Words by

Hannah Strong, Charles Bramesco, David Jenkins

100 films to look forward to in 2022 – part 2

The second half of our annual survey of the most exciting cinema heading our way over the next 12 months.

Here’s the second half of our 2022 preview, featuring some of the films we can’t wait to see in the year ahead. You can find Part 1 here, and let us know what movies you’re most looking forward to by tweeting us @LWLies.

51. Everything Everywhere All at Once

For their second project together following the surprisingly moving farting corpse movie Swiss Army Man, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka Daniels) have recruited the always wonderful Michelle Yeoh for an adventure through the multiverse. Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, a bureaucrat who discovers she alone can save the world, and discovers multiple versions of herself along the way. Add to the team Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jenny Slate and a villain in the form of Jamie Lee Curtis, and we can’t wait to see what Daniels have cooked up. Hannah Strong

52. Men

Hopefully Alex Garland will continue his tradition of releasing a film once every four years and we’ll get to see his new horror drama this year. Jessie Buckley stars as a woman who goes on a holiday in the English countryside following the death of her husband; Rory Kinnear and Paapa Essiedu have been cast in undisclosed roles. The film wrapped in summer, and given Garland’s past work (Ex Machina and Annihilation) we’re expecting something suitably unnerving. HS

53. The Gray Man

Bouncing back after the flop that was Cherry, Anthony and Joe Russo have another actioner up their sleeves, this time starring Marvel alumni Chris Evans. Ryan Gosling makes a long-awaited return to screens as a betrayed CIA operative who goes on the lam; Evans is the former colleague sent to hunt him down. Even if it’s not good per se, sometimes it’s enough to just watch some handsome men brood on a big screen for a few hours, okay? HS

ETA: Summer 2022

54. My Policeman

Harry Styles will have a busy 2022; as well as Don’t Worry Darling, he’s also starring in this adaptation of Bethan Roberts’ novel of the same name, about Tom Burgess, a gay policeman who marries a woman while entering into an affair with Patrick, a local museum curator, in the 1950s. Fellow bright young thing Emma Corrin plays his wife, while David Dawson is the object of his affections. Linus Roache, Gina McKee and Rupert Everett play older versions of the characters, implying there will be some jumping between past and present. Let’s hope that Styles kid can act at least half as well as he sings. HS

55. Happening

The surprise winner of the Golden Lion at a stacked Venice Film Festival last year, Audrey Diwan’s drama is based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Annie Ernaux. The film stars Anamaria Vartolomei and Luàna Bajrami. Vartolomei plays Anne, a young university student in France, 1963, who falls pregnant and decides to seek an abortion, despite it being illegal. This is only Diwan’s second film as director, making her Venice top prize all the more impressive. HS

ETA: 1 April, 2022

56. The Whale

Hmm. When we called for a leading role for Brendan Fraser, this wasn’t quite what we had in mind. Adapted by Samuel D Hunter from his play of the same name, this Darren Aronofsky flick centres on a morbidly obese man trying to reconnect with his daughter after he abandoned his family for another man. This sounds like it has the potential to be in an extremely poor taste, particularly given Darren Aronofsky’s…less than cautious approach to sensitive topics. But if it’s handled correctly, this could be a welcome return to our screens for Brendan, following a solid supporting turn in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move last year. HS

57. God’s Creatures

Anna Rose Holmer was indie cinema’s rookie of the year back in 2015, when lyrical puberty allegory The Fits announced her arrival in spectacular fashion. Since then, we’ve gotten a music video and one TV directing gig, but no new feature. That’ll soon change with this suspenseful morality play set in a “wind-swept Irish fishing village,” in which the lie of a mother (Emily Watson) shakes the community to its core. Paul Mescal and The Nightingale standout Aisling Franciosi also star, with Holmer’s former editor and co-writer Saela Davis now joining her as co-director. Charles Bramesco

