22 films to look out for in 2022, from The Lost City and The Northman to Avatar 2

The next 12 months in film promise robots, eroticism and Emma Stone with a baby’s brain in her head. Plus Björk, Batman and Nicolas Cage playing himself – unfortunately not all in the same movie. As we all prepare to hit January, Jacob Stolworthy and Adam White have gathered 22 of your future cinematic obsessions

Tuesday 28 December 2021 06:30
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<p>Get a load of these: ‘The Batman’, ‘Avatar’, ‘The Worst Person in the World’, ‘Don’t Worry Darling’, ‘John Wick’ and ‘Scream’ </p>

Get a load of these: ‘The Batman’, ‘Avatar’, ‘The Worst Person in the World’, ‘Don’t Worry Darling’, ‘John Wick’ and ‘Scream’

We should probably talk about cinema differently. Yes, there’s a whole lot of superhero movies, and – more worryingly – a lot of Ghostbusters: Afterlife-style corporate plundering disguised as nostalgia. But genuinely look around, even within the major Hollywood studio space, and you’ll still find work that is exciting and novel.

Next year is a case in point. Despite the perceived wisdom that modern film is a big pile-up of intellectual property, 2022 promises a cornucopia of big ideas and high-concept innovation happily existing among… all the IP. Some of which actually looks pretty great.

Below are our 22 picks for 2022 – films that range from the glitzy and expensive to the subtle and curious. Consider it a pick’n’mix of all genres and stars, or a brief preview of everything you’ll soon be obsessed with.

We also haven’t even mentioned the mysterious Adam Driver sci-fi movie 65, Paul Verhoeven’s erotic nun drama Benedetta, or Brendan Fraser as an obese recluse in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Or the Speed-ish action movies Bullet Train (with Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock!) and Ambulance (with Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen III!). Or Michelle Williams essentially playing Steven Spielberg’s mother in his autobiographical The Fabelmans. Or Timothée Chalamet’s reunion with Call Me by Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino via the cannibal romance Bones & All. See what we were saying about “all genres and stars”?

By the way, all the below dates – especially considering… everything – are subject to change. But fingers crossed they’ll stick.

Scream

A Nightmare on Elm Street made us scared of dreaming. Friday the 13th made us scared of camping grounds. Scream? Telephone calls, horror movie trivia, and being friends with people who may be secretly trying to kill us. This fifth film in the franchise – and the first not to be directed by the late Wes Craven – promises the same twisty thrills and genre satire of its predecessors. Scream veterans Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette are back, alongside a raft of newcomers gearing up to be sliced and diced.

Release date: 14 January 2022

The Batman

Batman’s had a tough time since Christian Bale hung up the cape and cowl in 2012. Ben Affleck’s iteration, while not disastrous, struggled to make an impression – and the actor-director soon walked away from the standalone film he was planning to make. Step forward Robert Pattinson who, under the guidance of War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves, is making his debut as Batman in 2022. Joining him are Catwoman (played by Zoë Kravitz) and villains Penguin (Colin Farrell) and the Riddler (Paul Dano).

Release date: 4 March 2022

The Lost City

All-round good egg Sandra Bullock is a romance novelist kidnapped alongside her cover model (Channing Tatum) by an eccentric billionaire played by Daniel Radcliffe. The Lost City – previously known as The Lost City of D, but presumably retitled by humourless scolds – looks to be a throwback to Romancing the Stone, and exactly the kind of big-budget action romcom the world desperately needs.

Release date: 25 March 2022

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in ‘The Lost City’

The Worst Person in the World

Joachim Trier’s previous films – including Oslo, August 31st and Reprise – may have a cult fanbase, but the Norwegian director is about to hit the big time with his new film. The festival favourite, set to be released on MUBI, is an empowering coming-of-age dramedy charting four years in the life of a young woman as she attempts to navigate her way through adulthood.

Release date: 25 March 2022

The Northman

If you’re a fan of The Witch and The Lighthouse, then Robert Eggers’ The Northman is probably high up on the list of future films you’re excited about. If not, then all you need to know is it’s a 10th-century-set Viking revenge thriller with one hell of an eclectic cast: Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and, in her first performance since 2002, Björk.

Release date: 8 April 2022

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Every year, Nicolas Cage does his fair share of dross, and while it’s mainly Willy’s Wonderland levels of quality, every now and then we get a Mandy or a Pig. Here’s hoping, then, that The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent lives up to its incredible plot: Cage, playing a “completely unleashed” down-and-out version of himself, is hired to appear at a superfan’s birthday party. Only, the superfan turns out to be a drug cartel lord and, in turn, a federal agent involves Cage in her mission to put him in prison. Bring it on.

Release date: 22 April 2022

Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal in ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

Benediction

Any film by Terence Davies should be cause for celebration, but particularly one as expansive and vaguely autobiographical as this one. Benediction stars both Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi as the war poet Siegfried Sassoon: the younger Sassoon radical and queer, the older one snarling, bitter and married to a woman. The film charts Sassoon’s fluctuating personal life and conflicting worldviews over time, and it’s only enhanced by trying to spot where it all aligns with elements of Davies’s own story.

Release date: 13 May 2022

John Wick: Chapter 4

Not the final John Wick movie (a fifth is in the pipeline), but probably the last one to arrive before the franchise gets diluted via a TV spin-off starring Mel Gibson (of all people). Expect more of the same in Chapter 4, of course, but this has consistently been one of the most innovative and plainly well-made action franchises of the last decade. So who are we to complain?

