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I’ve already highlighted my 10 (okay, 12) favourite films of 2022 elsewhere. But some of the 143 other new movies I watched over the past 12 months – curiously down from 2021′s tally of 192 – deserve special attention, too. Especially for those of us who are settling in for the holidays, refusing to leave the house for reasons that have nothing to do with the “C19″ word. Here, then, is an alternative Top 10 list: a collection of the most overlooked, underrated, underseen and unfairly dismissed films of the year – and how you can watch (most of) them at home right now.

The 10 best TV shows of 2022, and where to watch them

The 10 best theatre productions of 2022: Toronto, Stratford and Shaw

1. Happening

Audrey Diwan’s French drama Happening might be the most important, and least-seen, film of the year. Unintentionally timely, the adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s novel follows one young woman’s search for an abortion in 1960s France, where such a procedure will not only land patients in legal trouble, but threaten jail time for anyone who comes close to aiding them. Featuring a devastating lead performance from Anamaria Vartolomei and a careful, unblinking directorial eye, Happening is a film of international importance, told with empathy, sincerity and anger. (Available on-demand, including Apple TV and Cineplex Store)

2. Armageddon Time

James Gray’s most personal work yet – which is saying something, given how much of the New Yorker’s filmography is mined from his family history – has distressingly disappeared from the conversation barely a month after release. And when the drama lightly fictionalizing the director’s youth is discussed, it seems to be misunderstood as an apology, rather than a confession. Every one of Armageddon Time’s details and narrative swerves is stacked on top of the other to build a monumental story of compromises and consequences. This is a brave film, bracing and thoughtful. (On-demand including Apple TV and Google Play)

3. Operation Mincemeat

Based on one of modern warfare’s greatest intelligence ruses, John Madden’s film follows Britain’s finest spies (Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Jason Isaacs) as they attempt to keep the Allied invasion of Sicily a secret. Their trick? Convince Hitler that Allied soldiers are instead headed elsewhere – by planting the drowned corpse of a fictional British officer off the coast of Spain with faux “secret” documents tucked in his person suggesting an imminent invasion of Greece and Sardinia. Watching Operation Mincemeat is akin to sipping a strong cup of tea in a finely appointed study while casually thumbing the pages of an early Ian Fleming novel – a pure and easy and highly British pleasure. I rate it four Vs for Victory. (Streaming on Netflix)

4. Ambulance

If Marvel’s factory-floor action has left you bored, then Michael Bay’s Ambulance is here to remind you of the head-spinning delights of watching a genuine cinematic madman at work. This is eye-popping, ear-splitting, guffaw-inducing stuff that makes Thor: Love and Thunder look like the dumpster juice it truly is. Ambulance is what its director considers a “small” project. I suppose that’s true: There are no soaring military jets or fighting robot dinosaurs. But there is enough twisted-metal destruction to send even the most insatiable action junkie into a state of blissful cinematic overdose. (On-demand, including Apple TV and Cineplex Store)

5. After Yang

It has been a big year for Colin Farrell. Today’s most unusual leading man – he hasn’t headlined a traditional blockbuster since 2012′s Total Recall, yet still retains the shine of a forever-bankable A-lister – made the gloomy The Batman uproarious fun thanks to his hammy turn as The Penguin. He annoyed the fingers off Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin. And in his lowest-key 2022 project, the sci-fi drama After Yang, Farrell delivers such strong, seamless work that you’ll be tempted to go back and reconsider his entire filmography. Even Total Recall. (Streaming on Crave)

6. Confess, Fletch

Three months after it made its whisper-quiet debut – no theatres in Canada and only a handful in the U.S., with zero publicity for its simultaneous on-demand release – one of the year’s best comedies is now that much more accessible as Confess, Fletch is available to stream on Paramount+. Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad) and starring Jon Hamm as the titular detective, this adaptation of Gregory Mcdonald’s cult novel is one of the more charming efforts in either of Mottola and Hamm’s already impressive careers. And no, Chevy Chase isn’t involved. (Streaming on Paramount+)

7. White Noise

The knives were out for Netflix this year – and not just the ones sharpened by the colourful suspects in Glass Onion. But as much as all love to hate the streaming giant, some of the company’s more daring productions became unfair collateral damage of a larger war over the future of film – including Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s “un-filmable” novel. Ambitious and electric, Baumbach’s White Noise is as dynamic and complicated as its source material. (In select theatres now; streaming on Netflix starting Dec. 30)

8. Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? crossed with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers is not only the best Disney reboot ever made, but one of the company’s best productions in ages, too. Kids who have no idea who Chip or Dale are will get a kick out of the fantastical world – a blend of hand-drawn animation, CGI, live-action and even clay-mation – while adults will be nourished by both the metric ton of cultural nostalgia and the quippy voice work by Andy Samberg and John Mulaney. (Streaming on Disney+)

9. Palm Trees and Power Lines

Including Jamie Dack’s coming-of-age drama on this 2022 list is a cheat, given that no one outside of the indie film festival circuit has had a chance to see it yet. But I’ve been waiting almost an entire year after the film’s Sundance premiere to talk about Palm Trees and Power Lines, and I shall be patient no longer. A tremendously confident and nervy story about a lonely teenage girl who encounters a predator twice her age, Dack’s film refuses to offer tidy answers, pushing the story into uncomfortable places that feel genuine and boundary-challenging. Watch out for it March 3, 2023, in theatres and on-demand.

10. Irma Vep

Not to stoke the argument about whether television is the new film – or whether a series like Andor is in actuality a “12-hour movie” – but I’m again playing the “my list, my rules” argument by including HBO’s magnificent reboot of Irma Vep. Episodic by nature but cinematic in scope, Olivier Assayas’s entertainment-industry satire is at once a TV series, a film, and a long visual essay about art and life. And if we can’t at least debate questions of form when talking about a TV series about making a TV series that is based on a film that is a remake of another film – but is also itself a remake of a film about making a film – then there’s no fun in making lists at all. (Streaming on Crave)

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