WHAT WERE THE BEST AND THE WORST FILMS OF THE LAST MONTH?
Welcome to a new THS exclusive, where I cover each New Release film that I saw the month prior. All of these movies were either released In Theaters, on a Streaming Platform, or on PVOD in July 2022. The films will be ranked from the WORST to the very BEST. We had a ton of new exciting content come out in July, some much better than others. I missed one big release in the last month (Thor: Love and Thunder… I will be waiting until its on Disney+ due to the mixed reactions), but I was able to catch THIRTEEN new releases to rank for all of you!
NEW RELEASE #13. THE PRINCESS
Directed by: Le-Van Kiet
Starring: Joey King, Dominic Cooper and Olga Kurylenko
Plot: When a strong-willed princess refuses to wed the cruel sociopath, she is kidnapped and locked in a remote tower of her father’s castle. With her vindictive suitor intent on taking her father’s throne, the princess must save kingdom.
My Thoughts: The creators of the new medieval action flick The Princess have stated that their inspiration was Rapunzel meets Gareth Evans’ masterpiece The Raid. And sure enough, watching the movie you can completely get what these writers were attempting to cook up with their movie… but, their vision stops there. Without any creativity or finesse, Vietnamese director Le-Van Kiet has crafted a soulless, half-baked imitation of a movie that left me completely numb, by its end.
NEW RELEASE #12. THE DEER KING
Directed by: Masashi Ando and Masayuki Miyagi
Plot: The Deer King follows the last survivor of a band of warriors who is enslaved in a salt mine. One night, savage dogs attack and a mysterious disease wipes out everyone at the mine. The warrior escapes with a little girl, while a gifted physician looks for a cure.
My Thoughts: It’s a beautiful film, but it lacks in every other department, especially in character development and story. I never felt connected to anything happening up on the screen and so, this is my most disappointing film of the year so far.
NEW RELEASE #11. GONE IN THE NIGHT
Directed by and Co-Written by: Eli Horowitz
Starring: Winona Ryder, John Gallagher Jr., Dermot Mulroney, Owen Teague and Brianne Tju
Plot: Gone in the Night follows Kath and her boyfriend who arrive at a remote cabin in the redwoods and they find a mysterious younger couple already there. Her boyfriend disappears with the young woman, and Kath becomes obsessed with finding an explanation.
My Thoughts: This is one of those movies that completely revolves around its big twist, it rides or dies on that climactic “swing for the fences” moment and because Horowitz isn’t able to pull it off, the rest of the movie feels like a waste of time. I have to give credit where credit is due though and I appreciate that Gone In the Night wasn’t afraid to go full-on batshit insane in its final act.
NEW RELEASE #10. NOT OKAY
Written and Directed by: Quinn Shephard
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien, and Mia Isaac
Plot: Not Okay is about an ambitious young woman (Zoey Deutch) who finds followers and fame when she poses as the survivor of a deadly attack, but she soon learns that online notoriety comes with a terrible price.
My Thoughts: Part of me couldn’t stand the cringey moments, drastic tonal shifts and my overall distaste for our lead character, but the other part of me was fascinated by her story arc and the very thought-provoking messages and themes that the film was trying to tackle.
NEW RELEASE #9. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
Directed by: Olivia Newman
Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, and David Straithairn
Plot: Based on Delia Owens’ bestselling novel, Where The Crawdads Sing follows a woman who raised herself in the marshes of the deep South and becomes a suspect in the murder of a man she was once involved with.
My Thoughts: I think Daisy Edgar Jones is captivating in the lead role and I found her story to be just intriguing enough to recommend, although its mystery is lacking and it can be a bit of a slog.
NEW RELEASE #8. THE FORGIVEN
Directed and Co-Written by: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith, Christopher Abbott, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbey Lee, & Said Taghmaoui
Plot: The Forgiven takes place over a weekend in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and explores the reverberations of a random accident on the lives of both the local Muslims, and Western visitors to a house party in a grand villa.
My Thoughts: The Forgiven feels as if it is two completely different films that are running perpendicular to each other and never quite end up meeting in the middle to come together. One part is a socially-conscious meditation on white privilege, class and bad behavior… while the other one, is a morality tale and redemptive character study. They are both great stories, but the fact that they never feel cohesive is a big problem.
