If you’re looking for something new to watch this week on Amazon Prime Video, there’s a handful of fresh Amazon Original Movies streaming today, including The Biebs’ concert documentary Justin Bieber: Our World, and a pair of creepy horror flicks, Madres and The Manor, to get you in the mood for Halloween a little early.

But if you’re on the hunt for something else, and you can’t quite put your finger on what, we curate this list of the best movies on Amazon Prime that you can stream right now, free with your Amazon Prime membership, sifting through all that the massive streaming service has to offer so you don’t have to.

We’ve also put together guides to the best shows on Amazon Prime Video, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Netflix, and the best movies on Disney+.

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My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021)

From the same directing team behind 2018’s Oscar-nominated RBG, My Name Is Pauli Murray is the long-overdue telling of the life and influence of pioneering lawyer, civil and women’s rights activist, poet, and priest Pauli Murray. The film is a tribute to the largely unsung hero, the struggles they faced as a non-binary African American, and the legal contributions they made arguing for gender and race equality, most notably with the passing of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in 1968, which outlawed discrimination based on sex. Murray’s influence on the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is highlighted throughout the documentary, which, like RGB, is destined for Oscar greatness.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama, Documentary
Stars: Pauli Murray, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Patricia Bell-Scott
Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Get Shorty (1995)

Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is a movie buff with an encyclopedic knowledge of the film industry. He’s also a slick-talking Miami mobster/loan shark with a vicious right jab and even more vicious trigger finger. But when Chili heads to Hollywood to collect a $200,000 debt from sleazy B-movie director Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), he sees an opportunity to trade the gangster business for the movie business, and the latter is even more, er, cutthroat. Looking to sell his life story as a motion picture, Chili enlists the help of B-movie actress Karen Flores (Rene Russo) and her A-list actor ex, Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), but when Chili’s mob boss, Ray Barboni (Dennis Farina), shows up in Tinseltown looking for the $200K, Chili has to get creative to get his movie made and not get whacked in the process.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Comedy, Suspense, Crime
Stars: John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito
Directors: Barry Sonnenfeld
Rating: R
Runtime: 104 minutes

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The Bad News Bears (1976)

They swear, they drink, they smoke, and they can’t play baseball worth a damn. They’re a team of misfits in the Southern California Youth Baseball League, coached by an alcoholic former minor-league pitcher. They’re the Bears and, yep, they’re bad news. Lauded as one of the best adult-child comedies ever, The Bad News Bears stars Walter Matthau as the washed-up coach in question, Morris Buttermaker, who, as a result of a lawsuit against the league, agrees to coach a team of oddball players no one else wants. After a series of appalling losses, Morris does the unthinkable — he brings in a girl, 11-year-old Amanda Wurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal), to pitch. Amanda is a cannon on the mound, and soon the team starts to get their act together. The Bad News Bears is definitely rough around the edges with some cringy late-’70s humor (don’t watch this one with the kids), but at its core is a losers-to-heroes story worth watching.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Comedy, Sports
Stars: Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow
Director: Michael Ritchie
Rating: PG
Runtime: 102 minutes

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Die Hard (1988)

You can take it as a sign that Christmas is on its way, or you can just accept Die Hard for the entertaining, watch-it-anytime action movie that it is. New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to LA to visit his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), at her company’s Christmas party. Holly works at the sky-scraping Nakatomi tower where a group of thieves, led by mastermind Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), has taken the staff hostage in an attempt to rob the company’s safe of millions. Well, not if McClane has anything to say about it. The resourceful, fast-quipping cop crawls through ducts, dives down elevator shafts, and blows things up to save the love of his life, and the hostages along the way. Die Hard 2 and Die Hard: With a Vengeance are also streaming on Amazon Prime. Yippee-ki-yay.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Action, Thriller, Christmas
Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Director: John McTiernan
Rating: R
Runtime: 132 minutes

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Raising Arizona (1987)

One of the Coen brothers’ greatest comedies (second to, perhaps, The Big Lebowski), Raising Arizona is a must-watch for fans of their Looney-Toons style and enduringly dimwitted protagonists. Petty thief H.I. “Hi” McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) is fresh out of prison and wasted no time marrying Edwina “Ed” (Holly Hunter), the now-former police officer who took his mugshot. Desperate after learning that Ed can’t have children, the couple kidnaps one of the quintuplets of local furniture magnate Nathan Arizona, setting off a series of ridiculous events that involves Hi’s former cellmates, a terrifying biker, and the Arizonas all trying to get their hands on the adorable Nathan Jr.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson
Director: Joel Coen
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 94 minutes

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Garden State (2004)

