Being the Ricardos saw Nicole Kidman win best actor in a motion movie (drama) at The Golden Globes.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video does not have many weekly releases, aside from dropping a few movies at the start of each month.
Sometimes, an original or a flick out of the vault comes knocking at your door and should be on your radar. Below you will find weekly highlights as well as CNET’s complete list with the best Amazon Prime Video Original movies.
You will be entertained by the most recent news, from streaming to superheroes, memes and video games.
Amazon Prime Video Originals: The Best
Being the Ricardos (2021).
Amazon Prime Video
Aaron Sorkin directs and writes this biographical drama that is based on the love story between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman play Ball and Arnaz. You can expect witty dialogue, memorable lines, and lively reparteee. Standout Kidman is the comedian and actress who brings heart to the couple’s complicated romantic and professional relationships.
The Electrical Life and Times of Louis Wain (2021).
This biopic stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Louis Wain, an English inventor, entrepreneur, caretaker and artist. The film is set in the late 19th century and tells the story of a man who after taking in a kitten, creates surreal cat pictures that made him famous. They also seem to reflect his decline in sanity. This is a warm, uplifting drama that features a central performance by Cumberbatch. It’s filled with warmth, even if it’s a bit uneven.
Small Axe (2020).
This is a stunning anthology that does not let up on its five films. Small Axe is a collection that tells stories about West Indian immigrants living in London between the ’60s and the ’80s. All of them are directed by Steve McQueen who is at his best (when doesn’t he?)He’s creating stories like Mangrove, a courtroom drama based on the 1971 Mangrove Nine trial and starring Letitia Wright (Black Panther). This is a huge achievement.
Sound of Metal (2019).
Sound of Metal was nominated for a variety of Oscars, including best picture and best actor. It was nominated in two categories: best soundtrack and best film editing. He plays Ruben a punk-metal drummer, who eventually loses his hearing. Ruben struggles with drug addiction and must adjust to his new life in the Deaf community. He also has 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).
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 leader of the Spades sells drugs to other students. Selah is about to graduate so she must find the right candidate who will carry on her legacy. This film is stunningly shot and guided by Tayarisha, the debut director.
The screenplay was written by Shia LaBeouf for this autobiographical movie about an actor as a child and his relationship to his father. Otis is traumatized after spending several days on set with his father (a former rodeo clown). Honey Boy gets even more psychological layers from LaBeouf’s portrayal of the character he was inspired by. This is cinematic therapy in a unique perspective that is fascinating.
Pawel Pawlikowski’s historical drama, which follows the story of two lovers from very different backgrounds and temperaments, is set in post-World War II Poland. Zula, a young singer with ambition, pretends to be a peasant while Wiktor is a jazz musician auditioning for a state-sponsored folk band. The black-and white visuals are stunning and the politics are handled with elegance. Cold War is a 88-minute delight of a passionate, sexy, almost impossible love story.
King Lear (2018)
King Lear is a Shakespeare adaptation. However, it has two strong forces that make this one stand out: Anthony Hopkins, and Florence Pugh, the Black Widow scene stealer. Emma Thompson! This adaptation takes place in an alternate universe of the 21st century where London is under military control. Lear is ready for his three daughters to share his kingdom, but not all of them accept. If you are comfortable with Shakespearean dialogue, then you can simply enjoy Hopkins and the impressive ensemble cast that includes Jim Broadbent, Emily Watson, and Andrew Scott.
Pass Over (2018)
Before we get into this Spike Lee film about Spike Lee, please note that it is technically a recorded play. The engaging performances by Jon Michael Hill (and Julian Parker) make it a cinematic masterpiece. They play two young men who dream from a fixed spot on a sidewalk about the promised land. Pass Over is educational, moving, funny, and surprising. It will keep you on the edge of your seat more than you might think.
Amazon’s first movie of repute will be your slap in the face. A man who has been through terrible losses is made the guardian of his teenage nephew. Lee Chandler’s story is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, with incredible performances by Michelle Williams. Manchester by the Sea is another great achievement by Kenneth Lonergan. It’s full-bodied storytelling that will leave an indelible impression.
