Bolero’s operatic tendencies eventually spiral upwards through a series of bold brushstrokes as the stirring music, morality drama, and inflamed passions reach a pompous, glorious, and poetic fever pitch.
At number 3…
The son of a noble family is entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
Writer-Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya
Drawing on Arrival’s otherworldly beauty, elegance and scale, as well as the entrancing yet flat-footed Blade Runner sequel, Villeneuve crafts a well-balanced, majestic and epic adventure in Dune. Ferguson and Isaac, led by Chalamet, present some of their best work to date. Villeneuve’s film is dark, sleek, and artistic, and he coaxes many excellent performances from his diverse and talented cast. The production, which depicts a Messianic quest, has the scope of a biblical epic set against desert landscapes, echoing the scale of Laurence of Arabia. The soundtrack is equally impressive, summoning similar monolithic power – almost taunting the visuals to match its mesmerising majesty.
At number 2…
An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an interdimensional adventure.
Writer-Directors: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis
Inspired by The Matrix, Kung Fu Hustle, and Parasite’s rousing success, Everything, Everywhere All at Once conjures up an imaginative, inventive, and experimental sci-fi action-adventure comedy anchored by heartfelt and soulful human drama. Evelyn falls down a rabbit hole to enter a fractious universal consciousness in an attempt to save her daughter, marriage, family, and by extension, the world, after discovering a way to essentially channel-hop between parallel dimensions and lives. Michelle Yeoh portrays Evelyn in a dexterous and multifaceted performance that is determined, resistant, and resonant. For sensory overload, maddening intensity, visual audacity, and sheer brilliance, Everything, Everywhere All at Once ranks alongside The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Kung Fu Hustle, The Matrix, and Mad Max: Fury Road.
And finally, at number 1…
Free-spirited solo mountain climber, Marc-André, makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history.
Directors: Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen
Features: Marc-André Leclerc, Peter Mortimer and Alex Honnold
The Alpinist is an unconventional sports documentary that could be described as a cross between Summit of the Gods and Into the Wild, conveying the scale and experiential detail of the actual climb. While socially awkward, the Canadian climber’s purity, graceful movements, and calculated solo ascents are awe-inspiring and unreal. Referred to as a “dirt bag” and said to have been born late for his ’70s and ’80s outlook, the enigmatic subject’s off-the-grid purity is frequently at odds with the nature of filmmaking, cutting through the irony of accomplishment and accompaniment. The Alpinist is an elemental, meditative and soul-stirring chronicle, ultimately about living in the present moment as if your days are numbered.
So just to wrap up, here are the best reviewed films on Talking Movies in 2022…
The Alpinist, Everything, Everywhere All at Once, Dune, The Grand Bolero and All Quiet on the Western Front.
For more movie reviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!
These films scored an excellent 8 on the SPL!NG-O-METER this year… Street Gang, Do Not Hesitate, Blind Ambition, Navalny, Licorice Pizza,
Film, Living Record of our Memory, The Sparks Brothers, Girls Can’t Surf, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Metamorphosis of Birds, Apollo 10.5, The House, Stutz, The Stranger, Summit of the Gods, The Courier, Mangrove, Red, White and Blue and The Trapped 13.