The 49 Best Movies on Amazon Prime (October 2021) | Digital Trends
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The 49 best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now

Sure, there are some great new titles on Amazon Prime Video this month, including the Amazon Original Movie Justin Bieber: Our World and a pile of time-tested surefire hits like Die Hard, Raising Arizona, and Fight Club. But when it comes to real classics, it doesn’t get much better than Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate and Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks’ genius-level Young Frankenstein, both of which are streaming right now on Prime Video.

And while those are a great place to start this weekend, if you’re still on the hunt for something else to cuddle up with and you can’t quite decide on what, we curate this list of the best movies on Amazon Prime that you can stream right now, free with your Amazon Prime membership. We sift through all that the massive streaming service has to offer so you don’t have to.

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+.

Added to Amazon Prime Video in October

The Graduate (1967) new

The Graduate
87%
83%
8.0/10
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross
Directed by Mike Nichols
pg 106m
If you’re curious to see the moment Dustin Hoffman became a movie star, just settle in for the delight that is The Graduate. In a role that director Mike Nichols had to fight to get Hoffman cast in, the relatively unknown actor brought innocent charm and spot-on comedic timing to Benjamin Braddock, a wide-eyed 21-year-old college graduate who has an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), an older woman. “You’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you, Mrs. Robinson?” Braddock famously says. Problem is, as Mrs. Robinson’s advances become more seductive, Ben starts falling for her more age-appropriate daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross), but once she learns of the couple’s infidelities, she wants nothing to do with Ben.

Young Frankenstein (1974) new

Young Frankenstein
94%
80%
8.0/10
Genre Comedy
Stars Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Marty Feldman
Directed by Mel Brooks
pg 106m
“From the deep, dark recesses of the mind of Mel Brooks (I love him!),” as Brooks himself hilariously voices in the film’s original trailer, Young Frankenstein is a beloved comedy that the American Film Institute ranks, fittingly, as the 13th-funniest American movie of all time. In a goof on the black-and-white horror movies of the 1930s, particularly Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Gene Wilder (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Brooks) stars as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the grandson of the late mad scientist of the same famous family name. When Fredrick learns that he has inherited his grandad’s castle in Transylvania, he travels there and picks up where old Victor left off. With the help from Igor (Marty Feldman) and Inga (Teri Garr), his lab assistants, Fredrick creates a monster of his own.

My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021) new

My Name Is Pauli Murray
95%
73%
6.0/10
Genre Documentary
Stars Patricia Bell-Scott, Dolores Chandler, Brittney Cooper, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Directed by Julie Cohen, Betsy West
pg-13 91m
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.

Get Shorty (1995) new

Get Shorty
88%
82%
6.9/10
Genre Comedy, Thriller, Crime
Stars John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
r 105m
Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is a movie buff with an encyclopedic knowledge of the film industry. He’s also a slick-talking Miami mobster/loan shark with a vicious right jab and even more vicious trigger finger. But when Chili heads to Hollywood to collect a $200,000 debt from sleazy B-movie director Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), he sees an opportunity to trade the gangster business for the movie business, and the latter is even more, er, cutthroat. Looking to sell his life story as a motion picture, Chili enlists the help of B-movie actress Karen Flores (Rene Russo) and her A-list actor ex, Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), but when Chili’s mob boss, Ray Barboni (Dennis Farina), shows up in Tinseltown looking for the $200K, Chili has to get creative to get his movie made and not get whacked in the process.

The Bad News Bears (1976)

The Bad News Bears
97%
84%
7.3/10
Genre Family, Comedy
Stars Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Ben Piazza
Directed by Michael Ritchie
pg 102m
They swear, they drink, they smoke, and they can’t play baseball worth a damn. They’re a team of misfits in the Southern California Youth Baseball League, coached by an alcoholic former minor-league pitcher. They’re the Bears and, yep, they’re bad news. Lauded as one of the best adult-child comedies ever, The Bad News Bears stars Walter Matthau as the washed-up coach in question, Morris Buttermaker, who, as a result of a lawsuit against the league, agrees to coach a team of oddball players no one else wants. After a series of appalling losses, Morris does the unthinkable — he brings in a girl, 11-year-old Amanda Wurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal), to pitch. Amanda is a cannon on the mound, and soon the team starts to get their act together. The Bad News Bears is definitely rough around the edges with some cringy late-’70s humor (don’t watch this one with the kids), but at its core is a losers-to-heroes story worth watching.

Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard
94%
72%
8.2/10
Genre Action, Thriller
Stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov
Directed by John McTiernan
r 131m
You can take it as a sign that Christmas is on its way, or you can just accept Die Hard for the entertaining, watch-it-anytime action movie that it is. New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to LA to visit his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), at her company’s Christmas party. Holly works at the sky-scraping Nakatomi tower where a group of thieves, led by mastermind Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), has taken the staff hostage in an attempt to rob the company’s safe of millions. Well, not if McClane has anything to say about it. The resourceful, fast-quipping cop crawls through ducts, dives down elevator shafts, and blows things up to save the love of his life, and the hostages along the way. Die Hard 2 and Die Hard: With a Vengeance are also streaming on Amazon Prime. Yippee-ki-yay.

Raising Arizona (1987)

Raising Arizona
91%
69%
7.3/10
Genre Comedy, Crime
Stars Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson
Directed by Joel Coen
pg-13 94m
One of the Coen brothers’ greatest comedies (second to, perhaps, The Big Lebowski), Raising Arizona is a must-watch for fans of their Looney-Toons style and enduringly dimwitted protagonists. Petty thief H.I. “Hi” McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) is fresh out of prison and wasted no time marrying Edwina “Ed” (Holly Hunter), the now-former police officer who took his mugshot. Desperate after learning that Ed can’t have children, the couple kidnaps one of the quintuplets of local furniture magnate Nathan Arizona, setting off a series of ridiculous events that involves Hi’s former cellmates, a terrifying biker, and the Arizonas all trying to get their hands on the adorable Nathan Jr.

Garden State (2004)

Garden State
86%
67%
7.4/10
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Ian Holm
Directed by Zach Braff
r 102m
Neverminding the fact that the soundtrack for Zach Braff’s directorial debut introduced the world to such great bands as The Shins and Iron & Wine, as well as bringing the late great Nick Drake’s music to a new audience, Garden State still stands out as one of the best indie films of the early aughts. Braff stars as Andrew “Large” Largeman, a struggling actor in Los Angeles who returns home to New Jersey after his mother dies. As he struggles to reconcile some deep issues with his father, whom he hasn’t spoken to in years, Andrew must learn to forgive himself and retake control of his flailing life so he can move on. And with the help of an old friend, Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), and potential new love, Sam (Natalie Portman), Andrew might just find the peace he’s been deprived of for years.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
89%
66%
8.0/10
Genre Western, Drama, Crime
Stars Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
Directed by George Roy Hill
pg 111m
While the critical response to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when it was released more than 50 years ago was cold to lukewarm at best, this classic western would go on to be recognized as one of the greatest films of all time. Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in the titular roles as famous U.S. outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longabaugh (aka The Sundance Kid), respectively. On the run from the law after a string of train robberies with their Hole-in-the-Wall gang, the infamous pair have no choice but to flee to Bolivia where they figure life as robbers will be easy-breezy. With the help of Sundance’s Spanish-speaking girlfriend Etta Pace (Katharine Ross), they have some success, but soon learn the hard way that between the Bolivian bandits, police, and the army, thieving ain’t any easier south of the border. And, of course, the epic gunfight at the film’s conclusion is worth the price of your Prime membership in and of itself.

Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club
79%
66%
8.8/10
Genre Drama
Stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by David Fincher
r 139m
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.

Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report
90%
80%
7.6/10
Genre Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, Mystery
Stars Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Directed by Steven Spielberg
pg-13 145m
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.

The Mad Women's Ball (2021)

The Mad Women's Ball
86%
72%
6.6/10
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Lou de Laâge, Mélanie Laurent, Emmanuelle Bercot
Directed by Mélanie Laurent
121m
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
79%
62%
6.2/10
Genre Music, Drama, Comedy
Stars Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel
Directed by Jonathan Butterell
pg-13 115m
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.

Arachnophobia (1990)

Arachnophobia
93%
67%
6.4/10
Genre Comedy, Horror
Stars Jeff Daniels, Harley Jane Kozak, John Goodman
Directed by Frank Marshall
pg-13 103m
The perfect flick to throw on when the weather starts getting chillier outside (and for ramping up to Halloween, for the diehards), Arachnophobia did for spiders what Jaws did for sharks (like either needed much help). Jeff Daniels is Ross Jennings, a family man and doctor who moves his family to a small California town to start his practice. Ross, as it turns out, has a crippling fear of spiders, which doesn’t bode well, as his house is home to a killer Venezuelan spider that has hitched a ride to town and is starting to leave a path of victims in its wake. With the help of a local exterminator (John Goodman) and a team of arachnologists, Ross must overcome his fears to rid the town of the mother spider before its sacks of offspring run rampant.