Neverminding the fact that the soundtrack for Zach Braff’s directorial debut introduced the world to such great bands as The Shins and Iron & Wine, as well as bringing the late great Nick Drake’s music to a new audience, Garden State still stands out as one of the best indie films of the early aughts. Braff stars as Andrew “Large” Largeman, a struggling actor in Los Angeles who returns home to New Jersey after his mother dies. As he struggles to reconcile some deep issues with his father, whom he hasn’t spoken to in years, Andrew must learn to forgive himself and retake control of his flailing life so he can move on. And with the help of an old friend, Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), and potential new love, Sam (Natalie Portman), Andrew might just find the peace he’s been deprived of for years.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Stars: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Zach Braff
Rating: R
Runtime: 102 minutes

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

While the critical response to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when it was released more than 50 years ago was cold to lukewarm at best, this classic western would go on to be recognized as one of the greatest films of all time. Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in the titular roles as famous U.S. outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longabaugh (aka The Sundance Kid), respectively. On the run from the law after a string of train robberies with their Hole-in-the-Wall gang, the infamous pair have no choice but to flee to Bolivia where they figure life as robbers will be easy-breezy. With the help of Sundance’s Spanish-speaking girlfriend Etta Pace (Katharine Ross), they have some success, but soon learn the hard way that between the Bolivian bandits, police, and the army, thieving ain’t any easier south of the border. And, of course, the epic gunfight at the film’s conclusion is worth the price of your Prime membership in and of itself.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Action, Western
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
Director: George Roy Hill
Rating: PG
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Fight Club (1999)

When David Fincher’s Fight Club punched its way into the mainstream at the turn of the millennium, it fed directly into the psyche of post-’90s dudes still raging against the machine and grappling with their life choices to sit in a cubicle for eight hours a day. Edward Norton’s narrator is one such minion, stuck in a dead-end job with a boss he hates and so broken that he becomes a support-group tourist just to treat his unrelenting insomnia. Until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a slightly unhinged soap salesman who teaches our unnamed narrator how to break free of the corporate machine, shed his capitalistic belongings, and feel again. How do they achieve this enlightenment? We can’t really talk about it, but it involves angsty men beating each other bloody in the basement of a bar. This organized underground club for fighting that the pair creates spreads like wildfire across the country and quickly spirals out of control as Tyler’s anarchist agenda threatens to go too far.

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Genre: Drama, Suspense, Mystery
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf
Director: David Fincher
Rating: R
Runtime: 139 minutes

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Minority Report (2002)

Prolific American sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick penned countless tales of dystopic futures that have been turned into iconic films and TV shows, most famously Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale), and this action gem starring Tom Cruise, adapted from Dick’s 1956 novella The Minority Report. Steven Spielberg brings to life Dick’s tale of a future where a specialized police force of “PreCrime” detectives uses clairvoyant humans known as “precogs” to predict murders and other future crimes in the hopes of apprehending those about to commit them. Cruise plays PreCrime Captain John Anderton, who goes on the run when he himself is predicted to kill a man he doesn’t know less than 36 hours in the future. Leading the hunt is Justice Department agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), who’s trying to nab Anderton before he locates the titular “minority report,” which outlines a conflicting alternate future predicted by other precogs, the existence of which could undermine the validity of the entire PreCrime unit. Oh, and of course there’s tons of cool tech, including the famous gesture-controlled holographic screen, autonomous cars, and more.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 145 minutes

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The Mad Women’s Ball (2021)

The perfect dark and disturbing psychodrama thriller for the coming weather, The Mad Women’s Ball was adapted for the screen by French actress and director Mélanie Laurent, who most will remember as Shoshana, who takes her glorious revenge on the Nazis is Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant Inglorious Basterds. Based on Victoria Mas’s 1977 novel Le bal des folles, the film follows Eugénie (Lou de Laâge), a young woman who is committed to Paris’ Salpêtrière psychiatric hospital in the late 1800s because she can talk to the dead. Laurent plays Geneviève, the Salpêtrière’s head nurse, who bears witness to the dark and often barbaric “treatments” administered by head neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (Grégoire Bonnet), which include parading the asylum’s female patients out in front of the public in a grotesque “ball.” Luckily for Eugénie and the other “mad women,” Geneviève has different plans. Not for the faint of heart, The Mad Women’s Ball is a chilling but satisfying watch.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Thriller
Stars: Lou de Laâge, Mélanie Laurent, Emmanuelle Bercot
Director: Mélanie Laurent
Rating: 18+
Runtime: 122 minutes

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Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)

