Monday, March 23, 2020

Top 30 films on Amazon Prime right now

At first glance, the films free to watch on Amazon Prime (UK) seem severely limited (a fact I’ve probably moaned about previously). Bizarrely, the worst films on Prime are the highest-rated (Letters to Juliet, Saw V, The Book of Eli). However, it doesn’t take long to find something decent (though I’ve wasted hours over the years trawling through their lists of films, to the extent that it's bedtime by the time I still haven't found one, so I just go to bed). Anyway, catch them whilst you can – another annoying thing about this streaming lark is films come and go frequently with no warning.

1. 8½ (Fellini, 1963)
Other Fellini films also available: La Dolce Vita,
Juliet and the Spirits, I Vitelloni
2. Repulsion (Polanski, 1965)
Other Polanski also available: Cul de Sac, The Tenant,
Knife in the Water
3. Under the Skin (Glazer, 2014)
4. Toni Erdmann (Ade, 2017)
5. The King of Comedy (Scorsese, 1983)
6. LA Confidential (Hanson, 1997)
7. Brazil (Gilliam, 1985)
8. The Man With The Golden Arm (Preminger, 1956)
9. Once Upon A Time in America (Leone, 1984)
10. The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock, 1938)
Other Hitchcock films also available: The 39 Steps,
The Man Who Knew Too Much, Jamaica Inn, Stage Fright,
Secret Agent, To Catch a Thief
11. Carol (Haynes, 2015)
12. Killing of a Sacred Deer (Lanthimos, 2017)
13. The Squid and the Whale (Baumbach, 2005)
14. Suspiria (Argento, 1977)
Other Argento films also available: Phenomena, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Opera, plus the much maligned but pretty good Suspiria remake from 2018
15. November (Sarnet, 2017)
This black and white Estonian film is stunningly beautiful, profoundly weird and often hilarious, conjuring, as it does, the obscure symbolism of Parajanov, the animation of Svankmajer and early Borowczyk, and characters straight out of a Grunewald painting. It evokes that cold (it's usually snowing), poverty-stricken but magical feeling of 1960s medieval-set films by Tarkovksy and Frantisek Vlacil, in a pagan, supernatural tale of doomed young love.
16. The Gospel According to St Matthew (Pasolini, 1965)
Other Pasolini films also available: Accattone, The Anger
17. Cold War (Pawlikowski, 2018)
Another sumptuous recent black and white film about doomed love.
18. Midsommar (Aster, 2019)
19. Cube (Natali, 1998)
20. The Dead Zone (Cronenberg, 1983)
Other Cronenberg films also available: A History of Violence
21. 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2014)
22. Room (Abrahamson, 2016)
23. Charade (Donen, 1963)
24. Green Book (Farrelly, 2019)
25. Four Lions (Morris. 2010)
26. Requiem for a Dream (Aronofsky, 2000)
Other Aronofsky films also available: The Fountain, Pi
27. This is 40 (Apatow, 2013)
28. Booksmart (Wilde, 2019)
29. Blinded by the Light (Chadha, 2019)
Guardian journalist Sarfraz Manzoor's memoirs, Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll, form the basis of Blinded by the Light, starring Viveik Kalra as Javed, a Bruce Springsteen-obsessed teenager growing up in 1980s Luton. If it seems unlikely that a Pakistani teenager in 1980s Luton would find much in common with Bruce Springsteen, then it's then equally unlikely that I would find much in common with a Pakistani teenager in 1980s Luton... except we studied English Literature A Level in the same year (Hardy's The Return of the Native is mentioned) and got into Bruce Springsteen at the same time, and for the same reasons (however, perhaps more important than the Springsteen influence is that of his English teacher, who encourages his writing and submits it to competitions for him), so the film struck a chord with me. Period details are depressingly spot on – mainly, the Arndale Centre and Job Centre. Unfortunately, the poster depicts Javed looking like a camp Kevin Rowland from the Come on Eileen video instead of a macho Springsteen.
30. Fisherman's Friends (Foggin, 2019)
These mawkish musical films are turning up everywhere (see Blinded by the Light, Yesterday, Military Wives) – this one's also rubbish but I've seen it three times.

Previously on Barnflakes
Fisherman's Friends vs Bait
A Study in Scarlett
The films of Dario Argento
Notes on Charters and Caldicott
The films of Sergei Parajanov
The films of Walerian Borowczyk 


Caspar said...

Midsommar is deffo on my to-see list. Hadn't heard of November but that sounds right up my street. Thanks for the tip.
I've seen the trailer for Military Wives, and that's already more than I ever wanted to see. It's got to be an almighty crock of shit. What is the otherwise excellent Sharon Horgan doing in it? Surely she can't need the money that badly.

Caspar said...

PS - The Man With The Golden Arm! Brilliant film. Sinatra was in some great films (yeah, before Tony Rome), and was actually great in them too. Apparently he also sang.
I bet you'll have read Nelson Algren's original story for The Man With The Golden Arm. That's great too, as was just about everything he wrote.
This is probably the most positive comment I've ever left on any social media platform. I don't think I'll ever scale these lofty heights again.

Barnaby said...

No, haven't heard of Nelson Algren but looked him up and he sounds right up my street – or dark, back alleyway might be more apt.

It's a good time to be positive, well done, I almost feel flattered it happened right here.