Amazon Prime Video is positively packed to the brim with star-studded and highly rated movies, but it can be hard to know what is actually worth watching.
You can find just about any type of film on Amazon Prime Video, from old classics like Dirty Dancing and Back to the Future, to new releases like Parasite and Sound of Metal.
Furthermore, Amazon Prime Video has some exclusive originals, like Palm Springs which are not only full to the brim of water cooler moments, but make for entertaining viewing too!
Every single film on the list below has been hand picked by RadioTimes.com‘s team of film experts, so you will know exactly which movies you should dive into when you next open Amazon Prime Video. You can also tweet us @RadioTimes if you want to recommend your own favourite for the list.
Our Amazon Prime Video pages (including best Amazon shows) will be updated every week, so keep this page bookmarked as we’ll have fresh recommendations you absolutely don’t want to miss.
For those wanting something a bit different, we’ve also created shortlists of the best Netflix movies and the best Netflix series, as well as your guide to Disney+.
Last updated 28th May 2021.
Escape from Pretoria
Based on real-life apartheid South African political prisoners Tim Jenkin (Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber), this thriller, directed by Francis Annan, tells the story of the two men who escaped from jail after they were incarcerated for distributing African National Congress material via leaflet bombs. In the film, Jenkin and Lee are writers and civil rights activists who are targeted for brutal beatings by prison guards. Jenkin and Lee discuss escape with fellow prisoner Leonard Fontaine (Mark Leonard Winter, who plays a fictionalised version of the character). As they go about their daily routines they examine the building and make wooden keys from items stolen from the workshop to get them out of their cells and other rooms. After nearly being caught during an escape test run, guards search their cells but find nothing. Jenkin, Lee and Fontaine attempt to get other prisoners to join them but fail, but they successfully escape the prison and leave Pretoria in a taxi. They eventually reach London via Mozambique and Tanzania. Escape from Pretoria does not do justice to the full true story but is a gripping jailbreak thriller. – Owen Tonks
Watch Escape From Pretoria on Amazon Prime Video
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, this American disaster film is written by Chris Sparling and follows a family who fight for survival before a comet impacts Earth. Structural engineer John Garrity (Gerard Butler) lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) and their son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd). With interstellar comet Clarke passing earth, John and his family are selected for emergency sheltering as he watches a fragment from the space rock enter Earth’s atmosphere live on television which strikes Tampa, Florida, destroying the city. A number of clusters impact the planet over the next few days with the largest expected to cause an extinction-level event. The family misses an evacuation flight as their son is unable to travel due to his diabetes. They head to Ontario, Canada after learning planes are leaving for Greenland where there are a series of underground bunkers. Their journey is troubled as they are tackled by hostile people who spot John’s evacuee wristband and they are impacted by comet fragments in Upstate New York. They eventually reach a plane and persuade a pilot to take them but they crash land off the coast of Greenland due to another fragment. After a nine-month bunker stay they leave to a radically-changed landscape but clearing atmosphere, enabling them to rebuild human life. The film was received well by critics who lauded it for being a “rare disaster movie that feels realistic”. – Owen Tonks
Watch Greenland on Amazon Prime Video
Directed and co-written by Dimitri Logothetis, this American sci-fi martial arts film is based on the 2017 comic book of the same name by Logothetis and Jim McGrath. The movie sees an ancient order of Jiu Jitsu fighters in combat with vicious alien invaders who emerge from a temple in Burma (Myanmar) every six years. The fighters have successfully protected Earth until now. Kickboxer Alain Moussi plays Jake Barnes who loses his memory after falling off a cliff and hitting his head in a fight scene. As he begins to regain consciousness he attempts to find his warrior-purpose again with the help of fellow martial arts fighters Wylie (Nicholas Cage), Carmen (JuJu Chan), Kueng (Tony Jaa) and Forbes (Marrese Crump). He is interrogated at a military base where he is injected with truth serum but finds a friend in Keung who recognises him thanks to a special handshake. They leave the base and meet the other fighters and, after fending off soldiers, manage to defeat the alien race, played out in a number of extended combat scenes. While Nicholas Cage may pull in an audience, the film is uninspired with bland action sequences, and has been described as “joyless” and “grim” by critics. – Owen Tonks
Watch Jiu Jitsu on Amazon Prime Video
This American drama, written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, is a semi-autobiographical story based on Chung’s upbringing. The plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make a life in the rural United States in the 1980s. The film has received various awards, with its world premiere having taken place at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 where it won two gongs. It earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards with Youn Yuh-jung, who plays Soon-ja, gaining international recognition as the first Korean actress to win an acting Oscar with the Best Supporting Actress prize for her performance. It also won a Golden Globe and received six BAFA nominations. Youn plays the grandmother of David Yi (Alan Kim) who comes from Korea to stay with family on their Arkansas farm after they move from California hoping to grow and sell Korean produce to Dallas vendors, bringing with her minari (Korean for water celery) seeds. Soon-ja minds the children and adjusts to American life. She encourages David’s independence as he and his family hold him back due to his heart condition but Soon-ja suffers a stroke which leaves her movement and speech impaired. The family business faces difficulties and Soon-ja accidentally sets the barn on fire while the others are away in Oklahoma City. David finds the strength to protect his grandma as his condition improves and the minari crop produces an impressive harvest. Minari is an enchanting watch with a universal appeal. – Owen Tonks
Watch Minari on Amazon Prime Video
Produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel and Tencent Pictures, this American Spider-Man spin-off is directed by Ruben Fleischer. Journalist Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) gets superpowers from an alien species which plans to invade Earth. The aliens are discovered by bio-engineering corporation Life Foundation who are searching space for habitable worlds, and they discover the beings need oxygen-breathing hosts to survive. The aliens often reject the hosts, causing them to die, and Brock discovers Life Foundation are trialling the effects of the species on humans from a document in his attorney girlfriend’s possession. He is helped into a lab where the aliens are by a disgruntled Life Foundation employee and he attempts to free the test subjects. He soon displays unusual symptoms and a being manifests around his body, introducing itself as Venom. Brock learns the alien is rotting his internal organs but he learns its weaknesses. The pair work together to fend off other aliens who are set on destroying humans. After its 2018 release, Venom was panned by critics for its script and tone, and lack of connection to Spider-Man but Hardy was praised for his performance. However, the film was a box office hit grossing $856million (£617m) worldwide. – Owen Tonks Watch Venom on Amazon Prime Video
