Rather than doing individual reviews, I thought I’d give you small reviews of films I’ve watched since the turn of the year, and give my views on the streaming platforms. The films will be a mix of some that you might have thought were worth a look, or some that you thought “that looks shit, I’ll save that for when I need cheering up”.
I’ve watched a lot less on Amazon for no reason other than I try to switch between systems, but this always ends up the one I forget about. However, it has a great stock of recently made and classic films, even if its library’s quality falls off a cliff very quickly once you start searching it. You can also pay to rent more recent films, which gives Prime a leg up against the other two (it’s about £7 a month) – and of course by accessing this you’ll already be getting the quicker and free deliveries (if you didn’t know you had access to this but have Prime, get on it!).
Amazon’s own shows are very good, though perhaps less marketed than they should be (and often hard to find on an exhaustive but confusing layout). That’s not to say that there’s no external content – far from it! There is a massive library of films from other companies, but as with Netflix this seems to shift almost weekly – so something you wanted to see has gone, or moved to the other platform, which is quite frankly shit if you’ve been wanting to see it and it disappears.
Layout wise, as mentioned it’s exhaustive but confusing, and tiring on the eyes, with lists upon lists upon lists. Also worth noting: make sure what you’re wanting to watch has the Prime logo across the top left of the image, otherwise you’re paying extra to watch it. There’s no autoplay thankfully and with tweaks it could be much better, though the Disney+ layout (clearly designed to improve on Prime and Netflix) is best.
Some of the films I’ve seen recently include:
- The King of Comedy: the Scorsese movie, alongside Taxi Driver, that Joker ripped off, and the most awkwardly cringe film I’ve ever seen. Robert De Niro is amusing and horrifying in equal measure as a stalker who sees his chance to make his bizarre fantasies reality, and Jerry Lewis is very good as the despairing talk show host pursued by hordes of obsessives. See this and Taxi Driver instead of the incel nonsense of Joker
- A Cock and Bull Story: fans of The Trip and similarly metatextual shows/movies will get a lot out of this, which adapts an unadaptable book by making it a movie about the making of a movie adaptation of the book (confused yet?). Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan hone their hilariously awkward fake personas alongside a rogue’s gallery of British actors appearing as strange versions of themselves
- The Void: a gruesome, bizarre cosmic horror loveletter to HP Lovecraft. While a modern movie very much in the style of doom laden, gore filled cosmic horror that owes debts to the horror author, this is both nastier and harsher than your average horror, and features some truly grim stuff – absolutely one for the horror crowd!
- Booksmart: Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a blast of fresh air for the coming of age, school leaver comedy genre. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play best friends who’ve always been the uncool kids, desperate to go mad before graduation. This feels new, diverse, more mature and has laugh out loud moments comparing favourably to the many (often male focused) predecessors in its genre
- Dragged Across Concrete: an overlong and hilariously over-conservative grim thriller, this sees director S. Craig Zahler (of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99) try to rehabilitate famous Hollywood pro Trump dickheads Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson, as well as offer a “political correctness gone mad” diatribe. The central idea is good and I was invested in the other side of the story, but it took way too long to get where it was going
- Hotel Artemis: a film that ought to be in the John Wick universe, writer and director Drew Pearce slots no less than Jodie Foster, Jeff Goldblum, Sterling K Brown, Dave Bautista and an assortment of others into this Wick style action thriller about a hotel in LA that caters to criminals and criminals only. Foster’s great as the resident doctor helping crims recover, while Goldblum’s rare villainous turn is as memorable as Bautista’s world weary nurse and Brown’s morally strong bank robber
- Super Size Me: yes, I’d never seen it and yes, Morgan Spurlock (you may or may not know) has been found to be a disgusting harasser – but this documentary still packs a punch, the filmmaker putting his health on the line to expose the disgustingly unhealthy McDonalds food that so many people still (bizarrely, to me) love to eat. The health warnings alone throughout made me happy to have sworn off this stuff a long time ago!
- The Vast of Night: this sci-fi period piece is an incredible filmmaking debut, seeing two 50s kids in a small US town investigate bizarre transmissions and mystery disappearances, with long takes and excellent set design helping to set the scene for some unsettling alien experiences and set pieces
Here are some other posts on the other platforms: