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Aubrey Plazza in ‘Emily the Criminal.’

Mr. Movie: Sleepers of 2022 Part 1

Let’s be honest: 2022 was not a great year for movies, but there were quite a few that I thought were pretty good and which didn’t get much play. Herewith some of those.


Mark Rylance carries the complicated The Outfit as Leonard Burling, an unassuming British tailor in Chicago who gets mixed up with the criminal mob. All of the many heavies treat Leonard as a timid servant, only to get their comeuppance in a surprising way. I’m giving nothing away; you’ll have to watch it to find out.


I admit I’m a sucker for newspaper movies. Well, I worked on one for years and am writing in one now. Anyway, She Said is the true story of the exposing and downfall of the satanic Harvey Weinstein. He was a powerful film producer. His word got films made and his antics got starlets made and unmade. Carey Mulligan and Zoey Kazan portray the New York Times reporters whose investigative reporting brought the horrid Weinstein down. Ashley Judd is quite good as one of the many actresses preyed on by Weinstein, and one of the first to come forward on the record. There turn out to be about 50! And Harvey winds up in prison, probably for life.


Good Night Oppy is a documentary about the strange, long life of Opportunity, a rover landed on Mars by NASA in 2003. It sent back lots of pictures and other information. It was only supposed to last a few weeks, but wound up lasting over 15 years. Oppy is the nickname bestowed by the engineers, and the thing almost seems human as they talk about it. As its batteries gradually weaken, the time comes for NASA to say Good Night to a good and faithful, if mechanical, servant.


Unknown Aubrey Plaza is the title character in Emily The Criminal, a crackerjack film noir. Emily owes a ton of student debt but can’t get a good job because of her criminal record. She falls in with a credit card scamming group, whose MO involves using fake credit cards to make big purchases in stores. She has lots of adventures and winds up in South America. As the film ends, she is seen teaching a class on the art of credit card scams.


And finally The Pale Blue Eye starring Christian Bale as retired detective August Landor. He is hired to investigate the hanging of a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point. To aid in his work, he hires cadet Edgar Allen Poe, portrayed by unknown Harry Melling. Melling looks enough like pictures of Poe to give you the creeps. Anyway, the pair eventually unravel the complicated story. And there’s a very cool twist at the end you will not see coming!


All of the movies in this article are available on DVD. All are for adults except Oppy, which is OK for all ages.