Tue. May 17th, 2022
Prime Video: The 34 Best Movies to Watch
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Herself (2020)


Amazon Prime Video

While Amazon Prime Video drops a host of movies at the beginning of each month, it doesn’t have a ton of new weekly releases.

Occasionally, however, an original or a flick from the vault comes knocking and deserves to be put on your radar. Below, you’ll find weekly highlights and CNET’s full list of best Amazon Prime Video Original movies.

What’s new on Prime Video this month

Here are the highlights.

March 1

  • Prometheus (2012) — Sci-fi horror film. Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone.
  • Dead Poets Society (1989) — Drama. Maverick teacher John Keating uses poetry to embolden his boarding school students to new heights of self-expression.

March 4

  • Lucy and Desi (2022) Documentary directed by Amy Poehler. Exploring the life of Lucille Ball, her relationship with Desi Arnaz, and her legacy and impact on Hollywood.

Entertain your brain with the coolest news from streaming to superheroes, memes to video games.

Read more: Prime Video: The 32 best TV shows to watch | Everything you need to know to sign up to Amazon Prime Video

Best Amazon Prime Video Original films

Drama

Herself (2020)

http://www.cnet.com/

This Irish drama shares some of its themes with Netflix’s 2021 series Maid: A mother leaves an abusive partner and must rebuild her life. Like Maid, it’s a compelling and heart-wrenching journey that benefits from a strong lead. The film is a tough watch, but it’s also uplifting. After encountering obstacles, Sandra (Clare Dunne) resiliently sets out to construct her own house. Many of the characters we encounter step in to help. Herself is a worthwhile story that offers hope amid the bleakness. 

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this biopic about English artist, inventor, entrepreneur and caretaker Louis Wain. Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows a man who, after taking in a stray kitten, creates surreal cat paintings that made him world famous. They also seem to reflect his own declining sanity. A feel-good drama with a typically gripping central performance from Cumberbatch, this warm portrait is filled with whimsy, even if it’s a little uneven.

Being the Ricardos (2021)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Prime Video

Aaron Sorkin writes and directs this biographical drama based on the relationship between I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It stars Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as Ball and Arnaz, respectively. In other words, expect breakneck dialogue, memorable lines and rich repartee. Standout Kidman embodies the actress and comedian, bringing heart to the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship.

One Night in Miami (2020)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

If you still haven’t seen One Night in Miami, this is a sign to clear your schedule. The Oscar-nominated drama offers a fictionalized take on a real-life meeting that took place between Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown in 1964. Each of its four lead actors shine, and when they eventually convene for the film’s titular night, their imagined conversations and debate feel real. A lively, magnetic and thought-provoking film that’s strengthened by standout scenes between Leslie Odom Jr. and Kingsley Ben-Adir. 

Small Axe (2020)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon

A sublime anthology that doesn’t drop the ball across its five films. Small Axe is a collection of distinct stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London from the ’60s to the ’80s. They’re all directed by Steve McQueen, who’s working at his exquisite best (when doesn’t he?), crafting stories such as courtroom drama Mangrove, based on the 1971 trial of the Mangrove Nine and starring Black Panther’s Letitia Wright. Take a seat and devour this massive achievement.

Sound of Metal (2019)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

Sound of Metal scored a bunch of Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for the outstanding Riz Ahmed. (It won in two categories: best sound and best film editing.) He plays Ruben, a punk-metal drummer who unfortunately starts to lose his hearing. As well as struggling with a drug addiction, Ruben is forced to settle into his new life in the deaf community and to learn American Sign Language. The film’s stunning sound design immerses you in Ruben’s suspenseful story and the experiences of those around him.

Selah and the Spades (2019)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon

If you’re into the dark-things-happen-at-boarding-schools genre, then Selah and the Spades might be the subject to sign up for. A senior leads a faction called the Spades who sell drugs to other students. But Selah’s about to graduate, so must find the right candidate to carry on her legacy. Shot beautifully and guided by debut director Tayarisha Poe’s unique lens, this is a taste of even greater things to come.

Amazon Studios

Following lovers from different backgrounds and temperaments, Pawel Pawlikowski’s historical drama is set in a ravaged, post-World War II Poland. Zula is an ambitious young singer faking a peasant identity, while Wiktor is a jazz musician holding auditions for a state-sponsored folk music ensemble. The politics are handled elegantly and the black-and-white visuals are precise and beautiful. For an 88-minute treat of a sumptuous, passionate, almost impossible love story, look no further than Cold War.

King Lear (2018)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

King Lear is, of course, an adaptation of the Shakespeare play, but two powerful forces help this one stand out: Anthony Hopkins and Black Widow scene stealer Florence Pugh. Not to mention Emma Thompson! This adaptation is set in an alternative universe during the 21st century, where London is under strict military control. Lear is ready to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, but not all of them are accepting. If you’re OK with the Shakespearean dialogue, then simply sit back and marvel at Hopkins and a stacked ensemble cast, including Emily Watson, Jim Broadbent and Andrew Scott.

Pass Over (2018)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

Before we jump into this Spike Lee film, note that it’s technically a recorded stage play. And yet somehow it captures cinematic magic, thanks in large part to the engaging performances from Jon Michael Hill and Julian Parker. They play two young men dreaming of the promised land from their fixed spot on the sidewalk. Educational, moving, funny and surprising, Pass Over will keep you on your toes more than you think.