An American documentary film directed and produced by Bryan Fogel, The Dissident tracks the disappearance and assassination of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. It also takes a look at Saudi’s bid to control international dissent. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2020 with Saudia Arabian activist and vlogger Omar Abdulaziz at the centre of the documentary. Khashoggi’s fiancée and dissidents around the world look at the clues to the murder and cover-up, and its consequences. A CIA report published by the Biden administration implies Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the death of Khashoggi but Fogel insists he will never face Interpol arrest or a formal investigation due to his wealth. The film was received well by critics who, while they acknowledged not much new information was presented, praised it for a comprehensive look at the story. – Owen Tonks Watch The Dissident on Amazon Prime Video
Directed by Michael Noer, this 2017 biographical drama tells the story of French convict Henri Charriere (Charlie Hunman) who is nicknamed the French word for butterfly, papillon. Charriere was jailed in the infamous Devil’s Island penal colony in French Guiana after he was framed for murder, escaping in 1941 with the help fellow prisoner Louis Dega (Rami Malek). More than 80,000 prisoners were held on Devil’s Island over time with no one ever breaking free and the majority never returning to France, but Charriere manages to evade by boat only to be thrown into solitary confinement after being found. Emerging from solitary an old man he attempts to escape again with success. The film is based on Charriere’s autobiographies Papillon and Banco, and the 1973 silver screen adaptation of the same name which starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. The 2017 release of Papillon is well acted and produced, putting a spin on an already-told tale. – Owen Tonks Watch Papillon on Amazon Prime Video
Justice League is a film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name. The plot sees Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) enlist the help of ally Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to face their enemy after he is inspired by selfless Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill). Batman and Wonder Woman quickly build an impressive team of meta-humans to stand against a new threat after evil alien military officer Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) returns to Earth after Superman’s death. Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) warns her daughter Diana Price about the threat posed to the planet and she meets Batman and Wonder Woman to discuss how to save humanity. However, even with the help of Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) they may not have enough power. The movie premiered at Hollywood’s famous Dolby Theatre on November 13 2017 and grossed $429million (£308m) worldwide. It was nominated for a variety of awards including two Golden Trailer Awards, a Kids’ Choice Award and a Teen Choice Award. The film received mixed reviews and, while it was praised for its action sequences and acting, it was criticised for its screenplay, CHI and thin plot. – Owen Tonks Watch Justice League on Amazon Prime Video
Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) proposes on the beach to his girlfriend Katrina Harper (Charlotte Vega) while on holiday in Ibiza but the couple’s romantic moment is blown out of the water as a jihadist cell attacks civilians with assault rifles. Rapp frantically tries to find Harper as they are torn apart in the chaos but discovers she has been killed. A tormented Rapp is consumed with anger and a need for revenge and he frequently logs on to internet message boards where he interrogates the terrorists responsible for his girlfriend’s death about his religion Islam. Rapp gets the terrorist to agree to meet him in Libya where and prepares his vengeance. Before he can murder the terrorist, the cell is ambushed by US Special Forces leaving Rapp even more filled with rage. The film, directed by Michael Cuesta, was not well received, with the flick being panned for not standing out from other similar projects. O’Brien lacks electricity in his performance but the film may entertain those who are not familiar with spy-thrillers. – Owen Tonks Watch American Assassin on Amazon Prime Video
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
This 2018 American dystopian sci-fi film directed by Wes Ball is based on the 2011 novel The Death Cure by James Dashner. It is the sequel to 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Times and the last instalment in a series of three. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden) are the last of the free Gladers immune from the Flare virus that has ravaged the world’s population. Together with The Right Arm resistance they embark on an operation to save other immune people from a train operated by WCKD, an organisation which has captured and experimented on immune children. The group disguises themselves as WCKD soldiers to break into the organisation’s headquarters where they find the serum that slows the Flare virus. The film sees a number of high-action scenes as they face trouble at the hands of rebels known as the Cranks. The film is a good conclusion for those who have watched earlier instalments in the franchise but is unlikely to be a hit for new viewers. – Owen Tonks Watch Maze Runner: The Death Cure on Amazon Prime Video
Coming 2 America
Paramount Intl Pictures
Coming 2 America is the comedy sequel to the 1988 film Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy. Directed by Craig Brewer, this follow-up sees Prince Akeem (Murphy) called before his dying father King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) who tells him Akeem has a long lost son following a late night encounter with two women in New York City who inadvertently drugged him, causing him to forget the tryst in the days when he was still searching for a queen. Akeem travels back to the city to search for his child as Zamundian tradition states only a male successor can take the throne. If he is not found, Zamunda could face a hostile takeover by militaristic neighbour Nexdoria. The dictator of Nexdoria, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), wants Akeem’s eldest daughter Meeka (Kiki Layne) to marry his son Idi (Rotimi). Akeem finds his son, Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), and takes him and his mother Mary (Leslie Jones) back to Zamunda. Akeem’s son learns of Zamunda’s dilemma and he agrees to take part in a number of traditional but hazardous trials and tests in order for him to become prince of the country. He finds a princess named Bopoto (Teyana Taylor) but, on his return to the States, the prince gives in to his true love Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha), a royal groomer he has bonded with since his arrival in Zamunda. Coming 2 America received mixed reviews, with some branding it tired and a re-hash of the original movie. – Owen Tonks Watch Coming 2 America on Amazon Prime Video
This American science fiction film directed by John Suits sees Earth suffering an extinction-level event after a devastating plague with 300,000 survivors being selected to travel by spaceship Ark to New Earth. Noah (Cody Kearlsey) joins the mission by posing as a junior janitor as his pregnant girlfriend Hayley (Kassandra Clementi) stows away as a passenger. Grumpy older janitor Clay (Bruce Willis) takes it upon himself to mentor Noah. The crew bond but events on the interstellar ship take a strange turn as they find members dead while others are attacked. The stowaways are blamed for the unexplained situations and they are arrested but they find an alien force is intent on destroying what is left of humanity before they reach their new home. The movie is a cheap space-horror starring some big names which will be enjoyable to fans of this sub-genre. – Owen Tonks Watch Breach on Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video
It may have been a year without big blockbuster screenings and red carpet premieres, but that hasn’t stopped Golden Globe-winning films, like Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian, from reaching would-be cinema-goers at home. Based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this legal drama stars The Serpent’s Tahar Rahim as Slahi, a Mauritanian engineer who was detained without charge or trial by the US government at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years, during which time he was subjected to horrific torture techniques.