58. Armageddon Time

Given how long it took for Ad Astra to emerge, maybe we’re just dreaming about seeing a new James Gray film anytime soon, but here’s hoping. Based on his own childhood growing up in Queens during the 1980s, Armageddon Time sees Succession’s Jeremy Strong stand in for Gray’s father, and per a recent interview in the New Yorker, he’s been taking it very seriously. Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins round out the cast. HS

59. The God Beside My Bed

Rick Alverson makes shrewd, unsparing films about the existential crises of the United States, but for his next project, he’s headed to South America. In Brazil, he’ll join forces with Argentine master Lisandro Alonso for a story set abroad, yet nonetheless in his wheelhouse. “It will be a film about an American cultural irrelevance that Americans are incapable of seeing, lost in their romantic hall of mirrors, set in Amazonia,” Alverson has said. You can take the incisive national critiques out of the US… CB

60. Pleasure

Some form of controversy was inevitable for Ninja Thyberg’s star-is-born drama set in Los Angeles’ porno demimonde, packed as it is with graphic sexual content. The expected dustup came earlier this year, when distributor A24 sold the film rights to Neon after Thyberg objected to their plan to cook up a toned-down R-rated cut for theatrical release. The uncensored and unabridged version will come to theatres this year, introducing game audiences to the determined Swedish immigrant Bella Cherry (Sofia Kappel) as she tries to fuck her way to the top of an unforgiving industry. CB

61. Wicked

Musical theatre fans have long demanded a film adaptation for one of the most popular Broadway smashes of the millennial generation, and as if by a good witch, their wish will soon be granted. The toe-tapping revisionist prequel to The Wizard of Oz imagines the early years of the green-skinned Elphaba (Cynthia Erivo) and the bubbly Glinda (Ariana Grande) as young women at school, friends and rivals before their relationship is torn asunder by Dorothy. In the Heights director Jon M Chu will bring his showbiz bombast to the next hopeful song-and-dance blockbuster. CB

62. After Yang

A family in the near future say goodbye to their beloved robot companion in Kogonada’s moving sci-fi drama, which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes last year and will screen at Sundance in January. Featuring original music by Mitski and an outstanding turn from Justin Min, it’s an ethereal story of family dynamics and the search for belonging, set in a lush, tropical vision of our world. HS

63. The Menu

On a secluded island, an ultra-exclusive restaurant serves up course after course of lavish, indulgent delicacies – some of which may prove too exotic for a pair of young foodies (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicolas Hoult) on a gustatory pilgrimage. Ralph Fiennes, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, John Leguizamo, and Judith Light fill out the cast on this mysterious project with a presumably satirical bent, judging by Succession helmer Mark Mylod in the director’s chair and Adam McKay on board as producer. Bring forks, napkins, and a big appetite. CB

64. Alpha Gang

David and Nathan Zellner make a welcome return to our screens with a sci-fi comedy about a group of aliens who travel to earth with the intention of conquering the planet. Of course, when they arrive, things don’t go quite to plan, and they find their mission in jeopardy when they start to experience human emotions. As if that wasn’t intriguing enough, there’s a great cast lined up: Andrea Riseborough, Jon Hamm, Nicholas Hoult, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Mackenzie Davis, Sofia Boutella and Steven Yeun. HS

65. When You Finish Saving the World

Adapted from Jesse Eisenberg’s well-received 2020 audio project of the same drama, this drama sees Finn Wolfhard play a teenage music sensation whose online fame mystifies his mother (played by Julianne Moore) who runs a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse. Set for a Sundance premiere, we’re intrigued to see how Eisenberg is able to take his story from one medium to another. HS

66. Hit the Road

The toast of Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and winner of Best Film at the London International Film Festival, Panah Pahini’s debut film depicts a family making a mysterious road trip. Dad has a broken leg, their pet dog is sick, and the younger son can’t sit still. Throughout the course of the film we learn more about the circumstances that have led the family here. A fiercely original and confident first feature with a sharp political theme, this is one you shouldn’t miss. HS

