We are now officially into Summer and that means there is another month of new movies coming to Amazon Prime Video this July. From a grim yet committed portrait of what it takes to fight corporate corruption to an outrageous prestige film about a wealthy family, we’ve picked the best of the bunch that you’ll want to check out this month.
Director: Michael Mann
Writers: Gregory Allen Howard, Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth, Michael Mann
Cast: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jeffrey Wright
Michael Mann‘s towering 2001 film Ali had a Herculean task before it. How do you capture one of history’s most iconic figures in just a single film? No film could ever capture all of who Muhammad Ali was, though this one certainly comes as close as anyone could hope to do. Will Smith is able to get both the humor and bravado of the famous boxer as well as the deeper convictions held by Ali throughout his life. Even as he authentically hits every note of the fights, Smith also shines in the moments between the fights as well. It is in these quiet moments where he contemplates his future from him that you really feel a deeper connection to who Ali was. He was deeply funny and witty, truly one of the great all-time trash talkers, while also being a deeply contemplative man. The strongest moments come from showing Ali’s deep opposition to the Vietnam War and how he has faced prolonged consequences for it. It was a stand that would threaten his freedom and his future, making it all the more courageous that he took it. Smith pays tribute to all these parts of Ali, giving a full look at everything he was. It remains his most commanding and compelling performance of him that may never be matched.
Director: Todd Haynes
Writers: Nathaniel Rich, Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins
One of the most grounded and honest portraits of what it means to do good against the evils of the world, Dark Waters is a masterpiece of a film that finds resonance in its riveting look at one lawyer fighting corporate corruption. Mark Ruffalo plays Rob Bilott, a real-life corporate defense attorney who takes on an environmental lawsuit that exposes how DuPont was poisoning the water of unsuspecting people. It is a patient film that shows just how grueling and challenging it can be to undertake something like this, revealing how rigged things can be when you have the money to protect yourself from accountability. Ruffalo is outstanding, showing how committed Bilott was to the case while also showing the heavy toll it took on him. Nothing is sensationalized or turned into a typical Hollywood underdog story as it uncovers how the real world doesn’t work that way. It shows how people are only protected when men like Bilott are willing to stand up and risk everything, no matter the cost.
Dave Made A Maze
Director: bill watterson
Writers: Bill WattersonSteven Sears
stars: Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Nick Thune, Adam Busch
One of the lesser-known films on this list that still deserves your utmost attention, Dave Made A Maze is an imaginative indie hit that makes the absolute most of its premise. It all begins with the titular Dave (Nick Thune) who is struggling to express himself and find purpose in life. When he decides to build a giant maze out of cardboard in his apartment, he accidentally becomes trapped in his labyrinthian creation. When his girlfriend of him Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) and friend Gordon (adam busch) decide to go in after him, we soon discover that this cardboard world is far more expansive than it looks from the outside. It is a film that is endlessly creative in playing around with your expectations, making use of everything from forced perspective trickery to puppetry without missing a beat. It is the type of experience that you can revisit and notice something new every time as it is practically overflowing with rich details. There is not much else out there that is more joyous to get completely lost in.
Director: Jason Eisenner
Writer: John Davis
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey
Before you even say it, Hobo with a Shotgun is not going to be for everyone. Crass, violent, and generally unhinged, it is an acquired taste to say the least. Still, if any of those words sound like something you want to see in a film, then you ought to take the plunge into this absolutely bonkers ride. Starring the late Rutger Hauer in rare form as the titular Hobo himself, this gory homage to low-budget exploitation thrillers of old is a shock to the system in the best way possible. It all centers around a homeless man who must bring justice to a corrupt town in the only way he knows how. You guessed it, with a shotgun for blasting and a sense of grit to triumph over the sadism that has consumed his world of him. There is so much that just leaps out from the film that it is impossible to fully capture, though suffice to say there is a lot to take in as it throws everything at the screen. If you can stomach it, this one is for you fellow sickos.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Becky Johnston, Roberto Bentivenga, Sara Gay Forgen
stars: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino
A chaotic tapestry of wealth and family, House of Gucci is one of director Ridley Scott‘s best for just how full of energy it is. It is quite long at just over two and a half hours, though it all flies because of the strength of all its central performances. Not only does it see Lady Gaga,Adam Driverand Al Pacino letting loose with the material, but it also just keeps getting wilder the longer it goes on. A retelling of a small history of the Gucci family, it has murder, sex, and greed all wrapped into one package. It is often bursting at the seams and nearly spilling out everywhere, though there is nothing that is quite like witnessing it all unravel before you. Whether you consider it to be audacious work of camp cinema or a dour deconstruction of the decadence of wealth, it is undeniably a one-of-a-kind experience all its own.
Director: karyn kusama
Writer: Devil Cody
stars: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody
You didn’t think we would let the opportunity pass to show praise on the great film that is Jennifer’s Body, did you? Misunderstood on its release, karyn kusama‘s biting horror-comedy has now become one of the most beloved cult classics and for good reason. Not only does it see a never-better Megan fox absolutely devouring the role, in more ways than one, but it’s more than carved out its place as being one of the more enduring revenge films of recent memory. If you haven’t seen it, put whatever misconceptions you have from the film’s misguided marketing out of your mind and instead open yourself up to all that it manages to achieve. If you are lucky enough to get to go in knowing as little as possible, you’re in for a devilish treat that makes the most of its self-aware horror parable.
Director: David O Russell
Writers: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
A film that proves good acting can make a familiar story feel fresh, fighter is a boxing drama that is elevated by its strong performances. Most central to this is a dynamic Christian bale as the real-life Dicky Ecklund. A former boxer who now is struggling with drug addiction, Dicky is largely coasting off of his half-brother mickey ward (Mark Wahlberg) who continue to fight to support his family. After deciding to hang up the gloves, Micky will return to fighting for one big matchup that could change his life and his whole family’s life. The film doesn’t break any molds of the underdog boxing story though it fits into them so well that you won’t be anything but locked into the story. Bale in particular puts on a masterclass in acting, diving into the depths of addiction and loss with a dedication that is as upsetting as it is enthralling. There is a humanity to his story and his struggle, making it one that finds a groove that is all its own even as the broader narrative itself is not.