★★★★☆ Finding your way in the postmodern world isn’t always easy. The answers might be different but the questions are perennial. Do I settle down or play the field? Am I looking for a soulmate or adventure? What do I do with my life? Do I want a baby and if so when?
★★★★☆ After Yang is a moving, subtle and grounded work of science fiction that doesn’t necessarily get to the core of its myriad issues, but certainly hits the heart. How refreshing to see a version of the future not dictated by the grim pessimism that Black Mirror revels in.
★★★☆☆ The second adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel, after Edmund Goulding’s 1947 big-screen version, Mexican master filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s latest ventures away from fantasy, revealing the monsters in this fable to be all too human.
★★★★☆ Does a filmmaker use cinema as his or her own confessional booth or a darkened space in which to escape the harsh realities of the outside world? When the curtain closes and the lights go down on Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, it’s clear that this deeply autobiographical project is a vessel for both.
★★★★☆ There are no easy answers in Fran Kranz’s Mass – and perhaps no answers at all. One of the strongest debut features to have premiered at last year’s Sundance, it exhibits all of the signs of a very promising career behind the camera lie ahead for the first-time writer-director.
★★★★☆ Background noise cannot be ignored in Matt Fifer and Kieran Mulcare’s exceptional debut feature Cicada. Aural triggers that recall repressed traumas are as vivid and immediate as smells or visual memories for Ben (Fifer) and Sam (Sheldon D. Brown).
★★★★☆ British director Andrea Arnold follows up 2016’s American Honey and a sojourn in television with her first documentary, Cow. A near-wordless study of dairy cow Luma’s life and shot from a bovine-eye view, Cow resists the urge to anthropomorphise Luma while eliciting deep empathy for this non-human animal.
★★★★☆ Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the acclaimed director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, makes his return to UK screens this week – a full six years after his last feature – with the Tilda Swinton-starring Memoria.
★★★★★ Paul Thomas Anderson returns to the director’s chair with Licorice Pizza, a joyous, hazy and nostalgia-inflected romantic drama set in California’s San Fernando Valley of the 1970s, featuring knockout debut performances from Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman.
★★★★☆ With A Hero, Asghar Farhadi is back in his cinematic wheelhouse, dissecting the emotional cost of social expectations, delivering a tightly-wound drama of debt, obligation and the difficult question of what one person’s reputation is really worth.
Few movie franchises have ever been as successful as Star Wars. Over its lifespan, it has reportedly generated worldwide box office revenue of more than $10 billion.
With a number of projects delayed due to the pandemic, 2022 looks set to be another bumper year for established directors and emerging talents alike. Here are just a handful of films we’re desperate to watch (or, in some cases, rewatch) in the new year.