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing
93%
93%
8.0/10
Genre Drama
Stars Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee
Directed by Spike Lee
r 120m
Lauded as one of the best films of all time and a stark reflection of American race relations that’s as poignant today as it was during its release, Do the Right Thing is an intense and thought-provoking drama written, directed, produced, and starring Spike Lee. During a sweltering heatwave in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant, young Mookie (Lee) works as a delivery boy for a local pizzeria owned by Italian-American Sal (Danny Aiello), who has run the shop in the predominantly African-American area for more than two decades. After a racially charged incident in the shop erupts into violence one night, the police are called, and one of the locals, Raheem (Bill Nunn), is killed by Officer Long (Rick Aiello). The situation escalates, Sal’s pizzeria is destroyed, a mob fills the streets, and the neighborhood is rocked by the events forever. Aiello deservedly received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, while Lee also got a nod for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, but Do the Right Thing‘s impact is lasting well beyond the accolades and is a must-see.

The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network
96%
95%
7.7/10
Genre Drama
Stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Directed by David Fincher
pg-13 121m
Although The Social Network acts as a kind of unofficial telling of the story of Facebook and is based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 novel The Accidental Billionaires, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher were less dazzled by the behemoth trailblazer Facebook would become than they were with the themes of friendship, betrayal, and jealousy embroiled in its genesis. Nominated for eight Oscars and winning three, the film follows 19-year-old Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), who, along with his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and other classmates, create TheFacebook, a social media site for Ivy League students. Problem is, Mark may have stolen the idea from the wealthy Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer). The film plays out through a mix of cut scenes to the present-day legal proceedings and flashbacks chronicling Facebook’s rise — including its involvement with Napster’s Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), its move to Silicon Valley, and Saverin’s eventual ousting from the company — but Fincher and Sorkin’s focus stays true as we see a Zuckerberg who must come to terms with the price he’s paid for his creation.

Annette (2021)

Annette
71%
67%
6.4/10
Genre Drama, Romance, Music
Stars Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg
Directed by Leos Carax
r 140m
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

Sideways (2004)

Sideways
97%
94%
7.5/10
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen
Directed by Alexander Payne
r 127m
Nominated for five Academy Awards in 2005, including Best Picture and Director for Alexander Payne (who also won for Best Adapted Screenplay, by the way), Sideways is a charming, California wine country-set dramedy drenched in sun-kissed landscapes, flowing reds, and … a wine snob yelling about merlot. OK, it’s a lot more than that. Paul Giamatti is the delightfully disgruntled Miles, a middle-aged failed writer and recovering divorcé, who escapes with his friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) for a week of wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley before Jack ties the knot. But Jack’s got other ideas for the week, as he sets his sights on Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a wine server, and swears Miles to secrecy about his upcoming nuptials. Things get hot between Jack and Stephanie, while Miles and Stephanie’s friend Maya (Virginia Madsen), also a divorceé with some baggage, begin to fall for each other. Can Miles keep Jack’s secret? Does he even want to? And what of his budding romance with Maya if he lets it slip? Full of wit, humor, and more than a few jabs at the pretentiousness of the wine elite, Sideways is a rom-com well paired with, perhaps, a nice cab sauv (spit).

In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges
84%
67%
7.9/10
Genre Comedy, Drama, Crime
Stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes
Directed by Martin McDonagh
r 108m
Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ben (Brendan Gleeson) are bad men. They kill people for money. It’s a very stressful job, and after one particularly difficult hit has Ray riddled with guilt, the pair retreat to the quaint, medieval tourist town of Bruges, Belgium, to lay low and await instructions from their employer, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). What’s a team of hired killers to do in one of Europe’s most romantic and historic towns, go sightseeing? While that’s exactly what Ben spends his time doing, Ray, on the other hand, can’t stop thinking about the botched job until he meets the enchanting Chloe (Clémence Poésy), a member of a film crew in town shooting a movie. For the first time, the hilariously sarcastic and cynical Ray starts to see a future beyond the “life.” But just as Ray starts to get swept away by Chloe and the picturesque Bruges, Harry shows up with very different plans. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), In Bruges is a smart, beautifully shot, fish-out-of-water comedy, but with silencers.

Val (2021)

Val
93%
73%
7.7/10
Genre Documentary
Stars Val Kilmer, Jack Kilmer, Mercedes Kilmer
Directed by Leo Scott, Ting Poo
r 109m
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.

Attack the Block (2011)

