If you're looking for a film to watch on Amazon Prime right now then you've come to the right place. T3 has spent hours trawling through the entire Prime library on a quest to deliver you the absolute best films available. We've got comedy, action, adventure, horror and romance for you to get stuck into, so kick back, relax and let T3 save you from the paralysis of choice.
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This is a slow-burning film which, while containing martial arts, isn't really a martial arts flick. No, The Assassin is no Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wannabe, instead focussing on engaging storytelling and simply stunning cinematography.
Indeed, the film's director Hou Hsiao-Hsien - winner of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival 2015 for this very movie - delivers one of the most beautiful films in the martial arts genre yet brought to screen, all the while exploring concepts of honour, politics, love and social ritual.
The film's setting is 9th century China, where in the last years of the Tang Dynasty a 10-year-old general's daughter - the famous Nie Yinniang - is abducted by a nun and initiated into the world of martial arts and assassination.
To speak more of the plot would see us enter spoiler territory, however what then follows is a deeply human tale that by the film's finale resonates strongly, elevating the piece out of its genre and leaving a lasting impression on the viewer with its imagery and themes.
As such, if you are looking for a martial arts film that offers more than a few balletic wuxia-style fight scenes, then The Assassin is definitely worth your time.
Live Die Repeat
For shame! If you like action, sci-fi or just good movies in general and you didn't go and see this at the cinema then hang your head in shame. Well, actually, it isn't really your fault as the primary reason why this film was seen as a commercial failure (despite making more than twice its budget at the box office) was because of epic bungling on behalf of its Hollywood producers.
Despite being based on the Japanese manga All You Need Is Kill, which is a great and memorable title, some geniuses decided that it wasn't good enough for the movie, so changed it to Live Die Repeat, which is worse but at least it describes what the film is about. However then, for some reason that is only known to a select few, it was decided that while that name was fine for some territories, it wasn't for others. The film therefore also got released as Edge of Tomorrow, which is so bland and uninspiring that it was no wonder nobody knew what the film was about and, as such, didn't go and see it.
Well, if you missed it then now is your perfect chance to get in on the action, with All You Need Is Kill (sorry, but that is what it should've been called all along) now on Amazon Prime. The film sees an on-form Tom Cruise join up with she's-so-hot-right-now Emily Blunt to tackle an alien enemy that has the ability to manipulate the flow of time. When Cruise accidently inherits said time control powers though, the destruction of Earth is put on hold, with a series of well-shot action set-pieces and well-written dialogue carrying the viewer to a satisfying and tense final showdown.
For those unlucky enough to be dragged to the 1998 travesty of an adaptation of Toho's classic monster franchise, this 2014 remake of Godzilla certainly acts as a band-aid.
Indeed, the director Gareth Edwards, the chap behind the excellent low-budget movie Monsters, gets a lot right with this suitable epic movie, with the King of the Monsters itself first and foremost among these. The beast not only look right - instead of 1998's slightly larger T-Rex - but sounds and acts right also, offering a titanic and other-worldly presence that rivals that of the Kaiju in Pacific Rim. Unlike the awful 1998 version, Godzilla also has suitable adversaries to square up against.
Away from the beast, the film stars a ripped Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the brawn, a mad Bryan Cranston as the brains, and a suitably serious Ken Watanabe as the lore. These all perform admirably, however never really manage to elevate the film out of its monster movie genre, with a quite talky first half sliding, despite everyone's best efforts, into straight-out disaster porn in the second.
Unlike other disaster spectacle romps though - we're looking at you Transformers - the behemoth battles are well choreographed and the action suitably entertaining. It's not quite as flat-out entertaining as Pacific Rim, however it is definitely worth a watch if you are into your tokukatsu.
And yes, if you were wondering, Godzilla gets to whip out his atomic breath a fair few times too and it is suitably awesome.
