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The 64 best movies on Amazon Prime Video (July 2022)

As we head into July, Amazon Prime Video has re-upped its movie offerings with a pack of new titles to choose from when you’re hunkering down inside to avoid the heat or taking advantage of the beautiful summer air for a backyard movie night. Whatever you’re in the mood for — be it a bizarre documentary about the American Dream coming crashing down in The Queen of Versailles, classic Russell Crowe action with Gladiator, or just wacky British comedy with Hot Fuzz — this is just the start of what the best movies on Amazon Prime look like for the month.

We’ve also put together guides to the best shows on Prime Video, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Netflix, the best new movies to stream, and the best movies on Disney+.

Recently added to Amazon Prime Video

Gladiator (2000) new

Gladiator
67 %
8.5/10
r 155m
Genre Action, Drama, Adventure
Stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Directed by Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott’s epic Roman action drama was a powerhouse in 2000, raking in 12 Oscar noms and five wins, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. A ripped Crowe stars as Maximus Decimus Meridius, the celebrated general of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), whose demented son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), murders him to take the throne. Commodus orders the death of Maximus and his family, but Maximus escapes, however not in time to save his wife and son. Exiled and thought dead, Maximus is sold to slavers where he is forced to fight for his freedom as a gladiator, which eventually brings him back to Rome where he might get his chance to exact his revenge on Commodus. 

Hot Fuzz (2007) new

Hot Fuzz
81 %
7.8/10
r 121m
Genre Crime, Action, Comedy
Stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent
Directed by Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are at it again in this second film in Pegg and director-writer Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (sandwiched between 2004’s Shaun of the Dead and 2013’s The World’s End). Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a hot-shot London police officer who’s reassigned to a mundane rural town where everything is perfect … maybe too perfect. Frost is his partner, constable Danny Butterman, who’s as clueless and lackadaisical as the rest of the townfolk, even as people start getting murdered around them. But Angel suspects foul play and won’t stop till he gets to the bottom of it while making a real police officer out of Danny in the process. Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, and Olivia Coleman also star.

WarGames (1983) new

WarGames
77 %
7.1/10
pg 114m
Genre Action
Stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood
Directed by John Badham
In 1983, the United States and Soviet Union were still locked in the throes of the Cold War, where the world was living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear war. WarGames was one of several politically poignant films of the era, attempting to underscore the futility of nuclear war and also introducing some of the earliest nods to artificial intelligence, hacker culture, and its role in global threats. In his first starring role, Matthew Broderick plays high school hacker David Lightman, whose proficiency with computers not only gets him into his school’s system to change his grades but accidentally finds him connected to NORAD’s supercomputer, WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), with which David starts a seemingly innocent game of “Global Thermonuclear War.” All seems fun until everyone realizes that WOPR thinks it’s real, and David, with the help of his friend Jennifer (Ally Sheedy) and WOPR’s original architect, Stephen Falken (John Wood), must teach the computer that no one wins in nuclear war.

The Queen of Versailles (2012) new

The Queen of Versailles
80 %
7.1/10
pg 100m
Genre Documentary
Stars Jaqueline Siegel, David Siegel, Virginia Nebab
Directed by Lauren Greenfield
Everyone likes a good train-wreck story, and documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles is one such hilarious crazy train that you just can’t turn away from. The doc tells the story of filthy rich resort timeshare moguls Jackie and David Siegel and their family, who live a life of ridiculous excess as they set out to build the biggest single-family house in America, a 90,000-square-foot mansion in Orlando with 14 bedrooms, nine kitchens, three indoor pools, two movie theaters, a bowling alley, a full baseball diamond, and a 20,000-bottle wine cellar listed among the amenities. Welp, just a few years into construction, things go off the rails for the Siegels when their business takes a huge hit during the Great Recession in 2008, and everything grinds to a halt. While David struggles to keep from losing everything, Jackie tries (and fails miserably) to keep her spending, and everything else, in check so they can get back to building their dream home.

Black Swan (2010) new

Black Swan
79 %
8/10
r 108m
Genre Drama, Thriller, Horror
Stars Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
The year before Natalie Portman would play the role of Thor‘s Jane Foster for the first time, she took on one of the darkest and most intense parts of her career, that of Nina Sayers, a deeply intense and obsessively dedicated young dancer in the famed New York City Ballet company. Given the prestigious starring dual role of the White Swan/Black Swan in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Nina begins to crack under the pressure, put on her by the company’s arrogant and demanding artistic director (Vincent Cassel) and a hungry new up-and-coming ballerina, Lily (Mila Kunis), who threatens to take the role from Nina. Director Darren Aronofsky guides the film through Nina’s dark and hallucinogenic psyche as Portman delivers her Oscar-winning performance.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) new

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
61 %
6.3/10
pg-13 119m
Genre Comedy
Stars Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd
Directed by Adam McKay

You really can’t go wrong when the top-billed cast of the comedy you’re watching is Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner. In this sequel to 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Ron (Ferrell) and his dimwitted news team are back in the spotlight after making a splash on New York’s first 24-hour news channel, GNN. But Ron’s got problems: His marriage to Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is on the rocks after she, again, one-ups him for a prestigious anchor position on the nightly news, and his ego is so bruised he’s neglecting their son; he’s got stiff competition from the dashing Jack Lime (James Marsden); and he goes blind. All in a day’s work for Ron Burgundy.

Philadelphia (1993)

Philadelphia
66 %
7.7/10
pg-13 126m
Genre Drama
Stars Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jason Robards
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Tom Hanks won his very first Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of lawyer Andrew Beckett, a successful up-and-coming associate at a prestigious Philadelphia law firm whose life is turned upside down when he’s dismissed for a seemingly inconsequential filing error. The ugly underlying truth is that the firm has railroaded Beckett because of his sexuality and his recent AIDS diagnosis. Finding a lawyer to take his case proves difficult — it was the early ’90s, after all — but he finds reluctant representation in personal injury lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), whose own struggles with racism and discrimination prompts him to help. As Miller gets over his own fears and ignorances about the disease, the pair take on the giant law firm in one of the most impactful and socially-conscious courtroom dramas ever to be put to film.

Half Baked (1998)

Half Baked
16 %
6.6/10
r 82m
Genre Comedy, Crime
Stars Dave Chappelle, Jim Breuer, Harland Williams
Directed by Tamra Davis
Summer is a perfect time for stoner movies, and Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan’s Half Baked is one of the grandaddies of stoner movies. It’s awful, to be sure, but in the best way. Chappelle is Thurgood, a janitor at a pharmaceutical lab who lives with his stoner pals, Kenny (Harland Williams), Brian (Jim Breuer), and Scarface (Guillermo Diaz), but when Kenny goes to jail for accidentally killing a police horse, the potheads put a plan together to get him out. That plan, as the title kind of gives away, is half-baked and involves Thurgood stealing a ton of medicinal marijuana from his work so the guys can sell it to raise Kenny’s bail money. But Half Baked is best when not overthought, with all this “plot” being secondary to the idiotic, weird, and hilarious weed-driven jokes and total stoner moments that Only Chappelle can deliver.

No Time to Die (2021)

No Time to Die
68 %
7.3/10
pg-13 163m
Genre Adventure, Action, Thriller
Stars Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
It seemed as though Daniel Craig’s final romp as the world’s most famous secret agent would never arrive after being delayed by the pandemic. And while it isn’t the best of Craig’s five films, it is a satisfying denouement for fans of the franchise. After the events of Spectre, Bond has retired from the double-o life in Jamaica, until his old CIA pal Felix (Jeffrey Wright) drags him back in to the life, which puts him up against his old MI6 associates, including the new 007, Nomi (Lashana Lynch). Of course, their investigating uncovers a nefarious plan by a sinister villain (Rami Malik), and along the way, some secrets about Bond’s lover, Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), including one that will drastically change Bond’s priorities forever.

Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall
81 %
7.8/10
pg-13 143m
Genre Action, Adventure, Thriller
Stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem
Directed by Sam Mendes
2012’s Skyfall kicks things off with one hell of an opening action sequence, complete with helicopters, dirt bikes, and a crazy train-top fight through the mountain passes of Istanbul in which our hero, secret agent James Bond (Daniel Craig), is seemingly killed. Whew. One of the best of Craig’s 007 tenure, Skyfall pretty much keeps this pace throughout, as the past mistakes of MI6 director M (Judi Dench) catch up with her, compromising agents and the entire organization. With a new intelligence head installed (Ralph Fiennes) and M banished, she turns to Bond, Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), and the gadgetry of Q (Ben Whishaw) to help get to the bottom of things, which leads them to the sinister Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), who has a dark past of his own.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead
76 %
7.9/10
r 99m
Genre Horror, Comedy
Stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield
Directed by Edgar Wright
Before Simon Pegg was Scotty in the Star Trek reboot movies or Benji in the Mission: Impossible movies, or any of the dozens of other things the prolific English actor, writer, and comedian has done, he was Shaun (of the Dead), a loser of an electronics store salesman in Crouch End, London, whose girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), just dumped him. Then, all hell breaks loose when the zombie apocalypse arrives prompting Shaun, along with his best mate Ed (Nick Frost), to prove his worth by rescuing Liz and Ed’s mum, Barbara. Shaun and Ed brain-bash their way to their local pub, the Winchester, where they hope to wait out the storm, but things are never as easy (or as funny) as they ought to be. Shaun of the Dead is the first film in Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which is followed by Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.   

Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln
86 %
7.3/10
pg-13 149m
Genre History, Drama
Stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Daniel Day-Lewis’ Best Actor-winning portrayal of America’s 16th president is nothing short of astonishing in this 2012 drama directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the complex story of Abraham Lincoln as he struggles through the American political process — while the Civil War rages on, no less — to pass the 13th Amendment and end slavery. With a stellar supporting cast that includes Sally Field, James Spader, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lincoln tells the story of a deeply conflicted man trying desperately to stand up for what is right in a divided country that must also face its own conscience.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
77 %
7.8/10
pg 82m
Genre Documentary
Stars Jiro Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Yoshikazu Ono
Directed by David Gelb
This is a beautiful and often frustrating documentary about Japan’s Jiro Ono, considered to be the greatest sushi chef who ever lived. We say “frustrating” for a couple of reasons: One, because of Jiro’s relentless and obsessive pursuit of perfection, it’s sometimes hard to watch someone create such mind-boggling dishes that are at the peak of the industry (his Toyko restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, was the first sushi restaurant in the world to achieve three Michelin stars), yet still seem unfulfilled — perhaps that’s what makes him so great, though. The second frustrating point about the critically-acclaimed film is that it makes you want to eat everything on the screen, but you can’t. All jokes aside, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a sweetly-told story of the then 85-year-old Jiro (he’s 96 now), his life and career, and the legacy that his two sushi chef sons, Yoshikazu and Takashi Ono, must take up and continue while carving their own paths as well.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic the Hedgehog
47 %
6.5/10
pg 99m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Comedy, Family
Stars James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter
Directed by Jeff Fowler
If you’re looking for a much-needed respite from heavy dramas and sappy rom-coms, look no further. Even if you never played the popular Sega video games that this fun, animated action-comedy is based on, you’ll find yourself easily enamored by Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz). He’s a literal ball of lightning-fast energy who finds himself on earth being hunted by the villainous Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who wants to harness that energy to power his evil robots. With a little help from the local sheriff (James Marsden) and his wife, Maddie (Tika Sumpter), the group works to take down Dr. Robotnik and save the world.

Top Gun (1986)

Top Gun
50 %
6.9/10
pg 110m
Genre Action, Drama, Adventure
Stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer
Directed by Tony Scott
Maybe you like fighter jets. Maybe you just haven’t gone to see Top Gun: Maverick yet and want to brush up on the original before you do. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re simply feeling the need … the need, for speed. It’s the jet movie that started it all, as young fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and his wingman Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are sent to train at the titular elite Navy pilot school and compete against other top-gun pilots, including the cocky Iceman (Val Kilmer), to prove who’s the best of the best. But Maverick’s, well, a maverick, and his own worst enemy, dogged by mysterious the death of his pilot father. He’ll have to get his head straight if he’s to win Top Gun and the heart of the program’s sexy instructor (Kelly McGillis). Highway to the danger zone, baby.

Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day
72 %
8.1/10
pg 101m
Genre Romance, Fantasy, Drama, Comedy
Stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Directed by Harold Ramis
It doesn’t need to actually be Groundhog Day to enjoy Groundhog Day, it’s the movie that broke the mold on the time-loop genre of films and can be enjoyed over and over and over and over … you get the idea. Bill Murray is brilliant as miserable weatherman Phil Connors, stuck in his go-nowhere job and pining for network glory, when he’s once again shuffled off to Punxsutawney, a small town with nothing else going on other than its affiliation with the country’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. But the strangest thing happens, a snow storm keeps Phil and his crew (Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott) stuck in town, and Phil keeps waking up every morning living the same day over and over again until he figures out how to change his life to break the loop.

Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale
80 %
8.0/10
pg-13 144m
Genre Adventure, Action, Thriller
Stars Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen
Directed by Martin Campbell
Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond has come to an end, but his first adventure as the legendary spy is still among the best 007 movies to date. Casino Royale was a hard reset for the franchise, which stripped out the camp with a grounded look at Bond’s early escapades. Assigned to pursue a target during a high-stakes tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro, Bond forms a sizzling physical and emotional connection with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), his partner for the case. Vesper is the Bond girl he really loved, which ratchets up the intensity when both of their lives are threatened. This is where Bond truly begins.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox
83 %
7.9/10
pg 87m
Genre Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Stars George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman
Directed by Wes Anderson
Roald Dahl’s beloved 1970 children’s novel is brought to life in beautiful stop-motion glory in Wes Anderson’s Oscar-nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox. Voiced by a star-studded roster of some of Hollywood’s best, including Geroge Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman, the sophisticated Mr. Fox (Clooney) finally gives in to his animalistic nature and goes on one last raid with his opossum friend Kylie (Wallace Wolodarsky), effectively pissing off the three biggest farmers in the area, who make it their life missions to put an end to Fox, his family, and all his friends. When Mr. Fox’s wife’s (Streep) nephew Kristofferson (voiced by Wes’ brother, Eric Anderson) is captured by the farmers, he must reconcile his irresponsible ways to rescue him.

Emergency (2022)

Emergency
73 %
6/10
r 105m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Stars Donald Watkins, RJ Cyler, Sebastian Chacon
Directed by Carey Williams
Sadly, in our racially-inequitable society, the truth often takes a back seat to the way things look, and for college students Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins), his best friend, Sean (RJ Cyler), and their roommate Carlos (Sebastian Chacon), things look bad. During a night of epic Spring Break partying, Kunle and Sean return to their room to find a drunk, semi-conscious white girl on their living room floor, while an oblivious Carlos is in his room gaming. Do they call the police? As Sean astutely points out, “they’re just going to see three brown guys hanging over this little white girl.” What follows is a darkly funny and suspenseful string of events as the boys try to get the girl to the hospital. [/dt_media

Saint Maud (2020) new

Saint Maud
83 %
6.7/10
r 85m
Genre Drama, Horror, Mystery
Stars Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Frazer
Directed by Rose Glass
Save this one for a weekend night without the kids. Welsh newcomer Morfyyd Clark is chilling as Maud, a young nurse with a dark past and an unsettling devotion to God. When Maud takes a job as a hospice nurse to Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a once vibrant and celebrated dancer dying from cancer, Maud takes it upon herself to save Amanda’s soul. The reclusive and defiant Amanda isn’t having any of Maud’s religious nonsense, which might just be Amanda’s undoing as Maud descends further into Exorcist-level madness. A remarkable first feature for writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud has garnered rave reviews, netting two BAFTA award nominations and two Independent Film Awards wins in 2021.

Arrival (2016)

Arrival
81 %
7.9/10
pg-13 116m
Genre Drama, Science Fiction, Mystery
Stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is going about her life as a linguistics professor when the Earth is visited by several large, menacing floating alien spacecraft that have set up shop in regions around the world. Louise is called upon by the U.S. government to try to decipher the alien’s language in hopes of learning why they’re here. As panic sets in around the globe and world leaders begin to splinter from their united effort to understand if the visitors are friendly or hostile, Louise develops a deep connection with the extraterrestrials, and with the help of physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), she must make the world understand as well before it’s too late. A stunning visual masterpiece, Arrival delivers nail-biting drama with terrific performances by Renner and Adams, who won the Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

Troll Hunter (2010)

Troll Hunter
61 %
6.9/10
pg-13 103m
Genre Fantasy, Horror
Stars Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck
Directed by André Øvredal
Trolls are real! At least that is what a group of Volda University student filmmakers (Thomas, Johanna, and cameraman Kalle) discover when they venture into the wilds of Norway to investigate some recent bear poachings. There, they meet the mysterious Hans (Otto Jespersen), who turns out to have a very specific set of skills — he’s a troll hunter, employed by a clandestine Norwegian government agency to hunt down the very real mythical giants and three-headed monsters. Cleverly presented as a Blair Witch-style found-footage documentary, the English-subtitled Troll Hunter is “pieced together” in a “rough cut” of a film that documents the three filmmakers’ journey. It’s a delightfully scary, and oftentimes funny, horror full of jumpy camera footage, terrifying night vision scenes, and some amazing digitally created creatures.

Tombstone (1993)

Tombstone
50 %
7.8/10
r 130m
Genre Western, Action
Stars Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott
Directed by George P. Cosmatos
With all the hype surrounding the upcoming jet fest that is Top Gun: Maverick and the anticipation of Val Kilmer’s reprisal of his iconic Iceman character, it got us thinking about one of Kilmer’s other most notable roles as the gun-slinging Doc Holiday in this 1993 Western. Kurt Russell stars as retired lawman Wyatt Earp who is dragged back into the law enforcement racket after one of his sons is killed and the other left handicapped by an outlaw gang led by Curly Bill Brocius (Powers Boothe). With the help of his longtime friend Holiday, Earp dons the U.S. Marshall’s badge again to exact his revenge.

A League of Their Own (1992)

A League of Their Own
69 %
7.3/10
pg 128m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Family
Stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty
Directed by Penny Marshall
During the Second World War, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was created to help keep baseball alive while many male players were shipped off to fight in the war. A League of Their Own is the fictionalized story of the most winningest team in the league, Illinois’ real-life Rockford Peaches, and its players, including catcher Dorothy “Dottie” Hinson (Geena Davis), her sister, pitcher Kit Heller (Lori Petty), center fielder “All the Way” Mae Mordabity (Madonna), and third basewoman, Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell). Coached by washed-up Major Leaguer Jimmy Duggan (Tom Hanks), the team struggles to get its act together while also dealing with the realities of being at home during wartime. A fierce rivalry brews between the Peaches and Wisconsin’s Racine Belles, but that pales in comparison to the sibling rivalry between Dottie and the younger Kit, who defects to the Belles in an effort to get out from under the shadow of her all-star sister. 