If you’re in need of a fun, fabulous, feel-good movie this weekend, this West End stage play-turned-feature film will likely have you not just off the couch, but setting up a runway in your living room. Originally based on Jenny Popplewell’s popular TV movie, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, this Amazon Original Movie is an adaptation of the stage musical from the same team – director James Butterell, composer Dan Gillespie, and lyricist Tom McRae. Sixteen-year-old Sheffield high schooler Jamie New (Max Harwood) has big dreams of becoming a drag queen. And while his chosen path is unconventional and even frowned upon by his classmates, his own father (Ralph Ineson), and the locals, Jamie gets nothing but support from his loving mum (Sarah Lancashire), best friend, Pritti (Lauren Patel), and old drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant), who agrees to teach Jamie all he knows about drag. Full of big, bold, and colorful musical numbers (there’s a lot of dancing on desks going on), if Everybody’s Talking About Jamie doesn’t help you shake off the fall funk, you may want to check your pulse.

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Genre: Young Adult Audience, Biography, LGBTQ, Comedy
Stars: Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel
Director: Jonathan Butterell
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 115 minutes

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Arachnophobia (1990)

The perfect flick to throw on when the weather starts getting chillier outside (and for ramping up to Halloween, for the diehards), Arachnophobia did for spiders what Jaws did for sharks (like either needed much help). Jeff Daniels is Ross Jennings, a family man and doctor who moves his family to a small California town to start his practice. Ross, as it turns out, has a crippling fear of spiders, which doesn’t bode well, as his house is home to a killer Venezuelan spider that has hitched a ride to town and is starting to leave a path of victims in its wake. With the help of a local exterminator (John Goodman) and a team of arachnologists, Ross must overcome his fears to rid the town of the mother spider before its sacks of offspring run rampant.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Horror
Stars: Jeff Daniels, John Goodman, Julian Sands
Director: Frank Marshall
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 109 minutes

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Do the Right Thing (1989)

Lauded as one of the best films of all time and a stark reflection of American race relations that’s as poignant today as it was during its release, Do the Right Thing is an intense and thought-provoking drama written, directed, produced, and starring Spike Lee. During a sweltering heatwave in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant, young Mookie (Lee) works as a delivery boy for a local pizzeria owned by Italian-American Sal (Danny Aiello), who has run the shop in the predominantly African-American area for more than two decades. After a racially charged incident in the shop erupts into violence one night, the police are called, and one of the locals, Raheem (Bill Nunn), is killed by Officer Long (Rick Aiello). The situation escalates, Sal’s pizzeria is destroyed, a mob fills the streets, and the neighborhood is rocked by the events forever. Aiello deservedly received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, while Lee also got a nod for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, but Do the Right Thing‘s impact is lasting well beyond the accolades and is a must-see.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Spike Lee, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturo, Bill Nunn
Director: Spike Lee
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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The Social Network (2010)

Although The Social Network acts as a kind of unofficial telling of the story of Facebook and is based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 novel The Accidental Billionaires, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher were less dazzled by the behemoth trailblazer Facebook would become than they were with the themes of friendship, betrayal, and jealousy embroiled in its genesis. Nominated for eight Oscars and winning three, the film follows 19-year-old Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), who, along with his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and other classmates, create TheFacebook, a social media site for Ivy League students. Problem is, Mark may have stolen the idea from the wealthy Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer). The film plays out through a mix of cut scenes to the present-day legal proceedings and flashbacks chronicling Facebook’s rise — including its involvement with Napster’s Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), its move to Silicon Valley, and Saverin’s eventual ousting from the company — but Fincher and Sorkin’s focus stays true as we see a Zuckerberg who must come to terms with the price he’s paid for his creation.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Drama, Biography
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, Armie Hammer
Director: David Fincher
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Annette (2021)

If you’re among the multitude of people whining that everything’s been done before or that remakes and re-imaginings are all anyone does anymore, then for that reason alone, Annette is worth a try. We’re not saying you’re going to like it. The critics seem to be pretty divided on this one, with many praising it for its originality, while others call it too odd for its own good. But risky performances from two Hollywood greats, Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard and the twice-nominated Adam Driver, make Annette already worth the price of your Prime membership. With a story and original music (yes, it’s a rock opera with lots of singing, so buckle up) written by Ron and Russell Mael of the quirky ’80s pop band Sparks (who are kind of having a moment right now with the Edgar Wright documentary about them, The Sparks Brothers), Annette follows the love journey of a most unlikely couple, Henry (Driver), a harsh stand-up comedian, and Ann (Cotillard), a beautiful and world-famous opera singer, whose lives in the spotlight are rocked with the arrival of their daughter, Annette, who has mysterious abilities. Intrigued?