This low-key, quirky indie focuses on the finer points of everyday life in Jim Jarmusch’s trademark Jim Jarmusch style. He also has a sense of humor. Paterson follows Paterson, a bus driver and poet who walks his dog and stops at the local bar to have a few beers. All that is endlessly fascinating is Adam Driver. Paterson, a wise and insightful character from New Jersey, offers a unique perspective on life. He explores personal setbacks as well as the new paths that are available to them.
Black Box (2020).
Amazon Prime Video
This stunning directorial debut by Emmanuel Osei–Kuffour Jr. is as powerful as a Black Mirror Episode. It centers on Nolan Wright (Mamoudou Anthie), who is amnesic after he was involved in a car accident. After failing to pick up his 10-year old daughter from school, Wright embarks on an experimental treatment that results in chilling results. Blumhouse anthology. This sci-fi horror plays familiar characters, but will satisfy due to a focus upon character and a twist at end.
Luca Guadagnino’s frightening horror picture, framed in a bleak art house window, won’t appeal to everyone. But for those who follow the path of its prestigious Berlin dancing school, they’re in for a twisty treat. Tilda Swanton is the formidable teacher who mentors young genius Dakota Johnson. Beware: The flexible dancers add new horrors to the body. Although it’s a long movie at more than two and a quarter hours, there are some jaw-dropping scenes that you will enjoy.
Jamie (2021) is the topic everyone is talking about
Amazon Prime Video
This musical drama about a coming-of-age musical drama is based upon the true story Jamie Campbell, a teenage British schoolboy who dreams of being a drag queen. Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, which features songs from the original Broadway musical score, will fill you with optimism and hit all the right beats.
Guava Island (2019).
This tale was created by a stellar team including Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover. Hiro Murai is Hiro’s Atlanta collaborator. Donald Glover plays Deni Maroon, a free-spirited musician who lives with Kofi, which Rihanna also voices. Deni faces many obstacles while trying to organize a music festival on his island community. The film’s 56-minute running time explores big themes like capitalism. Although Rihanna does not sing, the musical is catchy enough to be worth a look.
Mad Women’s Ball (2021).
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. A masterful watch.
In this black comedy thriller, Wes Anderson meets the Coen Brothers. It is helmed by two young women who are brilliantly portrayed by their leading characters. Blow the Man Down takes place in Maine in a snowy fishing village. The story follows two sisters, Sophie Lowe (Morgan Saylor) and Sophie Lowe (Sophie Lowe). They try to hide the corpse of a man they attacked and she fights back. They find themselves digging into the dark secrets of the town matriarchs, turning this into a noir mystery. It’s as magical as it sounds.
A psychological thriller that stars a pre-Joker Joaquin Phoenix. You Were Never Really Here needs to be seen by more people. Lynne Ramsay’s masterful interpretation of a story about a hitman hired to rescue a daughter of a politician from a human trafficking network is brutal, brutal, and mercifully straight to point. It runs for a mere 90 minutes. You Were Never Really Here is more that your average thriller with Phoenix as the brilliant, committed actor.
The Handmaiden is a South Korean film that will surprise you. Classed as an erotic psychological thriller, The Handmaiden contains explicit scenes you should probably avoid watching with parents around. The story begins with a conman trying to seduce a Japanese heiress, with the intent of committing her in an asylum once they are married. His pickpocket partner, who pretends to be her maid, strays from his plan. This is a must-see if you have been enjoying South Korean films through Parasite.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021).
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a rom-com that follows in the footsteps of Palm Springs. It explores the lives of its protagonists using a time loop. Katheryn Newton stars as Margaret and Mark, who are two teenagers who repeat the same day over-and-over. Kyle Allen plays them. Their cute encounter involves saving someone from being thrown into a pool by the beach ball. Charming and heartfelt, this is solid if not totally perfect viewing.
Andrew Patterson’s debut sci-fi film The Vast of Night is an intriguing indie movie about narrative that uses clever techniques. Two young radio workers investigate an audio frequency that they believe could be linked to aliens. Long, sweeping shots follow them. The unique 1950s New Mexico setting and characters delivering monologues in the smooth intonations of radio listeners create an eerie atmosphere with satisfying payoff.