Office Space (1999)

Office Space
68 %
7.7/10
r 89m
Genre Comedy
Stars Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman
Directed by Mike Judge
Okay, so we know that Apple TV’s Severance has taken the office space to a whole weirder level, but more than 20 years ago Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead, Silicon ValleyIdiocracy) nailed the drudgery of office culture right on the malfunctioning printer with this classic workplace comedy. Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is a disgruntled software programmer at the vapid and grey-cubicled company Initech, where he works and commiserates with his work friends Samir Nagheenanajar and Michael Bolton (no relation). In the middle of a hypnotherapy session to get him out of his funk, the doctor keels over and dies, leaving Peter stuck in a permanent state of blissful don’t-give-a-shit-ness, that he brings with him to the office with joyful audacity — he even finds the courage to ask out the cute waitress at the nearby restaurant (Jennifer Aniston) he’s had a crush on. But things get out of hand when Peter, Samir, and Michael’s scheme to bilk Initech out of thousands of dollars backfires leaving them all fearing for their futures.

All the Old Knives (2022)

All the Old Knives
62 %
6.1/10
r 102m
Genre Thriller, Action
Stars Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Jonathan Pryce
Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen
Chris Pine and Thandie Newton steam things up in this spy thriller about two CIA operatives who meet again years after the events of a job they did together in Vienna, where they were not only colleagues but lovers as well. Some new information about a potential mole in the operation, which surrounds the events of a terrorist hijacking, materializes, and Henry (Pine) and Celia (Newton) are forced to recount the operation, as well as their love affair, to get to the truth about both. Told in flashback scenes and filled with all the intense spy stuff you’d expect from bestselling espionage novelist Olen Steinhauer (The Tourist, Berlin Station), we’re along for the ride as we try to figure out for ourselves who the mole is — is it Celia? Is it Henry? Were they playing each other the whole time, or was it real? All the Old Knives also stars the excellent Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Pryce.

The Vast of Night (2019)

The Vast of Night
84 %
6.7/10
pg-13 91m
Genre Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Bruce Davis
Directed by Andrew Patterson
This nostalgic throwback to classic sci-fi thrillers follows a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ whose discovery of a mysterious audio frequency sets off a series of discoveries that lead them deep into the unknown. The Amazon Studios film is the directorial debut of Andrew Patterson and has earned high praise from critics and streaming audiences alike for its suspenseful, low-budget spin on the genre.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis
93 %
7.5/10
r 104m
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Directed by Ethan & Joel Coen
In the soft shadows of The Gaslight Cafe, folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) croons that he “wouldn’t mind the hanging.” Leave it to the Coen Brothers to oblige him. Two of America’s most mercurial filmmakers, the Coens have approached both grim tragedy and madcap comedy in their films, sometimes at the same time. Inside Llewyn Davis falls on the bleaker end of the spectrum, following Davis as he attempts to get his music career on track in the wake of his musical partner’s suicide. His finances are not the only part of his life falling apart; his former lover, Jean (Carey Mulligan), pregnant with a child that is likely his, wants nothing to do with him. Davis’ struggle, set against the frost-glazed backdrop of New York, is a tragic one. But the film is not without humor, black though it may be. The characters surrounding Llewyn are as vibrant as he is cold, particularly Justin Timberlake as Jane’s new boyfriend (although Isaac’s future Star Wars nemesis also has a memorable musical cameo).

Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull
89 %
8.2/10
r 129m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorcese’s Raging Bull is a stunning, gritty piece of iconic cinema that tells the tumultuous story of real-life middleweight boxer Jake La Motta (Robert Deniro). Based on La Motta’s own 1970 memoir, Raging Bull: My Story, the film shadows the violent, unhinged man whose fits of uncontrolled rage were as prevalent outside of the ring as they were in it. De Niro won his second Oscar for his performance as La Motta, whose jealousy and paranoia destroyed his marriage to his wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), his relationship with his brother Joey (Joe Pesci), and landed him in trouble with the law and the Mob. It’s a powerful character study that’s less about boxing and more about the destructive life and downfall of a troubled man.   

Carrie (1976)

Carrie
85 %
7.4/10
r 98m
Genre Horror, Thriller
Stars Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
Directed by Brian De Palma
Stephen King’s 1974 book Carrie was his first published novel, and what a way to start things off. Adapted into a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen and directed by Brian De Palma, the film version was an instant hit at the box office upon its release in 1976 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made. In a career-changing role for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination, Sissy Spacek stars as Carrie White, a 16-year-old high school student with a fanatically religious mother (Piper Laurie) who constantly scorns and smothers her. After Carrie is bullied at school and the students involved are punished with detention, the main perpetrator, Christine (Nancy Allen), and her boyfriend, Billy (John Travolta), plan sinister revenge to embarrass Carrie at the school prom. But Carrie has a supernatural secret of her own, and everyone who’s wronged her is about to find out about it.

Master (2022)

Master
66 %
4.9/10
r 99m
Genre Horror, Thriller, Drama, Mystery
Stars Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Talia Ryder
Directed by Mariama Diallo

Regina Hall (Nine Perfect StrangersInsecure) stars in this social thriller/horror about an elite New England university that’s as old as the country itself and has just as many dark secrets. Hall plays Gail Bishop, the school’s new headmaster and the first Black person to hold the position. A Black student, Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), arrives as a freshman and is soon subjected to anonymous racist attacks that she is convinced are being done by an ancient presence from the school’s past — turns out the school was built on the site of some Salem-era witch trials. As Gail and Jasmine learn to navigate the school’s elite politics and privilege, they uncover the truth about the school and just how tied to its past it really is.

Master - Official Trailer | Prime Video

Blackfish (2013)

Blackfish
83 %
8.1/10
pg-13 83m
Genre Documentary
Stars Dean Gomersall, Samantha Berg, John Jett
Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Documentary filmmaking’s power as an agent of awareness and societal change is undeniable, and those making them with passion and determination should be applauded. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s unsettling but eye-opening documentary, Blackfish, shines a light on the controversial practice of holding killer whales in captivity, highlighting the story of one animal in particular, Tilikum, a performing Orca at SeaWorld Orland, who was responsible for the deaths of three humans between 1991 and 2010. Cowperthwaite’s documentary tracks Tilikum’s life from his capture in the wilds of Iceland (which is recalled with poignant emotion and regret by one of its participants) and advocates that Orcas are intelligent, sentient beings that should not be living in tanks and used for human entertainment. 

