Wylie Writes’ 2022 Mid-Year Report

We’re halfway through the year, which means it’s time for Wylie Writes’ mid-year recap.  Don’t forget to click the coloured titles to read a more detailed write-up about the film!

Addison Wylie

The Best:

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (DIR. Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler)

Instead of only acknowledging and condemning America’s history of racism, the Kunstlers and our guide, lawyer Jeffery Robinson, ask audiences to recognize the lives and dedication of those who have been affronted for their culture or race, and were exploited to build the country.  Modern footage and a stage presentation of Robinson’s (ala An Inconvenient Truth) are used brilliantly to teach viewers about how history is repeating itself.

Honourable Mentions: Everything Everywhere All At OnceThe Worst Person in the WorldHustle

The Worst:

The Bubble (DIR. Judd Apatow)

Judd Apatow tanks his solid filmmaking track record with a baffling and staggeringly unfunny ensemble showbiz satire set during a pandemic.  The stacked cast spin their wheels as Apatow tries to find humour in dated material and obnoxious behaviour.  Netflix viewers who stuck it out are still suffering from their own brand of cabin fever.

Dishonourable Mentions: MarmadukeA Week in Paradise365 Days: This Day

Sky Wylie (Wylie Writes’ Co-Editor)

The Best:

Everything Everywhere All At Once (DIR. The Daniels)

Honourable Mentions: MenDual

The Worst:

365 Days: This Day (DIR. Barbara Bialowas, Tomasz Mandes)

Dishonourable Mentions: Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe Weekend Away

Trevor Chartrand

What a busy year 2022 has been for me and my family!  As it happens, I’ve only seen 6 films released this year, so I’ll share some brief thoughts on all of them, in no particular order:

The Batman (DIR. Matt Reeves)

A dark and brooding reminaginaing of the dark knight character, Matt Reeves’ The Batman is a thrilling and well-made film.  This movie noticeably borrows a great deal from other filmmakers (*cough* Fincher *cough*), but does so in such a compelling enough way to make old ideas feel new again.  Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman feels underdeveloped for now, but this is a strong start to a new series. 

The Tinder Swindler (DIR. Felicity Morris)

As is typical with Netflix documentaries, a fairly straightforward story is drawn out in this film to stretch the runtime to its absolute limit.  This feature film could have easily been reduced to a five minute newsreel.  As entertaining as the movie may be, it needed to be more succinct. 

Big Gold Brick (DIR. Brian Petsos)

An interesting and creative cinematic venture, but this film’s pace makes it a slog to sit through and wastes the potential of a skilled cast.

Donkeyhead (DIR. Agam Darshi)

Donkeyhead is a fairly typical indie-drama that demonstrates the unravelling of a dysfunctional family following the death of their patriarch.

The Adam Project (DIR. Shawn Levy)

The Adam Project, as a film, feels like a wasted opportunity.  While the movie is fine overall, it all feels a little too safe.  There’s nothing unique about this time travel film, and the cast (especially Ruffalo and Reynolds) don’t appear to be on top of their game here.  This works as a simple little family movie, but it had the potential to be so much more. 

Turning Red (DIR. Domee Shi)

Turning Red is entertaining overall, but perhaps a tad overrated.  As a Canadian viewer, recognizing Toronto landmarks adds a unique layer to the film.  Ultimately, it seems the metaphors become muddled in the last act, as if the writers lost track of, or couldn’t agree on, an intended message.

Jeff Ching

The Best:


Everything Everywhere All At Once (DIR. The Daniels)

What’s left to say that hasn’t already been said about this movie;  a movie that is so unusual, so unlike anything else that’s come along in the last…well, forever.  Calling the writers/directors (The Daniels) outside-the-box thinkers is the ultimate understatement.  They are trillions of lightyears outside the figurative box…in another dimension…on DMT.  While most Hollywood movies play it safe, The Daniels tossed the rulebook in the garbage;  absolutely anything goes and, boy, do they take huge risks.  They’ve pulled off a movie that’s wildly entertaining, absolutely bonkers, trippy, absurdly silly, raunchy and, on the same token, mind-blowing, profound, contemplative, philosophical and tear-jerking.  This will be a contender for a best of the decade list;  perhaps even the best of all-time. 

