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It may be time to head back to school, but your inner child will be smiling all the way through the next 30 days: September is officially Disney / Pixar month. The Toy Story trilogy is arriving on Amazon Prime Instant Video, not to mention Monsters University and Up. (Let’s not talk about Planes.)
For those who have out-grown Woody and chums (if they do exist), there’s some equally promising adult fare on offer, from the continuation of Amazon’s animated super hero catalogue to Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year – and not to mention, of course, the premiere of Amazon’s latest original series, Hand of God, starring Ron Perlman.
Here are the top new releases coming soon to Amazon Prime Instant Video.
The Following: Season 2 – 1st September
Kevin Bacon – no, wait, it’s not an EE advert – stars in this US thriller about an ex-FBI agent trying to catch a serial killer, who amasses a cult of followers who follow his command. Violent stuff, with a villainous turn from James Purefoy.
Criminal Minds: Seasons 1 to 9 – 1st September
Jeff Davis’ police series is still going 10 years after it first premiered on CBS. Now’s your chance to catch up on the cases of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, who focus on profiling criminals to catch them.
The Dead Lands – 1st September
The Dead Lands is a simple story told in the most brutal and visceral way. The plot, such as it is, concerns a young man (James Rolleston), who seeks revenge on the son of another Maori tribe’s leader for slaughtering his people, including his father. To do so, he enlists the help of a “monster’ known only as The Warrior (Lawrence Makoare), a man who lives in the eponymous Dead Lands and kills anyone who gets in his way. Mayhem ensues.
Awkward: Season 4 – 1st September
Ashley Rickards stars in MTV’s teen series as Jenna, a California teen who struggles with her identity after an accident is mistaken by those around her as an attempted suicide. Season 4 joins the first three seasons, which are already on Amazon Prime.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 / Superman: Unbound – 3rd September
Amazon Prime has always offered a strong line-up of animated superheroics. This adaptation of Frank Miller’s legendary comic book – set 10 years after an ageing Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness – is a perfect addition. It’s joined by feature-length outing Superman: Unbound, based on the Superman: Brainiac arc.
Hand of God – 4th September
Hand of God stars Ron Perlman in his first lead television role since Sons of Anarchy as Judge Pernell Harris, a hard-living, law-bending married man, who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart. With no real evidence to go on, Pernell begins to rely on visions he believes are being sent by God through Pernell’s ventilator-bound son.
Up – 4th September
Pixar’s tale of an elderly widower who floats away on a balloon-covered home to South America to see the paradise he always dreamed of visiting with his wife.
We’re the Millers – 6th September
Ed Helms stars in this comedy about a group of strangers who pose as a familiar to smuggle drugs into the US. The gross-out moments may be hit and miss, but a cameo from Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) is enough to keep the laughs coming.
Dark City – 10th September
Years before I, Robot and Knowing, director Alex Proyas gave us this forgotten sci-fi gem, which sees an amnesiac (Rufus Sewell) wake up to find out that he’s accused of murder. Hunted by mysterious figures known as The Strangers, he tries to clear his name on the run through a city where everything changes at midnight.
Toy Story – 11th September
“You are a child’s play thing!” “You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.” It may be 25 years old, but Pixar’s classic tale of friendship, toys and animated space rangers never gets old.
Monsters University – 11th September
This prequel to Monsters, Inc., follows Mike and Sully back in the days before they met, as each one enrols in Monsters University to learn how to scare people.
Beetlejuice – 17th September
Michael Keaton delivers a career-defining performance in Tim Burton’s 1988 comedy fantasy, which follows a couple haunting their former house (home to a new family, including Winona Ryder). Not bad for a turn lasting only 17 minutes.
The Blind Side – 17th September
John Lee Hancock’s semi-biographical sports drama is firmly at the cheesy end of the spectrum but won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock as Best Actress – deservedly so.
Toy Story 2 – 18th September
“You never forget kids like Emily, or Andy, but they forget you,” says Jessie the Cowgirl, who brings the heart to match Pixar’s trademark humour in a rare sequel that manages to be better than (or at least as brilliant as) the original.
Return to Oz – 18th September
Dorothy returns to Oz – only to discover that the land his been destroyed. Helped by a chicken and a pumpkinhead, the result is far from the classic original (Fairuza Balk plays Dorothy), but has built up a cult following of fans.
A Most Violent Year – 20th September
Oscar Isaac stars in this period drama about a fuel businessmen, who is trying to fight the corruption of 1980s New York, which threatens to undermine both his marriage and his business empire.
Yogi Bear – 23rd September
Dan Aykroyd dons the green hat and tie of everyone’s favourite sandwich-stealer in this feature-length CGI take on the children’s TV series. Justin Timberlake joins him as sidekick, Boo Boo. The pair find themselves crossing path with Tom Cavanagh’s Ranger Smith and a documentary filmmaker, who is shooting a project in Jellystone Park.
Blow – 24th September
Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz star in this biopic about American cocaine smuggle George Jung.
The Emperor’s New Clothes – 25th September
Russell Brand’s reductionist documentary over-simplifies the economy in the name of his own anarchic polemic, but there’s something rousing in his film, which taps into many frustrations felt by the everyday workers of Britain in a time of austerity. He may advocate for revolution rather than democracy, but the passion in his film-making is infectious.
Toy Story 3 – 25th September
“C’mon. Let’s go see how much we’re going for on eBay.” A perfect conclusion to Pixar’s trilogy, Toy Story 3 emerges as a mature study of moving on and growing up.
42 – 27th September
The word “game-changer” is used so much these days it’s easy to be sick of it. But make an exception for 42, Brian Helgeland’s biopic of Jackie Robinson. The first black man to play major league baseball, he was a proper game-changer – he actually changed the game. Even if you’re tired of hearing the word, his is a story well worth seeing.
Going the Distance – 29th September
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long play a couple trying to make their long-distance relationship work, following a casual fling in a bar. Geoff LaTulippe’s raunchy script delivers a deceptively mature tale of a relationship overcoming realistic obstacles, while Long and Barrymore’s chemistry feels equally genuine.
The Town – 29th September
Who knew that Ben Affleck would one day prove to be a great director? Before Argo, The Town gave a massive clue. This intense crime drama sees Affleck play a thief who ends up in a relationship with the woman (Rebecca Hall) he robbed. The tension erupts in one of the best screen car chases in recent years.
The Last Five Years – 29th September
s there anything Anna Kendrick can’t do? The Tony and Academy Award nominee seems to have done everything in her 29 years, from playing preening background teen Jessica in the Twilight saga and supporting George Clooney in Up in the Air to mumblecore comedy in Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas and singing her socks off in everyone’s favourite a cappella singing franchise. Throughout, she hasn’t hit a bum note.
That’s especially true of The Last Five Years. The adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway musical sees Kendrick dust off her larynx once again as Cathy, a young wannabe actress who falls in love with Jamie (Jordan), a young wannabe writer. The show darts back and forth through their 60-month relationship, from first dates to heartbreak, like an episode of Doctor Who by the writers of Frozen.
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