Lucy and Desi (2022)

Lucy and Desi
73 %
7.8/10
pg 102m
Genre Documentary
Stars Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz
Directed by Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler’s stunning love letter to legendary television power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz digs deep with Poehler gaining access to some never-before-seen footage of the pair to help tell the incredible story of their rise to entertainment royalty. Poehler’s documentary feels as though it’s being narrated by Lucy and Desi themselves, with the help of rare home movies and cassette audiotapes the couple made over the years, and insightful and touching interviews with, among others, their daughter Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Desi Arnaz Jr., Norman Lear, Carol Burnett, Charo, and Bette Midler. Lucy and Desi is a timeline of a remarkable legacy that spans from their early days in show business and their marriage, through the transition from radio to TV, the creation and explosive success of I Love Lucy and their production company, Desilu, to their eventual divorce. It even touches on the difficult period in Lucy’s life where she was accused of being a member of the Communist party. And if Poehler’s superb film isn’t enough Lucy and Desi for you, Amazon is also home to Aaron Sorkin’s excellent dramatized film Being the Ricardos, starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.

I Want You Back (2022)

I Want You Back
61 %
6.7/10
r 111m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Jenny Slate, Charlie Day, Scott Eastwood
Directed by Jason Orley
Sometimes a good romantic comedy is just the kind of light fare you need for a chill weekend evening. I Want You Back is a new Amazon Original that checks all the rom-com boxes. Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) are heartbroken strangers who meet when they’ve both just been dumped by their respective partners who have moved on. Down in the dumps, Peter and Emma become friends and commiserate over drinks, which, in pure rom-com fashion, hatches into a scheme to infiltrate and break up their exes’ new relationships and win them back. I Want You Back is a fun, edgy-at-times rom-com of “the love you’re looking for is right in front of your face” variety, but Day and Slate have great on-screen chemistry, and the film’s supporting cast, including Gina Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood, and Pete Davidson, make for a fun ride.    

The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator
84 %
8.1/10
r 108m
Genre Action, Thriller, Science Fiction
Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Directed by James Cameron
Long before James Cameron sank the Titanic and started dreaming up distant worlds with cool blue warriors fighting off Big Unobtanium, he already had a whole other post-apocalyptic world under his belt with the Terminator franchise. And this is the one that started it all. In a future where artificial intelligence has turned against humanity, sparking an all-out man-versus-machine war, the machines turn to time travel to gain the upper hand. When an unstoppable Terminator cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back in time from 2029 (doesn’t seem that far away now) to 1984 to preemptively kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of future freedom fighter John Connor, the resistance sends one of their own, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), to protect Sarah and stop the metal killing machine. This one is classic ’80s sci-fi and shouldn’t be missed.

Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan
73 %
7.6/10
r 118m
Genre Action, Horror, Thriller
Stars Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok
Directed by Yeon Sang-ho
Korean horror movies are a special kind of scary. They range from deeply psychological to disturbingly supernatural to freaky monsters and beyond. Train to Busan is unique in that it adds a bullet train to the mix — a bullet train full of zombies. Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) is a businessman and divorced father in Seoul who is attempting to get his young daughter, Soo-an (Su-an Kim), home to her mother in Busan. It’s just a two-hour trip, but when an apocalyptic zombie outbreak starts rapidly spreading across the country, all hell breaks loose. It starts with one infected passenger making it on the train, and before you know it, it’s overrun with flesh-hungry walkers. With passengers quarantined in the front and back cars of the zombie-filled train, Seok-woo, Soo-an, and a handful of other passengers band together to make it to Busan alive — or, rather, un-un-dead.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022)

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
46 %
6/10
pg 88m
Genre Animation, Family, Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kathryn Hahn
Directed by Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
If your kids are fans of the first three of Sony’s hugely popular Hotel Transylvania animated movies, then they’ll find this final installment, which has so far received mixed reviews, just as cute and fun as its predecessors. Originally set for a theatrical release in October of last year, Sony pulled the plug amidst rising COVID-19 cases and sold the distribution rights to Amazon. True to its pedigree of colorful animation, a thumping soundtrack, and punny monster sight gags, Transformania sees its main character, Drac (previously voiced by Adam Sandler, but here taken over by Brian Hull who does a solid impersonation), about to retire and leave the hotel to his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her human hubby Johnny (Andy Samberg). Things go haywire when Johnny is transformed into a fire-breathing monster while Drac is zapped into human form, and the two must journey into the jungles of South America to find a special crystal to turn them back. As viewers have come to expect from the franchise, Transformania is laced with themes of acceptance and forgiveness in its world where monsters and humans live together despite their differences.

Fargo (1996)

Fargo
85 %
8.1/10
r 98m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi
Directed by Joel Coen
In this Coen Brother’s masterpiece that spawned a whole franchise of critically-acclaimed TV seasons, Jerry Lundergaard (William H. Macy) is a sad and miserable car salesman in rural Minnesota who gets the not-so-bright idea of having his wife kidnapped so he can collect the ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. Jerry learns all-too-quickly that the henchmen he enlists — the scheming Carl (Steve Buscemi) and sociopathic Gaear (Peter Stormare) — are complete idiots, and when the plan takes a disastrous turn, Jerry spirals out of control as the sharp-as-a-tack (and pregnant) local police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) zeroes in.

Being the Ricardos (2021)

Being the Ricardos
60 %
6.8/10
r 132m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons
Directed by Aaron Sorkin
Lucille Ball remains one of the greatest comediennes of all time. Her sitcom, I Love Lucy, which she created and starred in with her husband Desi Arnaz, aired from 1951 to 1957 and is considered to be one of the most groundbreaking television shows to have ever aired, pioneering production and format techniques still in use today. But I Love Lucy wasn’t all grape-crushing, chocolate-eating gags and fun. In Aaron Sorkin’s week-in-the-life dramatized biopic, we go behind the scenes with Lucy (Nicole Kidman) and Desi (Javier Bardem), on set and in their personal lives, during the production week of an episode of the iconic sitcom as the couple’s personal and professional lives are put to the test, in front of a live studio audience.  

