Here we have the very best DVDs of 2022, as selected by our own WCL librarians. All of these titles are available to loan!
Everything everywhere all at once
There is no way to describe this film other than strap yourself in, hold on and just go with it. And maybe, find someone to give you a hug afterwards. On the surface it feels ridiculous, but this film is one of the most thought provoking, spectacular pieces of cinema I have seen in many years. Brilliant acting from the entire cast, fantastic martial arts scenes, and it grapples with feelings that many of us will recognise. Watch this film and you’ll be demanding everyone, everywhere watches it too.
Gloriavale : New Zealand’s secret cult
An honest, raw documentary showcasing the suffering of several former Gloriavale members, and one amazing woman who is still part of the sect. Handled sensitively and compassionately, this documentary speaks to those who have managed to escape (or been excommunicated from) Gloriavale and the team that are supporting them in fighting for the right to see their families and expose the abuse at the hands of the sect leaders. A beautifully made film that every New Zealander should watch.
The lost city
If you want to have a rollicking good time, watch this movie. Sandra Bullock at her comedic best, Channing Tatum being adorable, Daniel Radcliffe chewing the scenery and Brad Pitt… well, I’ll leave that up to you to find out. Think 80’s adventure rom-coms like Romancing the Stone only in a modern setting. Full of laugh out loud moments and one very sparkly purple jump suit.
Petite maman – Celine Sciamma
Memoria – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Drive my car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Beginning – Dea Kulumbegashvili
The quiet girl = An Cailín Ciúin – Colm Bairead
I’m your man – Maria Schrader
Limbo – Ben Sharrock
Flee – Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Small axe : a collection of 5 films from Steve McQueen
The White Lotus. The complete first season
Everything everywhere all at once
Everything Everywhere All At Once manages to fuse a very heady story about the multiverse to an intimate family drama with charm and aplomb. It’s not just an answer to my long-standing wish to see the Multiverse dramatised on the big screen (in a way that didn’t require a Spider-Man), it’s also the most inventive, hilarious, moving, structurally airtight, genuinely insightful and empathetic movies I’ve ever seen.
Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness
The real thrill of Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness is seeing director Sam Raimi return to directing after a nine-year absence, bringing all the cheeky horror stylings of his Evil Dead trilogy to the MCU while reminding you that with three Spider-Mans under his belt, he knows his way around a superhero scuffle. But what really stuck with me after Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness is realising Strange is basically a librarian’s superhero: a reclusive keeper of obscure knowledge who spends most of his day gesturing with his hands to help people in their adventures.
While most cinephiles know Paul Verhoeven as the director behind such indulgent Hollywood blockbusters as Robocop, Basic Instinct, and Starship Troopers, his other claim to fame is he’s a world-renowned scholar on the life of the historical Jesus Christ. In Benedetta, his fascination with the contradictions of religion come to the fore, as he retells the true story of a 17th-century lesbian nun who was seemingly possessed by Christ to save her small town from the ravages of the plague. Cheekily profane and brilliantly pointed, only someone with Verhoeven’s particularities could have pulled this off.
Jordan Peele continues to top himself with NOPE, a fantastic twist on the alien invader movie that is, in essence, Jaws in the sky. To say any more would spoil the fun, but needless to say, I found it to be Peele’s best film yet.
Better call Saul. Season six
It’s especially difficult for a show that’s a prequel to one of the most popular dramas of the 2010s to remain both narratively compelling and maintain the quality of storytelling expected from its predecessor, and Better Call Saul absolutely sticks its landing on both fronts. In Saul/Jimmy/whoever Odenkirk is really playing, I found another answer to Don Draper from Mad Men (my other favourite AMC show), a disreputable charlatan whose life is essentially all a performance, yet he pulls through in the end when he remembers what (and more importantly, who) he’s really doing it all for.
Peacemaker. The complete first season
James Gunn and John Cena take the shallowest of joke characters from The Suicide Squad (a film that already had a talking shark and a Polka-Dot Man), and manage to build a compelling, funny, and occasionally poignant show around him. As a seasoned comic reader, I also appreciated the deep cut references to DC Comics characters that double as genuinely inventive jokes rather than just self-conscious ‘too-hip’ deflations as seen in other comic adaptations (I almost broke a rib laughing at the joke about Matter-Eater Lad eating an entire Wendy’s, and he means the restaurant itself).
Bullet Train is a very fun action movie about a bunch of different assassins all going after the same goal. It has bombastic action and fun comedy, with an all around great story. It has the vibes of an Edgar Wright Action/Comedy, and, best of all, comes from a book!
Uncharted meanwhile is just a fun action movie where we get to watch cool people do cool stuff. It’s not mind blowingly good, but it does its job perfectly, just a fun movie to watch. Plus it has a battle on flying pirate ships, I mean come on.
Navalny (available on Kanopy)
Navalny follows the opposition leader to Putin Alexei Navalny after he was poisoned by Kremlin assassins and recovered in Germany. The film follows him as he and his team of hackers uncover the identities, method and time of how Putin poisoned him, including one of the best smoking gun accidental confessions on camera I’ve ever seen when he calls his own assassin and gets him to unknowingly detail what happened. Navalny then chose to return to Russia to continue to oppose Putin, where he is now deteriorating in a gulag prison. Given the Ukraine war it’s become even more relevant, and has just been nominated for best documentary at the Oscars.