As we all know, Amazon is a quick and efficient shopping service that has taken the world by storm. What is news for some, however, is that the original movies that are being produced by that same company are of some real quality. There are many Amazon Prime movies and shows available to stream on Amazon, but this list is focusing on the streaming films that have been produced by ‘Amazon Studios’ itself. From gripping documentaries all the way to raucous comedies, Amazon is becoming a titan in the film industry as well as the online shopping industry.
A great bonus about the films on our list today: All of them came out within the last five years or so, meaning that many of them will carry some extremely relevant themes and source material to think about.
Focused on and filmed over a span of more than 40 years by Val Kilmer, Val is a story of the mythical man who portrayed legendary roles such as Batman, Doc Holliday from Tombstone, Jim Morrison, and Ice from Top Gun. A recent survivor and still recovering from throat cancer, Val Kilmer has decided to tell his story from the multitudinous, never-before-seen film that shines a light into his private life.
Director(s): Ting Poo, Leo Scott
Main Cast: Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando (archive footage), Jim Carrey
Runtime: 109 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.9
In a shockingly ridiculous social experiment of a movie, Sacha Baron Cohen takes his classic Borat character back to the screen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Borat is released from prison in his home country of Kazakhstan under one condition: Return to America and redeem Kazakhstan by giving the vice president a great gift. Loose plot aside, this film goes to new lengths of shock with the help of Tutar (Maria Bakalova), Borat’s daughter and “gift” to the vice president.
Director: Jason Woliner
Main Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Tom Hanks
Runtime: 95 minutes
IMDB Rating: 6.7
At the peak of the population crisis in 1980s China, a one-child policy was enacted that imposed a draconian mandate on the population. One Child Nation is a gripping documentary about political corruption, patriotism vs humanism, and just how far one person would go to obey or deny the conundrum forced upon them. This documentary contains interviews about people that started child trafficking to save the children involved, the doctors who were tasked with “removing” the unlawful children, and how nationwide propaganda affected them all.
Director(s): Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
Main Cast: Nanfu Wang, Zaodi Wang, Zhimei Wang
Runtime: 83 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.5
An Amazon original and a breakout starring role for Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal is an intensely dramatic film of a man torn between two lives as he loses his hearing. After learning the distressing news that his condition will only worsen, he tries not to go back into his ways of heavy drug use and the rock star lifestyle he has come to know and love. Winner of best film editing and best sound editing at this year’s Oscars, it was also nominated for a handful of other awards including best picture.
Director: Darius Marder
Main Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Runtime: 120 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.8
With career-defining performances from Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea is a stunningly raw portrayal of tragedy and what it can do to the human spirit. When Lee (Casey Affleck) finds out that his brother has died and has made him the guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), he is forced to quit his job and move back to his hometown where he faces all the traumas that made him leave in the first place.
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Main Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Runtime: 137 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.8
The Big Sick is based on the real-life love story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. The story follows Nanjiani as he struggles to build up a career in stand-up. After a run-in with a heckler named Emily (Zoe Kazan), a relationship quickly forms. However, the couple is faced with family pushback and when they break up, a coma is what brings them back together. This original dramedy is one of the best romantic comedy movies of our generation.
Director: Michael Showalter
Main Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Runtime: 120 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Loosely based on the life of once child actor and now tabloids target Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy is a tense and emotional tale elevated by fantastic performances. A 12-year-old boy starts to make it in Hollywood on a hit comedy show, causing his alcoholic and abusive father to push him forward in his own manipulative way. Fun fact: Shia himself chose to portray his own father in the film, despite telling his father that Mel Gibson would portray him to get him to sign off on the film’s creation.
Director: Alma Har’el
Main Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe
Runtime: 94 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Joaquin Phoenix stars in the grisly and heart-pounding mystery thriller You Were Never Really Here, a disturbing tale that is vaulted to an exceptional quality by its writing and the direction of Lynne Ramsay. Joe (Phoenix) is a war veteran who is highly skilled in killing bad guys and extracting missing young women from their clutches but faces unforeseen challenges when his latest assignment delves deeply into large-scale corruption, triggering his war traumas and causing him to spiral into a surreal killing spree of rampant carnage.
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Main Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov
Runtime: 89 minutes
IMDB Rating: 6.8
A film based on true events follows 4 icons in their prime; Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke, as they meet in Miami one historic night. As these figures come together in the mid-’60s, they discuss what their success and responsibility mean as they carry the weight of the world during the civil rights movement. In Regina King’s directorial breakout, we learn more about the struggle of civil rights in its time and how it has changed today. Boasting a handful of Oscar nominations this year, this film is a powerhouse of performance and information to take with you.
Director: Regina King
Main Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge
Runtime: 114 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Chock full of award-worthy performances from the leading actors, The Report is a chillingly accurate telling of the highly questionable torture conducted by the CIA following the 9/11 attacks. Based on the true story of the investigational findings from Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), he uncovers some horrible information about the merciless and sometimes unprovoked torture tactics exercised on captured Muslims in a CIA black site.
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Main Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm
Runtime: 119 minutes
IMDB Rating: 7.2
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