The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects
77 %
8.5/10
r 106m
Genre Drama, Crime, Thriller
Stars Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Spacey
Directed by Bryan Singer

A film with one of the most compelling twists of all time, director Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects is the story of a group of hardened criminals, Hungarian mobsters, and a ghostly mastermind known as Keyser Soze, who may or may not exist. After a docked ship mysteriously explodes in San Pedro Bay killing 27 bad people, one of only two survivors, con artist Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), recounts the entire story to U.S. Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) in an LA police station. Told in flashbacks, Verbal’s story is tall, involves drugs and jewels, and includes his crew of five, including Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Hockney (Kevin Pollak). “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” Verbal tells Kujan. But who is Keyser Soze? Is he the Devil? The Usual Suspects will have you asking the same questions.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain
63 %
6.8/10
pg-13 111m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough
Directed by Will Sharpe

Based on the true story of turn-of-the-century English artist Louis Wain, whose paintings and illustrations of cats depicted our feline friends with psychedelic colors and imagery that no one had ever seen in the early 1900s, prompting many to believe that Wain suffered from schizophrenia. Benedict Cumberbatch depicts the eccentric artist with power and control, but by his side as Wain descends slowly into madness is the equally-powerful Claire Foy (The Crown) as Wain’s wife Emily. It’s their deep love for one another that helps keep Wain above water during a dark time in Wain’s, and the country’s, life. “How you’ve managed to conjure images of such delight in such a dark time, I don’t know,” Wain’s boss (Toby Jones) at the Illustrated London News tells him. While not a critical darling, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain will definitely add some color to your movie night.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life
8.6/10
pg 130m
Genre Drama, Family, Fantasy
Stars James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Directed by Frank Capra
A classic Christmas movie with an iconic James Stewart performance, It’s a Wonderful Life follows George Bailey (Stewart), a banker in the town of Bedford Falls who is preparing to throw himself off a bridge. An angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) appears to save George, and takes him on a journey through the most important moments in George’s life, showing him all the good things he’s done for other people despite the costs to himself. It’s a Wonderful Life is a charming story about perseverance in the face of an often cruel universe and the value of relationships.

My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021)

My Name Is Pauli Murray
73 %
6.0/10
pg-13 91m
Genre Documentary
Stars Patricia Bell-Scott, Dolores Chandler, Brittney Cooper, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Directed by Julie Cohen, Betsy West
From the same directing team behind 2018’s Oscar-nominated RBGMy Name Is Pauli Murray is the long-overdue telling of the life and influence of pioneering lawyer, civil and women’s rights activist, poet, and priest Pauli Murray. The film is a tribute to the largely unsung hero, the struggles they faced as a non-binary African American, and the legal contributions they made arguing for gender and race equality, most notably with the passing of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in 1968, which outlawed discrimination based on sex. Murray’s influence on the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is highlighted throughout the documentary, which, like RGB, is destined for Oscar greatness.

The Mad Women's Ball (2021)

The Mad Women's Ball
72 %
6.6/10
121m
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Lou de Laâge, Mélanie Laurent, Emmanuelle Bercot
Directed by Mélanie Laurent
The perfect dark and disturbing psychodrama thriller for the coming weather, The Mad Women’s Ball was adapted for the screen by French actress and director Mélanie Laurent, who most will remember as Shoshana, who takes her glorious revenge on the Nazis is Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant Inglorious Basterds. Based on Victoria Mas’s 1977 novel Le bal des folles, the film follows Eugénie (Lou de Laâge), a young woman who is committed to Paris’ Salpêtrière psychiatric hospital in the late 1800s because she can talk to the dead. Laurent plays Geneviève, the Salpêtrière’s head nurse, who bears witness to the dark and often barbaric “treatments” administered by head neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (Grégoire Bonnet), which include parading the asylum’s female patients out in front of the public in a grotesque “ball.” Luckily for Eugénie and the other “mad women,” Geneviève has different plans. Not for the faint of heart, The Mad Women’s Ball is a chilling but satisfying watch.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (2021)

Everybody's Talking About Jamie
62 %
6.2/10
pg-13 115m
Genre Music, Drama, Comedy
Stars Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel
Directed by Jonathan Butterell
If you’re in need of a fun, fabulous, feel-good movie this weekend, this West End stage play-turned-feature film will likely have you not just off the couch, but setting up a runway in your living room. Originally based on Jenny Popplewell’s popular TV movie, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, this Amazon Original Movie is an adaptation of the stage musical from the same team – director James Butterell, composer Dan Gillespie, and lyricist Tom McRae. Sixteen-year-old Sheffield high schooler Jamie New (Max Harwood) has big dreams of becoming a drag queen. And while his chosen path is unconventional and even frowned upon by his classmates, his own father (Ralph Ineson), and the locals, Jamie gets nothing but support from his loving mum (Sarah Lancashire), best friend, Pritti (Lauren Patel), and old drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant), who agrees to teach Jamie all he knows about drag. Full of big, bold, and colorful musical numbers (there’s a lot of dancing on desks going on), if Everybody’s Talking About Jamie doesn’t help you shake off the fall funk, you may want to check your pulse.

Annette (2021)

Annette
67 %
6.4/10
r 140m
Genre Drama, Romance, Music
Stars Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg
Directed by Leos Carax
If you’re among the multitude of people whining that everything’s been done before or that remakes and re-imaginings are all anyone does anymore, then for that reason alone, Annette is worth a try. We’re not saying you’re going to like it. The critics seem to be pretty divided on this one, with many praising it for its originality, while others call it too odd for its own good. But risky performances from two Hollywood greats, Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard and the twice-nominated Adam Driver, make Annette already worth the price of your Prime membership. With a story and original music (yes, it’s a rock opera with lots of singing, so buckle up) written by Ron and Russell Mael of the quirky ’80s pop band Sparks (who are kind of having a moment right now with the Edgar Wright documentary about them, The Sparks Brothers), Annette follows the love journey of a most unlikely couple, Henry (Driver), a harsh stand-up comedian, and Ann (Cotillard), a beautiful and world-famous opera singer, whose lives in the spotlight are rocked with the arrival of their daughter, Annette, who has mysterious abilities. Intrigued?
Image: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B093K9VTV5/ref=atv_dp_share_cu_r

Val (2021)

Val
73 %
7.7/10
r 109m
Genre Documentary
Stars Val Kilmer, Jack Kilmer, Mercedes Kilmer
Directed by Leo Scott, Ting Poo
Whether the Val Kilmer in your mind’s eye is him in some of his iconic roles like Top Gun‘s Iceman, The Doors‘ Jim Morrison, or Batman Forever‘s caped crusader, or you kept up with the ’80s heartthrob into his later, quieter career for films such as Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and beyond, one thing is for sure — you’ve never seen Val Kilmer like this. Fascinating and often heart-wrenching, Val is an Amazon Original autobiographical documentary assembled by the actor and directors Leo Scott and Ting Poo from more than 40 years of home video recordings Kilmer obsessively took throughout his life and career — including behind-the-scenes footage with Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and more. Now in his ’60s and recovering from throat cancer surgery that has left him with the need to speak through a voice box on his trachea, Kilmer’s doc is a deep look inward at his life, his rise and fall from fame, his personal triumphs and failures, and, ultimately, his coming to terms with all of it.

