Welcome to 2022! Wait, don’t run away.
While I recognize there has been, let’s call it an “unfortunate postponement” of a truly abysmal 2020, there is still one thing we can all look forward to, even in the darkest days and more pandemic, and that’s the movies. Independent films, in particular.
And before anyone gets mad, I love Hollywood movies. If we ever felt completely comfortable slouching in our theater seats on the opening night of the latest universe-conquering superhero blockbuster, I assure you I’ll be front and center. , a huge bucket of popcorn and gummy bears at the ready.
But, kicking off the 2022 movie schedule (and remembering the name of this column), here are the indie films battling for our ticket buying scraps. The weird, tough, hard-to-market, genuinely independent work of some of the best directors you’ve never heard of.
Just a side note: all release dates are seriously tentative, with this whole pandemic fucking with film production because, as mentioned, 2020 was hot trash.
“Kimi”, February 10
No director is as comfortable between Hollywood and the periphery as Steven Soderbergh. In her latest freelance venture, an agoraphobic tech worker (Zoë Kravitz) must struggle to solve a violent crime during lockdown, and with her hometown of Seattle rocked by protests against police brutality.
“Everything, everywhere, all at once”, April 1
The great Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) stars in this banana-like fantasy about a Chinese immigrant housewife who discovers that only she can save the universe – by summoning the alternate selves she would have been. . Fun fact: If you’re wondering what happened to Ke Huy Quan (“The Goonies,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”), he plays Yeoh’s naturally bewildered husband, lucky so-and-so.
“The Northman”, April 6
It may be sprawling, but this Viking revenge saga is helmed by the reliable Robert Eggers (“The Witch,” “The Lighthouse”), so prepare for this “Hamlet”-adjacent drama to get majestically weird. . With Anya Taylor-Joy and Alexander Skarsgård leading the way, though we all know brother Gustaf Skarsgård (TV’s “Vikings”) is the only true Norseman in the family.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”, April 22
The enigma that is Nicolas Cage comes out of purgatory in streaming to play… Nicolas Cage! In this promising oddity, Cage is himself, a half-washed up actor sent by the CIA to spy on his #1 fan, a notorious drug lord (the ever-excellent Pedro Pascal).
“The Black Telephone”, June 24
Maine’s Joe Hill (son of Maine’s Stephen King) wrote the short story inspiring this horror thriller, about a masked serial killer (Ethan Hawke) and young boy trying to escape his clutches using a mysterious telephone that allows him to communicate with the dead. Specifically, the other children Hawke’s psychopath has killed. Leave it to Mainers to make things terrifying.
“No”, July 20
We know so little about Jordan Peele’s next mind-blowing horror movie. There’s an ominous poster, the movie stars Keke Palmer, “Get Out” Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun, and some people think you can see a face in the clouds. But Jordan Peele is the standard-bearer for smart, socially incisive horror, so I’m 100%, no further info needed.
“Until”, October 17
Director Chinonye Chukwu (“Clemency”) tackles one of the most infamous cases of racially motivated murder in our country’s turbulent history in this biopic. Danielle Deadwyler (“The Harder They Fall”) plays real-life educator and activist Mamie Till-Mobley, whose quest for justice in the 1955 lynching murder of her 14-year-old son Emmett is heartbreaking. American institutional racism. Look for this during awards season.
“Call Jane” and “The Janes” release dates TBD, though both will premiere at Sundance in January
The sadly ongoing battle for women’s bodily autonomy sees these two films tap into the same real-life inspiration. “Call Jane” (starring Elizabeth Banks, Kate Mara and Sigourney Weaver) is a fictionalized depiction of the underground network called The Jane Collective, which helped women obtain safe abortions when abortion was illegal. Also premiering at Sundance is “The Janes,” a documentary chronicling the same suddenly relevant band that was eventually shut down in the final days before Roe v. Wade.
“Crimes of the Future”, TBD
David Cronenberg reuses the name of one of his unique and chilling early cinematic explorations of our nauseated desire to monkey with nature for this still-mysterious film. We know it stars Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart, and the 1970 film was about scientists whose reckless experiments and a deadly plague cause severe Cronenbergian body horror mutations. So let’s cross our fingers.
“Boulevard of Disappointment”, to be determined
Ari Aster has directed some of the most gruesome films of recent years in cult horrors “Midsommar” and “Hereditary.” Now he’s taking on another fan of Joaquin Phoenix’s intensity for a four-hour purported horror “nightmare comedy” described only as “an intimate, decades-long portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all.” the temperature”. How is this going to scare us as completely as Aster’s previous work? I have no idea – and that’s what’s so exciting.
“Show up”, to be determined
Kelly Reichardt is the best director you’ve probably never heard of. Teaming up with star Michelle Williams for the fourth time (after ‘Wendy and Lucy’, ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ and ‘Certain Women’), Reichardt’s latest film is about an artist (Williams) who prepares to unveil her latest career-defining work of art to an audience that never quite understands. Which is pretty much a summary of Reichardt’s uniformly brilliant work — and the essence of what independent cinema is all about.
Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.
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