Attack the Block
90%
75%
6.7/10
Genre Action, Comedy, Science Fiction
Stars Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Nick Frost
Directed by Joe Cornish
r 88m
The nutters behind Shaun of the Dead do what they do best in 2011’s hilarious alien adventure, Attack the Block, starring who would become two of cinema’s biggest sci-fi stars, the Star Wars prequels’ John Boyega and current Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker. When their South London apartment complex neighborhood is bombarded with furry, razor-toothed alien visitors hell-bent on a takeover, the kids and adults band together to defend themselves and their block. An invasion flick with heart, Attack the Block adeptly shows the transformation of the mischievous and questionably delinquent youngsters into heroes, using their street smarts to send the aliens packing.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can
96%
75%
8.1/10
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Directed by Steven Spielberg
pg-13 141m
A young boy cries in pain, lying on a table in a hospital ER, his leg bloody and broken. Barely 21 years old, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), posing as a doctor and clearly nauseous at the sight of blood, is called to assist the two junior doctors on the case. “Dr. Harris, do you concur?” is all the freaked-out Frank can muster before passing the boy off and rushing away. Another narrow escape for the young con man, who, by the time Stephen Spielberg’s brilliant Oscar-winning film Catch Me If You Can come to its end, will have also become a master cheque forger and posed as an airline pilot and a lawyer while traveling the world on an adventure to end all adventures. But hot on Frank’s heels is FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who develops a respect and bond with the young, scared Abagnale, as he chases the master criminal around the globe. Based on the real-life story of Abagnale Jr., Catch Me If You Can is a not-to-be-missed cat-and-mouse film with incredible performances from two of Hollywood’s best.

The Tomorrow War (2021)

The Tomorrow War
52%
45%
6.6/10
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons
Directed by Chris McKay
pg-13 138m
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.

Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out
97%
82%
7.9/10
Genre Comedy, Drama, Crime, Mystery
Stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
Directed by Rian Johnson
pg-13 131m
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.

Pinocchio (2019)

Pinocchio
83%
6%
6.2/10
Genre Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Stars Federico Ielapi, Roberto Benigni, Marine Vacth
Directed by Matteo Garrone
pg-13 125m
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.

Stop Making Sense (1984)

Stop Making Sense
100%
89%
8.6/10
Genre Music, Documentary
Stars David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz
Directed by Jonathan Demme
88m
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.

The Vast of Night (2019)

The Vast of Night
92%
84%
6.7/10
Genre Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Bruce Davis
Directed by Andrew Patterson
pg-13 91m
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.

Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar
83%
72%
7.1/10
Genre Horror, Drama, Mystery
Stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper
Directed by Ari Aster
r 148m
What better way to celebrate the summer solstice than by having the crap scared out of you? 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.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
76%
61%
6.8/10
Genre Fantasy, Romance
Stars Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris
Directed by Ian Samuels
pg-13 99m
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
93%
74%
6.8/10
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Aja Naomi King
Directed by Eugene Ashe
pg-13 114m
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.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

The Last Black Man in San Francisco
92%
83%
7.3/10
Genre Drama
Stars Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Tichina Arnold
Directed by Joe Talbot
r 121m
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.

One Night in Miami... (2020)

One Night in Miami...
98%
83%
7.1/10
Genre Drama
Stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge
Directed by Regina King
r 114m
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
93%
70%
7.0/10
Genre Drama
Stars Clare Dunne, Molly McCann, Ruby Rose O'Hara
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
r 97m
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
97%
82%
7.8/10
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Directed by Darius Marder
r 121m
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.
Image: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B08KZCFW1C/ref=atv_dp_share_cu_r

I'm Your Woman (2020)

I'm Your Woman
80%
63%
6.2/10
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene
Directed by Julia Hart
r 120m
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
85%
68%
6.6/10
Genre Comedy
Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Tom Hanks
Directed by Jason Woliner
r 96m
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.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life
94%
8.6/10
Genre Drama, Family, Fantasy
Stars James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Directed by Frank Capra
pg 130m
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.

Chi-Raq (2015)

Chi-Raq
82%
77%
5.8/10
Genre Drama, Crime, Comedy
Stars Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes
Directed by Spike Lee
r 127m
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
94%
73%
7.3/10
Genre Drama
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe
Directed by Alma Har'el
r 94m
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.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis
92%
93%
7.5/10
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Directed by Ethan & Joel Coen
r 104m
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).

The Handmaiden (2016)

The Handmaiden
95%
84%
8.1/10
Genre Thriller, Drama, Romance
Stars Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo
Directed by Park Chan-wook
145m
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
89%
84%
6.8/10
Genre Thriller, Drama
Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
r 89m
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
92%
90%
7.6/10
Genre Drama
Stars Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
r 89m
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
98%
86%
7.5/10
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Directed by Michael Showalter
r 120m
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.

The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse
90%
83%
7.5/10
Genre Drama, Fantasy, Thriller, Horror
Stars Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman
Directed by Robert Eggers
r 109m
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.

The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell
97%
89%
7.6/10
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin
Directed by Lulu Wang
pg 100m
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.

The African Queen (1952)

The African Queen
98%
91%
7.8/10
Genre Adventure, Romance
Stars Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley
Directed by John Huston
pg 105m
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.

Blow the Man Down (2019)

Blow the Man Down
98%
72%
6.4/10
Genre Drama, Mystery, Comedy
Stars Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale
Directed by Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole
r 90m
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
96%
90%
7.4/10
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
r 118m
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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