The Tomorrow War (2021)

The Tomorrow War
45 %
6.6/10
pg-13 138m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons
Directed by Chris McKay
In what should have brought audiences to the theater in droves, this end-of-the-world action-adventure from one of the guys behind The Lego Movie (Chris McKay) is getting the Amazon Original treatment because of that pandemic thing we’ve all been dealing with. But don’t let that fool you — there’s enough explosive action here to impress even in your living room. The Tomorrow War is kind of a Terminator in reverse, where instead of forces from a future war coming to battle it out in the present, this time, the good guys fighting an alien invasion in 2051 come back in time to recruit soldiers and civilians to join the fight in the future before humankind is wiped out. Chris Pratt stars as Dan Forester, a high school teacher with some serious gun skills who is among the recruits crossing time to save the world.
THE TOMORROW WAR | Official Trailer | Prime Video

Pinocchio (2019)

Pinocchio
6 %
6.2/10
pg-13 125m
Genre Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Stars Federico Ielapi, Roberto Benigni, Marine Vacth
Directed by Matteo Garrone
Italian author Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s story dates back to 1881, and since then, it’s been reimagined and adapted countless times in print, on television, for the stage, and in film — perhaps most notably in Disney’s 1940 animated movie. With this most recently released feature version, Italian filmmakers Matteo Garrone and Massimo Ceccherini use live-action, stunning CGI, and some pretty fantastic costumes and makeup to once again tell the tale of a lonely carpenter, Gepetto (Roberto Benigni), who creates a wooden boy puppet who magically comes to life. Pinocchio‘s universal themes of perseverance through adversity, honesty, and redemption ring true in Garrone’s adaptation as well, as the boy puppet heads out into the film’s bizarre world of animal tricksters, blue fairies, and gigantic fish to learn the lessons he needs to get back to Gepetto and realize his dream of becoming a real boy.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
61 %
6.8/10
pg-13 99m
Genre Fantasy, Romance
Stars Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris
Directed by Ian Samuels
Heavily in line with the time-loop movies that this cute coming-of-age romantic comedy itself references, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is like Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow (without all the death and aliens) for a new generation. Mark (Kyle Allen) is your typical teenager trying to figure life out, except that he seems to be the only one aware that he’s living the same day over and over again — he argues with his dad over his future, plays video games with his clueless best friend, and, like Bill Murray’s Phil Connors, learns the routine so well he can do little things like rescue folks from their everyday annoyances. Mark seems content in his loop, and then he meets Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who, as if fate planned it, is also stuck in the same unremarkable day. Now with something more to live for, the pair revel in their predicament and, of course, fall for each other. Written by The Magicians author Lev Grossman, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a sweet exploration of youth and the fear that comes with taking that leap of faith to get out of our own ruts and move forward with life.

Sylvie's Love (2020)

Sylvie's Love
74 %
6.8/10
pg-13 114m
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Aja Naomi King
Directed by Eugene Ashe
Can we all just agree that Tessa Thompson is great in just about everything she’s in? Alright, then. In this dreamy period melodrama by Eugene Ashe, Thompson plays Sylvie, an aspiring television producer in late ’50s-early ’60s New York. While working in her dad’s record shop, Sylvie meets Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a talented up-and-coming jazz saxophonist with big dreams of his own. Robert takes a job in the store and the two begin a friendship that blossoms into love, despite Sylvie having a fiancé who is away at war. But as Robert’s career begins to take off and Sylvie is torn between her own ambitions and obligations, the two go their separate ways … for a little while, anyway. The pair eventually meet again, with Sylvie, having overcome many of the struggles of the era’s racism and women’s rights obstacles to become a successful TV producer, and Robert’s career skyrocketing. Is the love still there? Can and will they pick up where they left off? Sylvie’s Love is a refreshing take on the over-done love-conquers-all trope and is a romantic must-watch.

One Night in Miami... (2020)

One Night in Miami...
83 %
7.1/10
r 114m
Genre Drama
Stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge
Directed by Regina King
In actress Regina King’s excellent directorial debut, she takes Kemp Powers’ screenplay of his own stage play and turns it into a riveting drama. One Night in Miami is a fictionalized ponderance of a real-life meeting that happened in Miami Beach in 1964 in which famous friends Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), who earlier that night just beat Sonny Liston for the world championship, Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben -Adir), singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and football star Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) gathered to enjoy each other’s company, debate, and discuss their roles in affecting change in Black America. Each star holds his own portraying such cultural heavyweights, and the film mixes beautifully shot sequences of their individual lives and achievements with fly-on-the-wall ensemble scenes that give you a sense of what it might have been like being in the room with these icons.

Herself (2020)

Herself
70 %
7.0/10
r 97m
Genre Drama
Stars Clare Dunne, Molly McCann, Ruby Rose O'Hara
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Get ready for a tear-jerker of a drama that’s full of both pain and beautiful redemption in this Amazon Original film that won the Human Rights Film Award at last year’s Dublin International Film Festival. Actress Clare Dunne, who co-wrote the film with Shameless U.K. writer Malcolm Campbell, is Sandra, a mother of two in Dublin who, after escaping her abusive husband, finds herself on the cusp of homelessness. Told with care and often intense reality by The Iron Lady director Phyllida Lloyd, Sandra eschews Ireland’s bureaucratic social housing system and decides to try to build her own house DIY-style — all she needs is a bit of land. As Sandra’s friends and strangers alike pitch in to help rebuild (literally) her life, it’s hard not to get swept up in this touchingly unique story.

Sound of Metal (2020)

Sound of Metal
82 %
7.8/10
r 121m
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Directed by Darius Marder
Sound of Metal doesn’t mess around, getting straight to the intense and terrifying moments that Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a drummer in a heavy metal duo with his girlfriend (the wonderful Olivia Cooke), starts to lose his hearing. It’s the little things we take for granted that director/screenwriter Darius Marder zeroes in on in the film’s opening minutes — the excruciating silence of a blender, the subtle drip of percolating coffee, or the shushing spray of a showerhead — all gone. But Sound of Metal isn’t about deafness, it’s a story about change and the journey we must take to embrace it, as Ruben enters a facility to help him learn to live with his deafness while also avoiding a relapse into his old life of drug abuse. It’s a beautiful film about life-changing loss and redemption and shouldn’t be missed.

