Not sure what to watch on Amazon this month? Not to worry, we’ve combed through the calendar of new and upcoming releases to highlight the best new movies arriving on the streaming service this month. From comedy classics to new originals to one of the last movies to play in theaters before the pandemic, there’s a pretty good variety depending on what you’re in the mood to watch.
If you’re looking for a laugh, you can’t go wrong with Coming to America – especially with the sequel right around the corner – but this month also brings the streaming debut of the surprisingly delightful, laugh-out-loud Sonic the Hedgehog movie. If you’re more in the mood for something dramatic, Notes on a Scandal and The Prestige will scratch that itch, while Moulin Rouge! will scratch that itch and give you the opportunity to sing and weep to your heart’s content. And if you’re looking for something new new, Amazon’s The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a time-loop charmer that’s well worth your time.
Check out the details on all our picks for the best new movies on Amazon below, and head over to the complete list of new arrivals if you want to see everything that’s new on the streaming service this month.
Coming to America
Image via Paramount Pictures
Available: February 1
Director: John Landis
Writers: David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley
Just in time to get you caught up for Coming 2 America’s arrival on Amazon next month, the 1988 original is available to stream this month. Eddie Murphy stars (from a script based on his own story idea) in one of his most iconic roles as crown prince Akeem Joffer of Zamunda – well, in classic Eddie Murphy fashion, he plays several roles, but it’s as Akeem that he delivers one of the most understated and commanding comedic performances of his career. Faced with an arranged marriage to a woman he doesn’t love, Akeem travels to New York in the hopes of finding a woman who will love him, not for his crown, but for himself. With his trusty best friend (Arsenio Hall) at his side, he makes his way through the city streets, setting up some excellent fish-out-of-water comedy amidst the romancing. And it holds up. Coming to America is still funny, full of joy, and surprisingly sweet.
Notes on a Scandal
Image via Fox Searchlight
Available: February 1
Director: Richard Eyre
Writer: Patrick Marber
Cast: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Juno Temple, Andrew Simpson, Joanna Scanlan
This 2006 thriller was rather a to-do in the awards circuit when it was first released, but it’s flown under the radar a bit in the years since, which is a shame since it’s a gripping, provocative piece built around two absolute powerhouse performances. Judi Dench stars and narrates (the writer of all those scandalous notes) as a prickly, pernicious wolf in sheep’s clothing who develops a fixation on a beautiful new colleague (Cate Blanchett), and when she discovers her new obsession is tangled up in an illicit affair with an underage student, she uses the opportunity to weasel into an imposing intimacy, upending both their lives. The film shows its age at times in how the student-teacher affair is depicted, but Dench and Blanchett’s performances haven’t lost a bit of their bite and the script from celebrated playwright Patrick Marber (Closer) remains a fascinating and ferocious battle of the wits
Image via 20th Century Fox
Available: February 1
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh
Ornate, opulent, and dazzling to the point of being dizzying, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! is the height of cinematic spectacle. Heck, they even went and put an exclamation point on the title for good measure. Ewan McGregor stars as an unknown Bohemian poet who comedy-of-errors his way into a gig writing for the hottest cabaret in Paris and falls hopelessly in love with the tragic star of the show, Satine (Nicole Kidman). Kidman and McGregor are both positively luminous in the roles, and they kick up some crackling chemistry as the doomed lovers singing and sashaying through Luhrmann’s kaleidoscopic vision. A musical comprised of pop song covers, positively drenched in aesthetic, Moulin Rouge! is a delight to the senses for some, an assault to the senses for others, but it’s one of the most manic, decadent movie musicals ever made. And not for nothing, but Jim Broadbent looks like he’s having the time of his life, which is always a treat to watch.
