An Amazon Prime membership’s benefits go way beyond giving you super-speedy deliveries for free – there’s also a fantastic streaming video service included, offering up loads of movies and TV shows for instant viewing.
Like Netflix, Amazon is constantly adding fresh eyeball fodder to its streaming library, so much so that it can be difficult to keep up with all the new stuff. So, as we do with Netflix each month, we’ve decided to dedicate a regularly-updated article to what’s new – as long as we deem it worth watching, of course.
Looking for the latest thing to stream? Read on, and allow us to guide you through all the best recent additions.
Note: the newest stuff is at the top of the list, with material getting progressively older as you scroll down.
The Sense of an Ending
This adaptation of Julian Barnes’ Man Booker Prize-winning novel manages to maintain the book’s themes of memory, regret and the subjective nature of personal history fairly intact, despite including more characters than the source material.
When curmudgeonly divorcé Tony Webster (played with typical ease and skill by Jim Broadbent) receives a letter from the mother of a former girlfriend, it sparks off a reexamination of his youth and relationships.
If you’re expecting high drama or tension, you might find The Sense of an Ending a tad lacking, but its time-hopping plot and the quiet way in which it lays out its themes right up until the final unexpected revelation are engrossing in their own way.
They don’t make too many like this anymore. Sleepless is a slick but decidedly old-school action thriller with quick cuts, brutal fistfights, explosions, broken glass, car chases and a twisting, labyrinthine plot, in which dirty Las Vegas cop Jamie Foxx gets sucked into a world of drug dealers and casino kingpins.
Take a pinch of John Wick, mix it up with a few teaspoonfuls of Taken and you’re left with something like this which, while ultimately pretty forgettable, provides a perfect supply of thrills and spills to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson
A fashionably postmodern take on the nature of fame and nostalgia, this Amazon Original (which, like most such series, is presented in pristine 4K Ultra HD for those with compatible TVs) stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself – or rather, as a fictionalised version of himself.
What is an ageing washed-up star to do? Well, when he’s also a black ops secret agent in his spare time (the titular Johnson being JCVD’s operator codename), he decided to roll back the years and dive back into the action – only this time, there’s nobody about to yell cut when the punches actually connect.
Part action series, part comedy, this is an unusual series that isn’t for everybody – but fans of martial arts movies, cheesy one-liners and clever twists on genre should certainly give it a shot.
The true story of Whitey Bulger, one of Boston’s most notorious gangland bosses, Black Mass attempts to weave together a truly compelling crime drama for the ages – and almost succeeds.
While there’s no faulting the cast, which features not only Johnny Depp in the lead role but strong performances from Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch, there’s something slightly lacking in the pacing and plotting that prevents Scott Cooper’s film from achieving the sort of Scorsese-level greatness to which it aspires. That said, lovers of gritty (and occasionally brutal) thrillers and bad haircuts will find plenty to enjoy.
The Silence of the Lambs
The only horror film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, this 1991 chiller introduced the wider world to Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who just so happens to be a cannibalistic serial killer in his spare time. One of the best parts of it all? The fact that Lecter – played here with delicious creepiness by Anthony Hopkins – isn’t even the film’s antagonist, but the only means to stopping him. Like they say, it takes a thief to catch a thief.
While the horror here is more psychological than visceral, there’s more than enough gore to keep slasher aficionados happy. And even non-horror fans will enjoy the craft on show here, with fantastic performances and a brilliant script full of memorable lines. You’ll never think of fava beans and a nice Chianti in the same way again.
The Grand Tour (S2)
Clarkson and company’s Top Gear-beater is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of deal; if you’re an oily-fingered petrolhead, or simply into watching ageing boy-men on banter-fuelled road trips, you’re going to enjoy this jape-packed series a lot.
If you can’t stand this brand of overbearing laddishness, The Grand Tour - just into its second season, with a fresh episode available for streaming every week - isn’t going to transform you into a believer – but for anybody looking for some beautifully shot (4K! HDR!) mindless entertainment to grace that new Ultra HD telly, this impeccably-produced show fits the bill perfectly.
This modern day spin on A Christmas Carol is made all the more entertaining by the acerbic zaniness of Bill Murray's character Frank – an egotistical and sardonic television producer who thinks it a good idea to staple antlers to a mouse as a festive stunt.
Frank must go through his redemption with the crude, cigar-smoking Ghost of Christmas Past, the hyperactive, ball-busting ghost of Christmas Present and the ominously creepy Ghost of Christmas Future. Bobcat Goldthwait’s nutcase from Police Academy running around is the cherry on top of this well-iced Christmas cake.
Denzel Washington bagged a Best Actor Oscar for his blistering performance as crooked narcotics cop Alonzo Harris in this tense thriller, in which (the also Oscar-nominated) Ethan Hawke’s rookie detective Jake Hoyt must endure a fraught 24 hours under the veteran’s tutelage.
Harris’ policing methods, naturally, won’t be found in any dusty old rulebook, and Jake quickly finds himself dragged not only into LA’s drug gang underworld but a deeply disturbing conspiracy among the cops entrusted with keeping the city safe.
If blood, sweat and beards is what you want to see, then Vikings should be high on your to-watch list, being that it contains some of the best gore-spattered scraps you’ll find on telly.
The series follows the adventures of legendary raider Ragnar Lothbrok, who starts out as a mere farmer - albeit one who claims to be a descendant of the Norse god Odin. He rises to become a respected Earl of his settlement Kattegat, whilst enforcing his reputation as a fierce warrior. With plenty of action, deceit, atrocious hairstyles, scenery-chewing performances and almost educational story lines, Vikings is an always enjoyable watch.
The fifth season of the show – which turns its focus to Ragnar's almost-as-legendary sons - is now streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime, with a new episode being added every week.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Forget the somewhat disappointing sequel: the first Anchorman is a brilliant big budget comedy that perfectly showcases the prodigious talents of Will Ferrell.
Ron Burgundy has life nailed. He’s got it all: great friends, great hair and a great job as anchorman for a local San Diego television network. But when a woman walks into the newsroom with designs on becoming his on-air partner (it’s the 1970s, so workplace sexism isn’t even disguised) things become complicated, with Ron’s jealousy and insecurities coming to the fore in hilarious fashion.
Yes, the humour never strays far from the infantile, but it’s really, really funny, and packed with great characters – which is just about as much as you can ask for from a comedy film.