15 movies to add to your watchlist this year

I finally did it. After much deliberation, I’m now the proud owner of a Letterboxd account with three (3!!!) whole followers. In my quest to officially become a cinephile in 2022, I’ve compiled a list of upcoming movies that might be solid potential additions to your watchlist. From glitzy biopics to psychological thrillers, there’s something for everyone this upcoming year. 

Cha Cha Real Smooth January 23, 2022 (wider release TBA) 

Directed by (and starring!! the man loves to include himself!!) Cooper Raiff, “Cha Cha Real Smooth” is a heartwarming dramedy about a recent college grad, Andrew, with no real direction in life, but plenty of charisma. Andrew, working as a Bar and Bat Mitzvah hype man, meets and forms a friendship with a young mother, Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burdhardt). The film focuses on his relationship with the pair in addition to following his journey to piece together his post-college life and find purpose. Though it is only his sophomore feature, Raiff has managed to pull together a strong supporting cast, including Leslie Mann, Raúl Castillo and Kelly O’Sullivan. Following the initial success and critical praise of his debut,Shithouse” “Cha Cha Real Smooth” promises to be another authentic yet hilarious take on figuring things out during the transition periods in life.

After Yang TBA 2022

In Kogonada’s newest release, “After Yang,” viewers find a story of found family, grief, and memory. Starring Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Justin H. Min and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, the science fiction film chronicles the story of a family with an adopted Asian daughter, Mika (Tjandrawidjaja). In an attempt to help her connect with her culture and their family, parents, Jake and Kyra (Farrell and Turner-Smith) purchase a robot, Yang (Min), who becomes an integral part of Mika’s life. Over the years, Yang becomes a member of the family, until ultimately breaking down during a game night due to an unfixable malfunction. After his death, Jake discovers that the robot was recording his own memories for years and begins to watch the tapes. The film is melancholy and emotional and encourages viewers to truly consider what it means to be human. Though it experienced an initial premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year, a wider release can be expected in 2022. 

Am I OK? January 24, 2022 (wider release TBA)

Written by Lauren Pomerantz and directed by wives Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, Am I OK? chronicles the journey of a woman discovering her sexuality in her 30s and the intensity of a close female friendship. The film stars Dakota Johnston as Lucy, a woman who emotionally comes out to her best friend, Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) after Jane announces her imminent move to another country. What follows is Lucy’s journey to figure out her sense of self after three decades of denying her identity. The film also focuses on the shifting dynamics of Lucy and Jane’s inseparable friendship as Jane’s attempts to help become controlling and the two learn to cope with their impending distance from each other. Reviews from the initial Sundance release have called Johnson’s performance “vulnerable and hilarious” and the film has received praise for its authentic portrayal of coming out later in life and the “lovely” portrayal of a caring yet complex best friendship. 

Fresh March 4, 2022

Mimi Cave’s "Fresh” begins innocently enough; a young woman, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), is navigating the world of online dating; to put it simply, it sucks. After a series of rough dates, she bumps into Steve (Sebastian Stan) and after a promising first date, she starts to believe their relationship might work out. While this may seem like your classic romance, Steve soon reveals a disturbing and sadistic secret. For those of you who only know Stan from his roles as Bucky Barnes in the MCU or Carter Baizen in “Gossip Girl,” “Fresh” offers a look at his knack for playing darkly complex and internally tortured characters, rarely seen in his most popular performances. Considering his work as Jeff Gillooly in “I, Tonya” and Chris in “Destroyer,” the film is likely to show off Stan’s versatility and benefit from his ability to simultaneously charm and horrify viewers. Cave’s “Fresh” is a topical addition to today’s horror films, and, while I won’t quite spoil it for you, early reviews call it “a provocative meal.” Do with that information what you will. 

Bones & All TBA 2022 

Continuing on our cannibalism theme, “Bones & All” reunites the wildly popular Timothèe Chalamet with the man that made him everyone’s celebrity crush, “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino in his first U.S. movie. In “Bones & All,” Chalamet stars opposite Taylor Russell’s Maren as Lee, a boyfriend I can only describe as arguably too supportive. In this film adaptation of the Camille DeAngelis novel by the same name, Lee accompanies Maren on her cross-country trip to find her absent father and understand why she has the uncontrollable impulse to literally kill and eat the people she loves. The pair goes through an intense emotional journey and must reconcile with their respective pasts and inherently outcast natures to determine if their roads truly lead to each other. The film promises gorgeous shots across the United States, Timothèe Chalamet with red highlights in his hair and an all-consuming (...I couldn’t resist) love story, making it a highly anticipated release. 