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Genre: Musical, Drama, Romance
Stars: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard
Director: Leos Carax
Rating: R
Runtime: 141 minutes

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Sideways (2004)

Nominated for five Academy Awards in 2005, including Best Picture and Director for Alexander Payne (who also won for Best Adapted Screenplay, by the way), Sideways is a charming, California wine country-set dramedy drenched in sun-kissed landscapes, flowing reds, and … a wine snob yelling about merlot. OK, it’s a lot more than that. Paul Giamatti is the delightfully disgruntled Miles, a middle-aged failed writer and recovering divorcé, who escapes with his friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) for a week of wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley before Jack ties the knot. But Jack’s got other ideas for the week, as he sets his sights on Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a wine server, and swears Miles to secrecy about his upcoming nuptials. Things get hot between Jack and Stephanie, while Miles and Stephanie’s friend Maya (Virginia Madsen), also a divorceé with some baggage, begin to fall for each other. Can Miles keep Jack’s secret? Does he even want to? And what of his budding romance with Maya if he lets it slip? Full of wit, humor, and more than a few jabs at the pretentiousness of the wine elite, Sideways is a rom-com well paired with, perhaps, a nice cab sauv (spit).

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen, Thomas Haden Church
Director: Alexander Payne
Rating: R
Runtime: 127 minutes

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In Bruges (2008)

Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ben (Brendan Gleeson) are bad men. They kill people for money. It’s a very stressful job, and after one particularly difficult hit has Ray riddled with guilt, the pair retreat to the quaint, medieval tourist town of Bruges, Belgium, to lay low and await instructions from their employer, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). What’s a team of hired killers to do in one of Europe’s most romantic and historic towns, go sightseeing? While that’s exactly what Ben spends his time doing, Ray, on the other hand, can’t stop thinking about the botched job until he meets the enchanting Chloe (Clémence Poésy), a member of a film crew in town shooting a movie. For the first time, the hilariously sarcastic and cynical Ray starts to see a future beyond the “life.” But just as Ray starts to get swept away by Chloe and the picturesque Bruges, Harry shows up with very different plans. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), In Bruges is a smart, beautifully shot, fish-out-of-water comedy, but with silencers.

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Action, Suspense
Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy
Director: Martin McDonagh
Rating: R
Runtime: 107 minutes

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Val (2021)

Whether the Val Kilmer in your mind’s eye is him in some of his iconic roles like Top Gun‘s Iceman, The Doors‘ Jim Morrison, or Batman Forever‘s caped crusader, or you kept up with the ’80s heartthrob into his later, quieter career for films such as Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and beyond, one thing is for sure — you’ve never seen Val Kilmer like this. Fascinating and often heart-wrenching, Val is an Amazon Original autobiographical documentary assembled by the actor and directors Leo Scott and Ting Poo from more than 40 years of home video recordings Kilmer obsessively took throughout his life and career — including behind-the-scenes footage with Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and more. Now in his ’60s and recovering from throat cancer surgery that has left him with the need to speak through a voice box on his trachea, Kilmer’s doc is a deep look inward at his life, his rise and fall from fame, his personal triumphs and failures, and, ultimately, his coming to terms with all of it.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Val Kilmer
Director: Leo Scott, Ting Poo
Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes

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Attack the Block (2011)

The nutters behind Shaun of the Dead do what they do best in 2011’s hilarious alien adventure, Attack the Block, starring who would become two of cinema’s biggest sci-fi stars, the Star Wars prequels’ John Boyega and current Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker. When their South London apartment complex neighborhood is bombarded with furry, razor-toothed alien visitors hell-bent on a takeover, the kids and adults band together to defend themselves and their block. An invasion flick with heart, Attack the Block adeptly shows the transformation of the mischievous and questionably delinquent youngsters into heroes, using their street smarts to send the aliens packing.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy, Action
Stars: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones
Director: Joe Cornish
Rating: R
Runtime: 80 minutes

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Catch Me If You Can (2002)

A young boy cries in pain, lying on a table in a hospital ER, his leg bloody and broken. Barely 21 years old, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), posing as a doctor and clearly nauseous at the sight of blood, is called to assist the two junior doctors on the case. “Dr. Harris, do you concur?” is all the freaked-out Frank can muster before passing the boy off and rushing away. Another narrow escape for the young con man, who, by the time Stephen Spielberg’s brilliant Oscar-winning film Catch Me If You Can come to its end, will have also become a master cheque forger and posed as an airline pilot and a lawyer while traveling the world on an adventure to end all adventures. But hot on Frank’s heels is FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who develops a respect and bond with the young, scared Abagnale, as he chases the master criminal around the globe. Based on the real-life story of Abagnale Jr., Catch Me If You Can is a not-to-be-missed cat-and-mouse film with incredible performances from two of Hollywood’s best.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Director: Stephen Spielberg
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 140 minutes