Featuring a heart-breaking and captivating performance from Rahim, The Mauritanian follows Slahi as he’s finally helped by pro-bono lawyers Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) who fight for years to get him the trial he deserves whilst dealing with redacted government documents, uncooperative officials and a passionate military prosecutor played by Benedict Cumberbatch. An enlightening watch, The Mauritanian tells Slahi’s remarkable and tragic story, shining a light on the cruelty of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” after 9/11 with a terrific turn from the award-winning Foster. – Lauren Morris Watch The Mauritanian on Amazon Prime Video.
The Courier is based on a true story about British engineer and businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch ) who was recruited MI6 because of his frequent travel to Eastern Europe. He was approached by an MI6 spy and a CIA spy and asked to pose as a business partner of Soviet agent Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze). Wynne became known for his work as a courier transporting top-secret information to London from Penkovsky. The pair provided the evidence that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both Wynne and Penkovsky are caught, prompting Penkovsky to admit betraying Russia while insisting Wynne knows nothing. Penkovsky is executed and Wynne is eventually released in a prisoner exchange for Russian spy Konon Molody. The film was well received and praised for its old-school spy drama style. Cumberbatch puts on a good performance as the central figure and the film makes a good alternative to binge-worthy streaming series with similar storylines. – Owen Tonks Watch The Courier on Amazon Prime Video
The Truman Show
Comedy superstar Jim Carrey proved himself as a gifted dramatic actor with this prophetic offering, which first hit cinemas in 1998, in which he stars as Truman Burbank – a man blissfully unaware his entire life is a fabrication created for a television show watched by the world. When strange things start happening in his quaint neighbourhood, it sparks a thirst for adventure that could be the key to shattering the illusion in which he has been trapped.
While The Truman Show certainly has some funny moments, particularly shared between Carrey and his cold on-screen wife played by Ozark’s Laura Linney, it’s the emotional moments that will likely stick with you longer. Truman becomes an increasingly tragic figure as his life starts to unravel and by the end of the film, you’ll be on the edge of your seat hoping he can free himself once and for all.
Raking in more than $250 million at the global box office, The Truman Show was a mammoth success and went on to score major nominations at the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs. The film was a favourite at the Golden Globes, where both Carrey and co-star Ed Harris won trophies for their performance, while the film also snagged the prize for Best Original Score with its atmospheric soundtrack. – David Craig Watch The Truman Show on Amazon Prime Video
This American indie sci-fi thriller written and directed by Justin Benson debuted at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in October 2020. It tells the story of womaniser Steve Denube (Anthony Mackie) and married father Dennis Dannelly (Jamie Dornan) who are best friends and work together as New Orleans paramedics. They treat a number of victims who die in strange circumstances with stories that don’t make sense and are all linked to new designer drug Synchronic which is found at the scene. After Dannelly’s oldest daughter Brianna Dannelly (Ally Loannides) disappears, Denube discovers the horrific truth about the supposed psychedelic which challenges his perception of existence and time. Experimenting with the substance at home he travels back in time to when the area was a swamp and is attacked by a conquistador of the Spanish empire. He determines the pill enables him to visit a previous time period at the same location for seven minutes per tablet. The clever premise of the film makes it sound interesting but lacks deep themes. However, it makes up for it with strong characters and suspense. – Owen Tonks Watch Synchronic on Amazon Prime Video
A film that has generated no shortage of hilarious GIFs and quotes, Mean Girls is an all-time classic of the teen comedy genre. Written by American comedy star Tina Fey (30 Rock), it introduces us to Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), a teenage girl experiencing high school for the first time after a childhood spent being tutored at home.
She quickly discovers a brutal hierarchy dominated by a group called The Plastics, led by the meanest girl of them all: Regina George (Rachel McAdams). An initial attempt to infiltrate and destroy these titans goes awry when Cady finds herself adopting their two-faced tactics as her popularity soars. In the process, she risks losing the people who truly cared about her.
The entire cast are at the top of their game with strong breakout performances from Lohan, McAdams, Lizzy Caplan and Academy Award nominee Amanda Seyfried. Meanwhile, Fey’s script is nothing short of hilarious, occasionally veering into the surrealism that was such a big part of 30 Rock. She returned to pen a stage musical based on the film, which went on to earn 12 nominations at 2018’s Tony Awards. – David Craig Watch Mean Girls on Amazon Prime Video
Back to the Future
Join Marty and Doc on the adventure of a lifetime in Back to the Future on Amazon Prime. The Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale film brings time travel slap-bang into the 80s and is the epitome of that era. Teenager Marty (played by the charismatic Michael J. Fox) is too cool for school and plans to be a musician until his scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) shows him a whole new world, made possible by his trusted time-travelling DeLorean.
There truly isn’t a more charming movie to cheer you up on a dreary weekend. Marty and Doc are (quite literally) electric together and the humour is sweet. You’ll be singing Huey Lewis and the News tunes all day while dreaming of one day owning your own DeLorean. There’s a reason it’s a classic – it’s simply never aged. Yes it’s set in the 80s, but Back to the Future could be released today and it would still be as loved and would more importantly still be considered one of the greatest films ever made. – Helen Daly Watch Back to the Future on Amazon Prime Video
American action thriller Mile 22, directed by Peter Berg and written by Lea Carpenter, was released in August of 2018 and grossed $66million (£48m) worldwide. This thriller sees Mark Wahlberg star as James Silva, a CIA agent and former US Marine war veteran who is tasked with smuggling mysterious police officer Li Noor (Iko Uwais) with sensitive, life-threatening information about a potential terrorist attack out of Indonesia. An elite Special Activities Division paramilitary team code-named Overwatch must transport Noor from an American embassy to an airfield with the remote supervision of high-tech communications expert James Bishop (John Malkovich) and his second-in-command Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan). They must outrun local military, police and gang leaders as they are relying on Bishop to help them raid a Russian Federal Security Service safe house in the States in a bid to locate and destroy shipments of Caesium before the radioactive substance can be used as a weapon. The film has been described as “thrill-deficient” with the editing and fight scenes receiving criticism. The movie gives the viewer little to take away or contemplate afterwards, making it forgettable. – Owen Tonks Watch Mile 22 on Amazon Prime Video
Godzilla vs Kong
After three earlier films in Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse franchise, two of cinema’s most iconic characters finally went up against each other in epic blockbuster, Godzilla vs Kong, released earlier in 2021, a film which very much lives up to its name.