The Lego Movie
A bombastic, block-tastic action-comedy ensues for over 100 minutes in The Lego Movie, with everyman protagonist Emmet Brickowski (see what they did there?) - as voiced by the leading man of the moment, Chris Pratt - proceeding on a wild and crazy adventure throughout the Lego universe.
On said adventure, Master Builder Emmet will team up with Elizabeth Banks' Wyldstyle, Will Arnett's Batman and Alison Brie's Princess Unikitty to defeat the nefarious Lord Business, as played by a Mugatu-light Will Ferrell.
If enough Lego characters weren't already voiced by top celebrities, the film also features the vocal talents of Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Anthony Daniels, Nick Offerman and even Liam Neeson, who plays Lord Business' right hand man Bad Cop/Good Cop.
And while yes, the film is carefully designed to slickly market the Lego toy to impressionable young cinema goers, it is also very well written and has plenty of gags for older viewers.
Oh, and it also features THAT song, which once heard will forever get stuck in your head.
Something wicked this way comes...
...as well as something ridiculously violent and bloody. Yes, this excellent film adaptation of Shakespeare's underrated king-slaying chronicle not only brings a tastefully streamlined version of the classic tale to the silver screen, but also 300 levels of gore and combat. The director, relative newcomer Justin Kurzel, also echoes the style of the 2006 Spartan epic too, with a dark colour palette complementing nicely structured shots of bleak Medieval Scottish highlands.
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, as both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, have genuine chemistry too, with a far more realistic and less melodramatic relationship between them portrayed. Supporting talent, which includes the always good value David Thewlis as King Duncan, Paddy Considine as Banquo and Sean Harris as Macduff, is also high level, helping to create a believable world to which Macbeth disrupts with his dark deeds.
The film is also certainly not afraid to embrace the darker questions about human nature and grim, chaos of reality that Shakespeare muses on either, with an dark tone climaxing with an unsettling, resolution-less finale.
A fresh and powerful adaptation of Macbeth that delivers on both the fighting and the philosophising.
The smoulder-tastic acting legend James Purefoy plays his role of Solomon Kane, a barbaric mercenary that to save his soul from eternal damnation takes up arms against the forces of darkness, a little too well in this entertaining B-movie romp.
Seriously, Purefoy (who reaches new levels of manly here) really is giving it his best I'm-in-a-Lord-of-the-Rings-style-epic shot in this, despite the fact that the budget and supporting cast aren't anywhere near that level. Purefoy does get some decent backup at times, with the late-great Pete Postlethwaite turning up for a spell, as too Max von Sydow and Mackenzie Crook. Jason Flemyng also does alright as big bad Malachi, with a hamtastically fitting performance.
The biggest issue with this flick is literally how you watch the money run out three quarters of the way through the movie, with an incredibly unsatisfying finale. That said, up to that point, watching Purefoy wield some seriously big swords while despatching various hell spawn is very entertaining.
The cinematography joins Purefoy in being too good for this type of crowd-pleasing schlock-fest as well, with some really rather beautiful landscapes and impactful shot constructions adding undeserved gravitas.
It's a Friday night flick that is a cut above the rest.
A new entry, this 2014 film was famously crowdfunded by 91,585 fans of the earlier TV show, with more than $5.7 million dollars pledged to help make it happen. It did happen and this is the result, a good if not great return for the former teenage private eye.
So, yeh, if you missed the whole Veronica Mars TV show - which is cool as it aired back between 2004-2007 - Mars, who is played by Kristen Bell, spent multiple seasons solving crimes and mysteries in and around the affluent town of Neptune, California.
This film however picks up later in her life, when she has moved on to become a big shot New York lawyer, and is called randomly out of the blue by her ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls, as played by Jason Dohring. He's got himself mixed up horribly in his pop star girlfriend's death, with Echolls being blamed for the murder and about to go down.
Cue Veronica returning to Neptune to solve the crime, as well as meeting a large number of past enemies and friends from the TV show for some side-plot action.
Despite not being a flat out home run, it's worth a watch if you like detective stuff as Bell kicks ass as Veronica and, if anything else, it helps add a little more closure to the TV show.
Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven)
Next up is this stylish Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s excellent western Unforgiven, Yurusarezaru mono. Ken Watanabe stars as Jubei Kamata, a former samurai who due to his family’s impoverished state, reluctantly joins up with an old associate to claim the bounty on two men who cut up a prostitute’s face.
It’s a remarkably faithful adaptation of the 1992 original, with the setting in Japan’s wild and ruthless Hokkaido frontier during the early Meiji period working just as well as the American wild west, and Kamata is just as troubled by his bloody past as Clint’s William Munny. Even set pieces, such as the throwing out of town of the con man and trickster by the brutal sheriff remain the same, as too the inevitable and insanely bloody conclusion.
The tone is reminiscent of Hideo Gosha’s superlative Three Outlaw Samurai.
I tell you, finding a decent Rom-Com these days is harder than getting a cup of good, not stupidly priced coffee. There’s seemingly near-infinite choice, however when you actually look for one, it’s almost impossible to find anything good. The Wedding Planner we’re looking at you! Well, Man Up starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell is one of those rare modern Rom-Coms that’s actually pretty good. The premise of the film is that Pegg mistakes Bell for his blind date and, as Bell’s life isn’t exactly peachy either, she just goes with it and plays the part.
Indeed, while Pegg is good value, it's Bell who arguably steals the show, delivering a more realistic depiction of a female than standard, warts and all. She’s funny though, which is great for both Pegg - with the two working together well on-screen - and for the audience, with the first two acts consistently funny. Inevitably, the laugh count drops at the end as things get all emotional but, while cliched, even the finale is handled pretty well.
This Rom-Com gets the official T3 stamp of approval!
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The best video game movie that isn’t about video games, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is just superbly entertaining to watch, with a number of awesome performances elevating this comic book adaptation above the throng. Scott, the titular character, is played by generation-y king Michael Cera who is absolutely on fire in the film (it’s probably peak-Cera), making the protagonist incredibly likeable despite his many flaws, as well as drawing the audience into his weird, small-town world seamlessly.
The film’s plot revolves around Cera’s mission to date new girl in town and love-interest Ramona Flowers, however in order to do so he must defeat her seven evil ex boyfriends first, with each acting akin to a video game’s boss character. Surreal, magical realism ensues!
It’s also so good as it’s directed by Edgar ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ Wright, with his trademark humour, shooting style and tone in abundance.
And from one Wright we now move onto the work of another, Joe Wright. Hanna is an interesting, unconventional take on the action thriller genre, with Saoirse Ronan playing a girl who is raised to be an assassin by her father, who is played by the hunky Eric Bana. So while the set up is your typical action fayre, how the film is shot and how it is paced is markedly different, with Wright delivering a slower, more image-laden piece.
Conflict comes in the form of Cate Blanchett, who plays a senior CIA agent who - due to past events - has a vested interest in seeing both Hanna and her father eliminated for good. This leads to a pursuit that sees the film’s main characters romp round the globe, with a series of stylish and visually arresting locations such as Morocco, Finland and Germany acting as a backdrop to Jason Bourne-esque action set pieces.
It’s basically a western director doing an art-piece action flick.
A Single Man
The Single Man is a solid and stylish adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s novel of the same name, with a pre-Oscar, but very much in Oscar form Colin Firth playing the lead role. Firth plays George Falconer, a gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962 who, after the untimely death of his partner in a car accident, decides he’s going to commit suicide. Saying much more would spoil the film, however all of the events you then see take place over a single, consequential day.
It’s worth watching just for Firth’s excellent, complex and poignant portrayal of Falconer, however the film also boasts the acting talents of Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult in supporting roles.
