The art of picking the best movies for a year can be tricky. Sometimes, films that seem like they are winners on paper often disappoint onscreen. 

Here are 15 2022 releases that will surely be of interest to everyone.

Some of these were delayed for up to 12 months by the pandemic. Others, however, were still earmarked for next year. 

Not all will be available exclusively at cinemas. Some will also open in streaming media. 

That’s the way of the world these days, but as the cinema industry continues its recovery after the crippling blows dealt by lockdown, let me do my bit, and stress that newly released movies are best enjoyed as part of a collective.

Unless the experience is ruined by others talking, rustling sweet packets or looking at their phones (my trio of bugbears), laughing, smiling, crying and shrieking together in a cinema audience is still one of life’s great pleasures. 

I’ve already seen a few of the films listed here, and recommend them wholeheartedly. 

For the rest of you, I only wish they were as wonderful as they seem. Have fun. . . Happy New Year!


The films Kenneth Branagh has directed are a pretty mixed bag, quality-wise, but this is comfortably his best yet — an engaging drama, both funny and moving, inspired by his own working-class Belfast boyhood.

This film is black and white with an amazing Van Morrison score. It was shot at the beginning of the Troubles in 1969. Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe play the parents, with Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds as the grandparents, and they’re all wonderful, but the stand-out performance is that of newcomer Jude Hill, basically playing the nine-year-old Branagh himself. (January)

You can marry me

Kat Valdez (left, Jennifer Lopez) and Charlie Gilbert (right, Owen Wilson) in Marry Me, directed by Kat Coiro

Kat Valdez (left Jennifer Lopez), and Charlie Gilbert (right Owen Wilson) are in Marry Me directed by Kat Coiro

Jennifer Lopez plays a pop superstar who, on stage, after learning her fiancé has been cheating on her, picks out of the crowd a random fan holding a ‘Marry Me’ sign . . . He agrees to accept his offer. 

Owen Wilson portrays him as an English math teacher.

All of which is the sort of daft premise — Notting Hill meets The Proposal — that might just add up to one of the year’s more enjoyable romcoms. (February)


A thrilling action thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays a Los Angeles bankrobber. The $32 million theft ends in the death of a police officer. 

He and his partner, his brother-in-law (who, bless, needs his share of the loot to pay his wife’s medical expenses), then escape in an ambulance with the stricken cop and a paramedic as hostages.

Michael Bay is the director. He’s not well-known for his intelligence, but word is that this film (adapted from a Danish movie) won’t feature his signature pyrotechnics. We’ll see. (February)


Robert Pattinson plays Bruce Wayne in The Batman, due out in 2022, which was filmed in the UK

Robert Pattinson portrays Bruce Wayne in The Batman. The film was shot in the UK.

It is possible to include only sequels, remakes, and superhero films on this list.

 But that would get terribly boring. This picture, however, should be entertaining.

Robert Pattinson is the Caped Crusader. Andy Serkis plays his English butler Alfred. Colin Farrell plays The Penguin. Zoe Kravitz portrays Catwoman. Paul Dano is The Riddler. 

Ben Affleck, who was initially the director, wrote, directed, and starred in the title role, lost faith in the project, and left the Batcave.

This movie was entirely shot in the UK. Liverpool and Glasgow were used as substitutes for Gotham City. (March)

Operation Mincemeat

Johnny Flynn , Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen star in Operation Mincemeat, a film about two intelligence officers who use a corpse and false papers to outwit German troops

Johnny Flynn , Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen star in Operation Mincemeat, a film about two intelligence officers who use a corpse and false papers to outwit German troops

One of the most remarkable episodes of World War II, and indeed one of the strangest of all espionage stories, is dramatised in John Madden’s film based on the non-fiction book by Ben Macintyre.

To fool Germany, secret papers were planted in 1943 on the corpse a Tramp dressed up as a Royal Marines officer to convince them that the Allied invasion would not start in Sicily but Greece. 

Colin Firth stars with a stellar cast. Johnny Flynn is a Lieutenant-Commander Ian Fleming. (April)

Railway Children are Back

Is there anyone who doesn’t love the original 1970 film, based on Edith Nesbit’s charming children’s novel? The sequel is now available, almost 50 years after the original.

Beguilingly, it stars Jenny Agutter as the grown-up version of Roberta or ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury, the character she played so beautifully all those years ago, and the period setting shifts from Edwardian England to World War II. 