I'm Your Woman (2020)

I'm Your Woman
63 %
6.2/10
r 120m
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene
Directed by Julia Hart
Premiering in October at this year’s virtual edition of AFI Fest, this gritty 1970s-era crime drama features Mrs. Maisel as you’ve never seen her before. The marvelous Rachel Brosnahan trades swing dresses and handbags for bellbottoms and handguns in I’m Your Woman, playing Jean, the bored suburban housewife of Eddie (Bill Heck), a hustler and thief with some shady associates. Jean learns just how shady when Eddie shows up one night with an infant, declaring “he’s our baby,” and then disappears a couple of days later, triggering a series of events that has Jean terrified, confused, and on the run from gun-toting henchmen. Jean’s only respite from the madness is Cal (British-Nigerian actor Arinzé Kene), who shepherds Jean and baby to a safe house where his wife, Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), and father, Art (Frankie Faison), teach her how to navigate her new life on the lam. Dripping with ’70s style, loud wardrobe choices, boat-sized cars, and a groovy Motown soundtrack, I’m Your Woman is a great way to time-warp out of your daily grind.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
68 %
6.6/10
r 96m
Genre Comedy
Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Tom Hanks
Directed by Jason Woliner
There are very few performers in the world who can switch gears so expertly as Sacha Baron Cohen. Comedian, actor, and activist, in the last two years, Cohen has navigated the roles of famous Israeli spy Eli Cohen in The Spy and American “Yippy” activist Abby Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 (both on Netflix). But perhaps his greatest role of all is Borat. Cohen’s clueless reporter from Kazakhstan is back for another go at America in this sequel to 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. After spending 14 years in prison, Borat is released not only to find that he has a daughter, Tutar (Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova), but that he must return to the U.S. to redeem the reputation of his homeland by gifting the feral Tutar to Mike Pence. Along the way, Cohen, of course, resumes his pranking of Trump-era America, but with his cover mostly blown from the first film, much of the task lands on the brilliant Bakalova, who delivers some bewilderingly-awkward situations and poignant political skewering.

Chi-Raq (2015)

Chi-Raq
77 %
5.8/10
r 127m
Genre Drama, Crime, Comedy
Stars Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes
Directed by Spike Lee
Aristophanes’ classic Greek comedy Lysistrata gets a modern update in this 2015 film directed by Spike Lee. The film follows a group of women who decide to withhold sex from their partners until they agree to curb the gang violence plaguing their Chicago neighborhood. Told in a mixture of music and verse, the film stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Honey Boy (2019)

Honey Boy
73 %
7.3/10
r 94m
Genre Drama
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe
Directed by Alma Har'el
Shia LaBeouf’s debut script is directed by Alma Har’el and follows the life of child actor Otis Lort as he rises through young success to self-destructive Hollywood star. Navigating fame and his abusive, alcoholic father proves to be next to impossible as their contentious relationship crumbles across the course of a decade. LaBeouf also stars in this semiautobiographical tale that draws from his experience with his father.

The Handmaiden (2016)

The Handmaiden
84 %
8.1/10
145m
Genre Thriller, Drama, Romance
Stars Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo
Directed by Park Chan-wook
From Korean director Park Chan-wook, award-winning director of OldboyThe Handmaiden is an intense, pulse-pounding crime drama set in the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The film follows two women — a young Japanese lady on a secluded estate, and the Korean woman who is hired as her new handmaiden. Little does the former know, though, that the latter is conspiring with a con man to defraud the woman out of her inheritance.

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

You Were Never Really Here
84 %
6.8/10
r 89m
Genre Thriller, Drama
Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
This Amazon Original was nominated for four 2019 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix). Phoenix stars as a traumatized veteran who harnesses his trauma into hunting down missing girls for a living. However, as his nightmares begin to overtake him and he continues to get in over his head, he begins to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to destroy or save him, depending on the paths he takes.

Cold War (2018)

Cold War
90 %
7.6/10
r 89m
Genre Drama
Stars Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Paweł Pawlikowski’s gorgeous historical drama Cold War follows Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig), a music director and singer respectively, who meet and fall in love in Poland after the end of World War II. As the years drag on and the Soviet grip over Eastern Europe tightens, the two drift across borders, in and out of each other’s lives. Their turbulent romance, set against a backdrop of paranoia and repression, is messy but moving. Filmed in stark black and white, Cold War is a beautiful film full of masterfully composed shots.

The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick
86 %
7.5/10
r 120m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Directed by Michael Showalter
Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and comedy writer Emily V. Gordon adapted their real-life love story for film in The Big Sick, a charming romantic comedy that was one of Digital Trends’ favorite movies of 2019 and helped score Nanjiani and Gordon their own Apple TV+ show. The movie begins with Kumail (playing a loosely fictionalized version of himself) struggling to build a stand-up career, mining his Pakistani background for material. After a run-in with a heckler named Emily (Zoe Kazan) turns into a one-night-stand and eventually a relationship, the two start to run into troubles. For starters, Kumail’s parents want him to settle down with a Pakistani woman, leading them to break up. Making things even more complicated, an infection leaves Emily in a coma. While visiting Emily in the hospital, Kumail meets her parents, Terry (Ray Romano) and Beth (Holly Hunter), learning more about them and Emily as he processes his own feelings.

Blow the Man Down (2019)

Blow the Man Down
72 %
6.4/10
r 90m
Genre Drama, Mystery, Comedy
Stars Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale
Directed by Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole
Blow the Man Down is a dark comedy and a hidden gem that arrived on Amazon Prime under the radar earlier this year. Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe co-headline the film as feuding sisters Mary Beth and Priscilla Connolly, respectively. When Mary Beth kills a man who tried to harm her, Priscilla decides that blood is thicker than water and she helps her sister cover up the evidence. Unfortunately for the Connolly sisters, secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and they never quite know who they can trust. Margo Martindale also has a terrific supporting turn as Enid Nora Devlin, a local brothel owner who may know too much.

Paterson (2016)

Paterson
90 %
7.4/10
r 118m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
The stakes aren’t particularly high for Paterson the film. But for Paterson himself, they’re everything. Adam Driver stars as the title character, a man who works as a bus driver. But in reality, Paterson is a poet who hasn’t learned to fully accept that aspect of himself. The entire movie takes place over the course of a week, and we see the daily routine of both Paterson and his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). But when the pattern breaks and misfortune strikes, it will take a minor miracle to get Paterson back on the right track.

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