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The Tomorrow War (2021)

In what should have brought audiences to the theater in droves, this end-of-the-world action-adventure from one of the guys behind The Lego Movie (Chris McKay) is getting the Amazon Original treatment because of that pandemic thing we’ve all been dealing with. But don’t let that fool you — there’s enough explosive action here to impress even in your living room. The Tomorrow War is kind of a Terminator in reverse, where instead of forces from a future war coming to battle it out in the present, this time, the good guys fighting an alien invasion in 2051 come back in time to recruit soldiers and civilians to join the fight in the future before humankind is wiped out. Chris Pratt stars as Dan Forester, a high school teacher with some serious gun skills who is among the recruits crossing time to save the world.

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Drama, Comedy, Adventure
Stars: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strzechowski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin
Director: Chris McKay
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 78 minutes

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Knives Out (2019)

Writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) gives the classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery a modern spin in this tale about a famous crime novelist whose unexpected death one night after a family gathering makes everyone a suspect. Daniel Craig portrays the brilliant, debonair detective Benoit Blanc, whose investigation brings the depths of the family’s dysfunction to light and leaves you guessing who will ultimately emerge as the culprit of the film’s heinous crime. The film’s ensemble cast makes a great mystery even better, with memorable performances from every actor involved, resulting in a modern mystery masterpiece.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Mystery
Stars: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Craig
Director: Rian Johnson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 minutes

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Pinocchio (2019)

Italian author Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s story dates back to 1881, and since then, it’s been reimagined and adapted countless times in print, on television, for the stage, and in film — perhaps most notably in Disney’s 1940 animated movie. With this most recently released feature version, Italian filmmakers Matteo Garrone and Massimo Ceccherini use live-action, stunning CGI, and some pretty fantastic costumes and makeup to once again tell the tale of a lonely carpenter, Gepetto (Roberto Benigni), who creates a wooden boy puppet who magically comes to life. Pinocchio‘s universal themes of perseverance through adversity, honesty, and redemption ring true in Garrone’s adaptation as well, as the boy puppet heads out into the film’s bizarre world of animal tricksters, blue fairies, and gigantic fish to learn the lessons he needs to get back to Gepetto and realize his dream of becoming a real boy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Federico Ielapi, Rocco Papaleo
Director: Matteo Garrone
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 125 minutes

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Stop Making Sense (1984)

Concert films are not a new phenomenon, but they do seem to be fewer and far between. In 1984, director Jonathan Demme teamed up with the band called Talking Heads for Stop Making Sense, one of the most influential concert films of all-time. Demme filmed the movie over four live performances at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, and Talking Heads put on the show of their lives every night. The band had a great sense of showmanship and stage presence, and Demme captured it all. Stop Making Sense has even pulled off the rare feat of a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. If it’s not a “Once in a Lifetime” experience, it’s close enough.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Concert Film
Stars: Talking Heads
Director: Jonathan Demme
Rating: NR
Runtime: 105 minutes

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The Vast of Night (2020)

This nostalgic throwback to classic sci-fi thrillers follows a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ whose discovery of a mysterious audio frequency sets off a series of discoveries that lead them deep into the unknown. The Amazon Studios film is the directorial debut of Andrew Patterson and has earned high praise from critics and streaming audiences alike for its suspenseful, low-budget spin on the genre.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz
Director: Andrew Patterson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Midsommar (2019)

What better way to celebrate the summer solstice than by having the crap scared out of you? Called an “operatic breakup movie” by director Ari Aster, Midsommar proves to be exactly that and more in this suspenseful film. It centers around an American couple with serious relationship issues who travel with friends to a midsummer festival. It gets significantly more violent and unsettling from there, with the setting of a remote Swedish village serving as the backdrop for a cult with less-than-admirable intentions, to put it lightly. It was a hit in summer 2019 and, if you’re up for a nearly 2.5-hour movie where the scares consistently and constantly creep up on you, it won’t take long to understand why.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Florence Pugh, Liv Mjönes, Jack Reynor
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Runtime: 140 minutes

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

Heavily in line with the time-loop movies that this cute coming-of-age romantic comedy itself references, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is like Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow (without all the death and aliens) for a new generation. Mark (Kyle Allen) is your typical teenager trying to figure life out, except that he seems to be the only one aware that he’s living the same day over and over again — he argues with his dad over his future, plays video games with his clueless best friend, and, like Bill Murray’s Phil Connors, learns the routine so well he can do little things like rescue folks from their everyday annoyances. Mark seems content in his loop, and then he meets Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who, as if fate planned it, is also stuck in the same unremarkable day. Now with something more to live for, the pair revel in their predicament and, of course, fall for each other. Written by The Magicians author Lev Grossman, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a sweet exploration of youth and the fear that comes with taking that leap of faith to get out of our own ruts and move forward with life.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Young Adult
Stars: Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris
Director: Ian Samuels
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 98 minutes

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Sylvie’s Love (2020)

Can we all just agree that Tessa Thompson is great in just about everything she’s in? Alright, then. In this dreamy period melodrama by Eugene Ashe, Thompson plays Sylvie, an aspiring television producer in late ’50s-early ’60s New York. While working in her dad’s record shop, Sylvie meets Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a talented up-and-coming jazz saxophonist with big dreams of his own. Robert takes a job in the store and the two begin a friendship that blossoms into love, despite Sylvie having a fiancé who is away at war. But as Robert’s career begins to take off and Sylvie is torn between her own ambitions and obligations, the two go their separate ways … for a little while, anyway. The pair eventually meet again, with Sylvie, having overcome many of the struggles of the era’s racism and women’s rights obstacles to become a successful TV producer, and Robert’s career skyrocketing. Is the love still there? Can and will they pick up where they left off? Sylvie’s Love is a refreshing take on the over-done love-conquers-all trope and is a romantic must-watch.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria
Director: Eugene Ashe
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 116 minutes

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

Facing displacement from the home his grandfather built as a result of gentrification in his San Francisco neighborhood, Jimmie and his best friend, Mort, set out on a mission to reclaim the house before it is irreversibly changed. Their odyssey tests their friendship and forces them to question where they belong in the place they’ve always called home. A poignant, often intense journey, this film was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Jimmie Falls, Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps
Director: Joe Talbot
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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One Night in Miami (2021)

In actress Regina King’s excellent directorial debut, she takes Kemp Powers’ screenplay of his own stage play and turns it into a riveting drama. One Night in Miami is a fictionalized ponderance of a real-life meeting that happened in Miami Beach in 1964 in which famous friends Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), who earlier that night just beat Sonny Liston for the world championship, Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben -Adir), singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and football star Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) gathered to enjoy each other’s company, debate, and discuss their roles in affecting change in Black America. Each star holds his own portraying such cultural heavyweights, and the film mixes beautifully shot sequences of their individual lives and achievements with fly-on-the-wall ensemble scenes that give you a sense of what it might have been like being in the room with these icons.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr
Director: Regina King
Rating: R
Runtime: 114 minutes

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Herself (2020)

Get ready for a tear-jerker of a drama that’s full of both pain and beautiful redemption in this Amazon Original film that won the Human Rights Film Award at last year’s Dublin International Film Festival. Actress Clare Dunne, who co-wrote the film with Shameless U.K. writer Malcolm Campbell, is Sandra, a mother of two in Dublin who, after escaping her abusive husband, finds herself on the cusp of homelessness. Told with care and often intense reality by The Iron Lady director Phyllida Lloyd, Sandra eschews Ireland’s bureaucratic social housing system and decides to try to build her own house DIY-style — all she needs is a bit of land. As Sandra’s friends and strangers alike pitch in to help rebuild (literally) her life, it’s hard not to get swept up in this touchingly unique story.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Clare Dunne, Ruby Rose O’Hara, Molly McCann,
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes

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Sound of Metal (2020)

Sound of Metal doesn’t mess around, getting straight to the intense and terrifying moments that Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a drummer in a heavy metal duo with his girlfriend (the wonderful Olivia Cooke), starts to lose his hearing. It’s the little things we take for granted that director/screenwriter Darius Marder zeroes in on in the film’s opening minutes — the excruciating silence of a blender, the subtle drip of percolating coffee, or the shushing spray of a showerhead — all gone. But Sound of Metal isn’t about deafness, it’s a story about change and the journey we must take to embrace it, as Ruben enters a facility to help him learn to live with his deafness while also avoiding a relapse into his old life of drug abuse. It’s a beautiful film about life-changing loss and redemption and shouldn’t be missed.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Director: Darius Marder
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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I’m Your Woman (2020)

