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 Purge (S1)
Having already spawned a seemingly never-ending series of feature film sequels, the producers of cult “everybody can do crime for 12 hours a year without punishment” movie The Purge have also made a TV show – and it’s exclusive to Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
Having only watched the first episode (at the time of writing, new episodes are being added every Wednesday), Stuff’s jury is still out on whether this series can combine the political satire and brutal violence inherent to its premise as successfully as that memorable first movie, but fans of the franchise will doubtless grab the opportunity to take a deeper dive into this dystopian alternative history USA setting.
A star-studded cast, a troubled production and, ultimately, a patchy but periodically enjoyable finished movie – that’s a pretty fair assessment of this “edgy” DC comic adaptation, in which the US government forces a top secret group of supervillains – including Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot – to take on the jobs too dangerous for regular special forces.
While the fractured storytelling shows the strains of a tough editing process (most of the scenes filmed featuring Jared Leto’s Joker were supposedly not included in the final cut) and plot seems all over the place at times, there’s plenty of spectacle to feast your eyes on here. Nevertheless, this is one for comic fans first rather than an Avengers-style crossover success.
Steve Carell plays against type to deliver a superbly creepy performance as billionaire John DuPont in this gripping real-life story of paranoia, obsession and murder.
DuPont, heir to the giant chemical conglomerate, decides to fund and train a US wrestling team to compete in the 1988 Olympics, hosting them on his vast country estate – but after a promising start, his unsettling behaviour leads to a clash of personalities with up-and-coming wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his former champion brother Dave (an excellent Mark Ruffalo). As the tension escalates and DuPont becomes more withdrawn, things take an exceptionally dark turn.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
Even if you don’t already know who Jack Ryan is, this big budget series has “Tom Clancy” in the title, so you should know the drill: we’ve got espionage, counter-espionage, international terrorism and a some moral grey areas about what actually constitutes torture! Hell yeah.
The Office’s adorable everyman John Krasinski takes on the role of Clancy’s CIA analyst and all-round American hero, previously played by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine.
If you’re thinking this casting means a slightly more nuanced view of US foreign policy than you’d have got from a Clancy adaptation while the notoriously pro-military author was alive, you’d be wrong. With Michael Bay among the executive producers, perhaps we should have known this’d be a little lacking in the sort of shades of grey you’d find in, say, Homeland.
But if you can stomach the jingoism and simply enjoy this for what it is – a boy’s own techno-thriller spy story – you’ll find it a slick, pacy ride that looks and sounds glorious on a 4K telly.
Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9 features a starrier cast in Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, but retains the earlier film's mix of gritty sci-fi and social conscience.
When Damon's downtrodden worker suffers a lethal dose of radiation, he knows his only hope is to get to one of the Med-Bays used by the upper classes. Only problem is, the upper classes have abandoned Earth for a luxurious orbital space station – and they won't let any old pauper in. So: come for the spectacular visuals, stay for the scathing political message.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
At turns campy to the point of absurdity (Keanu Reeves’ English accent being a prime contender) and bursting into life with rich gothic imagery and tone, Francis Ford Coppola’s faithful adaptation of that most famous of Victorian horror novels is quite the audiovisual trip.
With a star-studded cast (Gary Oldman! Anthony Hopkins! Winona Ryder! Tom Waits!), lavishly grand sets and some of the nattiest haircuts you’ll find in 1990s cinema, this version of Dracula feels like something of an unmissable, creepy curiosity rather than an out-and-out horror film. It captures the doomed romanticism of Stoker’s book better than any other adaptation, and presents the thirsty Transylvanian himself as a complex lovelorn figure rather than a moustache-twirling villain.
The Social Network
You might think there’s a danger of David Fincher’s movie about the creation of Facebook losing its bite. After all, in the years since the film’s 2010 release, Mark’s Zuckerberg’s social media behemoth has become even more all-encompassing, even more directed by its creepily opaque algorithms, and essentially a replacement for traditional news media for millions – to the point where many feel that it’s literally a danger to democracy.
There’s a sense, though, that while Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin perhaps never foresaw the extent to which Facebook would integrate itself into people’s lives, they were always aware of its dodgy moral underpinnings. Sorkin’s Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, is a ruthless genius who’s more interested in building something big that building something safe, and watching his rise from college geek to tech billionaire is fascinating.
A creepy, gripping space oddity – appropriate given that it’s directed by Duncan Jones aka Zowie Bowie aka David Bowie’s son – Moon stars Sam Rockwell as a man contracted to work at a lunar base for three years. Except for friendly robot GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), he’s all alone up there. Or is he?
If you like your sci-fi thoughtful and thought-provoking, this study in isolation is as much psychological thriller as it is space movie – and it’s all the better for it.
The world doesn’t seem short on quirky comedy drama series exploring the crushing ennui of modern life, but Amazon has furnished us with another one – and it’s surprisingly great.
Starring Maya Rudolf and Fred Armisen as a married couple struggling with an encroaching middle-aged itch, Forever starts off as one kind of show and quickly transforms into another. Funny, smart and affecting, it’s Amazon’s best new original series in a long time.
Shaun of the Dead
The first, and best, of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto trilogy”, this horror-comedy leans more towards guffaws than gore – although it’s not without its moments of guts-out violence or affecting drama.
Shaun (played by Pegg) is a London shop assistant who’d rather be gaming, boozing or listening to electro with his flatmate and best friend Ed than moving up the professional ladder or showing his girlfriend that he’s serious marriage material. When a bust-up prompts him to change his ways, it just happens to coincide with a zombie outbreak – meaning he must traverse a ghoul-infested wasteland to rescue his loved ones and survive the night.
Packed with smart references, sight gags (Wright’s signature quick-fire editing is on-point) and scorching one-liners, Shaun of the Dead adds up to far more than your average horror comedy. There’s a real heart and soul to it too, and it’s easy to see why Pegg and Wright have become hot Hollywood properties since its release.