The two titans share the screen with a range of human characters – played by some big names including Alexander Skarsgaard, Rebecca Hall and Millie Bobby Brown – but despite a number of storylines involving that star-studded cast, it’s ultimately the battle between the pair of gargantuan creatures that is easily the main event.
Even the most diehard Godzilla fan would be prepared to admit that the film is flawed, with some two-dimensional characters and questionable pacing, and yet it’s hard not to admire the spectacle on some level, as you’re sucked into the well-choreographed fights in all their bombastic glory. – Patrick Cremona Watch Godzilla vs Kong on Amazon Prime Video
Remarkable romcoms have become a rare commodity in the streaming era, with few modern movies managing to stand out in the endless sea of generic, paint-by-numbers “chick-flicks” regularly churned out by the countless platforms we subscribe to. Thankfully, Palm Springs – the sci-fi romcom starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti – swooped in last year to save the day, giving the genre a much-needed shot of adrenaline.
Best described as Groundhog Day meets Four Weddings and a Funeral, Palm Springs follows Sarah (Milioti), an apathetic maid-of-honour just trying to get through her sister’s California wedding when she finds herself trapped in a time loop with charming, care-free wedding guest Nyles (Samberg) and the pair are forced to relive the same day over-and-over again. A fast-paced, hugely funny and refreshing take on the time loop concept, Palm Springs features stunning performances from Milioti and Samberg, an outstanding supporting cast made up of J.K. Simmons, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes and Peter Gallagher, and surprisingly twists that will have you returning for multiple viewings. – Lauren Morris Watch Palm Springs on Amazon Prime Video
Psychological thriller Greta, directed by Neil Jordan, tells the story of New York waitress Frances McCullen (Chloe Grace Moretz) who lives with her friend Erica Penn (Maika Monroe). McCullen, suffering grief from the loss of her mother a year earlier, finds a handbag on the subway with an ID belonging to Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert), a lonely and kind French widow who she strikes up a friendship with. McCullen increasingly spends more time with Hideg despite her roommate Penn branding their friendship unnatural. While at Hideg’s for dinner, McCullen finds a closet full of bags similar to the one she found on the train with names and phone numbers attached. Disturbed by her find, McCullen breaks the friendship off but Hideg starts to stalk McCullen who she sees as a replacement for her late mother. After seeking a restraining order with the help of Penn, which McCullen is told could take months, she discovers a web of lies including the fact that Hideg is Hungarian rather than French and that her daughter committed suicide years ago due to her mother’s horrifying behaviour. The film was given a lacklustre reception, described as “bonkers” by one critic. However, the cast does go a little way to making up what the production lacks. – Owen Tonks Watch Greta on Amazon Prime Video
Raya and the Last Dragon
The latest animation from Disney, Raya and the Last Dragon takes inspiration from the various countries and cultures of Southeast Asia, including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Based in the fantasy world of Kumandra, it tells the tale of a young girl, the titular Raya, who is tasked with finding the kingdom’s last surviving dragon in a bid to stave off the sinister Druun – monsters who have returned to wreak havoc after an absence of 500 years.
When she finds the dragon, though, she is surprised to learn that rather than being the brave and fearless warrior she imagined, she is actually the wacky younger sister of the more heroic dragons of legend. What follows is an excellent adventure with all manner of entertaining side characters, voiced by an all star cast that includes Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong and Gemma Chan.
It’s worth watching for the beautiful animation alone, and the frequent action sequences are some of the best you’ll find in an animated movie, having been brought to life with the help of a number of martial arts experts. – Patrick Cremona Watch Raya and the Last Dragon on Amazon Prime Video
Angel has Fallen
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Angel has Fallen follows the story of Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) as he’s taken into custody by authorities following the failed assassination attempt of President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). Banning was implicated in the attack by evidence presented to special agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith) including traces of his hair and DNA at the scene. Banning escapes incarceration and must steer clear of the FBI and the Secret Service in a bid to find the real threat to the president. He embarks on a mission to clear his name and protect the country from imminent danger, prompting Banning to call on some unlikely allies. Angel has Fallen is a mostly forgettable action trilogy but this final instalment is more fun than the previous two. – Owen Tonks Watch Angel has Fallen on Amazon Prime Video
Sound of Metal
Riz Ahmed spent eight months of his life preparing for the lead role in this film, learning to play the drums and communicate in sign language. And it shows. Ahmed plays a punk metal drummer, Ruben living the dream – he’s out on the road with his girlfriend, Lou (Olivia Cooke) playing gigs and feeding off the adrenaline. They have music and each other, nothing else is required. But he’s catapulted into a nightmare when he wakes up and discovers his hearing is rapidly declining as a result of a ruptured ear drum. Concerned the crisis will throw him back into his old patterns of drug abuse, Lou sends him to a deaf-friendly commune, where he must learn to accept his new life. The question is, can he ever lean into his new existence, or will he always pine for the way things were? This unusually spiritual, soul-searching film was 13 years in the making, earned six Oscar nominations and was clearly a labour of love for everyone involved. If the test of a good movie is whether you’re still thinking about it a week later, The Sound of Metal passes with flying colours. And the central performance by Ahmed is just spell-binding. – Emma Bullimore Watch Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime Video
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a master assassin who faked his own death and lives a new life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after previously working as a hardened hit-man. However, despite hiding away under the name Santos, his retirement is under threat as he is approached by courier Renee Tran (Rhatha Phongam) who knows his true identity. Tran’s employer is Bishop’s arch-nemesis Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine) who wants Bishop to kill three people, staging their deaths as accidents, but he escapes to Thailand and lives in the beach house of his friend Mei (Michelle Yeoh) as he fears for his own life if he doesn’t accept the job. Bishop finds he has no choice but to travel the globe and carry out the hits. The movie sees Statham star in a number of high-octane scenes as Bishop gets embroiled in fights, kidnappings, hostage-takings and killings. Directed by Dennis Gansel, this American-French action thriller was not well received. While Statham puts in a reasonable performance, it’s a long way off a Bond film or Mission: Impossible hit. – Owen Tonks Watch Mechanic Ressurrection on Amazon Prime Video
Birds of Prey
With Margot Robbie’s charmingly unhinged performance as Harley Quinn being one of the only positives to come out of 2016’s Suicide Squad, it came as no surprise when Warner Bros gave the murderous Fleabag of DC superheroes her own film with Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Set four years after Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress was defeated, the Cathy Yan-directed blockbuster follows Harley Quinn as she processes her break-up from the unseen Joker and without his protection, finds herself in the crosshairs of sadistic Gotham mobster Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). After teaming up with alcoholic detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), super-powered vigilante Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), orphaned assassin The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and pick-pocketing child Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), Harley Quinn fights back against the criminals she’s made enemies of and learns to put her trust in other people.