Image via Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Available: February 1
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, David Bowie, Piper Perabo
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but this Christopher Nolan fella makes some dang good movies, and his 2006 magician mystery is my favorite of them all. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as a pair of magicians who go from partners to enemies, their rivalry escalating from dangerous one-upsmanship to a reality-bending existential nightmare. In part, I think The Prestige is Nolan’s strongest film because he and co-writer/brother Jonathan Nolan adapted existing source material, and Christopher Priest’s novel gave them an excellent architecture of twists and terrors in which they could anchor their cinematic retelling. And of course, through Nolan’s lens (and Wally Pfister’s cinematography), it looks absolutely fantastic, anchored in the positively vicious performances from Bale and Jackman. Bonus: David Bowie plays Nikola Tesla, which is probably all I needed to say.
Image via Buena Vista Pictures
Available: February 1
Writer/Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrian Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Pitt, Cherry Jones, Judy Greer
How long has it been since you’ve seen The Village? Because folks, this movie is Good Actually and now that we’ve had enough distance from the misleading and Bad Actually marketing campaign, it might be the perfect time to give M. Night Shyamalan’s unfairly maligned thriller another shot. Forget the twist, forget the monsters (though I still think the design is very cool), The Village holds up because it’s a fantastic, stomach-churning psychological thriller built from very genuine and real social phobias about what makes a society “safe”. And I think The Village works even better on a re-watch when you understand the character motivations. So if you’ve always considered this one a “lesser Shyamalan” picture, give it another shot, and after you do, check out Todd Gilchrist’s sharp take on why that divisive ending is actually great.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
Image via Amazon Studios
Available: February 12
Director: Ian Samuels
Writer: Lev Grossman
Cast: Kyle Allen, Kathryn Newton, Jorja Fox, Jemaine Harris, Anna Mikami
Time loops are all kinds of so hot right now, but fortunately, storytellers keep coming up with interesting ways to implement the narrative device without getting too repetitive. Now, on the heels of hits like Happy Death Day, Russian Doll, and Palm Springs, Amazon has delivered The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, a charming YA time-loop rom-com, written by the author of The Magicians novels, no less. Kyle Allen stars as a high schooler stuck living the same day, until he meets a charming and free-spirited classmate (Kathryn Newton) who’s stuck in the same dang loop. Naturally, they start to fall for each other, but The Map of Tiny Perfect Things also finds a resonant emotional hook as the answer to the essential “how do we get out of this loop?” question. It’s not the deepest or most existential time loop narrative we’ve seen lately, but that only makes it a breezier watch and leaves plenty of room for the cutesy chemistry to shine.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Image via Paramount
Available: February 18
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writers: Pat Casey and Josh Miller
Cast: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally
I did not expect to like Sonic the Hedgehog very much, in full honesty. I certainly didn’t expect to fall in love with it, but Jeff Fowler’s take on the beloved video game character is a genuine delight. A feel-good road movie for the whole family, Sonic the Hedgehog knows exactly what it is and giddily straps in for the ride. With Ben Schwartz voicing Sonic, James Marsden as the local cop/Donut Lord who helps him, and Jim Carrey going back to the heights of his manic comedy as the villainous Doctor Robotnik, nobody here is phoning it in and their energetic embrace of the material gives Sonic a contagious vibe. I respect any project that understands the full range of James Marsden’s appeal, but Marsden credentials aside, it’s just a total blast from start to finish, with cleverly designed set-pieces, some incredible line deliveries, (“Of course I want a latte. I love the way you make them” is a real doozie), and most importantly, enough genuine heart to make it all tick.
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About The Author
(3199 Articles Published)
Haleigh Foutch is a writer, editor, host, actor, and cat enthusiast based in Los Angeles. She’s currently Senior Editor of Content Strategy and Analytics at Collider, where she’s been climbing the ranks and screaming about the unsung genius of Grosse Pointe Blank for nearly a decade. She also oversees Collider’s horror content and co-created The Witching Hour podcast, previously appeared as a regular panelist on Movie Talk, and has written for Rotten Tomatoes, Complex, Birth.Movies.Death., and more. You can usually find her sharing Buffy the Vampire Slayer memes on Instagram, rehearsing the Five Movements from The OA, and asking people about their pets.
From Haleigh Foutch