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Nope (2022) Review

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Nope

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror scenes & offensive language
Cast:
Daniel Kaluuya as Otis Jr. “OJ” Haywood
Keke Palmer as Emerald “Em” Haywood
Steven Yeun as Ricky “Jupe” Park
Brandon Perea as Angel Torres
Michael Wincott as Antlers Holst
Wrenn Schmidt as Amber Park
Keith David as Otis Haywood Sr.
Director: Jordan Peele

Residents in a lonely gulch of inland California bear witness to an uncanny, chilling discovery.

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Nope was one of my most anticipated movies of 2022, simply because it’s the newest film from Jordan Peele. I loved his past work with Get Out and Us, and while I didn’t know much about Nope except the cast and theories about what it might be about, I was very interested in it. I had to wait about an extra month before I could watch the movie, but I finally got the chance to watch Nope, and it did not disappoint.

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Much like Jordan Peele’s other movies, Nope is really worth going into blind, so I’ll try to keep details regarding the plot to a minimum. Nope has a considerably larger scale compared to his past movies, and I think the ambition paid off. This is definitely a genre picture and a love letter to sci-fi, there are even whimsical moments that are reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s movies. At the same time, it is thematically dense and layered with biting social commentary. I won’t go into too much depth with what the movie is about, but I can some of the prominent themes include, exploitation (particularly of animals), and how people can turn trauma, violence and tragedy into spectacle for the masses and profit; ironically, Nope is a spectacle about a spectacle. It explores the dark truth of what it means to create or capture an extravaganza, and asks whether it is worth it at all. There’s a lot here that can be unpacked and analysed, and it had me reflecting on some moments and choices hours after watching the film. As expected with it being a Jordan Peele movie, Nope has some comedy which fits surprisingly well and is entertaining. At the same time, it equally handle the horror well too. Between the three Peele movies, this is probably his least scary film thus far. Still, there is this a looming sense of dread throughout, with eerie tension and a terrifying atmosphere. It also has probably the scariest scene I’ve seen from his movies; its halfway through the movie and lasts for probably less than a minute, but it was one of the most unnerving scenes I’ve seen from a recent horror film. Nope is a long movie at 130 minutes and the slow pacing might turn some people off, especially early on when it’s setting up the story. However, it worked for me, and it culminated in a highly satisfying third act.

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The small but intimate cast give great, subtle and layered performances here. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer play the protagonists, and they are fantastic here. They are very believable and share a convincing on-screen sibling bond together. The rest of the cast including Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Keith David and more are really good too, each of them adding something to the movie.

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Jordan Peele once again delivers on his direction, this time helming his biggest movie yet. The cinematography from Hoyte van Hoytema is absolutely stunning. It excellently captures the sky at different times of the day, and particularly shines with the scenes taking place at night. The scenes of tension are also very effective, even simple shots of clouds manage to feel unnerving. It’s perfectly edited, and the production and set designs are great. The sound design was also a highlight, amazing and immersive, it was really something to experience the film in the cinema. On that note, the music from Michael Abels is dynamic and fantastic.

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Nope was fantastic, it is already one of my favourite movies of the year: a tense, thematically dense and spectacular sci-fi horror movie. Jordan Peele’s writing and direction are incredible as usual, and the cast deliver excellent performances, especially Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer. There’s a lot to unpack with this movie with its themes and what its saying; there’s a lot there and it is definitely one I need to rewatch. But for now, I can say that it is another great movie from Peele, and possibly his best yet.

Top 25 Anticipated Movies of 2022

There’s a lot of potentially great movies coming this year. No doubt like the past couple years, a number of these movies will be delayed (for many of them it won’t be the first time). In any case, there’s a lot of exciting movies set for release in 2022 that I’m looking forward to.

25. Creed III

I will admit that I’m not a massive Rocky fan, I’ve only seen the first Rocky and the 2 Creed films, but I do like them. Even though I thought that Creed II was a perfectly fitting ending to the series, I’m interested in watching another one. Creed III will have Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson returning to their roles, and also has the addition of Jonathan Majors as the min antagonist. However the most interesting part is that Michael B. Jordan will be directing, much like how Sylvester Stallone once directed a Rocky movie. So at the very least, I’m interested to see how it turns out.