Featuring a stellar cast, high-stakes chases, huge explosions and captivating fight sequences, Birds of Prey is everything you want from a superhero film and more, with writer Christina Hodson putting a fun, tongue-in-cheek spin on the genre that perfectly epitomises the unpredictable antihero that is Harley Quinn. – Lauren Morris Watch Birds of Prey on Amazon Prime Video
Superstar director Guy Ritchie went back to his roots for this gangster flick, which serves as a spiritual successor to the likes of Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The story revolves around Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), a drug lord looking to get out of the business while keeping his opulent lifestyle intact.
That will be no easy task with enemies lurking around every corner, from rival gangs to sleazy private detectives, all looking to carve up a slice of Mickey’s empire for themselves. While the stakes are high throughout, the film sustains a relatively light tone overall with a witty and chaotic script featuring an abundance of larger-than-life characters.
The all-star cast includes standout performances from Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant, all of which are enjoyably over the top and perfectly matched with the film’s zany tone. The Gentlemen became a sleeper hit in early 2020, earning more than $100 million at the box office just prior to cinemas shutting down (and securing a spin-off television series in the process). – David Craig Watch The Gentlemen on Amazon Prime Video
This 2015 American mystery drama directed by Rupert Goold is based on the memoir of the same name by journalist Michael Finkel. The film follows the life of Finkel (Jonah Hill) after he loses his job following a New York Times Magazine article that broke reporting principles. Finkel receives a phone call from a reporter at The Oregonian about a man called Christian Longo (James Franco) who was on the FBI’s most wanted list who has been using Finkel’s identity. Intrigued, Finkel visits Longo in prison. Longo tells Finkel he has followed his career and admires his writing and promises to give Finkel his side of the story about his murder crimes in exchange for writing lessons as long as he promises to tell no one what he says. Longo pleads not guilty to two murders but guilty to the killings of his wife and one of his daughters. Shocked, Finkel confronts Longo before he is approached by detective Greg Ganley (Robert John Burke) who arrested Longo and warns him Longo is a dangerous and manipulative man. Longo is found guilty and sentenced to death and he winks at Finkel as he is led out of the dock after which Finkel discovers Longo has fed him a web of lies. Finkel goes on to write a book about their conversations, uncovering the real tale. True Story got a mixed reception with Hill and Franco being praised for their performance. However, some of the real-life facts are lost in the mixed message of the film. – Owen Tonks Watch True Story on Amazon Prime Video
A film that needs no introduction, but we’ll give it one anyway. Avengers: Endgame was the staggering culmination of a decade of storytelling from Marvel Studios, bringing together the heroes of its cinematic universe for an epic battle against mad titan Thanos and his goons. Needless to say, it’s probably best enjoyed after watching the other Marvel movies in order.
Although it stretches across a lengthy three-hour runtime, Endgame is able to stay fresh and exciting by dividing its story into three distinct chunks – a sombre drama dealing with the aftermath of Infinity War, an unpredictable time travel adventure, and last but not least, an action-packed finale that wraps up this sci-fi saga in a neat little bow.
This blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson dominated the global box office, earning a colossal $2.8 billion and temporarily toppling James Cameron’s Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time. Endgame and the other MCU movies are streaming free on Disney Plus, but can alternatively be enjoyed for a fee via Amazon Prime. – David Craig Watch Avengers: Endgame on Amazon Prime Video
The first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, South Korean black comedy Parasite re-wrote the record books when it was released in 2019. But beyond the awards glory (the movie ended up winning four Academy Awards, two BAFTAs and a Golden Globe), this is just a thoroughly entertaining watch. You’ll quickly settle into the subtitles as you learn about a struggling family of four – two parents and two twenty-something children – living in cramped conditions in the city. One by one, they hustle their way into well-paid jobs with the unsuspecting Parks family, pretending to be qualified as an English tutor, an art therapist, a chauffeur and a housekeeper. It’s all harmless enough to start with, and they settle into their new way of life, pulling the wool over their employers’ eyes. But the caper soon turns into a dark, unsettling tale, as unexpected twists force the masquerading family to take drastic action – your heart will be in your mouth before the final credits roll. Worth watching before HBO’s much-talked about TV spin-off series is made, which will reportedly star Mark Ruffalo and Tilda Swinton. – Emma Bullimore Watch Parasite on Amazon Prime Video
A Star is Born
Never has there been a better advert for a film than Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper stepping on stage at the Oscars to perform a duet so smouldering that everyone became convinced they were an item. Seriously, YouTube it if you missed it first time round. The pair were smitten with the project and they seemed to be mesmerised by each other too. That chemistry sizzles in the movie, as Gaga plays an up-and-coming starlet who falls in love with an established musician. Her career is just beginning and his is on the wane, so their heady romance is laced with professional pride, ambition and resentment, which can prove a toxic cocktail. This is the latest remake of a film that has already starred Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in the lead role, so you’d think there’d be no improvements left to add. But a modernised script, beautiful performances and a BAFTA-winning soundtrack make this movie well-worth your attention. Shallow is the lead single, which bagged Lady Gaga an Oscar, and some argue she should have won an acting gong too. – Emma Bullimore Watch A Star is Born on Amazon Prime Video
It may not have the highest reviews, but there’s something ultimately very fun and weirdly charming about David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. A group of criminal misfits are tasked with saving the world following the death of Superman. If they succeed, their prison sentences will be shortened, but if not, they will die. Their mission is to defeat Enchantress (played by Cara Delevingne), but it won’t be easy, as she’s a powerful witch with powers beyond belief. Culturally, Suicide Squad proved to be enormous as it introduced us to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn whose beloved character launched a thousand Halloween costumes.