Asteroid City TBA 2022

Wes Anderson has one of the most distinctive and idiosyncratic styles in film today. He’s best known for his detailed and colorful shots, vintage aesthetics and the massive quirky ensembles that often carry his films. The newest addition to Anderson’s prolific filmography is “Asteroid City.” While little is known about the plot, it’s said to either be a romance, a study of a group of “brainy teenagers” or both. It features Anderson’s largest ensemble cast yet, with many of his classic collaborators returning, including Bill Murray (working with Anderson for the 10th time!), Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum and Scarlett Johanssen. Newcomers to the Anderson universe include Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Sophia Lillis and Matt Dillon. The film is likely to be scored by two-time Oscar winner, Alexandre Desplat, which would make it the pair’s sixth collaboration. Written, directed, and produced by Anderson alongside a cast that’s been described as “his wildest yet,” “Asteroid City” is likely to have everything people love about a Wes Anderson film. 

Everything Everywhere All At Once March 25, 2022

This upcoming science fiction thriller is from the writing and directing pair Daniel Kwan and Daniel Sheinert (AKA the Daniels) in their second movie collaboration. It follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a woman who is confronted by her husband — from another universe. From this moment, Evelyn discovers that there are countless versions of herself across a plethora of multiverses and that she has access to all of their skills and experiences through a tool called the mind link. Against a cross-dimensional evil, Wang must now use her host of new powers to save the multiverse. With a season action movie star in Yeoh and a strong supporting cast in Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate and Stephanie Hsu, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is poised to be a mind-boggling adventure with a fascinating and ambitious plot.  

Disappointment Blvd. April 22, 2022

“Hereditary.” “Midsommar.” When you combine Ari Aster and A24, you’re likely to get a truly bizarre film with some intensely dark subtext. Aster’s upcoming project, “Disappointment Blvd.” is described as a four hour (yes, FOUR HOUR) long “nightmare comedy.” While much of the plot is being kept under wraps, it’s set to be an intimate portrait of the decades-long career of a currently unnamed entrepreneur, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, known for his Oscar-winning performance as the titular character in “Joker” as well as his turns in critically-acclaimed gems like “C’mon, C’mon” and “The Master.” Others in the cast include Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan. While unconfirmed, Meryl Streep has been rumored to be a part of the project as well. While Aster and A24 seem set on keeping the details of the film secret for now, keep an eye out for more announcements on what is likely to be, in true Aster fashion, a disturbing masterpiece. 

The Northman April 22, 2022

One word to describe this film? Vengeance. “The Northman” follows a Viking prince (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth, as he seeks to avenge his murdered father and reclaim the throne. The dramatic thriller features blood, violence, and Amleth’s internal struggle as he fights against his desire for revenge and his duty to his family. Joining Skarsgård, the film features Nicole Kidman as his widowed mother, Anya Taylor-Joy as a confidant and ally and other big names such as Willem Dafoe and Björk. Directed by Robert Eggers, known for his masterful blend of historical accuracy and stunning shots, the film is likely to be an incredible cinematic experience. In addition to incredible visuals, Eggers’ prior projects suggest a psychological effect in his new work as his characters begin to mentally deteriorate and experience both external and internal conflict. As one of the most promising young directors of today, “The Northman” seeks to continue to build on Eggers’ successful career and cement his place in the industry. 

Elvis June 24, 2022

Baz Luhrmann is back, baby! Luhrmann, known for films you watched in English class such as “The Great Gatsby” and “Romeo and Juliet,” directs an Elvis biopic, chronicling the life of “the King of Rock n’ Roll.” Starring Austin Butler (of Ned’s Declassified and iCarly origins) as Elvis and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, the film plans to start with Elvis’ humble beginnings and showcase his astronomical rise to fame. Luhrmann has praised both his stars at length, describing Butler’s performance as “phenomenal” and Hanks as “thrilling.” While a large portion of the film will focus on Presley’s life, Luhrmann also expressed a desire to utilize the life of Elvis as a device to explore themes in American life and culture in the late 20th century. With a fascinating story, a strong cast and Luhrmann’s distinct, chaotic style, this biopic is not one to be missed. 