24. Don’t Worry Darling

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Don’t Worry Darling has me mainly interested because of the people involved with it, both with the director and actors. The movie follows an unhappy housewife in the 1950s who discovers a disturbing truth, while her husband hides a dark secret. Unfortunately, I’m one of the only people who didn’t like Booksmart, but I thought that Olivia Wilde’s direction in it was good, and I was looking forward to seeing what she made next. The prospect of her directing a horror and psychological thriller has me very interested. Then there’s the actors attached to the film. Florence Pugh and Harry Styles are in the lead roles, and the rest of the cast includes Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne and Wilde herself. With the talent involved, I am very curious about this movie at the very least.

23. The Black Phone

Scott Derrickson is a good director mostly known for horror and after 7 years, he is finally making another horror movie. The Black Phone is about a 13-year-old boy who is abducted by a serial killer and is trapped in a soundproof basement. A disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring and he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims, who try to help him escape. While the trailer gives a lot away, I really like the look of it. I especially like the mix of supernatural and ghost horror with serial killer horror. Add Ethan Hawke as a serial killer and The Black Phone looks like a solid horror movie that will provide some thrills.

22. Three Thousand Years of Longing

George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing looks to be something of an epic adventure movie starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, and I already like the sounds of it. I’ve been hoping for another film from Miller, its been 7 years since his last film Mad Max: Fury Road, so I would be excited for whatever he would be making next.

21. The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg’s next film is based off his own childhood and includes a cast featuring Paul Dano, Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen. There’s not really much to say about it, that director and cast have me interested.

20. Pinocchio

There are actually 2 Pinocchio films coming out in 2022. One of them is a live action Disney remake directed by Robert Zemeckis. However the Pinocchio movie I’m placing on this list is a stop motion animated film from Guillermo del Toro. While I wouldn’t usually be interested in this sort of film, his name being involved in this project has me interested to say the least. As expected with del Toro co-directing (alongside Mark Gustafson), this version of Pinocchio will be on the darker side especially when compared to the Disney adaptations of the story. It’s also a stop motion animation and while we didn’t get to see much of the animation outside of a recently released teaser, I’m sure it’ll look fantastic. There is also a voice cast that includes Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, John Turturro and Burn Gorman. All things considering, it’s Del Toro directing that has me interested most of all.

19. Avatar 2

I will openly admit being one of the people who just wasn’t into Avatar. The direction and visuals are fantastic, but I just felt nothing for the story and characters. Also constantly hearing for the past decade about how James Cameron is making 3 more of these movies with nothing to show for it, it got kind of annoying. With that said, looking at the way some big budget films are going, I have been coming around on the ideas of the Avatar sequels. Cameron clearly puts a lot of effort and dedication into these movies, and I am curious to see what he has planned for them. Even if the Avatar sequels turn out to be mostly just great visuals, it is no doubt going to be better crafted than most of the major blockbusters released over the past 5 years.

18. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

This is the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange, with returning actors with Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong, along with adding Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, who’ll play a significant part in the plot. Most notable of all however is that Sam Raimi is directing, returning to comic book movies since he last made one 15 years ago. Raimi’s influence is already apparent in the intriguing trailer. I am slightly concerned as to the reshoots and wondering whether it learned the wrong lessons from Spider-Man No Way Home with regard to the use of nostalgia and cameos. Apparently it might contain more characters from Marvel movies from outside the MCU, whether that be the Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Ben Affleck’s Daredevil or whoever. It does have the potential to be a mess if they are going down that path, but I’ll go into it open minded.

17. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

It seems that the first Aquaman movie wasn’t for everyone, however it was one of my favourites of the non Snyder-directed DCEU films. It was unapologetically over the top and silly, which was probably why I liked it so much. Along with having the returning cast, most importantly James Wan returns to direct, I really liked his direction in the first movie, and I’m interested to see what he does with the second movie.

16. Disappointment Blvd.

I am admit myself a little mixed on Ari Aster. On the one hand I loved Hereditary from my one viewing of it, it’s definitely one of the most memorable horror films I’ve seen in recent memory. On the other hand, I just didn’t find his second film Midsommar to be that good, certainly with impressive direction and having a strong lead performance from Florence Pugh, but I found myself let down by it. However I am still interested in checking out whatever he directs next. His next film as it happens doesn’t seem to be a horror movie, at least based off its premise. It is meant to be a decades spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, so I’m interested to see what story Aster is going for here. Not only that, but the Joaquin Phoenix will be in the lead role and honestly he accounts for about 50% of my anticipation for this film. I have no idea what kind of movie it’ll be, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.