NEW RELEASE #7. GIRL IN THE PICTURE
Directed by: Skye Borgman
Plot: The documentary is about a young mother’s mysterious death and her son’s subsequent kidnapping that blows open a decades-long mystery about the woman’s true identity, and the murderous federal fugitive at the center of it all
My Thoughts: A jaw-dropping and riveting true crime documentary that is elevated due to its stirring final minutes, that pays tribute to its victim. Any fan of true crime is going to love this one.
NEW RELEASE #6. THE GRAY MAN
Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Rege Jean-Page, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush & Chris Evans
Plot: The Gray Man movie follows the CIA’s most skilled operative-whose true identity is known to none. When he accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, a psychopathic former colleague puts a bounty on his head, setting off a global manhunt by international assassins.
My Thoughts: Although gratuitously over-the-top and generic in its storytelling, The Gray Man is an absolutely exhilarating thrill ride… and one of the best blockbusters of 2022, so far (though that’s not saying a whole lot).
NEW RELEASE #5. NOPE
Written and Directed by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott and Steven Yeun
Plot: After random objects falling from the sky result in the death of their father, ranch-owning siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood attempt to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object with the help of tech salesman Angel Torres and documentarian Antlers Holst.
My Thoughts: Nope was one of my most anticipated films of the year and unfortunately it let me down a bit. Although I still enjoyed it considerably. My biggest issue here is that while the direction from Peele is his best work to date in that department, Nope contains easily his weakest screenplay. The cast and the cinematography are top-notch, however.
NEW RELEASE #4. THE SEA BEAST
Directed and Co-Written by: Chris Williams
Plot: The Sea Beast is about young girl who stows away on the ship of a legendary sea monster hunter and they launch an epic journey into uncharted waters, to make history.
My Thoughts: This is the perfect film for families because it has just the right amount of silly humor for kids, epic action set pieces for the adults and a genuine amount of heart for all. The dazzling animation, thoughtful underlying messages and a cast of delightful characters makes this one of the best animated flicks of the year.
NEW RELEASE #3. MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS
Directed and Co-Written by: Anthony Fabian
Starring: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Anna Chancellor, Alba Baptiste, Ellen Thomas and Jason isaacs
Plot: The film tells the story of a widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London who falls madly in love with a couture Dior dress and decides that she must have one of her own. After she works, starves, and gambles to raise the funds to pursue her dream, she embarks on an adventure to Paris which will change not only her own outlook, but the very future of the House of Dior.
My Thoughts: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris will go down as the definitive feel-good crowd-pleaser of 2022. I fell in love with Mrs. Harris… her exuberance, her conviction and her willingness to continue to dream when all seems lost. This one will be on replay at my house for years to come.
NEW RELEASE #2. VENGEANCE
Written and Directed by: B.J. Novak
Starring: B.J. Novak, Dove Cameron, Boyd Hollbrook, J. Smith Cameron, Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher
Plot: The film follows a writer from New York City, who attempts to solve the murder of a girl he hooked up with and travels to Texas to investigate the circumstances of her death, in hopes that he can turn it in to the next big True Crime podcast.
My Thoughts: Vengeance is a hard-boiled mystery, a pitch-black comedy, a haunting cautionary tale, an introspective drama and a good ol’ slice of Americana all wrapped in to one. And I absolutely loved it! My only qualm is that I just wanted to spend EVEN MORE time with these wonderfully developed characters. This is a great sign for B.J. Novak’s career moving forward.
NEW RELEASE #1. MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON
Co-Written and Directed by: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Plot: The film is about Marcel, an adorable, 1-inch-tall shell… Who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother, Connie, and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. However, when a documentary filmmaker discovers them, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope of finding his long-lost family.
My Thoughts: Who knew that a film about a shell with a pair of shoes on would be the life-affirming masterpiece that we all need in our lives right now? Marcel will put a smile on your face, a tear on your cheek and fill your belly up with laughs… it is one of the finest films of 2022 and one that I will not soon forget.
Hope you enjoyed my ranking of all of the New Release Movies I saw in July 2022. Please let us know what your ranking would be! For more Movie News, make sure to Stay Tuned to That Hashtag Show!