Strawberry Mansion 
(DIR. Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley)

I know that calling a movie the trippiest movie of the year, or the most 420 friendly, may not be the most intellectual reason to give a movie the #1 spot, but I just loved Strawberry Mansion.  Surreal fever dream movies can sometimes decline in quality as you sober up, but not with this one.  I got so lost into Strawberry Mansion and never wanted it to end.  This is a delightfully trippy movie, and I don’t remember the last time I used that phrase.  Utterly mesmerizing, stunningly beautiful to look at, insane, whimsical and, when it comes to movies that deal with dreams, Strawberry Mansion may be the most imaginative.  There’s a little Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (on LSD), a little David Lynch and a little Black Mirror.   But, at the centre of this crazy mindtrip is an unusual, but beautiful romance.  

Rating: 11/10 shrooms  

Honorable Mentions: After Yang, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, The Middle Man

The Worst:

Turning Red (DIR. Domee Shi)

I know I will piss a lot of people off with this pick and I’m sure there were worse movies released so far this year.  I imagine the 365 Days sequel was worse, but I didn’t see that.  What I did see, however, was perhaps an even crappier version of Brave. 

Trust me, I really wanted to love Turning Red.  A Pixar movie that takes place in Toronto, about a Chinese family?  Hell yeah, I was excited.  Just half an hour in, that excitement turned into dread.  This was the most irritating movie I’ve sat through all year.  The comedy writing is lazy.  All the kids are loud, obnoxious brats.  The protagonist’s mother is even louder, more obnoxious and yet another stereotypical, one dimensional tiger mom.  

I held up hope that maybe the second half had some kind of smart, heartwarming resolution with good character arcs, but who am I kidding?  It descends into the dumbest, most illogical climax by a landslide.  It’s clear that Pixar’s best days are in the past, but I never thought I’d be picking a Pixar movie as the worst of the year.  Let’s hope this is an anomaly as opposed to the new norm. 

Jolie Featherstone

The Best: 

The Worst Person in the World (DIR. Joachim Trier)

Heartbreak.  Doubt.  Hope.  Lightness of being.  Acceptance.  This film is an evolution in two-hours-and-eight minutes.

The Worst Person in the World scrapes out long-settled gunk in the darkest, shadow-filled trenches of your heart and mind.  It tills layers of of shame, beauty, uncertainty, doubt, gratitude, anger, euphoria, and boredom that accumulate and settle in the body and mind of all humans throughout the years.  This film will have a particularly close resonance with millennial women.  If you fall outside of that specific demographic of people, I am certain that you will benefit from seeing this film.  If you can, see The Worst Person in the World on a big screen.

Most Disappointing Film of 2022

Cordelia (DIR. Adrian Shergold)

I really wanted to love Cordelia.  I’m a fan of Johnny Flynn from his work in Lovesick and Beast.  Additionally, Antonia Campbell-Hughes (who both stars in and co-wrote the film) has an impressive body of work and has been in many films I love and admire.  I’d been anticipating this film for quite some time.  Unfortunately, Cordelia felt willfully opaque.  I love a film that plays with its audience.  That said, by the end of the film, it felt purposely evasive.  The principal cast all do great work with the material.  Much like how I felt after watching I’m Thinking of Ending Things – it felt longer than it was, and it was not as compelling as I’d hoped.

My Favourite Film of the Year: Cyrano (DIR. Joe Wright).  And, honestly, my pick for best film of the year (so far) swivels between this one and TWPITW constantly.

Honourable Mentions: Turning Red, The Batman

Thought-provoking and Ambitious Films: Kimi, Men

The Most Fun / Why We Love Going to the Movies: Ambulance, The Lost City, Top Gun: Maverick

Shannon Page:

Biggest surprise (so far):

Belle (DIR. Mamoru Hosoda)

Japanese animator and director Mamoru Hosoda’s interpretation of beauty and the beast is so much more than a retelling of a classic tale.  It is a complex exploration of grief, and what it means to grow up and authentically connect with others in a digital world.  The story of a rural teenager who becomes a popstar online, Belle is as visually dazzling as it is heartbreaking.  

Honourable mentions: Run Woman Run, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Biggest disappointment (so far)

The Batman (DIR. Matt Reeves)

I’m not saying that I went into Matt Reeves’ superhero effort expecting a cinematic masterpiece, but I was expecting to have a bit of gloomy, noir fun.  The worst movie of the year?  No.  The most forgettable Batman movie of the past decade?  Yes.  Would I watch it again solely for Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle?  Absolutely.  

Dishonourable mention: As They Made Us


Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie
Sky Wylie: @SkyBaby5
Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor
Shannon Page: @ShannonEvePage
Jolie Featherstone: @TOFilmFiles

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