Crossing the Streams is our series of guides looking at all of the offerings from the major streaming services each month. This time around, we’re checking out new Amazon Prime arrivals for July 2021, including a new Amazon original movie, Hitchcock thrillers and more!
Amazon Prime Pick of the Month for July 2021
I’ll probably regret that choice, but big-budget sci-fi / action movies with a time travel bent are a treat we don’t see onscreen often enough. So yes, my pick of the month is The war of tomorrow. Director Chris McKay’s debut might have been a minor drama, but he became best known for his animated comedies straddling the line between audiences’ age groups. It’s definitely not that and seems more aimed at fans of the always fantastic. Edge of tomorrow (2014) as an unprepared character is thrown into a war against an alien enemy. Of course, Chris Pratt isn’t Tom Cruise, but I hope he doesn’t get in the way of the action and the fun.
Remakes are a reality and few genres are as targeted for redos as horror. There are plenty of reasons, but the most important one comes down to balancing their inexpensive nature with the usual strength of their opening weekend box office. Their ubiquity, however, does not guarantee quality, as evidenced by two remakes of the aughts. The first is When a stranger calls (2006), one of the few PG-13 reboots of R-rated originals, and while director Simon West delivers a solid-looking thriller, it’s a mostly ineffective remake. The 1979 original features one of the best openings in horror cinema, and the reboot’s decision to extend it to the feature film absolutely neutralizes the tension, suspense, and terror in a dramatic way. It’s finally … okay I guess
the years 1987 Step-father is a wonderful little chiller on a psychopath played to perfection by Terry O’Quinn. Step-father (2009) cast Dylan Walsh in the role, and that’s really all there is to say about it … but I’ll say a little more. Jill Schoelen is a formidable protagonist in the original, and the dynamic between a teenage girl and her new stepdad finds a real threat in her Puritan position – making her another poor choice for the remake to focus on a teenager. Penn Badgley isn’t bad at the role, but the conflict is less. Add the PG-13 rating and the equally forgettable director Prom evening (2008) remake and once again you have a barely competent disappointment.
Premonition (2007) is often mistaken for a remake of the 2004 Japanese film of the same name, but while both involve characters who suddenly begin to âseeâ events that haven’t happened yet, but their plots are distinct enough. The Japanese film is the better of the two, but the Sandra Bullock-led US release handles thrills as she struggles to find the reason for her visions. She’s ultimately the big draw here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is a rare studio film with a depressing ending. Sure, horror movies often end with a fear of the leap suggesting uncertainty, but this one lets the grim truth rest for a bit.
MCU stars outside the MCU
They say that in the future every actor will land a role in a Marvel movie for at least fifteen minutes, and it’s hard to dispute that prediction. Chris Evans was just another charismatic young actor when he was cast Not another teen movie (2001), but it shows all the charm and wit that ultimately became the role model for Captain America. The movie is a parody of the YA movies, from comedies to romances, and it’s legitimately funny throughout. He aims for easy targets, but he shows an approach that is as often clever as it is stupid. If you haven’t watched it yet, or haven’t seen it in years, this is definitely a comedy worth checking out.
Kat Dennings is a somewhat minor actor in the MCU having only appeared in the first two Thor movies before appearing on the small screen in WandaVision (2021), but she’s still a welcome comedic presence. Nick and Norah’s Endless Reading List (2008) gives her a rare lead role in a sweet, humorous romantic comedy about two teenage boys on the cusp of adulthood. It’s a cleverly constructed romance condensed into a night of action, misunderstandings, quirky characters and more. Michael Cera is a perfect complement to Dennings, and the pair deliver YA Gold together.
While both of these films feature MCU actors before they become superheroes (or adjacent heroes), Only lovers will stay alive (2013) throws Tom Hiddleston to the height of his popularity after starring in the box office giant the year before The Avengers (2012). It has undoubtedly only grown in size since, as evidenced by its new series, Loki. Hiddleston plays a vampire in a centuries-old romance with Another Leech – played by Tilda Swinton, who also hit the MCU with Doctor strange (2016) – and the couple see their eternal life interrupted by both the slow pace of societal change and the arrival of a younger vampire. It’s a lush, laid-back film that succeeds more in its atmosphere than its narrative, but it’s hard to argue with the result.
A double characteristic of Hitchcock
While many Alfred Hitchcock classics helped inspire later films, The Killer In psychopath (1960) to the mistaken identity of from north to north-west (1959), this is the high concept of Rear window (1954) which we see clearly over and over again. James Stewart plays a man in a wheelchair who spends the time staring out the window at neighbors and strangers, but things take a turn when he witnesses a murder. Or did he do it? It’s a clever, suspenseful tale that sees the master filmmaker take full advantage of locations and points of view to create tension until its thrilling finale.
James Stewart returns for Hitchcock fear of heights (1958), but instead of a tight-paced thriller, the couple deliver a more dreamy and lavish story of love, loss and obsession. There are always thrills, of course, as Stewart’s retired detective finds himself embroiled in a mystery involving a woman – two women? – and his own disorienting reaction to heights. While this shouldn’t be anyone’s first entry into Hitchcock’s filmography, it’s a film worth seeing for both its ambition and execution. It’s a different kind of thriller, one more patient than most studio films today, and it’s a thriller you won’t soon forget.
The complete Amazon Prime list for July 2021
|Release date||Title||To note|
|7/1||30 days of night (2007)|
|30 minutes or less (2011)|
|Absence of Malice (1981)|
|Across the Universe (2007)|
|The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999)|
|Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)|
|The Animal (2001)|
|Alarm clocks (1990)|
|Beats, Rhymes & Life: Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011)|
|Big Fish (2003)|
|Crimson Tide (1995)|
|An education (2009)|
|The Family Stone (2005)|
|Fat Albert (2004)|
|Frozen River (2008)|
|The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)|
|Green Lantern (2011)|
|Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)|
|Me, Robot (2004)|
|The International (2009)|
|Irrational Man (2015)|
|Jack and Jill (2011)|
|Julie & Julia (2009)|
|The Lady in the Van (2006)|
|The Last King of Scotland (2006)|
|The Mask of Zorro (1998)|
|The Messengers (2007)|
|Midnight in Paris (2011)|
|Silver Train (1995)|
|Nick and Norah’s Endless Reading List (2008)|
|Not Another Teen Movie (2001)|
|At the water’s edge (1954)|
|Only the lovers remained alive (2014)|
|Open season (2006)|
|Telephone box (2003)|
|Ramona and Beezus (2010)|
|Rear window (1954)|
|Driving in Cars with Boys (1988)|
|School Stun (1988)|
|The Stepfather (2009)|
|In Rome with Love (2012)|
|Underworld: Evolution (2006)|
|When a Stranger Calls (2006)|
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)|
|Your Highness (2011)|
|7/2||The war of tomorrow (2021)||Amazon original movie|
|7/5||Surf’s Up (2007)|
|7/9||Sydney Deluxe List – Season 1||Amazon Original Series|
|Our friend (2019)|
|7/15||El Cid – Season 2||Amazon Original Series|
|7/16||Make the Cut – Season 2||Amazon Original Series|
|Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)|
|7/30||The Pursuit Of Love – Season 1||Amazon Original Series|