Stars are Sheridan Smith and Tom Courtenay. (April)

The Northman

Alexander Skarsgard (pictured) in new movie The Northman, an epic revenge thriller exploring how far a Viking prince will go to seek justice for his murdered father

Alexander Skarsgard (pictured) in new movie The Northman, an epic revenge thriller exploring how far a Viking prince will go to seek justice for his murdered father

Robert Eggers was a filmmaker worth watching with his first two films The Witch (2015) and The Lighthouse (2018). 

His third again plunges into the past, this time to 10th-century Iceland, where a Viking prince is out to avenge his father’s murder.

Nicole Kidman is joined by Alexander Skarsgard and Willem Dafoo. Anya TaylorJoy, Willem Dafoo and Anya Taylor-Joy. To give it an Icelandic feel (even though the movie was shot in Ireland), Bjork. (April)

Maverick is the Top Gun

Tom Cruise reprises his role as Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell and smooches with Jennifer Connelly as they film a motorcycle scene together for the sequel Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise plays Pete “Maverick” Mitchell again in Top Gun: Maverick. He smooches Jennifer Connelly while they ride a motorcycle together.

Tony Scott was killed in 2012 after agreeing to direct the sequel to his 1986 classic. 

But after some uncertainty the project survived that tragedy, with Tom Cruise reprising his role as one of the U.S. Navy’s greatest aviators, now a seen-it-all veteran but naturally, still flying up a storm.

Miles Teller and Val Kilmer are both veterans of the original film. Chris McQuarrie is the co-writer. He was an Oscar winner for The Usual Suspects. (May)


The original release date has been pushed back by more than a year, so it’s now or never for Baz Luhrmann’s biographical drama about Elvis Presley, which stars Tom Hanks as Elvis’s formidable manager Colonel Tom Parker, and Austin Butler as the king of rock ’n’ roll.

Filming in Queensland, Australia was delayed while Rita Hanks recovered from Covid-19. 

Six months later, everything was in order, and he was back at the project. (June)


Lightyear will follow Buzz's origins and his adventures in a spin-off of Pixar's Toy Story movies

Lightyear will explore Buzz’s story and follow his journey in an animated spin-off from Pixar’s Toy Story films

The concern that Pixar might try to exploit Toy Story to infinity and well beyond seemed to end with the third sequel, 2019’s Toy Story 4, which we were told was definitively the last. 

But they clearly never meant they wouldn’t give us spin-offs.

Still, if Buzz Lightyear’s ‘origin story’ has half the wit and charm of the original film, it will be a welcome addition to the Toy Story universe. 

Chris Evans is the voice of the title character. Taika Waititi also appears in the cast. And, promisingly, Pete Docter, the writer behind Up and Inside Out promises to be the actor. (June)


Jordan Peele’s third movie as a writer-director is another horror film, which like his debut, 2017’s brilliant and disturbing Get Out, stars Britain’s Daniel Kaluuya. 

Peele isn’t giving any more details. This is his way of doing things. But, Peele’s own show is very difficult.

The production cost of Get Out was less than $5million and it grossed more than $250,000,000 at the worldwide box office. 

The second movie, Us (2019), also proved to be a huge success. Can lightning strike thrice again? (July)

Don’t Worry Darling

Florence Pugh and One Direction’s Harry Styles play the leads in this psychological thriller, set in the 1950s, about a housewife who discovers uncomfortable truths about her husband.

Chris Pine and Olivia Wilde are part of the cast. Olivia Wilde is also the director. 

It’s her second feature, and if her acclaimed 2019 debut, Booksmart, is anything to go by, it will be worth seeing. (September)

Paradise Ticket

George Clooney and Julia Roberts will star together in romcom movie Ticket to Paradise

Julia Roberts and George Clooney will co-star in the romcom film Ticket to Paradise

George Clooney and Julia Roberts, last seen together in Jodie Foster’s 2016 thriller Money Monster, play a divorced couple in this romcom directed and co-written by Ol Parker (Mamma Mia! We Go Again.

Their daughter is played by Billie Lourd, only child of the late Carrie Fisher, which lends a whiff of classic Hollywood incestuousness to the proceedings: one of Fisher’s dearest friends was George Clooney’s cousin Miguel Ferrer, son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney. (October)


Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, co-stars in Quentin Tarantino’s 2018 hit Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, again help to depict Tinseltown in a bygone age.

Damien Chazelle (La La Land) directed the film. The movie is set at the time when silent movies were replaced by talkies. Robbie portrays Clara Bow who was one of the most prominent stars in the Roaring 20s.