The film might not have the strongest plot and some criticism was levelled at the bafflingly short amount of time Jared Leto’s much-hyped Joker appeared in the film, but the cast are electric and the soundtrack is certainly very catchy. It is also the first film in the DCEU to ever win an Academy Award (Best Makeup and Hairstyling). Plus, it’s worth catching up on Suicide Squad before watching the beloved Harley spin-off Birds of Prey and upcoming sequel The Suicide Squad, due later this year. – Helen Daly Watch Suicide Squad on Amazon Prime Video
I Care a Lot
If you enjoyed Rosamund Pike’s blood-curdling turn in Gone Girl, you’ll love her performance in this fast-paced thriller, which earned the British actress a Golden Globe earlier this year. Pike plays ruthless Marla Grayson, a woman appointed by the courts to act as the legal guardian of elderly people who need assistance to take care of themselves. The problem is, the people she chooses are absolutely fine – the only thing they have to be scared of is Grayson, who steals their money, puts them in a home and exploits them for her own purposes. But one day she picks the wrong elderly woman. Her son is a gangster (played by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage) and he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure his mum is OK. Cue a cat and mouse game, where both players will stop at nothing to get what they want. Impossible to predict and dealing with unsettling subject matter, I Care A Lot is a film that will get your heart pumping and keep you guessing until the very end. Refreshingly original and brought to life by brilliant performances, it’s real gem that you should add to your ‘to watch’ list immediately. – Emma Bullimore Watch I Care A Lot on Amazon Prime Video
Les Miserables (2012)
Victor Hugo’s glorious tale is brought to life once more in Tom Hooper’s musical adaptation. With a star-studded cast made up of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne and many more, this highly decorated film is unmissable. Hathaway picked up almost every award for her emotive and powerful portrayal of Fantine and it’s clear to see why she did.
You’ll need a tissue (or several) at hand for this emotional and highly melodramatic film. With rousing music, moments of genuine heartbreak and of course outstanding performances, Les Miserables is one you won’t want to miss – and if you’re anything like us, you’ll have the soundtrack on repeat for days after. – Helen Daly Watch Les Miserables on Amazon Prime Video
Elle Wood proves that hair colour does not define you in 2001 smash hit, Legally Blonde. Reese Witherspoon takes the lead role as the wannabe lawyer who’s outfits are as sharp as her intelligence. Throughout the comedy, Elle must overcome stereotypes put on women with blonde hair and prove she’s good enough to be at Harvard Law School all the while strutting around in her fierce pink heels.
This comedy is so much more than its jokes (mainly coming from the simply fantastic Jennifer Coolidge). Legally Blonde genuinely inspired a legion of would-be female lawyers to go to law school and get their degrees. Plus, there’s a third film on the way in May 2022 so there’s never been a better time to check in with Elle. Grab your fluffy pink pen and take notes! – Helen Daly Watch Legally Blonde on Amazon Prime Video
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese brings the stock market to the big screen in The Wolf of Wall Street with surprisingly great success. Over the course of a fairly intense 180 minutes, we follow Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) as he climbs up the ranks in Wall Street, quickly becoming a successful – but corrupt – stockbroker. DiCaprio effortlessly portrays Belfort’s complex life, fuelled by sex, drugs and corruption – and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
The film itself echoes American Psycho and The Great Gatsby (not just because it shares a lead) as we see decadent portrayals of American life for a rich man which is not always what it seems on first appearance. Margot Robbie offers a stand-out performance as Belfort’s partner Naomi, while Jonah Hill surprises with a unique role for him. You’ll want to concentrate during this one, as the plot is fairly complex and at times the dialogue is quite dense. But you’ll be rewarded with a complete tale from one of the greatest storytellers Hollywood has ever had. – Helen Daly Watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Amazon Prime Video
The Quiet Place
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt team up in one of the most interesting horror stories of recent years. A Quiet Place operates on a very simple premise: if you make a noise, you’ll be hunted by monsters with extremely acute hearing. Throughout a very intense 90 minutes, you’ll barely hear a word from the cast as they live on a farm ranch in silence. It shouldn’t work, but the end result is an extremely uneasy feeling and some genuinely frightening scares.
Horror films don’t often fare well during awards season, but A Quiet Place most definitely did, bagging over 30 nominations. The production is completely astounding, as Krasinski (who also directed) helps to create an atmospheric and captivating world, showing there can be light even in the most hopeless of situations with the beautiful farm location. The final chapter of the film will leave you breathless and without a doubt demanding answers – luckily they’re on their way with A Quiet Place Part II. – Helen Daly Watch A Quiet Place on Amazon Prime Video
Arguably one of the most romantic love stories of all time, The Notebook is a film everyone truly must see. Based on a novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams play lovers Noah and Allie who are simply meant to be together, but the course of true love never did run smoothly. Although at the time of release the film garnered mixed reviews, The Notebook has gone on to achieve cult status, propelling Gosling and McAdams into the stars we know today.
The lead actors really do make the film. At times the story does hit highs and lows, but McAdams and Gosling always carry the script with delicacy. The ending will no doubt break your heart, making the whole film worth sticking with – just make sure you’re loaded up with tissues because we guarantee you’ll need them. – Helen Daly Watch The Notebook on Amazon Prime Video
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If we say the words “Dirty Dancing”, you’ll be instantly propelled into a dance hall where Patrick Swayze has just triumphantly lifted Jennifer Grey above his head while “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” fills the room. Thus is the power of the 1987 romance film which is quite rightly considered one of the greatest films ever made. Grey’s innocent but fierce Frances “Baby” Houseman is the most enigmatic lead, who can’t help but fall in love with Swayze’s irresistible Johnny Castle. The casting is simply perfect, and their connection is undeniable.
There’s a reason the film is a classic. The story has Romeo and Juliette connotations and many a quotable line. But above all of that, the soundtrack is unforgettable, featuring (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life (which would go on to win an Oscar), Be My Baby and of course, Hungry Eyes. We defy anyone not to get entirely drawn into this glorious film which will have your toe tapping throughout. – Helen Daly Watch Dirty Dancing on Amazon Prime Video
Damien Chazelle followed up his hit, not-quite-Oscar-winning musical La La Land with this space biopic in 2018, re-teaming with Ryan Gosling in the process. Gosling turns in a great, understated performance as first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, in a film which is as much about his personal inner turmoil as it is about the space race itself.
