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The 43 best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now

Did you know that your Amazon Prime membership comes with a whole universe of streaming movies and series? Same-day toilet paper, duct tape, and electronics is great and all, but Amazon Prime Video’s constantly rotating and evolving library of movies is there for the taking and includes award-winning originals and blockbusters, as well as comedies, sci-fi films, dramas, and every other genre you can think of. But who’s got the time to flip through all that? Well, we do. That’s why we’ve compiled this weekly-updated list in tune with Amazon’s comings and goings, so you always have a resource to help you pick a winner. This, then, is our list of the best movies on Prime Video right now.

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

Pinocchio  (2019)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Roberto BenigniFederico IelapiRocco Papaleo
Director: Matteo Garrone
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 125 minutes

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Chicken Run  (2000)

“No chicken escapes from Tweedy’s farrrm!!” From the stop-motion, claymation geniuses behind Wallace & GromitChicken Run is the action-packed, hilarious story of the chickens at Tweedy’s egg farm in Yorkshire, England, who are desperate to escape once they learn that Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy have invented a machine that instantly turns chickens into pies. One chicken, Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha), has tried unsuccessfully to make it off the farm, using all manner of whimsical and cockamamie contraptions and schemes, but it isn’t until the arrival of a cocky American circus rooster — who can fly! — named Rocky (Mel Gibson) that the coop’s plan to escape really starts to, er, hatch.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Comedy, Animation, Kids, Adventure
Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Phil Daniels, Miranda Richardson
Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Rating: G
Runtime: 84 minutes

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Signs (2002)

M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs was his third in a string of critical and box-office hits, beginning with 1999’s The Sixth Sense (which is also on this list), and it’s his first film to veer from his usual supernatural-based storytelling and scare the hell out of us with aliens instead. Mel Gibson stars as Graham Hess, a former preacher who’s lost his faith since the death of his wife. Now a farmer in rural Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Graham lives a simple life with his two kids, Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin), and his brother, Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), as they all continue to heal from their loss. Signs‘ slow, creeping build is palpable as it becomes clear that the strange crop circle that’s appeared in Graham’s cornfield and the dark figures spotted lurking around their farm (and the rest of Doylestown) aren’t of this world and could be part of a global extra-terrestrial invasion. Put your tinfoil hats on for this one.

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin
Director: M. Knight Shyamalan
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 106 minutes

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Adaptation (2002)

Director Spike Jonze’s Oscar-winning Adaptation is hard to describe. It’s a film about the making of a film and a story about real-life rare orchid hunters, murder, and conspiracy — all balancing on the razor-sharp edge of reality and fiction. But one thing we know for sure is that it’s brilliant. Nicolas Cage plays a fictionalized version of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. He’s neurotic, depressed, and struggling to adapt Susan Orlean’s (Meryl Streep) non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, which is about Florida con man and orchid poacher John Laroche (Chris Cooper), into a coherent film. To break his writer’s block, Charlie shadows Orleans, following her to Florida, where he discovers that she is involved in a passionate, drug-fueled affair with Laroche, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep her reputation intact. The film is thrilling, often funny, totally bizarre, and a complete must-watch.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton
Director: Spike Jonze
Rating: R
Runtime: 115 minutes

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An American Werewolf in London (1981)

If you had to choose one werewolf movie to watch in your entire life, it’s this one. A horror cult classic, legendary writer-director John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Coming to America) used some of the era’s best makeup and special effects artists to bring to life this story of American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), who are traveling the English countryside when they’re attacked by a wolf-like creature in the night. Jack is killed, but David survives, only to discover that he is turning into a vicious lycanthrope that will unleash unspeakable horrors come the next full moon. Jack, who appears to David in visions as a decayed corpse, tells David that he must die to end the werewolf cycle, but David’s fallen in love with Alex (Jenny Agutter) and must find another way to break the curse — and stop killing basically everyone he comes across in London.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunner
Director: John Landis
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes

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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

In the immortal words of legendary dodgeball coach Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn), “If you’re going to become true dodgeballers, then you’ve got to learn the five D’s of dodgeball: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge! Of course, this wisdom was immediately followed by Patches whipping wrenches at his team, but that’s beside the point. This is the kind of necessary training the losers of Average Joe’s Gymnasium’s dodgeball squad need if they’re going to win the American Dodgeball Association of America’s (ADAA) International Dodgeball Competition. The $50,000 prize is a last-ditch effort by Joe’s owner, Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughan), to keep the megalomaniacal owner of rival Globo Gym, White Goodman (Ben Stiller), from putting him out of business. Teeming with memorable characters and quotable lines (including the origins of “I just threw up in my mouth a little bit”), Dodgeball culminates in one hell of a tournament sequence in which Peter and his misfits battle teams from around the world (and their own demons) toward their eventual showdown with White and his Purple Cobras. Watch for Jason Bateman’s hilarious cameo as spaced-out tournament commentator Pepper Brooks.