Pitt is a playwright who plays John Gilbert’s character, another star from the silent era that failed to make the transition to sound. (December)

Avatar 2

Sequels to James Cameron’s 2009 science-fiction epic Avatar have been in the works since 2010, and 12 years on, the first of them is almost ready.

Cameron has declared he would like to make four sequels, but won’t embark on numbers 4 and 5 unless 2 and 3 make serious money. So it’s over to us!

His Titanic star Kate Winslet is joining the cast this time, along with Edie Falco, still best known as TV’s Carmela Soprano. (December)

Will Game be shown on TV? Thrones defeated LOrd of the Rings

Christopher Stevens, The Daily Mail

It was 100 years ago that the modern world started. That’s when the airwaves began to crackle with the very first public broadcasts.

On Valentine’s Day 1922, a half-hour radio programme aired from a hut at the Marconi labs near Chelmsford, Essex. 

On the next day, The Daily Mail published its first review under the title Wireless Concert.

‘Last night’s concert consisted of songs by Mr Robert Howe and of gramophone records played by the Cliftophone,’ reported our critic. 

‘The first three items of the concert were heard fairly clearly on the Daily Mail wireless receiving set, but after that the sounds seemed to be entirely wiped out.’

The British Broadcasting Company, which aired its first news bulletins eight months later, was founded. . . and a licence fee of ten shillings (around £30 today) was introduced.

House Of The Dragon, a prequel to Game of Thrones, will air in 2022

House of The Dragon will premiere in 2022 as a prequel to Game of Thrones.

Now the Corporation is about to celebrate its centenary, promising a year of ‘brilliant programming marking 100 years of our BBC’.

Charlotte Moore, the Beeb’s ‘chief content officer’, says the anniversary will be a chance to ‘reflect on the unique role the BBC plays in the lives of audiences across the UK as our much cherished national broadcaster, from its creation to the present day.’

However, Auntie is seeing the competition racing towards her future. Online streaming video companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney have never faced a greater challenge than they do today.

It will be an intense battle for the next year between broadcasters of old and upstarts, with mega-budgets. Who will win — Old School or Young Pretenders? The guide can help you select your favorites in the fight.


The Tourist, BBC1, New Year’s Day, 9pm

The Beeb’s centenary year starts with a sign of its commitment to outstanding television despite the restrictions of filming during a pandemic. This action thriller is directed by Jack Williams and Harry Williams and stars Jamie Dornan. It’s set in Australia’s outback. Dornan is stranded after a juggernaut runs him off the road — is it an accident, or attempted murder?

Anne, ITV January 2, 2009, 9:59pm

Maxine Peake was outstanding in 2017’s Three Girls, the drama that forced TV to confront the Rochdale child sex abuse scandal. As the mother of a 15year old girl who was among the 97 victims of 1989’s Hillsborough stadium fire, Maxine Peake now takes on a difficult real-life tale. It’s tough to watch but truly moving.

Four Lives BBC1, January 3, 9, 9pm

It is another brutal, real-life drama that shows the victims of Stephen Port. Sarah Sak is Sheridan Smith, the mother to a gay fashion student. She fights for the truth.

Screw, C4, January 6th at 9:59pm

We have witnessed many actors sleeping in their work place as their homes fall apart, including Don Draper and Morse. But things must be really bad for Leigh Henry (Nina Sosanya) — she’s a prison officer, bedding down in the jail. She seems to be happy to violate the rules in order to assist prisoners. It can’t end well.

ITV’s Ipcress File

Joe Cole is a brave man to don Harry Palmer’s NHS spectacles. Michael Caine, who played one of 1960’s most iconic roles, was the last to have them. This adaptation of Len Deighton’s classic sticks more closely to the plot of the novel.

The Reckoning BBC1

Jimmy Savile is loved and appreciated for his quirky personality and wonderful charity work. In 2011, he was revealed to be a lifelong paedophile. Steve Coogan plays this evil man from his beginnings as a dancing hall DJ until his late years.

Trigger Point, ITV

Danger: UXB will bring back drama fans who have a long memory. It is the World War II story about Blitz bomb removal squads. Vicky McClure, Adrian Lester, and Adrian Lester are the stars in this modern adaptation of Expos. They play bomb defusers for Met Police, fighting terror in London. Joel and Lana, long-time friends who both served together in Afghanistan, are the duo.


Sheridan Smith portrays a mother whose world is thrown into chaos when her son, aged 15, is taken away during their family vacation to Turkey. 

Our House is a thriller that consists of four parts. It stars Tuppence Midton (ITV) as a estranged couple who are at war with strangers when they move in to their home and take all the possessions.

