An Amazon Prime membership’s benefits go way beyond giving you super-speedy deliveries for free – there’s also a fantastic streaming video service included, offering up loads of movies and TV shows for instant viewing.
Like Netflix, Amazon is constantly adding fresh eyeball fodder to its streaming library, so much so that it can be difficult to keep up with all the new stuff. So, as we do with Netflix each month, we’ve decided to dedicate a regularly-updated article to what’s new – as long as we deem it worth watching, of course.
Looking for the latest thing to stream? Read on, and allow us to guide you through all the best recent additions.
And why not check all these out with a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime Video here.
Note: the newest stuff is at the top of the list, with material getting progressively older as you scroll down.
The Hobbit trilogy
Peter Jackson’s second trilogy set in Middle-Earth is, if we’re being honest, nowhere near as successful as his first. We suspect The Hobbit might have worked a lot better as a single longish film – or perhaps even two, as was Jackson’s original vision (with Guillermo del Toro directing). Sadly this was to be, and the resulting adaptation feels as bloated and unwieldy as a dwarf after one of those long, boozy lunches J.R.R. Tolkien was so fond of writing about.
With three long films to play with and the need to trim gone, Jackson instead opted to add more to Tolkien’s trim story: lengthy action sequences, a formulaic romance story and lots of cameos from characters we really didn’t need. As a storytelling exercise it’s a bit of a mess, but as pure cinematic spectacle it… sort of works? Older kids will likely adore this fantastical adventure – even if their parents might feel a bit bored by the fourth hour.
Guy Ritchie returns to the fast-moving Brit gangster flicks of his early career with this crime caper, a star-studded bit of amusement that, while somewhat forgettable, remains entertaining and engaging throughout its run time.
Matthew McConaughey plays an American expat who runs a UK-wide cannabis business – but when you’re ruling an empire, there are no shortage of pretenders to the throne. An attempt to buy out his business sparks off a series of events that tick all the Ritchie boxes: verbose dialogue, sudden violence, quirky characters and clever editing. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun, from McConaughey as a dapper drug lord to Hugh Grant as a camp and conniving private investigator.
Drive (Radio 1 Rescores)
Everybody’s favourite part-time cereal refuser and full-time dreamboat, Ryan Gosling, dons a snazzy jacket to play an unnamed getaway driver of very few words. When his neighbour’s husband returns from prison with a hefty debt to the local mob, the Driver offers to help out in a robbery that’ll pay it off. But you’ll never guess what: it doesn’t quite go as planned.
Drive is director Nicolas Winding Refn’s best film by far – but arguably it’s still very much a case of style over substance. Still, when that style is as sharp as this, with its pulsing soundtrack; moody, noirish feel; and heart-thumping driving sequences, we’re not complaining. Certainly not to the Driver’s face. Have you seen what he does with a hammer and nail?
Note: the version of Drive currently streaming on Prime Video is the “Radio 1 Rescore” edition with an alternative soundtrack.
The Boys (S2)
Arguably Amazon’s most enjoyable original show, The Boys is back in town with a second season that grabs the dial and cranks it up a notch or two. This comic book adaptation about a world where superheroes are not only real but virtually all suffering from some form of personality disorder is a riot: from a pervy fishman to an outright sociopathic take on Superman, these costumed crusaders are anything but out for justice. The real heroes of this series are the titular Boys – a crew (not all male, incidentally) out to put an end to “supes” once and for all.
This emotional rollercoaster of a movie tells the true story of Saroo, a young Indian boy who, cut off from his family, becomes a street child, winds up in an orphanage and is eventually adopted by a kind, wealthy Australian couple.
A couple of decades later, a chance event sparks off a flurry of memories that spur him to attempt to track down his real mother, brother and sister – the practical problem being he can’t remember their names, or even the name of his hometown; the other issue is guilt over how it might break his adopted mother's heart. A gorgeous exploration of identity, family and belonging, Lion may well have you bawling like a baby by its final reel.
True History of the Kelly Gang
To call this feverish look at the life of Australian national anti-hero a biopic doesn’t do it justice. Based on Peter Carey’s Booker-winning novel of the same name, it’s not intended as a “true history” of Ned Kelly and his exploits – more an attempt at re-evaluating the myth and the man.
Viewed by some as a Robin Hood figure, others as a brutal thief and murderer, this version of Kelly (played here with intensity, menace and vulnerability by George McKay) sees himself as a resistance fighter pushing back against the oppression of the British Empire. While director Justin Kurzel’s postmodernist vision isn’t always as lucid as he might like, there’s a riotous, rebellious energy to this film (which also stars Russell Crowe, Essie Davis and Nicholas Hoult) that makes the legend feel distinctly real.
Set in the DC Comics universe, this Amazon exclusive series is a pretty standard but enjoyable superhero origin story aimed at a younger audience. A teenage girl, moving to a new part of the country, is forced to contend not only with the usual pressures of growing up, but with the discovery of new powers – and deadly old enemies. Part high school drama, part ripping action-adventure tale, it’s short on surprises but well put together and clips along at a tidy pace.
It may be set in space, but Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller is remarkably contained; grounded, even. There are no flying saucers or little green men here – just a worryingly feasible disaster in orbit that leaves an astronaut stranded 372 miles above the Earth. It’s heavy on spectacle, but for much of the film, the only person on screen is Sandra Bullock – giving a career-best performance as the aforementioned astronaut.
To achieve the film’s extraordinary long takes in zero gravity, Cuarón used innovative visual effects trickery: the actors stood inside a box delivering their lines, while lights moved around them to simulate the lighting sources shifting as their characters moved. Then their faces were composited into CGI spacesuits for the final shot – in many sequences, the only real thing in the frame is Sandra Bullock’s face.
In many ways Corpse Bride is your typical Tim Burton movie: dark, quirky, interesting, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp… you get the gist. But this oddly romantic stop motion story does at least come with an upbeat ending. Victor, who is about to wed Victoria, ends up marrying the enchanted corpse bride by accident. Upon realising he actually loves Victoria, Victor has to fight his way back from the land of the dead to find true happiness.
Even when boiled right down to its most basic elements – Jason Statham versus a giant killer prehistoric shark – The Meg sounds like a winner. And it is, despite an ocean’s worth of silliness, scant regard for the foundations of marine biology and, well, relying on Jason Statham to sell it all.
If you think the finned antagonist in Jaws was a monster, this blockbuster action extravaganza is proof positive that there’s plenty of bigger fish in the sea.