Release date: 27 May 2022

Elvis

Notoriously the movie Tom Hanks was shooting in Australia when he became the first celebrity to be struck by Covid, this is an expensive and presumably dazzling Elvis Presley biopic from Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann. Expect big things from Austin Butler as the King of Rock’n’roll, too – you may remember him as Manson Family member Tex Watson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Release date: 24 June 2022

Nitram

Of all the intriguing films to come out of Cannes in 2021, Nitram remains top of the heap. The latest from Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, Macbeth) is based on the life of Martin Bryant, a convicted Australian mass shooter who killed 35 people and injured 23 others in the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. He’s played by Caleb Landry Jones in the film, with the Get Out actor winning Best Actor for the role at Cannes.

Release date: 15 July 2022

Caleb Landry Jones in Cannes favourite ‘Nitram’

Nope

Little is known about Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out and Us, other than it stars Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun, along with Hustlers alum (and “Sorry to that man…” meme queen) Keke Palmer apparently as the film’s villain. Its teaser poster also features a gloomy cloud hovering over a small town. And could that title be any more intriguing?

Release date: 22 July 2022

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart sees Florence Pugh plunged into a sinister Fifties suburbia where nothing is quite what it seems. There’s reportedly a scene of “female hunger and pleasure” between Pugh and co-star Harry Styles, plus Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and KiKi Layne being dastardly on the sidelines. We’ll take it.

Release date: 23 September 2022

Ticket to Paradise

Great big movie stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney in a Working Title-produced romcom from the director of Mamma Mia 2? Yes. Yes to all. The pair play a divorced couple who rush to Bali to convince their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) not to marry a handsome stranger she’s just met. Can this resurrect the big-budget romantic comedy, please?

Release date: 30 September 2022

The... ambiguous poster for Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part One

While there was a fair bit of hype for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, nobody could have anticipated it being quite so good. A ton of glowing reviews and one Oscar later, and Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is set to return for another universe-hopping adventure. This time, Oscar Isaac is along for the ride, although in what capacity we don’t know. Sorry to Tom Holland, but this is the coolest Spider-Man franchise currently in existence.

Release date: 7 October 2022

Avatar 2

Yes, you read that right. After what feels like a hundred thousand years, James Cameron will unveil the first of four Avatar sequels (again, you read that right) in 2022. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver are returning to the world of Pandora alongside new addition Kate Winslet, who’s reunited with her Titanic director for the first time since 1997. It’ll have to take a hefty $2.85bn (£2.16bn) to topple the original as the second-biggest-selling film of all time.

Release date: 16 December 2022

After Yang

After Yang, having debuted at Cannes this past summer, has apparently been slightly retooled ahead of further festival dates in 2022. But even at Cannes, this tale of a family’s developing relationship with their household robot drew raves. Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith and Justin H Min star, with the film promising to be every bit as haunting and heartbreaking as director Kogonada’s 2017 debut Columbus.

Release date: TBC

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part One: First Look

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

This Judy Blume novel is something of a sacred text for preteens in the United States, revolving around a young girl struggling through puberty and asking the big questions about life and faith for the very first time. Excitingly, the film adaptation is director Kelly Fremon Craig’s follow-up to her wonderfully compassionate 2016 coming-of-age comedy Edge of Seventeen, so will inevitably be just as touching. Rachel McAdams and Uncut Gems co-director turned actual movie star Benny Safdie are the parents of the film.

Release date: TBC

Babylon

With Whiplash, La La Land and First Man under his belt, Damien Chazelle has fast become a filmmaker to be excited about. The youngest Best Director Oscar winner in history is releasing his next film in 2022, and it’s said to be a period film set in Hollywood. Not much else is known, save for the cast (Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, Katherine Waterston and, everyone’s favourite, Jean Smart), but this we do know: if we want somebody to direct a period film set in Hollywood, you can bet it’s Chazelle.

Release date: TBC

Deep Water

There’s every reason to believe that this twisty, randy Patricia Highsmith adaptation starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas keeps being delayed because it’s terrible. Then again, it’s the much-anticipated return to filmmaking for erotic thriller king Adrian Lyne – of Fatal Attraction and Unfaithful fame – and was reportedly “too sadistic” for at least one streaming platform given the chance to buy it from Disney. Now that it’s about to wash up on Amazon Prime, could it turn out to be 2022’s sexiest surprise?

Release date: TBC

Disappointment Boulevard

The irony of Ari Aster’s new film title is that his career has been anything but disappointing. Not only did he burst onto the scene with Hereditary, one of the most striking debuts in recent years, but he followed it up with sunlight-strewn festival horror Midsommar. Next up is Disappointment Boulevard,starring Joaquin Phoenix. Not much is known save for the fact that it’s a comedy horror focused on “one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time”. Oh, and the small case of Aster stating it would be four-hours long.

Release date: TBC

Killers of the Flower Moon

Three years after The Irishman, Martin Scorsese will return with his adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon. It follows a 1920s FBI investigation into a string of murders that plagued the Osage Indian tribe in Oklahoma after oil was found on their land, and will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Scorsese newbies Lily Gladstone and Jesse Plemons. It’ll be released on Apple TV+.

Release date: TBC

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Killers of the Flower Moon’

Poor Things

Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos reunites with Emma Stone four years after The Favourite for this similarly genre-bending historical tale. Based on a novel by Scottish author Alasdair Gray, it stars Stone as a woman whose brain is replaced by that of her unborn child. Presumably a dark, dark comedy, Poor Things also surrounds Stone with an eclectic cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef and Margaret Qualley.

Release date: TBC

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