SOFT & QUIET movie poster | ©2022 Momentum Pictures/Blumhouse/Shudder

SOFT & QUIET movie poster | ©2022 Momentum Pictures/Blumhouse/Shudder

Just as with snowflakes, it’s doubtful that any two Ten Best Films of 2022 lists are alike. This one has movies on it that some people hate, and others that were in limited release, which consequently many people never heard of, much less saw. This represents the opinions of one reviewer, and not of Assignment X as a whole, so take it for what it’s worth.

  1. SOFT & QUIET – Writer/director Beth de Araujo made the year’s moment-by-moment most terrifying and viscerally effective film because it’s all so devastatingly convincing, even though it is fiction. It achieves everything it sets out to do with minimum budget and maximum impact.
  2. THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING – Director George Miller and co-screenwriter Augusta Gore adapted A.M. Byatt’s short story “The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye” into a rapturous, story-loving, visually gorgeous and emotionally gratifying tale of tales.
  3. THE MENU – Director Mark Mylod and writers Seth Reiss & Will Tracy collaborated on something not seen every day (or ever): a horror movie about job satisfaction. To be more specific, it’s about what can fall into the gap between how a creative person wants their work to be received and understood, and how it is actually received and understood by the audience/consumer. It also boasts a killer performance by lead Ralph Fiennes.
  4. AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER – Yes, we have seen the basic story before, many times. Director James Cameron and co-writers Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver are so invested in world-building and how film technology can bring everything within it to life that it’s probably a wise choice to keep the narrative simple, because there’s only so much we can process at once. (Those who recall the speech from the British series YES, PRIME MINISTER about how a radical speech should be accompanied by a staid background and a typical speech should have a splashy background
    AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER | ©2022 20th Century Studios

    AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER | ©2022 20th Century Studios

    will recognize the philosophy.) For anyone who loves sea creatures, Cameron’s extensive extraterrestrial marine zoology is a special delight.

  5. NOCEBO – Director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley create a memorable work of supernatural and sociological horror. We may or may not surmise where it’s going from a few early cues, but it keeps us guessing on the specifics, and has fearless work from leads Eva Green and Chai Fonacier.
  6. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE – Directors/writers Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert manage to winnow down a premise that actually could encompass everything everywhere (although sequentially, rather than all at once) into a sweetly coherent family/possible apocalypse dramedy of the multiverse. Performers Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curtis all dazzle in multiple and vastly different versions of their characters.
  7. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT – Director Tom Gormican and co-writer Kevin Etten, along with star Nicolas Cage, take what could have been unbearably unfunny self-consciousness and make it a hilarious, loving riff on showbiz in general and Cage in particular. Pedro Pascal is the MVP here as Cage’s biggest fan.
  8. HATCHING (PAHANHOUTOJA) – This Finnish parable about adolescent evolution and rebellion, directed by Hanna Bergholm and written by Ilja Rautsi, is at once unpredictable and ultimately wholly on point.
  9. WOMEN TALKING – Sarah Polley directed and wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of the novel by Miriam Toews. It is a dialogue-driven exploration of moral, social, and religious conviction and obligation, compelling and beautifully played.


    Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. © 2022 MARVEL.

  10. BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER – Directed by Ryan Coogler, with a screenplay by Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, this film deserves honors for successfully handling a matter that might have stopped another project in its tracks. The real-world death of original BLACK PANTHER star Chadwick Boseman and the death of his character T’Challa are handled with powerful respect and homage, allowing the movie to examine the impact of grief and yet still find much to celebrate.


The reviews published in Assignment X throughout the year indicate which movies deserve that designation; they shall not be given further publicity here.

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Article: Year in Review: TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2023

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