SAS: Rogue Heroes (BBC1) is an animated account of how the unit was formed in North Africa during World War II. 

Channel 4’s excellent foreign drama collection, Walter Presents, unearths a German crime serial called Dark Woods, starting on January 14.

Fans of Peter Bowker’s The A Word will love the spin-off Ralph And Katie (BBC1), following two newlyweds with Down’s Syndrome. 

Hugo Blick has also written a six-part Western called The English (BBC1). This drama stars Emily Blunt playing a woman who seeks revenge on her husband’s death.

Channel 5’s new series have a lot of interesting characters lined up. Nina Toussaint White is a hairdresser that looks out from her salon window to see a murder in Witness No3.

An investigative journalist (James D’Arcy) falls in love with a traumatised woman (Charlie Murphy) accused of murdering her husband, in Frenzy. 

Leanne Best is the lead actress in Compulsion opposite Anna Chancellor. This story tells the story about a paramedic who has PTSD and a gambling problem.

Martin Freeman also plays a 999 hero, in The Responder (BBC1) — a policeman working the night shift and trying to train a novice partner. 

Chloe is an episode of BBC1’s thriller series about obsession and social media. Erin Doherty plays a young, needy woman who stalks a friend she used to be online. 

Maxine Peake is the manager for a family firm who visits work one morning to see a dead body at reception.


Amazon Lord Of The Rings

Set thousands of years before The Hobbit, this adaptation of Tolkien’s mythological works seems to have been in the making almost as long. It is the most costly TV series, with a budget of $450 million and five seasons. Details such as storylines and cast details remain a secret. It is believed that it will feature Charles Edwards, Amelie Children-Villiers, and Will Fletcher.

Reacher, Amazon

Lee Child’s giant vigilante hero has been badly served by screen adaptations, including two movies starring tiny Tom Cruise as the 6ft 5in former military cop. This eight-part reboot is based on the first book in the series, Killing Floor, which sees Reacher (Alan Ritchson, inset right) arrested for a murder he didn’t commit.

Suspicion, Apple TV +

The film is inspired by Homeland, an Israeli thriller. Uma Thurman stars as Uma’s mother who has her son taken from New York City’s top hotel. The abduction is captured on CCTV — and four Brits staying at the hotel are prime suspects.

Disney + Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac portrays a former U.S Marine and crime fighter who finds himself in the clutches of many personalities. He is then flung back into the past to ancient Egypt. The gods and pharoahs have declared war. . . They must be defeated.

Extinction, Sky Max

Pappa Esiedu portrays a secret agent in a dramatic drama that has dark echoes like Groundhog Day. He keeps coming back to the exact same place throughout history. When his wife is killed, he embarks on a time-bending plan to save her — one that might destroy the world.

Rest is best

Disney + has been having an amazing time celebrating pop culture through a couple of dramas about rock stars. Pam and Tommy share the story of Baywatch’s star Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, and how their sex tape made them a worldwide sensation. It stars Sebastian Stan and Lily James. 

Lily James plays Pamela Anderson in Pam and Tommy, telling how the Baywatch star caused a global sensation with her sex tape

Lily James portrays Pamela Anderson, the Baywatch actress. She tells how her tape made her famous worldwide.

Pistol is based on the life of Sex Pistol Steve Jones — not the druggie bass player, not the mouthy singer, but the one who could actually play a guitar.

Matt Smith plays Prince Daemon Targaryen, a Game Of Thrones prequel in House Of The Dragon (Sky Atlantic) wearing a bleached blonde wig. 

Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans co-star. David Tennant returns as the demon, with Michael Sheen playing the angel role. This is the second season of Good Omens (Amazon).

Based on a magazine article concerning a fraudster and fake socialite, Inventing Anna was recast by Julia Garner. Madeline Brewer from Orange Is The New Black had dropped out. 

The Midwich Cuckoos (Sky Max), starring Keeley Hawes, is a remake of a story by John ‘Revenge Of The Triffids’ Wyndham, about a town where every woman under 50 simultaneously falls pregnant.

Britbox also has new drama in development, including Murder In Provence starring Roger Allam playing a France-based investigator. 

Hotel Portofino tells another European fairy tale. It stars Natasha McElhone. The story is set at a Mediterranean resort in the 1920s.

The adaptation of Sarah Perry’s novel Essex Serpent (Disney +) was originally set to star Keira Knightly. Claire Danes was her replacement after Knightly pulled out. This Victorian mystery stars Tom Hiddleston as well Clemence Poetry.