Premiering in October at this year’s virtual edition of AFI Fest, this gritty 1970s-era crime drama features Mrs. Maisel as you’ve never seen her before. The marvelous Rachel Brosnahan trades swing dresses and handbags for bellbottoms and handguns in I’m Your Woman, playing Jean, the bored suburban housewife of Eddie (Bill Heck), a hustler and thief with some shady associates. Jean learns just how shady when Eddie shows up one night with an infant, declaring “he’s our baby,” and then disappears a couple of days later, triggering a series of events that has Jean terrified, confused, and on the run from gun-toting henchmen. Jean’s only respite from the madness is Cal (British-Nigerian actor Arinzé Kene), who shepherds Jean and baby to a safe house where his wife, Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), and father, Art (Frankie Faison), teach her how to navigate her new life on the lam. Dripping with ’70s style, loud wardrobe choices, boat-sized cars, and a groovy Motown soundtrack, I’m Your Woman is a great way to time-warp out of your daily grind.

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Genre: Crime, Drama
Stars: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene
Director: Julia Hart
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

There are very few performers in the world who can switch gears so expertly as Sacha Baron Cohen. Comedian, actor, and activist, in the last two years, Cohen has navigated the roles of famous Israeli spy Eli Cohen in The Spy and American “Yippy” activist Abby Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 (both on Netflix). But perhaps his greatest role of all is Borat. Cohen’s clueless reporter from Kazakhstan is back for another go at America in this sequel to 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. After spending 14 years in prison, Borat is released not only to find that he has a daughter, Tutar (Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova), but that he must return to the U.S. to redeem the reputation of his homeland by gifting the feral Tutar to Mike Pence. Along the way, Cohen, of course, resumes his pranking of Trump-era America, but with his cover mostly blown from the first film, much of the task lands on the brilliant Bakalova, who delivers some bewilderingly-awkward situations and poignant political skewering.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Rudy Giuliani
Director: Jason Woliner
Rating: R
Runtime: 96 minutes

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It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

A classic Christmas movie with an iconic James Stewart performance, It’s a Wonderful Life follows George Bailey (Stewart), a banker in the town of Bedford Falls who is preparing to throw himself off a bridge. An angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) appears to save George, and takes him on a journey through the most important moments in George’s life, showing him all the good things he’s done for other people despite the costs to himself. It’s a Wonderful Life is a charming story about perseverance in the face of an often cruel universe and the value of relationships.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Director: Frank Capra
Rating: PG
Runtime: 135 minutes

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Chi-Raq (2015)

Aristophanes’ classic Greek comedy Lysistrata gets a modern update in this 2015 film directed by Spike Lee. The film follows a group of women who decide to withhold sex from their partners until they agree to curb the gang violence plaguing their Chicago neighborhood. Told in a mixture of music and verse, the film stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson
Director: Spike Lee
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Honey Boy (2019)

Shia LaBeouf’s debut script is directed by Alma Har’el and follows the life of child actor Otis Lort as he rises through young success to self-destructive Hollywood star. Navigating fame and his abusive, alcoholic father proves to be next to impossible as their contentious relationship crumbles across the course of a decade. LaBeouf also stars in this semiautobiographical tale that draws from his experience with his father.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges
Director: Alma Har’el
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

In the soft shadows of The Gaslight Cafe, folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) croons that he “wouldn’t mind the hanging.” Leave it to the Coen Brothers to oblige him. Two of America’s most mercurial filmmakers, the Coens have approached both grim tragedy and madcap comedy in their films, sometimes at the same time. Inside Llewyn Davis falls on the bleaker end of the spectrum, following Davis as he attempts to get his music career on track in the wake of his musical partner’s suicide. His finances are not the only part of his life falling apart; his former lover, Jean (Carey Mulligan), pregnant with a child that is likely his, wants nothing to do with him. Davis’ struggle, set against the frost-glazed backdrop of New York, is a tragic one. But the film is not without humor, black though it may be. The characters surrounding Llewyn are as vibrant as he is cold, particularly Justin Timberlake as Jane’s new boyfriend (although Isaac’s future Star Wars nemesis also has a memorable musical cameo).

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan
Director: Ethan & Joel Coen
Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes

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The Handmaiden (2016)

From Korean director Park Chan-wook, award-winning director of Oldboy, The Handmaiden is an intense, pulse-pounding crime drama set in the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The film follows two women — a young Japanese lady on a secluded estate, and the Korean woman who is hired as her new handmaiden. Little does the former know, though, that the latter is conspiring with a con man to defraud the woman out of her inheritance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Director: Park Chan-wook
Rating: NR
Runtime: 145 minutes

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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

This Amazon Original was nominated for four 2019 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix). Phoenix stars as a traumatized veteran who harnesses his trauma into hunting down missing girls for a living. However, as his nightmares begin to overtake him and he continues to get in over his head, he begins to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to destroy or save him, depending on the paths he takes.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Cold War (2018)