Amazon Studios

In trademark Jim Jarmusch style, this low-key indie narrows in on the finer details of regular life with a distinct sense of humor. Spanning one week, Paterson follows a bus driver and poet named Paterson who listens to passengers talking, takes his dog for walks and stops for beers at his local bar. Adam Driver alone makes all that endlessly watchable. Dotted with the idiosyncratic characters living in a New Jersey town, Paterson offers a wise take on life, delving into personal setbacks and the new paths weaved around them.

Sci-fi

The Tomorrow War (2021)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Prime Video

It’s hard to believe there was a time when I only recognized Chris Pratt as the lovable goofball Andy in the show Parks and Recreation. Since then, he’s established himself as a full-blown action star, appearing as the leading guy in flicks like Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World and this sci-fi thriller, The Tomorrow War. In the film, time travelers from the future visit Earth to share that mankind is losing a war against aliens. Pratt joins others transported to the future to fight them, in what amounts to an intense, action-packed feature that runs long but will probably appease sci-fi fans.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

Following in the footsteps of Palm Springs, The Map of Tiny Perfect things is a rom-com exploring the lives of its protagonists through a time loop. Katheryn Newton and Kyle Allen star as Margaret and Mark, two teens repeating the same day over and over again. Their meet cute involves saving someone from being knocked into a pool by a beach ball. Charming and heartfelt, this is solid if not totally perfect viewing.

Horror

Black Box (2020)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Prime Video

This impressive directorial debut from Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. presses the same emotional buttons as a Black Mirror episode. It focuses on Nolan Wright (Mamoudou Athie), a man who survives a car crash, but now suffers from amnesia. After failing to pick up his 10-year-old daughter from school, he undertakes an experimental treatment that leads to chilling results. Part of a Blumhouse anthology, this sci-fi horror plays familiar cards, but will satisfy thanks to a focus on character and a twist to look forward to in the end.

Amazon Studios

Luca Guadagnino’s horror picture framed in a bleak, art house window won’t be for everyone, but for those who go down the rabbit hole of its prestigious Berlin dance school, you’re in for a twisted treat. Tilda Swinton is the majestic lead teacher, who mentors young ingenue Dakota Johnson. Be warned: The flexible dancers bring new contortions to body horror. It’s a long movie, at over two and a half hours, but if you’re into disturbing visuals and a touch of witchcraft, there are a couple of jaw-dropping scenes you’ll want to stick around for.

Musical drama

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Prime Video

This coming-of-age musical drama is based on the true story of teenage British schoolboy Jamie Campbell, who secretly dreams of becoming a drag queen. Peppered with songs from the stage musical’s original score, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will lift you up with optimism, hitting all the right feel-good beats.

Guava Island (2019)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

This tale comes from the minds of a stellar team, including Donald Glover, his brother Stephen Glover and Atlanta collaborator Hiro Murai. Donald Glover voices the free-spirited Deni Maroon, a musician who lives with Kofi, voiced by none other than Rihanna. Deni encounters various obstacles on his mission to hold a music festival for his island community, exploring big themes such as capitalism through the film’s short, 56-minute runtime. Note that Rihanna doesn’t sing, but overall this musical is just catchy and sweet enough to warrant a look.

Thriller

The Mad Women’s Ball (2021)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Prime Video

Mélanie Laurent directs, co-writes and stars in this emotional French thriller set in the late 19th century. Laurent is Geneviève, a nurse who attempts to free Eugénie (Lou de Laâge), a woman committed to a mental asylum when her family learns she communicates with spirits. Carried by outstanding performances from its two leads, The Mad Women’s Ball poignantly sweeps the inequities of the era into its disturbing melodrama. An accomplished watch.

Amazon Studios

Even if you’ve heard good things about The Handmaiden, nothing can prepare you for the insane twists this exquisite South Korean movie takes. Classed as an erotic psychological thriller, The Handmaiden contains explicit scenes you should probably avoid watching with parents around. It all kicks off with a con man wooing a Japanese heiress with the intention of committing her to an asylum once they’re married. But his pickpocket partner who poses as her maid strays from the plan. If you’ve been getting into South Korean films thanks to Parasite, this is a must watch.

Comedy

Uncle Frank (2020)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon

Need more Paul Bettany in your life? Of course you do, especially since WandaVision is done and dusted. Try Uncle Frank, a road flick set in the ’70s about a gay man and his relationship with his family, including niece and college student Beth (Sophia Lillis from the It movies and I Am Not Okay With This). The pair drive across America to attend a funeral, Frank grappling with whether to let his partner Wally (Peter Macdissi) come along. A comedy with sharp edges, Uncle Frank ultimately leaves you on an assuringly positive note.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Prime Video

Nearly 15 years after Kazakh journalist and TV personality Borat first graced our big screens, he’s back playing pranks on unsuspecting Americans while delivering some incredibly incisive cultural commentary. In Borat 2, or Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Borat’s on a trip to the US to offer his daughter Tutar (played by a revelatory Maria Bakalova) to Vice President Mike Pence during the 2020 presidential election — and the COVID-19 pandemic. Prepare to cringe at the doubled-down political incorrectness before succumbing to the outrageous laughs.

Get Duked! (2019)

http://www.cnet.com/

Amazon Studios

A teen comedy-horror-thriller with a dash of social commentary. What a combo! Get Duked! follows three slacker students, one nerd and their mundane teacher as they head to the Scottish Highlands to attempt to win an award involving navigating the area using just a paper map. Everything becomes a little more thrilling when the four teens end up fending for themselves against murderous hunter the Duke, played by the brilliant Eddie Izzard. The whole young ensemble is fantastic, playing with a tight script crackling with banter. Boy Scouts meets Attack the Block, Get Duked! is chaos walking, cussing and eating questionable local flora.

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