ETA: 17 June, 2022

67. Decision to Leave

It’s been a long, lonely five years since Park Chan-wook made a feature film, though his limited spy series Little Drummer Girl is definitely worth a look. We don’t know much about his next thriller, apart from that is centres on a detective who falls for the mysterious widow at the centre of a murder investigation. Tang Wei and Park Hae-il star, and don’t be surprised if this one makes it to a Cannes or Venice premiere. HS

68. The Killer

In his second film for Netflix, David Fincher returns to the thriller territory he hasn’t touched since Gone Girl and reunites with Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker. Michael Fassbender plays a contract killer undergoing a psychological crisis in this adaptation of Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel series; sounds like it’s right up Fincher’s alley. Netflix Film chief Scott Stuber recently teased the film in an interview with Variety, so it’s entirely possible we’ll be getting it sooner rather than later. HS

69. Landscape with Invisible Hand

After chronicling crime in pockets of privilege with the well-reviewed Thoroughbreds and Bad Education, director Cory Finley’s taking a hard left turn into sci-fi satire. This adaptation of the National Book Award winner takes place in a future where an alien occupation has levelled the human job market, leaving a couple with no choice but to broadcast their love life to the extra-terrestrial overlords. This becomes an issue when they come to loathe each other, but can’t afford to call it quits. Tiffany Haddish has already signed on for this bizarro-universe take on reality television culture. CB

70. Infinity Pool

James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) decide they deserve a getaway, so the couple sets a course for the island paradise of La Tolqa. It’s all sun, sand, and surf – until “a fatal accident exposes the resort’s perverse subculture of hedonistic tourism, reckless violence, and surreal horrors.” Picture TV’s recent The White Lotus filtered through the dark hallucinations of director Brandon Cronenberg, with just a pinch of JG Ballard’s High-Rise sprinkled in for added decadence. Pack a few changes of clothes, in the event yours get spattered with blood. CB

71. Cha Cha Real Smooth

If you’re 24-year-old writer-director Cooper Raiff, and you’ve got some career momentum from the positive reviews of your low-budget debut Freshman Year, what do you do next? You make another movie, and cast yourself opposite Dakota Johnson. He’s a party-starter-for-hire working bar mitzvahs, she’s a young mom with an autistic daughter; they strike up a bond of friendship that might be something more in what’s sure to be another talky, sensitive coupling of two lonely souls with pathos and comedy in equal measure. CB

72. Bob’s Burgers: The Movie

The long-running animated TV series gets super-sized for the big screen as the Belcher family – hard-working paterfamilias Bob, song-prone matriarch Linda, libidinous eldest daughter Tina, flatulent middle child Gene, and devious youngest daughter Louise – goes where only the Simpsons have gone before. There’s no telling what manner of hijinks they’ll get up to, but the fate of their beloved burger joint being at stake is probably a safe bet. That, and a copious number of culinary puns. (Try the Multiplex-Mex Burger!) CB

73. Untitled David O Russell film

Aside from the vague detail that it’s going to be a period piece about a doctor and lawyer in cahoots, no one really knows what David O Russell’s first film since his Oscar-laden mid-2010s hot streak is going to be about. But that’s not much of an issue when your cast looks like this: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Alessandro Nivola, Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Matthias Schoenaerts, and a popular musician named [checks notes] Taylor Swift. Major-release status is all but pre-assured. CB

74. She Said

It was only a matter of time before the Harvey Weinstein scandal was adapted into a film. In She Said, Rebecca Lenkiewicz pulls from journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s book of the same name, covering the investigation which shook the film world. Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan will play Kantor and Twohey respectively, while director Maria Schrader is riding high after the success of her Netflix series Unorthodox. There’s a lot of potential for this to go wrong (remember Jay Roache’s Bombshell?) but if successful, this could end up an awards contender. Hollywood loves an investigative reporting flick, after all. HS

