In 2020, movies were delayed due to Covid, and pundits predicted that as a result 2021 would be a gargantuan year for movies. Then 2021 happened, and the most highly-anticipated movies were delayed yet again. A few still made their way to cinemas; Marvel managed to score big at the pandemic box-office with “Black Widow” and “Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings,” while “Spider-Man: No Way Home” proved worth the Covid risk for the undulating crowds of teenagers and man-children. Also, “West Side Story” was there for those who wanted it, which, apparently, few did.
There’s no denying things did not go according to plan, which makes 2022 the year when many long-delayed films will – might, should, hopefully will – finally see the projected light of day. Here are the 2022 films I’m most looking forward to, and when you can expect to see them.
“Operation Fortune: Rose de Guerre” (March 18)
Director Guy Richie has had a fascinating career, bursting onto the scene in the ‘90s with his rapid-fire indie hits “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch,” but his career (and his personal life: he married Madonna) got lost along the way. Recently, he carved out a niche for himself with old-school action flicks like “Wrath of Man” and “The Gentleman.” His latest, “Operation Fortune,” looks like the apex of this phase of his career, with a loaded cast including Hugh Grant, Aubrey Plaza, and Richie mainstay Jason Statham, and an absolutely fantastic trailer.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (April 22)
In which Nicolas Cage faces his most daunting role yet…Nicolas Cage. In this bizarre comedy, Cage spoofs himself as an past-his-prime actor who takes a million-dollar paycheck to attend a billionaire’s party in southern Spain. From there, meta-hijinx ensue in a beautiful locale. It’s an enormous swing for an actor known for big swings. Whether it works or not, it will be like all Cage projects: nothing you’ve seen before.
“Top Gun: Maverick” (April 27)
36 years later, we still feel the need for speed. Tom Cruise is back in the cockpit with this long-awaited sequel. Little is known about the plot except that Maverick is now an instructor at the flight school where he became a legend. Along for the ride is Miles Teller as the son of Maverick’s late partner Goose, and a terrific supporting cast including Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, and Jon Hamm. Joseph Kosinski, who helmed “Tron: Legacy,” directs.
“Elvis Movie” (June 24)
It will probably have a real title by the time summer rolls around, but it’s a Baz Luhrman movie, so everything is on the table. In this age of musician biopics, it was only a matter of time before they got around to Elvis, but gratefully, this looks like it’s going to be weird as hell. Lurhman’s films, which include “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby,” aren’t always good, but they’re ever distinctive, and with Tom Hanks on board as Col. Parker, Presley’s manipulative manager, there’s a good chance this will take Elvis’s story to new, unforeseen places.
“BROS” (August 12)
Billy Eichner co-wrote and stars in “BROS,” the first gay romantic comedy by a major studio. But this is no matter of pure virtue signaling. “BROS” is stacked with talent, including Judd Apatow as producer, Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) in the director’s chair, and an LGBTQ+-centric cast that includes Harvey Fierstein, Bowen Yang, and Amanda Bearse (yes, from “Married…with Children”). With “Billy on the Street” no longer viable in a post-pandemic world, “BROS” could point to a new phase of Eichner’s career.
“Don’t Worry Darling” (September 23)
Actress Olivia Wilde proved herself adept behind the camera with her hit teen comedy “Booksmart,” but her sophomore feature looks like a far more sophisticated story. A psychological thriller set in ‘50s suburbia about an evil pharmaceutical company and an unhappy housewife who discovers their secret, “Don’t Worry Darling” is being positioned for an awards season run, raising expectations on both the film and WIlde’s future career as a director.
“Ticket to Paradise” (October 21)
The romantic comedy is back! Julia Robert and George Clooney star as a divorced couple who must reunite to save their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from marrying the wrong person. Not much more is known about the film except that it’s set in Bali, but it sounds like the kind of throwback audiences of a certain age have been waiting for. A rom-com featuring genuine movie stars with proven romantic chemistry? Sounds like paradise to me.
“The Fabelmans” (November 23)
Next Thanksgiving, spend the holiday at the Spielberg home. “The Fabelmans” is a semi-autobiographical film by one of the greatest American filmmakers about his own childhood, For a director who has thrived telling stories about adolescence, this promises to be something special. Co-written by Tony Kushner and starring Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Seth Rogen, “The Fabelmans” might be Spielberg’s most personal film yet.
“Avatar 2” (December 16)
Never bet against James Cameron. I repeat: Never bet against James Cameron. His demise was predicted with “The Abyss,” “Titanic,” and the original “Avatar,” and in each case, he made something akin to a masterpiece (and billions in grosses). Does the world want another story set in the world of “Avatar”? I wouldn’t have thought so, but I repeat: Never bet against James Cameron.
Here’s a short list of other 2022 films I’m looking forward to, with release dates unknown:
“Master Gardener,” a film by Paul Schrader
“Asteroid City,” the next Wes Anderson diorama
“Apollo 10 ½”, an animated coming-of-age story by Richard Linklater
“Three Thousand Years of Longing,” from “Fury Road” director George Miller
“The Killer,” in which director David Fincher reunites with “Se7en” writer Andrew Kevin Walker
“White Noise,” an adaptation of the acclaimed Don Dellilo novel by Noah Baumbach
“Blonde,” an NC-17 rated Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas and directed by Andrew Dominik
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” a film by Martin Scorsese. What else do you need to know?