The prominent family drama aspect of the movie also provides Claire Foy with the chance to shine as Armstrong’s grief-stricken wife, role which earned her a BAFTA, while the rest of the supporting cast –including Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll and Christoopher Abott – are also in fine form.
The effects work is also excellent, with superb visuals throughout, while the space race issue is dealt with in just the right amount of detail – telling the audience what they need to know without becoming a science lecture. A mention too for La La Land composer Justin Hurwitz’s excellent score, which makes brilliant use of electronic theremin and Moog synthesizer and won a Golden Globe. – Patrick Cremona Watch First Man on Amazon Prime Video
Jordan Peele had already announced himself as a vital new directorial voice with his sublime debut Get Out, and he delivered another brilliant slice of social satire inflected horror with this hugely entertaining 2019 film.
The film centres on a family who, while trying to enjoy a relaxing holiday, are suddenly faced with a terrifying and unusual threat: a gang of red jumpsuit wearing, scissor wielding doppelgangers who seem intent on murdering them at any cost. It soon transpires that they are not alone – everyone in the nearby vicinity is being similarly haunted by these figures, who announce themselves as The Tethered.
In the ensuing drama, there are some brilliant action sequences, perfect needle drops and some moments of wonderfully dark humour, not to mention a few twists and turns along the way. The performances are great all around, but it’s Lupita Nyong’o who steals the show with a breathtaking dual role – how she wasn’t at least Oscar nominated for this we’ll never know. – Patrick Cremona Watch Us on Amazon Prime Video
Kong: Skull Island
Of all the instalments in Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse franchise, this is by far the most fun – an Apocalypse Now inspired adventure with a brilliant Vietnam War soundtrack and some wildly entertaining death scenes.
At the centre of the plot is Samuel L. Jackson as Packard, a US Army colonel just about to leave Vietnam, who is encouraged to go on one final mission: a top secret journey to the mysterious island which houses the famed giant primate. Naturally the local creatures aren’t the most welcoming to Packard and his crew, and they face a tough time before they even find Kong himself – resulting in an enjoyable thrilling, if not exactly envelope pushing, experience for viewers.
The film’s best moments come after the introduction of John C. Reilly as a seemingly crazed army veteran who has come to love Kong and his life on the island – lending the film a little more heart than your average monster flick. – Patrick Cremona Watch Kong: Skull Island on Amazon Prime Video
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries
While we continue to wait for the release of No Time To Die, we can at least fall back on the 24 previous Bond adventures, the most recent of which was 2015’s Spectre. Introducing Christoph Waltz as that most iconic of all 007 antagonists Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the film saw everyone’s favourite double agent embark on a crucial mission to expose a secretive criminal network.
Reaction to the film was mixed on its release, and it’s certainly true to say that it didn’t quite hit the heights of its predecessor Skyfall, with a curious ending that left some Bond fans scratching their heads. Nevertheless with Sam Mendes back as director, there were still some wonderful globe-trotting action scenes, with the superb Mexico City-set opening sequence said to have been the starting point for Mendes’ BAFTA winning war film 1917.
And as always there was a colourful cast of characters too, with returning faces such as Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, and Naomie Harris joined by newcomers like Lea Seydoux as Dr Madeleine Swann, a French psychologist and Bond’s new love interest, who will return in No Time to Die when it finally arrives in cinemas. – Patrick Cremona Watch Spectre on Amazon Prime Video
Probably the most intense film about drumming ever made, Damien Chazelle’s terrific drama centres on the relationship between aspiring jazz drummer Andrew (an excellent Miles Teller) and his abusive bandleader Terence Fletcher, played with aplomb by J.K. Simmons in an Oscar-winning performance.
Andrew is an ambitious first year student at the fictional Shaffer Conservatory, who finds himself catapulted into the school’s elite band, which is led by the fearsome Terence. Fletcher always claims he’s just trying to get the best out of his students, but his violent and dangerous methods border on the psychopathic, and drive his students – including Andrew – to increasingly desperate places.
An astute and terrifically entertaining treatise on obsession and artistic ambition, the film serves its best for the very last – with a mesmerising final scene that will no doubt drive many viewers to a standing ovation. – Patrick Cremona Watch Whiplash on Amazon Prime Video
If you thought that Zack Snyder’s Justice League was dark, wait until you get a load of Joker. The film that won Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar in 2020 and received 11 other nominations from the Academy, Joker is pretty much as well-respected as a comic-book movie can get. Heavily inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, Joker puts a serious spin on DC Comics’ Clown Prince of Crime, imagining Batman’s nemesis as a down-and-out comedian with mental health struggles who is trapped in an uncaring society.
Although it stands up remarkably well as a serious film in its own right, Joker is also an interesting proposition for superhero-loving moviegoers. With a young Bruce Wayne, his doom parents and Alfred the butler all making appearances, it almost feels like the prelude to a Batman film we’ll never get to see. Robert DeNiro, Zazie Beetz and Marc Maron round out the cast, with director Todd Phillips working from a screenplay by Scott Silver to deliver a comic-book movie like no other. And to be honest, we may never see its like again. It’s well worth checking out this film, if you haven’t already, just to see an altogether different take on the DC universe. – Rob Leane Watch Joker on Amazon Prime Video
Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood is an attention-grabbing slice of alternate American history. With Leonardo DiCaprio playing a silver screen action hero called Rick Dalton, and Brad Pitt in the role of his put-upon stuntman Cliff Booth, the film has real-life Hollywood royalty coming out of its ears. On the one hand, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood plays like a comedic look back on what Hollywood was like in 60s. But on the other hand, it’s a somewhat unsettling spin on what was already a very dark chapter of Tinsletown’s history. That’s because Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, the real-life actress who was killed in her Los Angeles home by the Mason Family cult in August 1969.