Out for Justice
Man, talk about guilty pleasures! Steven Seagal is in his best, hands-faster-than-the-speed-of-light form here in Out for Justice, with the martial arts master playing veteran cop Gino Felino in his quest to take down drug-crazed mafioso Richie Madano. And… that’s the plot. The film is basically a vehicle for Seagal to hurt people in a series of action set pieces and swagger about the place with a large dose of smoulder. It’s a hard 18 too, so the violence, bad language and death count is super high.
You know you love it!
And, while we’re on guilty pleasures, how about this giant stompy robots fight giant stompy monsters movie from Guillermo del Toro? Pacific Rim is a spectacle film for sure, with a wafer thin plot and wafer thin, cliched characters. However, what a spectacle it delivers, with insane amounts of CG money burnt in almost every scene.
It slaps Michael Bay with a giant wet fish too, with del Toro out-Transformering the Transformers series of films by a country mile. Not only can you actually see what’s going on on-screen when the titanic fights take place, but you also don’t want to punch all of the characters and the scriptwriter in the face too.
Oh, plus it was recently announced that the director of Deadpool, Tim Miller, is now attached to the sequel. So, you know, that’ll probably kick ass as well.
A bit of horror schlock now, but entertainly silly schlock nonetheless. From Hell is an Alan Moore graphic novel adaptation about the Jack the Ripper murders, with a young Johnny Depp playing Whitechapel Police Inspector Frederick Abberline in the lead role. There’s a strong supporting cast too, with Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Richardson, Jason Flemyng and more putting in a good turn, as well as a suitably dark and foreboding tone instilled by directors Albert and Allen Hughes .
While there’s some snippets of truth in the film - such as the use of some of the real photographs taken of the Ripper’s victims - this movie very quickly veers off into the realms of speculation and pure fantasy, with illuminati-style conspiracies and more thrown about willy-nilly. However, the film is none the worse for it, as it willingly plays up to its melodramatic, penny dreadful nature with wild abandon, lacing scenes with oodles of smog, shadow and blood.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Mmmmmmm, we do like a bit of le Carré here at T3 Towers and this excellent adaptation from director Tomas Alfredson is definitely worth your attention. The film’s plot revolves around aging spymaster George Smiley as he tries to uncover a Soviet double agent who is operating right at the top of the British secret service, leaking intel to the Ruskies at an alarming and - for the British agents involved - disastrous pace.
Not only is this film great as it captures Cold War espionage so well, but also because it is absolutely stuffed with top acting talent, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong and Toby Jones turning up amongst others. Stylish and smart, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is probably the definitive spy novel of the 20th century and, to date, this is the definitive adaptation.
The Great Gatsby
Ok, we know, we know. This was far from a perfect adaptation of American classic The Great Gatsby, however it’s still worth a watch primarily due to Leonardo DiCaprio's excellent turn in the lead role. In fact, it’s so good that we’re amazed that Leo didn’t win an Oscar for it, as compared to the albeit excellent film The Revenant, he has far more to do acting-wise as Gatsby compared to as Hugh Glass.
What we like about this adaptation doesn’t just stop at Gatsby himself though, with the modern musical score, suitably lavish costumes and set and solid supporting cast delivering real razmataz. It’s just a shame that director Baz Luhrmann seemingly misunderstands the core of the book - which is that Gatsby himself is an unknown, detached character, that we never truly know - with him crowbarring in an origin story that leaves no stone unturned.
F Scott Fitzgerald understood less is more, while Luhrmann seemingly does not.
Ok, we know that Oliver Stone movies can be a little long, however for once his penchant for taking his time is actually a good thing, as in Alexander's 175-minute running time, he charts one of the most epic lives in human history. Following the life and times of Alexander the Great, Stone takes the viewer on a historical romp, with war, sex, and treachery in abundance. Indeed, while the content of the film is not particularly accurate - Stone condenses and alters historical events in pursuit of story - it is suitably high budget and not afraid to have people talk to each other, sometimes at length.
It's not perfect, but when you compare it to some of the other assaults on history to come out of Hollywood - we're looking at you Troy! - it is certainly worth a watch, especially on a Sunday afternoon.