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 world’s smoothest, sarkiest and most self-obsessed spy has arrived on Amazon, having been available on Netflix for what seems like forever.
Five full seasons of the animated show have landed in one go, giving Archer virgins the chance to binge on dozens of episodes – each one a lightning-paced, brilliantly scripted little adventure in which arrogant secret agency Sterling Archer and company get in and out of deadly international scrapes, usually with a drink in hand and a double entendre at the ready. Archer is the “just one more episode” type of show that really comes into its own on a streaming service, so if you’ve missed it thus far, lockdown could be the perfect time to dive into its rude, crude world of espionage.
30 Days of Night
Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost city in the world, in which the sun disappears for an entire month once a year. Cue the arrival of a band of animalistic vampires, taking advantage of the weeks of darkness to feed on the snowbound townsfolk uninterrupted. Josh Hartnett’s young sheriff, accustomed to dealing with the odd bar fight or drunk snowmobile driver, finds himself the leader of a tiny band of survivors, hiding out and trying to make it through the month without being butchered.
Violent and disturbing (even with Danny Huston's head vampire bearing an uncanny resemblance to Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys), this is a fine horror film with a memorable final reel.
Back to the Future
We could mention something about hitting 88mph, or talk about how where we’re going, we won’t need roads, but there’s not much point: you’ve heard it all before, and you know all the lines inside out.
Why? Because the Back to the Future movies – all three of which have just been added to Amazon Prime Video – seem to be built into our collective DNA. This blockbuster trilogy has it all: time travel, a mad scientist, 80s nostalgia, action, romance and more Easter eggs than you can shake a Gibson ES-345 at. Who cares if the guitar itself came out two years after Marty’s high school dance? Just enjoy the show, man.
Martin Scorsese’s first Best Director Oscar came courtesy of this 2006 thriller, in which crooked cops and undercover moles vie for dominance in the Boston criminal underworld. With a weighty ensemble cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson and a suspenseful plot full of twists and turns, The Departed is a gripping watch – even if Scorsese has directed more interesting (and Oscar-worthy) films before and since.
Very few recent Hollywood comedies tap the funny bone as regularly as Game Night, in which Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a married couple who bonded over a mutual love of competition: pub quizzes, board games and charades. Every week they meet with their friends for a game night – but when Bateman’s wealthy playboy brother muscles in, he insists on hosting a special version that goes way beyond a heated Scrabble sesh: this involves guns, kidnapping and a host of ruthless criminals (or are they actors?).
There’s no particular trick as to why this movie works: it just has a tight script packed with gags, a great ensemble cast and is well shot and edited, showing that if you get all the basics right you end up with a fine film.
The Day Shall Come
Chris Morris’ first film in the director’s chair since 2010’s explosive Four Lions proves that the reclusive British satirist (best known for TV like Brass Eye and The Day Today) has lost none of his righteous anger – or his facility for highlight the tragic absurdities of modern life.
Inspired by dozens of post-9/11 US terrorism cases, The Day Shall Come looks at how vulnerable Americans are goaded into criminality by the authorities – a disgraceful waste of time, money and most importantly lives. When an impoverished religious leader is targeted by an FBI team hungry for an easy win, Morris shows us how the vast machinery of power can be brought to bear against a harmless group of eccentrics. If not quite as consistently funny as Four Lions, this brisk black comedy feels just as biting.
A Serious Man
The Coen brothers tend to veer largely between crowd-pleasing quirk and deep philosophical rumination – often with plenty of blurring between the two and a few dead bodies thrown into the mix. There aren’t many corpses in this dark comic drama about a Jewish Midwestern college professor whose life seems to be unravelling, but it leaves the viewer with plenty of questions and precious few answers.
It’s easy to identify with Michael Stuhlbarg’s Larry Gopnik, even if the sources of his various malaises are trickier to pin down. Sure, his wife is leaving him, his children don’t respect him, his brother is a constant burden and his students think they can blackmail him, but there’s the sense of something deeper lurking beneath it all: why is this happening to him? The film is so beautifully shot, scripted and acted that you’ll have a wonderful time pondering everything out.
Sympathy for Mr Vengeance
Looking for something provocative, offbeat and memorable? Might we suggest Chan-Wook Park’s stylish Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, a low-budget indie thriller that preceded the director’s international breakout Oldboy.
The film centres on two men driven to desperate acts through circumstance: one to save the life of his ill sister; the other to avenge a terrible loss. As events spiral savagely out of control, it becomes increasingly unclear which of them – if either – we should be rooting for. If it sounds like overwhelmingly bleak stuff, Park’s eye for satire and absurdity amidst the carnage provides welcome comic relief as the bodies pile up.
Horror films were once looked down upon by critics as mere genre pieces: thrills for the masses but found wanting when it came to serious artistic merit. The Shining, arguably more than any other movie, is responsible for proving this idea wrong. Director Stanley Kubrick made Stephen King’s novel his own: an unsettling portrayal of madness and evil that’s complex and open to all sorts of interpretations. It’s also really effing scary.
Jack Nicholson stars as a would-be novelist who, when offered the chance to act as caretaker for a remote luxury hotel over the closed season, seizes the opportunity as a potential cure for his writer’s block. Decamping with his young family for the vast, labyrinthine Overlook, little does he know that something residing within has marked him out as someone special.
Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes play a cop and criminal who find themselves cryogenically frozen as punishment for destroying huge swathes of property, only to be defrosted several decades later to continue their battle in a strange new world.
This delightfully goofy 1993 action movie is very much of its time, with Snipes a joy to watch as the extravagant baddie and Stallone playing it straighter than usual as the no-nonsense cop trying to make sense of the future’s bizarre customs and disdain for violence. Rumour has it the two stars may be reuniting for a sequel almost 30 years on – here’s hoping they can get Sandra Bullock (here in her breakout role as the happy-go-lucky rookie cop assigned to babysit Stallone) back as well.