The best films of the first half of 2022

We’re gearing up for the back stretch of 2022, and there’s been no shortage of great movies to delight us at the theaters and at home. There have been big theatrical events like Top Gun: Maverick and Nope, straight-to-streaming hits like Prey, and much more to thrill and surprise us this year at the movies.


Midthunder is Naru, a young woman who wants to prove herself as a warrior, despite the mockery of many young men in her tribe. It’s the perfect conflict for the Predator to wade his way into, as a creature whose only concern is challenging himself against the mightiest foes he can find.


Jordan Peele’s alien-invasion movie has its flaws, particularly a leisurely pacing that doesn’t fully serve the film’s tension. But it also stands out as one of 2022’s most visually indelible and memorable films, packed with horrors that imprint directly on the psyche. It’s a callback to an era when movies were allowed to be more mysterious, and horror leaned more directly on the unknown and unknowable. At the same time, it’s an incisive character piece, easily read as an analysis of fame, of response to tragedy, and many other things. It’s a thoughtful, well-constructed puzzlebox of a film, worth considering and unpacking at length — but it’s also just plain scary, and horror fans could hardly ask for more than that. —Tasha Robinson


A love letter to the sport of basketball and one of the better sports movies released in years, Hustle is a terrific display for Adam Sandler’s talents and his love for the sport. Sandler is Stanley Sugerman, a former college star who is now a veteran NBA scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. He has a close relationship with the team’s owner (Robert Duvall), a father-like figure to Sugerman who sees Stanley’s value as a basketball mind. The owner promotes Sugerman to assistant coach, a position where he can spend more time around his wife (Queen Latifah) and their young daughter. But when tragedy gets in the way of Stanley’s new job, he has to prove himself yet again and find a winning prospect for the team.


“The sequel was so much better than the original” isn’t something movie fans say or hear often, but it’s true in the case of Top Gun: Maverick, a 36-years-later check-in on the high-flying 1986 action movie that gave Tom Cruise the need for speed. Cruise is back as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the Navy test pilot who continually lives up to his name by breaking rules, flouting superiors, and charting his own course. Maverick is an intense action movie where the actors really are flying planes and filming themselves in the cockpits, and even though the ending is a foregone conclusion