Uncle Frank (2020).
You need more Paul Bettany? You do, especially after WandaVision is over. You might also like Uncle Frank, a road movie set in the 1970s about a gay man’s relationship with his family, which includes his niece Beth (Sophia Lillis, from the It movies, and I Am Not Okay with This). Frank and Wally (Peter Macdissi), drive across America to attend the funeral. Frank is unsure whether to let Wally (Peter Macdissi), come along. Uncle Frank is a comedy with sharp edges that ends on a positive note.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
Amazon Prime Video
Nearly 15 year ago, Kazakh journalist Borat and TV personality Borat appeared on our big screens. He’s back playing pranks upon unsuspecting Americans while offering some insightful cultural commentary. Borat 2 or Borat Subsequent Film: Delivery of a Prodigious Bribe To America’s Regime for Make Benefit Once Glory Nation of Kazakhstan, Borat is on a trip to the USA to offer his daughter Tutar to Vice President Mike Pence. This happens during the 2020 presidential election. You will be shocked at the double-down in political correctness, before you give in to the absurd laughs.
Get Duked! (2019)
A teen comedy-horror-thriller with a dash of social commentary. What a combination! Get Duked! Three slacker students, a nerd and their teacher set out to win an award for navigating the Scottish Highlands using only a paper map. The adventure gets even more exciting when the four teenagers have to defend themselves against the evil Duke, played brilliantly by Eddie Izzard. The entire young ensemble is great, playing with a tight script that crackles with banter. Boy Scouts meets Attack the Block. Get Duked! Chaos walking, cussing, and eating questionable local fauna.
Brittany Runs a Marathon is a funny comedy. However, Brittany Runs a Marathon touches close to home. The show focuses on what we all obsess about: food, body image, and exercise. Brittany, played by Jillian Bell, is given strong advice by her doctor to lose weight, and stop partying. She runs, taking all the difficult steps towards her life-changing goal. You can watch it from your couch and then get inspired to go outside for a jog.
Late Night is written by Mindy Kaling and stars Mindy Kaling. It follows a renowned news host whose ratings have been declining. To shake up her room of white-male writers, she hires a female, Indian American writer. While not preachy, Late Night is a lively comedy with hints from The Devil Wears Prada. It should be enough reason to watch it.
Sylvie’s Love (2020).
Sylvie’s Love is an old-fashioned love story. However, its sweet romance is refreshingly modern: it’s a period drama that focuses on Black people and isn’t dominated over by racism or bigotry. The story is set in New York’s aesthetically beautiful ’60s. It follows Sylvie (and Robert), who are reunited after their summer romance five years ago. Both their music work and the film’s soundtrack (which features Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and many others) transport you to this magical place.
Kumail Nanjiani was the first to introduce the world to The Big Sick. He co-wrote the movie, which is based on his real-life relationship with Emily V. Gordon. After a few promising dates, Emily falls ill and must go into an induced coma. Kumail is able to meet her worried parents in the hospital. His Pakistani family continues to arrange dates for Kumail with other women. The Big Sick is not only a great comedy set-up, but it’s also a heartfelt and down-to-earth story about an interracial couple.
I’m Your Woman (2020).
I’m Your Woman is not your average crime thriller. It’s a story from the perspective of a mobster’s widow, played by Rachel Brosnahan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. A betrayal forces Jean to go on the run with a newborn baby and a bodyguard, her husband’s former associate Cal (Arinzé Kene). The ’70s-set neonoir revolves around themes like racial tensions. It moves at a steady pace that allows you to absorb Jean’s powerful psychological impact.
Based on Percy Fawcett’s adventures, The Lost City of Z transports you to the Amazon rainforest in search of an ancient lost city. The movie stars Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, as well as Tom Holland… with a mustache. The Lost City of Z is a grandiose, beautiful film that was meticulously crafted. Although it moves slower than you might think, this only adds to its intriguing psychological layers.
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