15. Black Adam

With the recent direction that the DCEU has been taking, I’ve been having some mixed feelings about some of their upcoming releases. One of the better looking films is actually Black Adam, foucssing on the Shazam villain/anti-hero of the same name. It has quite a cast involved, including Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan. Not only that but it’s directed by Jaume Collet-Serra who has directed a wide range of movies from action thrillers with his Liam Neeson movies, to light hearted adventures like Jungle Cruise, to horror films like Orphan and The Shallows. His direction in those films are impressive and from the teaser for Black Adam, it already looks quite good. Its just unfortunate that my one hesitation is to do with the lead actor, Dwayne Johnson. Given that for a while he’s just been playing variations of the same character in his films, for him to take on the powerful and dangerous Shazam villain makes me wonder how that’ll turn out, especially as he’ll no doubt have quite a lot of creative control. That aside, I am still looking forward to the movie.

14. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was one of the more surprising movies I watched in recent memory. A great Spider-Man story with memorable and well defined characters with unique and fantastic animation. It was inevitable that it would end up receiving a sequel, which is what we have here. The decision to break the follow up into two parts was certainly interesting, but honestly I don’t need to know anything more other than it being a Spider-Verse sequel.

13. The Banshees of Inisherin

Writer and director Martin McDonagh has only made a few movies, but he’s done a lot with what he’s made. He made In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths and more recently got awards recognition with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. His next film reunites him with his In Bruges lead actors Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. It focuses on a pair of lifelong friends on a remote Irish island finding themselves in an awkward time in their relationship when one of them no longer wants to be friends. It doesn’t sound the most interesting of plots, but I really like Martin McDonagh’s writing style, very dark and very funny. His involvement and the cast (which also includes Barry Keoghan and Kerry Kondon) have me very interested.

12. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

Writer and director Martin McDonagh made In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths and more recently got awards recognition with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. His next film reunites him with his In Bruges lead actors Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. It focuses on a pair of lifelong friends on a remote Irish island finding themselves in an awkward time in their relationship when one of them no longer wants to be friends. It doesn’t sound the most interesting of plots, but I nonetheless like Martin McDonagh’s writing style, very dark and very funny. His involvement and the cast (also including Barry Keoghan and Kerry Kondon) have me very interested to see how it turns out.

11. Bullet Train

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Any action movie from John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 director David Leitch will have my attention, especially when its about five assassins on individual assignments on a Japanese bullet train. However it also has a very impressive cast, with the likes of Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Logan Lerman, Michael Shannon, Zazie Beetz, Lady Gaga, Brian Tyree Henry, Karen Fukuhara and more involved. At the very least, I think we are going to get an entertaining and well made action thriller that will be a lot of fun.

10. Havoc

I really like Gareth Evans, from his work on his excellent action movies in the Raid films to his horror film Apostle. So naturally I’m excited for his newest action movie, Havoc. After a drug deal gone wrong, a detective must fight his way through a criminal underworld to rescues a politician’s estranged son, while unravelling a deep web of corruption and conspiracy that ensnares the entire city. That sounds like a good premise for Evans to work with, especially for an action movie. There is also a good cast in Tom Hardy, Forest Whitaker, Timothy Olyphant, Jessie Mei Li, Michelle Waterston. Evans is great at the action scenes so I know that those scenes will be fantastic at the very least.

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Swiss Army Man was an incredibly weird movie about a farting and talking corpse played by Daniel Radcliffe that can seemingly do anything that somehow managed to be absolutely fantastic. The directors of that, Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (known as the Daniels), are releasing another very weird movie, however this time it is an action movie. The plot is far fetched with Michelle Yeoh trying to save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led and has a multiverse. Its basically Michelle Yeoh in the Multiverse of Michelle Yeoh. The directors already had me interested but the trailer already made it look really exciting and entertaining. Definitely has the potential to be one of 2022’s most memorable films.

8. After Yang

Sometime in the past years I finally got around to watching Columbus and I absolutely loved it. I was anticipating director Kogonada’s next film and it looks like its finally here. Starring Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith and Haley Lu Richardson, After Yang is about a father and daughter attempting to save the life of their robotic family member, definitely a different kind of movie from Columbus considering its going into sci-fi. I’m not quite sure what to expect but the early viewings of After Yang have been very positive and I’m intrigued to watch it, if only for the director’s work on Columbus.