75. Avatar 2

Sure, James Cameron has been working on his much-murmured-about sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time for over a decade. But anyone who doubts that his next feature – if it ever comes out, that is – will be anything less than a brain-melting breakthrough of technical might is betting against the house. The next chapter of the saga on faraway planet Pandora will further explore the Na’vi culture, with focus reportedly placed on a tribe of water-dwellers played by such franchise newcomers as Kate Winsley, Michelle Yeoh, and Vin Diesel. CB

76. Kimi

The tireless Steven Soderbergh can’t let a year go by without some form of new work, and it looks like he’ll cover 2022 with this corporate psycho-thriller. In the thick of the pandemic lockdown, an agoraphobe in the tech sector (Zoë Kravitz) notices evidence of a violent crime embedded in a data stream. Her efforts to whistleblow put her at odds with the employers who’d rather she shut her trap, leaving her with no choice but to face down the terror of leaving her home to spread the truth. On multiple fronts, it’ll be a timely document of its moment. CB

77. Benedetta

Paul Verhoeven’s long-awaited nunsploitationer hits UK cinemas this spring, after causing a stir all around the world since its Cannes premiere last summer. Virginie Efira stars as the titular sister whose unorthodox behaviour shakes up life at her Tuscan monastery in the 17th century. It’s heaps of fun, but maybe not one to watch with your nan, unless she’s particularly open-minded. HS

ETA: March 2022

78. Moonfall

“Our moon is not what we think it is.” So declares the trailer for the latest CGI extravaganza from Roland Emmerich, in which the great big sphere of cheese orbiting Earth gets knocked from its rotation and into a collision course with the planet we call home. Only NASA technician Halle Berry and astronaut Patrick Wilson can save the day before we all get blown to smithereens, in an action epic that might just have what it takes to plough through its own dumbness and circle back into genius. CB

79. Barbie

Fans of Greta Gerwig’s recent pivot into big-ticket feature directing may believe that there are better uses of her finite time on this Earth than a live-action movie vehicle for the famed doll and her smooth-pelvised boyfriend Ken. But hey, maybe this is the start of IP-based studio projects getting really good, with distinctive artists allowed to flourish in their unique style? Either way, seeing Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the first couple of the toy world will be enough to draw crowds, Gerwig loyalists or no. CB

80. Like Father, Like Son

Lulu Wang would like to make one thing crystal clear: her new film reworking Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Cannes-approved drama for the English language is not a remake, as she emphatically stated on Twitter. She’s going to do her own thing with the premise of two families (one well-off, one financially struggling) discovering that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth, and deciding whether it would be right to give the less-fortunate boy the better life he should’ve been born into. Whatever creative licence she exercises, it’s sure to be every bit as poignant as the original. CB

81. The Brutalist

Brady Corbet and his partner Mona Fastvold team-up again for their third collaboration, which also sees the director reunite with his Vox Lux star Raffey Cassidy as well as a tasty cast including Joel Edgerton, Marion Cotillard, Mark Rylance, Sebastian Stan and Vanessa Kirby. Edgerton takes on the lead role of visionary architect László Toth, who flees Europe with his wife to witness the birth of modern America. Given how divisive his last film was, we’re expecting a similarly polarising result from Brady this time around. HS

82. The Lost City

Sandra Bullock is a reclusive romantic novelist who gets caught up in a kidnapping with her covel model (Channing Tatum) in this adventure comedy, co-starring Brad Pitt and Daniel Radcliffe. Directing brother duo Aaron and Adam Nee are something of an unknown quantity, with only two features to their name, but the trailer looks like a whole lot of fun. HS

83. I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Whitney Houston is a musical icon, and with such an incredible legacy comes the worry that a biopic would never do her justice. However, with Kasi Lemmons in the driving seat, Whitney’s story should be in safe hands. Naomi Ackie is slated to play Houston, while Ashton Sanders will play her estranged husband Bobby Brown and Stanley Tucci portraying legendary producer Clive Davis, who is credited with bringing Houston’s talent to the forefront. HS