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Genre: Comedy, Action, Sports
Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughan, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Hank Azaria, Jason Bateman, Alan Tudyk, Chuck Norris
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 92 minutes

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Fight Club (1999)

When David Fincher’s Fight Club punched its way into the mainstream at the turn of the millennium, it fed directly into the psyche of post-’90s dudes still raging against the machine and grappling with their life choices to sit in a cubicle for eight hours a day. Edward Norton’s narrator is one such minion, stuck in a dead-end job with a boss he hates and so broken that he becomes a support-group tourist just to treat his unrelenting insomnia. Until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a slightly-unhinged soap salesman who teaches our unnamed narrator how to break free of the corporate machine, shed his capitalistic belongings, and feel again. How do they achieve this enlightenment? We can’t really talk about it, but it involves angsty men beating each other bloody in the basement of a bar. This organized underground club for fighting that the pair creates spreads like wildfire across the country and quickly spirals out of control as Tyler’s anarchist agenda threatens to go too far.

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Genre: Drama, Suspense, Mystery
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf
Director: David Fincher
Rating: R
Runtime: 139 minutes

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The French Connection (1971)

There’s so much to unpack with The French Connection beyond telling you to just watch it and see, but we’ll try to pique your interest nonetheless. Beyond being recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest films ever made, this nonstop-action flick also won five Oscars in 1971 (with 12 nominations in total), including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director and features one of the greatest — if not the greatest — car chase sequences in history. Based on the 1969 nonfiction book of the same name by Robin Moore, The French Connection follows New York narcotics detectives Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy “Cloudy” Russo (Roy Scheider) as they pursue one of the world’s biggest drug smugglers, Alain Charnier (Fernando Ray), as he attempts to move a shipment of heroin into the U.S. It’s a cat and mouse game of the highest order, with William Friedken’s direction and Owen Roizman’s cinematography pushing and pulling the action right to the edge of your seat.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Action, Drama, Crime
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Director: William Friedken
Rating: R
Runtime: 104 minutes

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The Sixth Sense (1999)

When M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense was in theaters in 1999, its competition included Toy Story 2, The Matrix, and a little movie called Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace. No pressure. Shyamalan’s creepy-cool thriller went on to beat all but Phantom Menace at the box office that year (and earn six Oscar nods), perhaps because it had one thing the other films didn’t, something that would become the writer/director’s calling card — that jaw-dropping twist ending. Then 10-year-old newcomer Haley Joel Osment holds his own on screen as Cole, a boy who can “see dead people.” Bruce Willis stars as Cole’s therapist, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, who, years before, worked with a similar patient (Donnie Wahlberg) who took his own life — a failure Malcolm has never gotten over. Tormented by his visions, Cole begins to open up to Malcolm, but nothing can prepare the good doctor for what he’s about to discover.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Horror, Suspense, Drama, Thriller
Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Donnie Wahlberg
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes

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Trollhunter (2011)

Trolls are real! At least that 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 Trollhunter 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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Stars: Otto Jespersen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Nærum
Director: André Øvredal
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 103 minutes

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Minority Report (2002)

Prolific American sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick penned countless tales of dystopic futures that have been turned into iconic films and TV shows, most famously Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale), and this action gem starring Tom Cruise, adapted from Dick’s 1956 novella The Minority Report. Steven Spielberg brings to life Dick’s tale of a future where a specialized police force of “PreCrime” detectives uses clairvoyant humans known as “precogs” to predict murders and other future crimes in the hopes of apprehending those about to commit them. Cruise plays PreCrime captain John Anderton, who goes on the run when he himself is predicted to kill a man he doesn’t know less than 36 hours in the future. Leading the hunt is Justice Department agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), who’s trying to nab Anderton before he locates the titular “minority report,” which outlines a conflicting alternate future predicted by other precogs, the existence of which could undermine the validity of the entire PreCrime unit. Oh, and of course there’s tons of cool tech, including the famous gesture-controlled holographic screen, autonomous cars, and more.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 145 minutes

