As we now find ourselves in May, the final month before we embark on the summer movie season, you may also find that there are plenty of great movies to check out on the Amazon Prime streaming service. From festival films that are just coming out to older classics that still hold up, we’ve sorted them all to give you the best of the best for you to check out.
A Quiet Place Part II
Director: Jean Krasinski
Writers: John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds
A sequel we didn’t know we needed until we got it, A Quiet Place Part II picked up where its predecessor left off, though it expanded in intriguing new narrative directions. It also showed a commitment to both stopping long takes and precise editing that made it as tense, if not more so, than the original film. In addition to seeing the return of Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds as a resourceful mother-daughter duo surviving a tough world, he also brought an ever-incredible Cillian Murphy as a new character who has shown that he remains one of the most powerful screen presences today. All actors are universally solid, delivering engaged and emotional performances even in the most constrained scenes. It might not have the same impact in your home, though it’s still worth watching in any setting.
Director: Carey Williams
Writer: KD Davila
Cast: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon
The stressful but ultimately spectacular film Emergency was one of the best films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is finally getting a wide release. An extension on the director Carey Williams‘ 2018 short film of the same name, it focuses on the Kunle friends (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler) who find themselves caught in an unexpected crisis when they discover that a white girl they don’t know has drunkenly walked into their home where she passed out. Fearing that if they call the police they will be accused of being black men, they left with their roommate Carlos (Sebastien Chacon) to drive her to the hospital themselves. The result is a continuous night of disaster that walks a fine line between cringe and mayhem, creating an unrelenting experience that aims to make you uncomfortable. What keeps it together are the three friends trying to do the right thing in a world with no good options, forcing you to support them through gritted teeth with every new challenge they face.
Director: Sebastien Cordero
Writer: Philippe Gelatt
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Embeth Davidtz, Daniel Wu
A Sci-Fi Movie That Doesn’t Get Enough Credit, 2013 Europa report is a quietly minimalist masterpiece that uses found footage to capture a troubled journey through space. It’s considered one of the most realistic and grounded films about exploring the cosmos and it’s easy to see why as it takes us into the details of the experience. It follows a crew on an ill-fated mission to try to discover life on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, and all the unexpected challenges they encounter. Director Sebastien Cordero injects the entire film with a true sense of humanity that strips the show in favor of a more stripped-down sense of storytelling. As we follow the scrappy crew’s attempts to survive unimaginable circumstances and complete their mission, you feel every setback in your very soul as you hold out hope that they will make it out alive. It strips away all excess to prioritize the claustrophobia and dread of what it would really be like to go into the great unknown of space.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Director: Phil AldenRobinson
Writers: WP Kinsella, Phil Alden Robinson
Cast: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta
One of the most classic baseball movies of all time, field of dreams is also a fantastic story about a family who stumbles upon something beautiful that still brings tears to tears all these decades later. It features Kevin Costner as an unlucky farmer who builds a baseball diamond on his family land that ends up attracting the ghosts of the gaming legend to play there. It becomes a reflection on life and what it means to accomplish something even when everything seems to be fading. There are so many iconic scenes, but there’s one that always stands out: the speech of the legendary James Earl Jones. Playing reclusive fiction writer Terrence Mann, he’s drawn into the field where he talks about how people will come to see the game play out in the humble peripheries. It’s by her presence and rich voice that you know the film is truly something special.
Director/screenwriter: mike judges
Cast: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman
The 1999 comedy from the acclaimed writer-director Mike Judge, office space is a film that proved it could make the leap into live-action without losing its keen sense of wit and sardonic observations. Based on his cartoon short “Milton”, it’s become a cult classic as it approaches what it’s like to work hard work with such authenticity that it’s still endlessly quotable. A box office bomb upon release, it has endured as appreciation for its vision has only grown in the decades since its release. The source of a million memes you’ve probably seen, it’s always worth going back to see for yourself in full. While he’s still so much more than just little glimpses that have been repackaged, the way he’s been held in such high regard is a testament to how his humor continues to hit home.
road to perdition
Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Max Allan Collins, Richard Piers Rayner, David Self
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Paul Newman
A beautifully shot but eternally dark film, road to perdition is one of those works that has only gotten better with age for all it has managed to do. The film is centered on a sinister tom hank like Michael Sullivan, a brutal Irish mob enforcer who keeps what he does from his children. He soon finds himself caught in a conflict that threatens his family and leaves him on the run with his son, Michael Sullivan Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin). It’s a tense, turbulent film full of violence that unflinchingly shows the dark path the elder Michael has taken while clinging to the prospect of a future for his son freed from this life. It is meticulously constructed and continues to build, making for an experience as magnificent as it is macabre. It also has an amazing Paul Newman in his final live-action role as the leader of the crowd, a character he gracefully inhabits until a final scene that’s up there as one of his finest moments in a career that is full.
Director: Sean Baker
Writers: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Cast: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, James Ransone
A kinetic kaleidoscope of a movie that finds joy in the vibrant colors of the simplest streets, Mandarin is proof that you can create great art with just about anything. Yes, it’s the movie everyone always refers to as being shot on an iPhone, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a story of survival, music and friendship that rips your heart out without you even realizing it until it’s already gone. Oh, and it’s also incredibly hilarious. Taking place on Christmas Eve in Hollywood, it puts us firmly in the shoes of friends Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor). Sin-Dee has just come out of a 28-day stint in prison and finds out from Alexandra that her pimp boyfriend Chester (James Ranson) cheated on her. It all sets off a journey as the two try to reach him and end the relationship while engaging in many shenanigans. Both Rodriguez and Taylor are exceptional, capturing a bond more deeply felt than most relationships on film. As they close in on a tough tear through the city, you too are drawn in by the feeling of love for the characters and how beautifully realized they are in every scene. It’s a film that only gets better each time you see it, making it an experience that’s always worth revisiting.
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