84. Wildwood

Stop-motion animation studio Laika is coming home. Their latest fantasy takes place right in the upstart company’s back yard of Portland, Oregon, where a secret forest contains wonders and mysteries galore. Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight returns for this dark-tinted adventure in which a pair of seventh-grade pals must venture into said woods to save a baby kidnapped by a murder of crows, adapted from a novel by The Decemberists frontman and area local Colin Meloy. The film will pay homage to the little-depicted city, incorporating elements of regional culture with painstakingly reconstructed scenery to match. CB

85. Silent Twins

In 1974, the Gibbons family moved to Wales, making daughters June and Jennifer the first Black children in town. Their status as outsiders compelled them to seek refuge in one another, developing a unique language based on their Bajan-Creole heritage and ultimately growing so isolated from the community around them that they were institutionalised in a nightmarish mental facility. Poland’s Agnieszka Smoczyńska makes her English-language debut with a take on this bizarre true story, with Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance in the leading roles. CB

86. Bones and All

Timothée Chalamet and his Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino are together again, and for another heady adolescent romance – albeit with a significantly greater quotient of cannibalism this time around. Taylor Russell portrays a young girl who can’t stop eating people, which has a way of interfering with her crush on Chalamet’s character, though true love has overcome more than that in the past. Guadagnino has tapped his Suspiria co-writer David Kajganich to provide some more of his brand of visceral yet arch horror, fitting his style into the YA-lit genre from which this film has been adapted. CB

87. La Bete

Last seen flexing his acting chops as a taciturn father in Julia Ducournau’s Titane, French provocateur Bertrand Bonello returns with a story about a near future in which all emotions have been suppressed and people are coerced into accepting a mechanical treatment which purifies the DNA. Léa Seydoux and Gaspard Ulliel are pencilled in to star, and with the film announced at the start of 2021, expect to see it at Cannes or, failing that, the Autumn festival season. David Jenkins

88. On Barren Weeds

The lauded Turkish auteur has been on a recent tip of making films with a marked literary bent which all clock in at over three hours (Winter Sleep, The Wild Pear Tree). Even though the logline for this new one, set again in the Anatolia region, is simple enough – a depressed school teacher finds solace in the teachings of a colleague – there’s still every chance this could be a five hour spectacular. Watch this space. DJ

89. The Sky is Everywhere

Josephine Decker’s follow-up to LWLies cover film Shirley is an adaptation of Jandy Nelson’s debut YA novel from 2010 which counts Grace Kaufman, Jason Segel and Cherry Jones among its cast. As a maker of experimental, often caustic character studies, this looks to be a major change of pace for Decker, with a story about a young woman coping with the trauma of the sudden death of her sister. Filming concluded in November of 2020, so this one should be due any time now. DJ

90. The Munsters

There’s something about metal musician turned leftfield horror auteur Rob Zombie that certain rarified genre critics adore. So it’s probably best to ask those guys and gals how they feel about him taking on this quaint ’60s IP that feeds the icons of classic horror through the soap opera meat grinder. All we can say is that, when it comes to casting choices for ultra-goofy Herman Munster, we hope that Zombie has taken a peep at Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza [taps nose, winks]. DJ

91. Two Wolves

Alex Gibney is known as a one-man cottage industry for slick investigative documentary filmmaking. Well not any more, as with the help of Viggo Mortensen and Caleb Landry-Jones, he’s blazing a trail into the world of dramatic fiction with Two Wolves, the story of a Vietnam veteran who made attempts to prevent the infamous My Lai massacre, only to be reprimanded and cast out by his seniors while the perpetrators were initially lionised and then pardoned. All sounds very heavy, but for a guy who’s gone into the books at Enron and behind the curtain at the Church of Scientology, this should be a cake-walk. DJ