The way the film depicts these events is something that split opinion at the time of release in 2019, but that didn’t stop the film from earning 10 Academy Award nominations and taking home the Oscars for Best Production Design and Best Supporting Actor (which went to Pitt, for one of his best performances in recent years). Like a lot of Tarantino films, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood runs long, with a hefty running time of 161 minutes. But it’s well worth a watch, packing in tense scenes and interesting character aplenty. – Rob Leane Watch Once Upon a Time In… Hollywood on Amazon Prime Video
Based on an incredible true story, Molly’s Game is a 2017 film that sees Jessica Chastain in the role of Los Angeles poker queen Molly Bloom. A former skier who becomes the leader of a regular high-rolling poker game, Molly is an engaging and charismatic character who comes up against the dark underbelly of Hollywood. One of the most memorable characters is Michael Cera’s Player X, a badly behaved composite character that is based on several real-life movie stars who played in Molly’s game. Idris Elba, Kevin Costner and Chris O’Dowd also appear, making this a highly star-studded affair.
With a typically tight script from Aaron Sorkin (who also makes his directorial debut behind the camera), Molly’s Game is a film that ticks along at pace and packs in a lot of tension. As well as offering a unique perspective on the lives of mega-star millionaires, Molly’s Game also veers into crime drama territory as the FBI become increasingly interested in Molly. Chastain earned a Golden Globe for her performance in the title role, which mixes charisma and chaos wonderfully well. Sorkin’s script was also much-touted on the awards circuit, picking up nominations at the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. – Rob Leane Watch Molly’s Game on Amazon Prime Video
If you don’t know the true story of American ice skater Tonya Harding, this film will leave you reeling (although it’s definitely a movie with a strong narrative, rather than a documentary). Always-brilliant megastar Margot Robbie leads the cast, playing the figure skater whose career ended too soon. She had all the odds stacked against her from the very start as she tried to reach the top of her sport. With a tough upbringing, an abusive relationship and class prejudice to get past, we see her throw herself into her skating to become one of the brightest talents in America. She has a promising Olympic career ahead of her, but when her rival becomes the victim of a hate campaign, suspicion falls at Harding’s door… It might be set on the rink, but this is a story about much more than skating. Also starring Alison Janney, who won an Oscar for her performance as Harding’s mum LaVona and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Sebastian Stan as Harding’s husband, it’s a movie you’ll be pleased you took the time to watch, whether or not you know anything about the woman in question. – Emma Bullimore Watch I, Tonya on Amazon Prime Video
Of all the superhero concepts that have been translated into big-screen spectaculars over the last few years, ‘guy that can talk to fish’ is not exactly the most exciting on paper. However, the Aquaman movie from 2018 is actually a lot better than it had any right to be. With horror expert James Wan in the director’s chair, and Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa in the title role, the film sizzles with fun at every turn. Truth be told, it deserved to make a bigger splash than it did.
Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren and Nicole Kidman pack out the cast with terrific talent, and the special effects team clearly went to great lengths to make water-centric action look and feel properly exciting. The story is an interesting one, with the filmmakers having to work around the fact that Momoa had already appeared twice in his Aquaman role thanks to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. This means that you get a bit of origin story action, but also a whole lot more besides, with the film avoiding the pitfalls of getting too bogged down in backstory. Instead, the film allows itself to go big and silly, culminating in a watery battle where a giant octopus plays the drums. What more could you want? – Rob Leane Watch Aquaman on Amazon Prime Video
Hot off the heels of his divisive Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson offers a superbly silly send-up with Knives Out. Eschewing the conventions of your typical whodunnit, Knives Out sees Daniel Craig’s investigator Benoit Blanc being lampooned at almost every turn as he tries to crack a murder case. Surrounding him in the cast is an absolute hotbed of talent, including Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Christopher Plummer and many more besides.
All of those talented actors shine thanks to Johnson’s winning script, which earned a Best Original Screenplay nomination at the Oscars that year. The story twists and turns and tickles you regularly. The film was also a significant box office success, earning over $300 million from a budget of just $40 million – proof, if we needed it, that films don’t need to be part of a big franchise to break through and find an audience.
Honestly, though, the best thing about Knives Out is the privilege of seeing the actors behind James Bond and Captain America letting loose with comedic roles. Multiple sequels seem to be on the way, with Netflix paying big money for the rights to them, which is cause for celebration! So if you haven’t watched the original already, what are you waiting for? – Rob Leane Watch Knives Out on Amazon Prime Video
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
Wonder Woman 1984
Concluding a tough year for cinema, Wonder Woman 1984 couldn’t have been better timed. Rich, colourful, exciting and packed with plenty of nostalgia and great performances, it’s a powerfully entertaining piece of entertainment, and a more than worthy successor to the smash-hit 2017 original.
Gal Gadot is as striking as ever in the lead role, the action scenes are fun and unusual and the film is gifted a tremendous villain in Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord, who more or less runs away with the whole thing. Frankly, you’ll never want a villain to succeed in his evil schemes more.
It’s not a perfect film, of course. It’s a little long, and often takes great leaps of logic (in a single bound) which have the effect of leaving odd story points unexplained or underdeveloped. Plus, a slightly odd subplot featuring Diana’s love interest Steve (Chris Pine) might raise a few eyebrows.
Still, when a film’s this fun it’s hard to complain too hard about these issues without it sounding like sour grapes. Overall Wonder Woman 1984 is fun, flashy and positive – the perfect capper to a year when the prospects of cinemas felt anything but. – Huw Fullerton Watch Wonder Woman 1984 on Amazon Prime Video
The Invisible Man
It’s hard to know what’s scarier – this excellent psychological thriller from horror maestro Leigh Whannell, or the evening after you watch it when every creak, shifting door or dripping tap has you on high alert for your own transparent terror. Based on Universal’s classic movie of the same name, this production gives the concept a timely twist by focusing on Elisabeth Moss’ Cecilia, a woman who begins to believe she’s being tormented by her ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who’s somehow mastered invisibility and faked his own death.
Largely achieved with the use of practical effects and a small cast, The Invisible Man is a taut, lean movie that still manages to tell an achingly relevant and terrifying story on its small scale. The slightest foot on a sheet, or gasp of breath in the cold air become as terrifying as hundred screaming zombies. In fact, from its very first scene – which sees Cecilia trying to escape her boyfriend’s house at night) you’ll be on the edge of the seat, ready with your own can of paint to toss at any imagined predators. Still, nothing beats the restaurant scene. Has a simple steak knife ever looked so menacing onscreen? Brrr. – Huw Fullerton Watch The Invisible Man on Amazon Prime Video
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