I love Amazon Prime. For a yearly fee($79) you get deals on all kinds of goods, free two-day shipping, and lots of free streaming videos. In short, it pays for itself rather quickly(on your Christmas shopping alone!).
But my favorite part is the online streaming video. Yes, it’s trying to compete with Netflix and Hulu. Oh well, here are some of the very best films available on Amazon Prime Instant Video right now:
1. Bullitt– Steve McQueen is like the modern day version of Achilles… except he was dipped not into the river Styx, but into a big vat of coolness and he didn’t die of an arrow to the heel(or knee or anywhere else), but of cancer(stupid smoking). The car chase about 45 minutes in is what all other car chases are compared to. And I swear the final shootout in Heat at the airport was a nod to the final shootout in this film.
2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid– A classic western starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford when both actors were at the very top of their game. The freeze frame shot at the very end of the film is a classic.
3. The Hunt For Red October– Long before Ben Alfleck nuked the series (and Baltimore), Alec Baldwin was Jack Ryan and Sean Connery played a distinctly Scottish Russian… no matter, this film has realism, action and great acting from all involved.
4. The Fugitive– The acting of both Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones helps carry this action/suspense film to great heights. Trivia: did you know that the film was an update of a classic TV show?
5. Eight Men Out– The “Blacksox” scandal rocked the baseball world. Starring a number of relatively unknown or little known actors this period piece is less about the baseball and more about friendship and integrity.
6. To Have and Have Not– Bogart and Bacall. “All you have to do is put your lips together and blow…” God, I love Lauren Bacall, and so did Bogart… he married her(the lucky bastard).
7. After the Wedding– Mads Mikkelson is best known to American audiences as Le Chifre, the villian who bleeds from his eye in Casino Royale, but he’s a darned good actor in any language. Here he’s very unvillain-like as an aid worker who returns home for a wedding and learns a shocking secret. You should watch everything Mads has ever been in (except Adam’s Apples) right now! Seriously, he’s that good. Subtitled as the original language is Danish.
8. Wait Until Dark– Audrey Hepburn is so good! It’s a shame she made so few films… but this one is pure diamond. She plays a blind woman who gets caught up with a drug dealer who has lost his latest shipment of heroin. Watch this one in a dark room with the sound well up. There’s a scene late in the film where the darkness is almost a character.
9. The Dark Crystal– Ostensibly a kids film–the plot is simple and straightforward, the morality very opaque–but imagine a film with no people in it. No humans appear in this film at all. This is Muppeters Jim Henson and Frank Oz at their very best. Best for kids 7 and up.
10. Mostly Martha– Hollywood likes to take a great foreign film, like Bella Martha as it was originally known, and turn it into middle-market pap, like No Reservations. I like the original far better. The acting is better, especially Martina Gedeck, the cooking is more accurate, and on and on…