Paweł Pawlikowski’s gorgeous historical drama Cold War follows Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig), a music director and singer respectively, who meet and fall in love in Poland after the end of World War II. As the years drag on and the Soviet grip over Eastern Europe tightens, the two drift across borders, in and out of each other’s lives. Their turbulent romance, set against a backdrop of paranoia and repression, is messy but moving. Filmed in stark black and white, Cold War is a beautiful film full of masterfully composed shots.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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The Big Sick (2017)

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and comedy writer Emily V. Gordon adapted their real-life love story for film in The Big Sick, a charming romantic comedy that was one of Digital Trends’ favorite movies of 2019 and helped score Nanjiani and Gordon their own Apple TV+ show. The movie begins with Kumail (playing a loosely fictionalized version of himself) struggling to build a stand-up career, mining his Pakistani background for material. After a run-in with a heckler named Emily (Zoe Kazan) turns into a one-night-stand and eventually a relationship, the two start to run into troubles. For starters, Kumail’s parents want him to settle down with a Pakistani woman, leading them to break up. Making things even more complicated, an infection leaves Emily in a coma. While visiting Emily in the hospital, Kumail meets her parents, Terry (Ray Romano) and Beth (Holly Hunter), learning more about them and Emily as he processes his own feelings.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%Genre: Romance, Comedy
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Director: Michael Showalter
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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The Lighthouse (2019)

Director Robert Eggers was initially moved to adapt Edgar Allan Poe’s The Light-House as a film, but The Lighthouse ultimately went in its own direction as one of 2019’s most unusual movies. Filmed entirely in black-and-white, The Lighthouse takes place in the late 19th century, as Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) finds himself stationed with the mercurial Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). Alone and stranded on the remote island, Winslow and Wake battle both each other and the onset of insanity. Pattinson and Dafoe’s confrontations and performances are riveting, but it’s the movie’s surprises that will keep viewers talking long after the film comes to an end.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Director: Robert Eggers
Rating: R
Runtime: 109 minutes

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The Farewell (2019)

In China, the name of this movie is “Don’t Tell Her.” The Farewell‘s American title doesn’t entirely capture the premise of the movie in the same way, but the core message is similar. Awkwafina stars as Billi Wang, a Chinese-American writer who learns that her grandmother, Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen), is dying from terminal lung cancer in China. To make matters worse, Billi’s parents, Haiyan Wang (Tzi Ma) and Lu Jian (Diana Lin), as well as the rest of the family, forbid Billi from telling Nai Nai that she has only a short time to live. It’s a promise that weighs heavily on Billi, but her connection with her beloved grandmother is beautiful and touching. Nai Nai may not know the truth, but she’s still got something valuable to teach her family.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Awkwafina, Zhao Shuzhen
Director: Lulu Wang
Rating: PG
Runtime: 100 minutes

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The African Queen (1951)

One of the joys of Amazon Prime is that it allows viewers of all ages to get acquainted with the films that came out decades before they were born. The African Queen is one of director John Huston’s most beloved films, thanks in no small part to the pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as the leads. The story is set in World War I, as a missionary named Rose Sayer (Hepburn) and the captain of a riverboat, Charlie Allnut (Bogart) join forces against the Germans after their lives are upended. The journey of the African Queen takes Charlie and Rose into countless dangers, as well as an occasionally rocky romance. This is a classic, folks. And everyone should see it at least once.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Adventure
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley
Director: John Huston
Rating: PG
Runtime: 105 minutes

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Blow the Man Down (2020)

Blow the Man Down is a dark comedy and a hidden gem that arrived on Amazon Prime under the radar earlier this year. Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe co-headline the film as feuding sisters Mary Beth and Priscilla Connolly, respectively. When Mary Beth kills a man who tried to harm her, Priscilla decides that blood is thicker than water and she helps her sister cover up the evidence. Unfortunately for the Connolly sisters, secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and they never quite know who they can trust. Margo Martindale also has a terrific supporting turn as Enid Nora Devlin, a local brothel owner who may know too much.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Stars: Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale
Director: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Rating: R
Runtime: 91 minutes

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Paterson (2016)

The stakes aren’t particularly high for Paterson the film. But for Paterson himself, they’re everything. Adam Driver stars as the title character, a man who works as a bus driver. But in reality, Paterson is a poet who hasn’t learned to fully accept that aspect of himself. The entire movie takes place over the course of a week, and we see the daily routine of both Paterson and his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). But when the pattern breaks and misfortune strikes, it will take a minor miracle to get Paterson back on the right track.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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