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Five fantastic films on Amazon Prime that are not on Netflix – April 2015

April 7, 2015

The streaming landscape is so vast it becomes difficult to differentiate the various services. Netflix gets the majority of the press as Bloodline, Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development and House of Cards sweep up the media coverage. However, Amazon Prime has some great stuff going on. Not only does it have original programming (Transparent, Bosch) it has some exclusive television shows (Orphan Black!!!) and movies you can’t find on Netflix.

In an effort to save you time and energy I’ve scoured the streaming services and started offering film/television recommendations that you might appreciate. We here at MFF have already unleashed posts about Netflix’s Horror and underwatched gems. We’ve also covered which shows to binge watch from the streaming services.

top of the lake

Top of the Lake is fantastic. Check it out on Netflix.

These five films (and more to come) represent independent cinema at its finest. They are weird, bloody and unflinching yet offer something new and original. Whether they open up the door to other films or prove you can turn somebody into a walrus you should watch these movies.

Starred Up  

Starred Up Movie Poster

What I like about Starred Up is that it never feels inauthentic. It was written by an ex-prison therapist and filmed over 24 days in an old prison. It isn’t glorified tough guy crap that oozes style over substance.Starred Up isn’t trying to create anti-heroes and treacherous villains. It is told in the grey where you understand the violence and family dynamics.

Ben Mendelsohn is wonderful as Eric’s (Jack O’Connell) father Neville. He pulls off a believable balance of menace and clueless. He is used to doling out threats and doesn’t know how to deal with a 19-year-old punk calling him out in front of other inmates. His attempts at parenting lead to embarrassing his son which leads to more violence. The amazing thing is that you actually believe Neville as a person. You understand the guy and why he does what he does. After killing Them Softly, Place Beyond the Pines and Animal Kingdom Mendelsohn has proven himself to be a seriously layered threat. Mendelsohn has given us four iconic criminals who are nothing alike and frighten in different ways.

 

Tusk

Tusk-Movie

Warning: Tusk is weird. Tusk is uneven. Tusk is sorta wonderful. If you are a fan of Kevin Smith you should watch this film.

I enjoyed Tusk because of how random the experience was. It was based on a Smodcast  episode that Smith and Scott Mosier did called The Walrus and the Carpenter. The two talked about an ad that stated somebody could live for free in a house if they dressed like a walrus. The ad was a hoax but it still inspired Smith to write the horror/comedy/drama.  It is vulgar, weird, exciting, crude, scary and features a gonzo extended A-list cameo. It is impossible to know where it is going and I appreciated that. Smith has taken a major risk and because of that there are things that I will never unsee.

 

Under the Skin

Under the Skin movie poster

 

Under the Skin is a mesmerizing film that captures Scotland’s dreary beauty while blasting us with the most sensory film of 2014. I love that there is zero backstory or expository hand holding. It is a remarkably simple movie that still leaves many questions unanswered. It is a pure and unadulterated experience that could be vivisected or simply appreciated. My advice is to turn off the lights, turn up the volume and allow yourself to fully appreciate a spellbinding experience.

With Lucy, Captain America: Winter Soldier and Under the Skin I think Scarlett Johansson totally won 2014.

 

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now

The late great Roger Ebert opened up his Spectactular Now review with this quote:

Here is a lovely film about two high school seniors who look, speak and feel like real 18-year-old middle-American human beings. Do you have any idea how rare that is?

The Spectacular Now is an incredibly rare film.  Ebert reinforced the rarity of memorable characters by comparing Miles Teller’s character Sutter Keely to Say Anything’s Lloyd Dobler. They are both aimless, capable and fall for women who love and care for them.

The chemistry between Woodley and Teller is wonderful and the film has an earthy vibe that is rare nowadays.

 

Cheap Thrills

Cheap Thrills movie poster

Cheap Thrills was one of my favorite films of 2014. It has a nasty streak that will alienate many but capture a solid cult following. It wears you out but  doesn’t drain you with depravity. It walks a tight rope of gore and despair but manages to not fall into a nothingness abyss. David Koechner and Sara Paxton (fantastic bad guys!) remain mysterious throughout as we never get any revelations about them. Are they really a couple? Have they done this before? The questions are welcome because it leaves you to come up with the answers.

 

 

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