Christmas is coming – but if you’re an Amazon Prime member, it’s coming early. Several times. With bells on.
From Richard Ayoade to Ben Affleck, Australian modern classics to French animated gems, there are some fantastic films hitting Amazon over the festive period, capping off what has been an increasingly impressive year for the subscription service that nobody thought could rival Netflix. And that’s before you mention Django Unchained and Where the Wild Things Are arriving for New Year.
Room on the Broom – 1st December
After charming everyone’s socks off with The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, Jan Lachauer and Max Lang made this equally lovely animation based on the best-selling children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. With all three of them now on Amazon Prime, that’s 90 minutes of adorable family viewing sorted.
The Double – 4th December
Jesse Eisenberg and Jesse Eisenberg star in Richard Ayoade’s darkly comic take on Dostoyevsky’s novella, which sees a nervous worker faced with someone who looks exactly like him, but behaves in exactly the opposite way. Twisted dystopia and dopplegangers combine with Mia Wasikowska’s love interest to form an intriguing follow-up to Submarine.
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher – 4th December
Marvel continues to follow up its Marvel Anime series with another anime film that sees The Punisher arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D., who must help the organisation in exchange for his freedom.
Argo – 5th December
Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning thriller, based on true events, sees a CIA agent (Baffleck) lead a rescue team to extract six kidnapped US diplomats from Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis. The mission? Pretend to make a Hollywood movie… Tense, funny, classy stuff that confirmed beyond a doubt that Baffleck was more than his beard and chin.
Piglet’s Big Movie – 5th December
After adding the charming Winnie the Pooh earlier this year, everyone’s favourite honey eater is joined by his equally cute friend.
Some Velvet Morning – 8th December
Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve star in Neil LaBute’s drama about a man who leaves his wife for his mistress. A Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve film that didn’t get a cinema release in the UK? Colour us intrigued.
A Single Shot – 8th December
A Sam Rockwell film that didn’t get to cinemas in the UK? Amazon’s second straight-to-VOD release is David M. Rosenthal’s thriller about a hunter on the run from backwater criminals. Sam Rockwell leads an impressive cast, including William H. Macy, Jason Isaacs, Jeffrey Wright, Ophelia Lovibond and True Detective Season 2’s Kelly Reilly. Did we mention Sam Rockwell?
Animal Kingdom – 11th December
G’dayfellas! David Michôd’s Australian gangster flick about a teen trying to work out his place in a violent family is one of those modern masterpieces that will go down in history as launching several previously unknown talents into Hollywood – and propelling others even higher. Guy Pearce steals scenes as a cop trying to get James Frecheville’s teen to be an informer and Jacki Weaver amazes as his ruthless mother, but Ben Mendelsohn dominates the screen as the Cody’s intense patriarch. Strewth, it’s good.
Hannah Montana The Movie – 12th December
When Hannah Montana’s musical stardom starts to take over Miley Stewart’s life, she takes a road trip back to her home town in Tennessee to work out what she wants.
The Illusionist – 13th December
Sylvain Chomet follows up Belleville Rendezvous with an adaptation of a Jacques Tati screenplay for this understated animated beauty, which sees an unemployed illusionist head to Scotland, where he becomes friends with a young woman. Quietly magical.
Chinese Puzzle – 13th December
Chinese Puzzle stars ROMAIN DURIS as Xavier, who’s world is turned upside down when wife Wendy announces she is moving to New York, with their children in tow. Life takes a series of twists and turns, and Xavier finds himself fathering a child to a lesbian couple, marrying a Chinese-American to obtain citizenship, and reigniting a flame with his first love.
The Escape Artist (mini-series) – 15th December
David Tennant and Toby Kebbell star in this mini-series about a talented young barrister who finds himself defending a murder suspect.
Ray Donovan Season 1 – 15th December
Live Schreiber finally gets to take centre stage in Showtime’s series about a fixer in Los Angeles who finds himself facing FBI agents as well as famous people’s secrets – and his father (Jon Voight), who’s fresh out of prison.
Me And Orson Welles – 18th December
Zac Efron’s the headliner in this drama about a teenager acting in Orson Welles’ 1937 theatre production of Julius Caesar, but Christian McKay stole the spotlight as the young director, a performance that saw him go on to appear in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Serena and Rush.
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street Season 1 – 19th December
Did you know anyone can submit a script to Amazon Studios? The company’s first live action original kids’ TV series (aimed at children aged 6 to 11) is written by a nursery teacher and sees young 13 year old Gortimer grow up in his mundane neighbourhood with a hint of something unexpected underneath the surface.
Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse – 19th December
Amazon may be missing some of the Christmas classics, but of the few confirmed festive additions to the service, Snowed in at the House of Mickey Mouse is most likely to warm you up by the fire. It follows Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, added last month.
Cars 2 – 21st December
Pixar’s Cars is far from their best animated outing, but it certainly has a way with kids of a particular age. Cars 2, then, will at least keep young fans entertained while parents clean up the kitchen.
Mozart in the Jungle Season 1 – 23rd December
Gael Garcia Bernal plays a sexy conductor in this comedy drama set in the seedy behind-the-scenes world of New York’s classical music scene. It had us at Gael Garcia Bernal plays a sexy conductor.
Due Date – 27th December
Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis team up for this road trip film from The Hangover’s Todd Phillips. It might not be great, but it’s certainly popular, which makes it a perfect release in the Christmas period.
Django Unchained – 30th December
Quentin Tarantino’s violent Western is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is boring. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz pair up as a freed slave and German dentist to exact revenge upon white folk – but it’s away from the blood splattering that Django Unchained finds its unexpected depth, with Samuel L. Jackson as a conflicted butler.
Invictus – New Year’s Eve
Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s stately drama that wins points for its unusual focus for a biopic – South Africa’s hosting of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Where The Wild Things Are – New Year’s Eve
It’s hard to know what Warner Bros. were expecting when they hired Spike Jonze to adapt Maurice Sendak’s beloved picture book, but what they got was less a kids’ movie and more a mature study of childhood, complete with strong adult cast (Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, James Gandolfini), stunning visuals and lots of furry beasts. Adorable, endearing and breathtakingly moving.
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