92. Dragon’s Lair

As the maker of The Land Before Time and The Secret of Nimh, Don Bluth’s rep as a god of family feature animation is already sealed. So it’s lovely to hear that, at the ripe old age of 84, he’s been handed a wedge of cash by Netflix to make a feature film version of his iconic LaserDisc game Dragon’s Lair, starring Ryan Reynolds in the lead. The twist is that, in a big change for Bluth, this will be live action rather than animated, so keen to see how it turns out. DJ

93. Showing Up

Naturally we’re excited for the forthcoming film by one of the greatest working filmmakers in the world. Kelly Reichardt follows up her low-slung existential western First Cow with a more contemporary tale which reteams her with the star Wendy and Lucy, Certain Women and Meek’s Cutoff, Michelle Williams. The film, which is co-written by partner in screenwriting crime Jonathan Raymond, tells of an artist whose life and career is on the cusp of a major change. DJ

94. Dual

Set for a Sundance premiere, Riley Stearns’ third feature sports an appealing cast in Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul and Jesse Eisenberg, and an intriguing sci-fi plot involving a future where terminally ill people have the option to clone themselves. After one such woman makes a miraculous recovery, she has to fight her clone to the death. All very Highlander. We’re in. HS

95. Baby, Box, Broker

With his previous film, the Paris-set The Truth, there was a sense that beloved Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda was gravitating towards coffee table respectability. For his next one, he’s popped across to South Korea for this drama about “baby boxes”, which are places where parents can anonymously drop babies they’re unable to care for. Sounds heart wrenching already, and as a fun little extra, Korean legend Song Kang-ho is one of the stars. Result. DJ

96. Tori and Lokita

There was a time when the Dardenne brothers were the toast of the arthouse town, scoring a double Palme d’Or win and just seeming unable to slip-up from a creative perspective. Then… they slipped up with the lacklustre The Unknown Girl and Young Ahmed. Tori and Lokita will likely turn up in the Cannes competition come May, and we can cross everything that it’ll be a major return to world beating form for les frères. DJ

97. Living

An adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, with a script written by Kazuo Ishiguro? Count us sceptical but intrigued. For his first film set outside of South Africa, Oliver Hermanus has assembled a British cast including Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood and Tom Burke for this story, set in London, 1952. Nighy plays the central character, a bureaucrat who heads for the coast after receiving a terminal diagnosis, searching for life’s meaning in his final days. Living will premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January, so we’ll find out then how successful this remake has been. HS

98. The Great Freedom

Winner of the Jury Prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar, Sebastian Meise’s tender drama sees Franz Rogowski deliver another standout performance. He plays Hans Hoffmann, a man arrested for being gay in postwar Germany, who develops a close relationship with his cellmate, played by Georg Friedrich. We see Hans across the years as he flits in and out of prison, refusing to compromise his identity in the face of unjust laws. The Great Freedom is a moving and vital piece of queer cinema, and a must for any Rogowski fan. HS

ETA: 4 March, 2022

99. Beth & Don

Nicole Holofcener has lately been putting in some hard shift work for other filmmakers, as a much-in-demand screenplay polisher. She’s not back in the hot seat with Beth & Don, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a novelist who one day hears her doting husband admit that he’s not actually a massive fan of her work. Ace tastemaker US distributors A24 have pre-bought the film, so definitely one that’s worth getting excited about. DJ

100. Master Gardener

Even though it has yet to be filmed, we kinda know what Master Gardener is going to be like, as its director has an irrepressible yen for depicting a certain time of man enveloped in a certain type of spiritual loneliness. This one is a horticulturalist who is in love with two women: one old enough to be his mother; another young enough to be his daughter. Decisions, decisions. We loved First Reformed. We loved The Card Counter. We’re going to be front-row centre at the first festival screening for this one, praying for another Schrader break-out success. DJ

Published 2 Jan 2022

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Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.