The 12 Best Amazon Prime Movies – January 2017

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Amazon Prime Instant Video is pretty darned good. What began as an incentive service to reward customer loyalty has developed into a wide-ranging and lucrative service offering from Amazon. It is also a good way to watch some good movies without leaving your sofa. With that in mind, here are what we think are the 12 best Amazon Prime movies available now.

In no particular order:

12. Sicario

The war on drugs provides the backdrop for this intense and brilliantly acted thriller. The set pieces and cinematography here are especially striking, but what sticks with viewers is the film’s thoughtful pace and moral ambiguity that wouldn’t be out of place in a classic film noir.

11. Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction is a modern classic that is as slick as it is timeless. It’s also as bloody as it is clever, although Quentin Tarantino doesn’t take it to the level of self-parody that he did in his more recent movies. Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta have real chemistry here, while Tarantino offers some of the best dialogue he’s ever put in a movie. Everyone should watch it.

10. Iron Man

Whether you’re already in line for the next Marvel superhero movie, or you feel like they got stale after The Avengers, maybe it’s time to go back to the movie that convinced everyone that Marvel movies were a good idea. Robert Downey Jr.’s first turn as Iron Man genuinely fresh and clever, and it may still be the best movie to come out of Marvel Studios.

9. Selma

Selma is a powerful and pertinent story in our age of discord and inequality. Everyone “knows” the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s activism, but we tend to forget most of the actual struggle and drama behind his famous message. With a stellar cast, superb writing, and inspired shots, this is definitely a must-see.

8. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl wrote children’s books, but he knew that children can handle a lot more darkness than adults think they can. That’s what makes this adaptation of his book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so great–and especially what makes Gene Wilder’s performance as the genius chocolatier so amazing. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp later tried to remake this, but they couldn’t match the wonderfully creepy, creepily wonderful balance of this classic.

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7. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark / Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

This one is a tie. I could have made the tough choice of which of these two classic adventure movies deserved more to be on the list–but in the end, you deserve to know that they’re both on Prime! If you’ve somehow missed either of Harrison Ford’s best adventures in archaeology and Nazi-fighting, there’s no better time than the present to catch yourself up.

6. Creed

Arguably, Hollywood and Sly Stallone have been trying to recapture the magic of the original Rocky ever since the rematch that wasn’t supposed to happen in Rocky II. Creed comes closest to doing that, following the son Apollo Creed as he rises in the world of boxing and finds a mentor in Rocky Balboa. With Creed, the Rocky franchise finally found a high note to go out on.

5. Stardust

This is a gorgeous and wonderfully entertaining fantasy story from the mind of Neil Gaiman. In what amounts to a latter-day The Princess Bride, a young hero sets out to rescue a woman (who is also a fallen star), facing pirates, witches, and other dangers.

4. The Truman Show

After almost 20 years, this movie deserves more attention. Jim Carrey stars a man who discovers his entire life is actually a television show, his hometown is a set, and everyone he knows is an actor. It’s hard to believe that this movie came out before “reality television” was a thing–two years before the first season of Survivor. And though Truman’s a bit of a goofball, Jim Carrey surprised everyone at the time with his dramatic performance.

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3. Ex Machina

This mind-bending thriller starts out about testing out a new artificial intelligence. Before long, though, it turns into a brilliant psychodrama held up by the spectacular performances: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander. For some added weirdness, the first two of those actors also worked together in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in very different roles.

2. Interstellar

Earth is dying, and Matthew McConaughey heads the mission to find a new habitable planet for the human race. The result is a spectacular space adventure, essentially Christopher Nolan’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

1. Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now is a rip-roaring but thoughtful war movie. Riffing on the novel Heart of Darkness, it tell the story of a mission to stop a rogue Colonel in Vietnam. It is full of color, explosions, angst, confusion, despair, and thought.

 

If you find you’re in the mood for some bingeable television instead of a movie, check out our list of the best shows on Prime, or the best shows on Netflix.

Posted by Jamie on January 17, 2017

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