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Paul Rudd’s flaky surfer dude Chuck has the best advice for heartbroken Peter (Jason Segel): “When life gives you lemons, just say f*** the lemons and bail.” And in this Segel-penned comedy, that’s exactly what Peter tries to do as he escapes to beautiful Hawaii to attempt to get over his recent breakup with his TV personality ex, Sarah (Kristen Bell), who’s decided that she’s too good for Pete. Only problem is, it turns out that Sarah is at the same resort, shacked up with her pervy rock star boyfriend, Aldous (Russell Brand). Peter tries to make the best of the awkward situation (while unsuccessfully, and hilariously, trying to avoid Sarah and Aldous), and in the process meets Rachel (Mila Kunis), a concierge at the resort who tries to help Peter get out of his funk. Sparks inevitably fly between Pete and Rachel, and Pete starts to get his mojo and self-respect back. With some funny-as-hell supporting performances from Rudd, Bill Hader, and Jonah Hill, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is not to be missed if you’re a fan of that Judd Apatow (a producer on the film) comedy style.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Stars: Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Russell Brand, Mila Kunis, Bill Hader
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Rating: R
Runtime: 111 minutes

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How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Not every DreamWorks animated film is an instant classic, but How to Train Your Dragon lives up to the hype and exceeds it. Based on a book with the same name, How to Train Your Dragon follows a young Viking boy named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) as he realizes that dragons can be partners to humanity instead of their deadly enemies. By a process of experimentation, and several leaps of trust, Hiccup trains and bonds with a small, black dragon named Toothless, which ultimately changes his world forever. The stunning animation still takes our collective breath away a decade after this film came out. It spawned a franchise, but this is still the best movie in the trilogy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Stars: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler
Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Rating: PG
Runtime: 99 minutes

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Inception (2010)

Christopher Nolan wrote and directed this mind-bending sci-fi thriller that casts Leonardo DiCaprio as a high-tech thief who steals information from the subconscious minds of his targets. When he’s hired for a different sort of job — to inject a thought into someone’s mind instead of stealing from it — it raises the stakes and traps him in an even more dangerous mission. Along with an endless array of groundbreaking visual effects, the film also features an ensemble cast that includes Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 148 minutes

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Young Adult
Stars: Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris
Director: Ian Samuels
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 98 minutes

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Sylvie’s Love (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria
Director: Eugene Ashe
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 116 minutes

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

Facing displacement from the home his grandfather built as a result of gentrification in his San Francisco neighborhood, Jimmie and his best friend, Mort, set out on a mission to reclaim the house before it is irreversibly changed. Their odyssey tests their friendship and forces them to question where they belong in the place they’ve always called home. A poignant, often intense journey, this film was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Jimmie Falls, Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps
Director: Joe Talbot
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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One Night in Miami (2021)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr
Director: Regina King
Rating: R
Runtime: 114 minutes

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Herself (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Clare Dunne, Ruby Rose O’Hara, Molly McCann,
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes

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Sound of Metal (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Riz AhmedOlivia CookePaul Raci
Director: Darius Marder
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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I’m Your Woman (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Genre: Crime, Drama
Stars: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene
Director: Julia Hart
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Sacha Baron CohenMaria Bakalova, Rudy Giuliani
Director: Jason Woliner
Rating: R
Runtime: 96 minutes

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It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Director: Frank Capra
Rating: PG
Runtime: 135 minutes

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Knives Out (2019)

Writer and director Rian Johnson (BrickLooper) gives the classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery a modern spin in this tale about a famous crime novelist whose unexpected death one night after a family gathering makes everyone a suspect. Daniel Craig portrays the brilliant, debonair detective Benoit Blanc, whose investigation brings the depths of the family’s dysfunction to light and leaves you guessing who will ultimately emerge as the culprit of the film’s heinous crime. The film’s ensemble cast makes a great mystery even better, with memorable performances from every actor involved, resulting in a modern mystery masterpiece.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Mystery
Stars: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Craig
Director: Rian Johnson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 minutes

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Chi-Raq (2015)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson
Director: Spike Lee
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

James Baldwin was one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, penning numerous essays and acclaimed novels addressing issues of race at a time when racial friction seemed to be boiling over in America. Working from an unfinished Baldwin manuscript, director Raoul Peck has created I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary on Amazon Prime examining Baldwin’s views and how they apply not only to the tumults of the ’60s but to modern America as well. Samuel L. Jackson narrates, infusing the material with a husky weariness. I Am Not Your Negro leaves one with the impression that Baldwin’s work has never been finished, and never been more important.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Raoul Peck
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 93 minutes

The Vast of Night (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz
Director: Andrew Patterson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Honey Boy (2019)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges
Director: Alma Har’el
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes

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High Life (2019)

From award-winning French filmmaker Claire Denis, High Life is described as an erotic sci-fi horror film, but it really defies classification. It’s difficult to explain High Life in just a few words but we’ll try. Juliette Binoche stars as Dr. Dibs, overseer of a damned space mission that is sending criminals to attempt to extract energy from a black hole. Along the way, Dibs performs sexual experiments on the criminals that lead to their deaths. Ultimately, murderer Monte (Robert Pattinson) is left alone with his daughter, trying to survive and thrive as they hurtle toward certain death.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Science Fiction
Stars: Robert Pattinson, André Benjamin, Mia Goth
Director: Claire Denis
Rating: R
Runtime: 110

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Fighting With My Family (2019)

A comedy based on the true story of WWE wrestler Paige, Fighting with my Family delivers on the story of a real-life wrestling family. Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the film stars Florence Pugh alongside a strong cast that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, and others. Pugh and her brother (played by Jack Lowden) try out for the WWE and, when only one of them makes the cut, Pugh is forced to face the world of professional wrestling alone. It may have a bit of an underdog storyline that’s often used in sports, but there’s a sincerity and a truth behind this story that makes it special.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Florence Pugh, Lena Headey
Director: Stephen Merchant
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

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).

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan
Director: Ethan & Joel Coen
Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes

The Handmaiden (2016)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Director: Park Chan-wook
Rating: NR
Runtime: 145 minutes

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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Midsommar (2019)

Called an “operatic breakup movie” by director Ari Aster, Midsommar proves to be exactly that and more in this suspenseful film. It centers around an American couple with serious relationship issues who travel with friends to a midsummer festival. It gets significantly more violent and unsettling from there, with the setting of a remote Swedish village serving as the backdrop for a cult with less-than-admirable intentions, to put it lightly. It was a hit in summer 2019 and, if you’re up for a nearly 2.5-hour movie where the scares consistently and constantly creep up on you, it won’t take long to understand why.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Florence Pugh, Liv Mjönes, Jack Reynor
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Runtime: 140 minutes

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Cold War (2018)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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The Big Sick (2017)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Director: Michael Showalter
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

The Lighthouse (2019)

Director Robert Eggers was initially moved to adapt Edgar Allan Poe’s The Light-House as a film, but The Lighthouse ultimately went in its own direction as one of 2019’s most unusual movies. Filmed entirely in black-and-white, The Lighthouse takes place in the late 19th century, as Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) finds himself stationed with the mercurial Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). Alone and stranded on the remote island, Winslow and Wake battle both each other and the onset of insanity. Pattinson and Dafoe’s confrontations and performances are riveting, but it’s the movie’s surprises that will keep viewers talking long after the film comes to an end.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Director: Robert Eggers
Rating: R
Runtime: 109 minutes

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The Farewell (2019)

In China, the name of this movie is “Don’t Tell Her.” The Farewell‘s American title doesn’t entirely capture the premise of the movie in the same way, but the core message is similar. Awkwafina stars as Billi Wang, a Chinese-American writer who learns that her grandmother, Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen), is dying from terminal lung cancer in China. To make matters worse, Billi’s parents, Haiyan Wang (Tzi Ma) and Lu Jian (Diana Lin), as well as the rest of the family, forbid Billi from telling Nai Nai that she has only a short time to live. It’s a promise that weighs heavily on Billi, but her connection with her beloved grandmother is beautiful and touching. Nai Nai may not know the truth, but she’s still got something valuable to teach her family.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Awkwafina, Zhao Shuzhen
Director: Lulu Wang
Rating: PG
Runtime: 100 minutes

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The African Queen (1951)

One of the joys of Amazon Prime is that it allows viewers of all ages to get acquainted with the films that came out decades before they were born. The African Queen is one of director John Huston’s most beloved films, thanks in no small part to the pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as the leads. The story is set in World War I, as a missionary named Rose Sayer (Hepburn) and the captain of a riverboat, Charlie Allnut (Bogart) join forces against the Germans after their lives are upended. The journey of the African Queen takes Charlie and Rose into countless dangers, as well as an occasionally rocky romance. This is a classic, folks. And everyone should see it at least once.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Adventure
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley
Director: John Huston
Rating: PG
Runtime: 105 minutes

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Stop Making Sense (1984)

Concert films are not a new phenomenon, but they do seem to be fewer and far between. In 1984, director Jonathan Demme teamed up with the band called Talking Heads for Stop Making Sense, one of the most influential concert films of all-time. Demme filmed the movie over four live performances at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, and Talking Heads put on the show of their lives every night. The band had a great sense of showmanship and stage presence, and Demme captured it all. Stop Making Sense has even pulled off the rare feat of a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. If it’s not a “Once in a Lifetime” experience, it’s close enough.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Concert Film
Stars: Talking Heads
Director: Jonathan Demme
Rating: NR
Runtime: 105 minutes

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Blow the Man Down (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Stars: Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale
Director: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Rating: R
Runtime: 91 minutes

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Paterson (2016)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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