Nope July 22, 2022

Jordan Peele, the Oscar-winning writer and director known for hits such as “Get Out” and “Us,” is back with another thought-provoking horror movie. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya alongside Steven Yuen, Keke Palmer and Barbie Ferreira (best known to those of you who are Euphoria fans). Kaluuya, who was nominated for an Oscar after his performance in “Get Out” is likely to excel again in his second collaboration with Peele. The plot of “Nope” remains unknown, but widespread internet speculation took off after Peele released an image of the promotional poster online. If viewers have learned anything from “Get Out” and “Us,” the film is likely to be a mix of comedy and horror with distinct social commentary and deeper themes running alongside a scary and anticipatory plot. With Peele’s track record, “Nope” is likely to be another smash success and achieve both critical and popular praise. 

Don’t Worry Darling September 23, 2022

This is the only movie on this list that I can say has driven Harry Styles fans into not one, but two separate breakdowns. Though Wilde is best known for her critically acclaimed comedy “Booksmart,” her sophomore feature, “Don’t Worry Darling,” is going in a different direction. Calling the film “the Feminine Mystique on acid” and citing a variety of psychosexual films as inspiration, “Don’t Worry Darling” is best described as a dramatic, psychological thriller. Starring Styles and Florence Pugh (yes, it’s the movie that features that clip you saw on Twitter), the film chronicles the the story of a 1950s housewife, Alice (Florence Pugh), as she begins to question her utopian community and the people in it. Styles features in a supporting role as her husband, hiding a dark secret from both her and their seemingly picturesque community. The film has received immense hype on social media, both for its star-studded cast and its viral trailer and looks to be a bold departure from Wilde’s previous work. 

The Menu October 8, 2022

To put it simply, it is Anya Taylor-Joy’s YEAR. “The Menu” is a “darkly comedic psychological thriller” set in the anomalous world of high-end culinary arts. The film follows a couple, Margot (Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) as they visit an exclusive restaurant on a remote island. The chef, played by none other than Ralph Finneas (known for his roles as Voldemort in the Harry Potter series and M in the James Bond films), has both a promising tasting menu and a host of surprises in store for the pair. The film is being directed by Mark Mylod, best known for his work on series like “Succession,”Game of Thrones” and “Shameless.” While not much else is known about this upcoming feature, Mylod, known for his distinct visual style and talent in intermixing subversive humor into his work is expected to bring this clever script to life. 

Poor Things TBA 2022

“Poor Things,” the newest project from Yorgos Lanthimos, best known for “The Favourite,” is the movie adaptation of the 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray. The film features Emma Stone in her second collaboration with Lanthimos, alongside Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Jerrod Carmicheal and Ramy Youssef in his first major film role. Stone stars as Belle Baxter, a young woman who is revived from the dead by a scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter (Dafoe), after she drowns herself in an attempt to escape her abusive husband. The plot is said to be a twist on the classic Frankenstein story, with Baxter’s brain being replaced with that of her unborn child. With an uniquely dark premise and an underlying conflict of male desire and female independence, “Poor Things” is shaping up to be a fascinating project. 

Babylon December 25, 2022

I gotta say, it’s not every day you see two actors co-star in consecutive period pieces focusing on the same place, but following their work in Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt are back in Tinseltown, except this time, it’s the 1920s. “Babylon” follows the pair in the roaring 20s as the era of silent film comes to an end and the rise of big Hollywood studios begins. Robbie plays real-life starlet Clara Bow and Pitt features as a fictional director struggling to cope with the changing tide of the industry. Directed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle, best known for the film “La La Land,” “Babylon” is expected to intermix historical figures, fictional storylines and glamorous visuals to create a true ode to the origins of the film industry and the classic stars and directors that shaped it. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Call Jane January 21, 2022 (wider release TBA) dir. Phyllis Nagy
  • Emily the Criminal January 23, 2022 (wider release TBA) dir. John Patton Ford
  • Uncharted February 18, 2022 dir. Ruben Fleishcer
  • The Batman March 4, 2022 dir. Matt Reeves
  • Lightyear June 17, 2022 dir. Angus MacLane
  • Thor: Love and Thunder July 8, 2022 dir. Taika Watiti
  • Knives Out 2 (Title TBA) Fall 2022 dir. Rian Johnson 
  • Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse (Part One) October 7, 2022 dir. Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, & Justin Thompson 
  • Canterbury Glass November 4, 2022 dir. David O. Russell
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever November 11, 2022 dir. Ryan Coogler
  • White Noise TBA 2022 dir. Noah Baumbach
  • Pinocchio December 2022 dir. Guillermo Del Toro 


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