New year, same recommendation to stay indoors. As we ring in 2021, many wonder if another dread last year has left us with is if we’ve exhausted our options on what good films to stream at home.
Fear not though, for we have now crafted a list of films to give a try if you find yourself exploring the offerings on Amazon Prime. The choices range from riotously funny, to borderline incomprehensible (in a good way), all the way towards the more deeply disturbing, if that’s what you’re into.
Given how the platform does regular monthly updates, our list may be forced to swap films in and out, so bookmark this to future reference, we’re keen on providing new recommendations each month.
The Big Sick (2017)
Credit: Sarah Shatz/Lionsgate
Having producer Judd Apatow and director Michael Showalter in your corner are both great, but the deeply personal script stars Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon wrote (that got them an Oscar nomination) is what makes the movie. The film finds a way to cover arranged marriages, mysterious illness, comedian growing pains, and more all while providing laugh after laugh.
EW grade: N/A
Credit: Paramount Pictures
After some sequels that were a bit difficult to sit through, a strong case had to be made for the existence of another Transformers movie. Thankfully, this reboot delivers with much help from a winning performance by Hailee Steinfeld. Rather than go full maximal space opera like his predecessor Michael Bay, director Travis Knight opts for a movie rooted in humor and ’80s nostalgia.
Casino Royale (2006)
Credit: Jay Maidment/Sony Pictures
It’s a tough pill to swallow thinking of how there are now adults who have only grown up knowing a blonde James Bond. With its successful approach to back to basics storytelling (it quite literally is an adaptation of the first Bond book author Ian Fleming ever published), it is hard to believe Daniel Craig was not seen at first as someone who would eventually reinvigorate the spy film franchise.
The Farewell (2019)
A rare box office hit coming from Sundance, filmmaker Lulu Wang’s semi-autobiographical story of her trip abroad to say goodbye to her sick grandmother finds both humor and tragedy in not being able to let a loved one know they are dying. While the film didn’t get any Academy love, it helped redefine what an American story is, providing a look at China through the eyes of a first generation Chinese American.
Fast Color (2018)
FAST COLORGugu Mbatha-Raw as “Ruth”
Credit: Jacob Yakob/Codeblack Films
Words like “poetic” don’t often get paired with superhero movies, but this film imaginatively weaves superpowers into what is at its core a compelling family drama about three generations of black women out west. Watch it on Amazon Prime in anticipation for the TV series adaptation the streaming platform has planned for it.
Funny Girl (1968)
Credit: Everett Collection
While it gained a second wind through all the times it was referenced in the show Glee, this William Wyler-directed movie musical is most known as the project that made Barbra Streisand an icon. She earned a Best Actress Oscar playing Fanny Brice, a comedienne with a voice as smooth as butter, rip-roaring through songs like “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”
Talent: Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Anne Francis
His Girl Friday (1940)
HIS GIRL FRIDAY, from left: Ralph Bellamy, Rosalind Russell, 1940
Credit: Everett Collection
Adapted from the play The Front Page, which has had multiple Broadway revivals, this Howard Hawks-directed film is one of the foundational examples of screwball comedy. As a newspaper editor trying to prevent his star reporter ex-wife from remarrying, Cary Grant provides back and forth with Rosalind Russell that has helped shape the dynamics of many a romantic comedy.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Credit: Everett Collection
Why wait for the holidays to watch a movie this iconic? The Frank Capra-directed film is another one that brings on the waterworks with it’s tale of a suicidal man who’s shown the positive impact he has left on the world. It also has an ending that is the best PR that bells have ever received.
Knives Out (2019)
Credit: Claire Folger/Lionsgate
Much love to writer-director Rian Johnson for giving whodunnits a much needed update with Knives Out. The film’s modern themes surrounding immigration and American greed all serve the mystery at hand. A perfect film to unwind to in your house, with your rules, and your coffee.
Credit: Gavin Bond/Paramount
More jukebox musical than music biopic, this story of Elton John serves as a corrective to some of the less stately recent rockstar stories. Taron Egerton earned a hard-fought-for Golden Globe by not only embodying the multi-talented, troubled music icon, but by singing all the songs as well.
Short Term 12 (2013)
Short Term 12Brie Larson and Keith Stanfield
Is this indie following a young residential treatment facility employee an easy watch? Not at all. But the tearjerker has become part of the origin story for some of Hollywood’s most exciting new entertainers, including its writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton, who’s currently working on Shang Chi for Marvel Studios.
A Simple Favor (2018)
Credit: Peter Iovino/Lionsgate
While first billed as his departure from comedy, director Paul Feig proved he was capable of a much darker humor with this film. The project provides everything from mommy vlogs to murder mysteries to Blake Lively wearing the hell out of a range of bespoke suits.
Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/©Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection
The best of a burgeoning genre of mixed-martial arts films, this two-hander stars Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy as estranged brothers who are set to reunite by fighting in the octagon. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, the testosterone-heavy movie gives a surprising tug at the heartstrings, leaving audiences (especially men) in tears by the end.