7. Nope

Jordan Peele made a massive impact on the horror genre with his directorial debut Get Out, a great and original horror film. His next film was Us, and while that wasn’t quite at the level as his debut, I actually liked it quite a lot. So whatever the case, I’m very interested to see what Peele directs next and we are getting that with his newest film, Nope. Like with Us, there is very little information given as to the actual plot of the movie. However we got Peele writing and directing which already has me on board. Additionally, there’s a cast which includes Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun, which has me very interested. Whatever it is, I’m excited for whatever Nope turns out to be.

6. Blonde

While biopics can be very typical and usually end up being just a display of some good acting at best (at worst its failed Oscar bait), the upcoming film about Marilyn Monroe sounds like it’ll be very interesting. The talent involved is difficult to ignore, and the story and movie on the whole seems like it’ll be anything but conventional. Ana de Armas is a great actress, starring in recent films like Knives Out, Blade Runner 2049 and No Time to Die, and so I am interested to see how she does as Marilyn Monroe. Also, Andrew Dominik is a fantastic filmmaker from his works of Chopper, Killing Them Softly, and of course The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. However what interests me the most is how unconventional this movie seems to be from word of mouth. In fact it seems like there’s going to be issues with releases, mainly due to the fact that the current cut earned itself the dreaded NC-17 rating. It does have me somewhat concerned about the actual release and whether it’ll be tampered with so that it is safe enough for audiences (especially as the movie is distributed by Netflix). Still, consider me intrigued at the very least.

5. Knives Out 2

Rian Johnson’s surprising hit whodunit is receiving a sequel, following another case taken on by Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc. Along with Craig returning there is a new supporting cast including Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Ethan Hawke, Kathryn Hahn and Leslie Odom Jr. Definitely a lot of great names attached. We don’t know anything about the plot except its another murder case that Benoit Blanc is taking on, and Rian Johnson is returning to write and direct, and that’s all we need to know.

4. Babylon

Damien Chazelle is one of my favourite filmmakers working today, with Whiplash, La La Land and First Man being particularly great to excellent movies. His next movie is set in Hollywood during the transition from silent films to talkies. While we’ve definitely had movies like that and we know that the Oscars are going to be really into it by the mere fact that it’s about Hollywood, I am interested to see what Chazelle does with it. The main cast of the movie includes Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Katherine Waterston, Samara Weaving, Max Minghella, and Tobey Maguire, all great actors whose involvements naturally had me interested. Most of all though, I’m intrigued by the idea of Chazelle making a movie about Hollywood. He’s done so much across his past three movies, and the fact that its his next work alone has me interested.

3. The Northman

Robert Eggers has quickly become one of my favourite directors with The Witch and The Lighthouse alone, and with The Northman he is taking on looks to be his biggest undertaking yet. It’s a large scale Viking tale focusing on a Viking prince going on a quest to avenge his father’s murder. It has an absolutely stacked ensemble with Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke and Bjork and Willem Dafoe, all of whom are great actors who’ll do wonderfully in their parts. We don’t really get many movies focusing on Vikings so that’ll be interesting to see. Not only that but it’s also by Eggers, whose is an amazing filmmaker as shown in his last two movies focused on old timely from the commitment of the setting to the authentic dialogue. The trailer was amazing, showing off a large scale, and was very much gritty and dark. I can’t wait to see what he does with this, it already looks spectacular.

2. The Batman

Yes, it’s another Batman movie. This Batman tale is more detective focused than anything that came before, focussing on a Se7en/Zodiac esque serial killer with The Riddler. The castings are great, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Colin Farrell as The Penguin, Paul Dano as The Riddler, and of course Robert Pattinson as Batman. Each of them are perfect for their parts, particularly Pattinson, who was a perfect actor for a younger Batman. Matt Reeves’s last movie War for the Planet of the Apes really showed that he is incredible at handling blockbusters, and so I’m greatly looking forward to seeing what he does with Batman. All the trailers look intriguing and fantastic while doing a good job at hiding much of the plot. Perhaps it’s a predictable choice, but The Batman already looks fantastic, and I can’t wait for it.

1. Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese is my favourite director, so naturally I’m very interested in whatever he has coming up. Killers of the Flower Moon looks to be among Scorsese’s best. It is based on a non-fiction book focusing on the serial killings of members of the oil wealthy Osage Nation in 1920s Oklahoma, which prompted an FBI investigation. It also looks to be a very ambitious with the highest budget that Scorsese has ever worked with. There’s also a cast which include Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow, all of whom will definitely play their parts well. It was one of my most anticipated movies ever since it was announced and I’m really looking forward to it.

What are your most anticipated movies of 2022?