It has been a year, between pandemics and the redefinition of consumer habits for audiovisual products, which have led to an unexpected boost for streaming services. Amazon Prime Video has been one of the platforms that has placed the most emphasis on its own products, with movies and series new of all themes and conditions. We review some of the best that has released throughout this 2021.
Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson enter the realities of simulated Matrix realities with a film that marks the return of the director of ‘Another Earth’ or ‘Origins’ to science fiction. A troubled office worker, through the use of drugs that send him to a much more satisfying reality, discovers that he is living a life that is only in his head. Powerful drama and great performances for a film that flirts with both social drama and the B-series of machines with floating brains.
‘The Underground Railroad’
A harsh portrait of slavery that has easily become one of the series of the year, thanks to making literal one of the great concepts in the history of slavery in the United States. In real life this “railroad” was a web of information, maps and data that kept escaped slaves safe; Here is a real railroad, which adds a touch of magical realism to a stark story excellently told by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (‘Moonlight’) and which is framed in the recent trend of series that reflect on racial issues, its history and its scope.
‘The map of the perfect little things’
This stupendous time-looping romantic comedy almost coincided in his arrival to streaming with the also magnificent ‘Palm Springs’, but there are differences between the two: here, Lev Grossman, author of the book trilogy young adult which inspired the series ‘The Magicians’, is inspired by a story of their own to present two young people who live accustomed to loops that they do not understand but don’t care too much about, and they start a romance despite or thanks to those loops. Sensational the discovery of the strangers Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton, and continuous and highly intelligent references to time travel cinema.
‘The war of tomorrow’
Not exactly an Amazon Prime Video production, but a nice science-fiction action film that was going to hit theaters, but whose premiere was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and for which Amazon acquired the distribution rights exclusive for a sounded 200 million dollars. Chris Pratt brings to life a one-piece action hero who travel to the future to be part of the troops that must face an alien invasion That doesn’t look good for humans. Excellent roster of secondary, long action sequences very well shot and a remarkable design of the aliens make a film that is as inconsequential as it is fun.
A kind of ‘Crank’ with Kate Beckinsale taking over from Jason Statham, and in a less excessive key, but gimmick of the race against time and the self-punishment to keep going is still here: Beckinsale suffers from a rare disorder that leads her to have outbursts of anger that she can only contain with electric shocks … or with sex. That is the start of a fun and carefree revenge story, perhaps less intense than it deserves, but perfect for a time of urban and colorful action.
Ambitious science fiction anthology series shot during confinement that can be seen as a ‘Black Mirror’ from a more emotional perspective. It stands out for its cast of stars, with names such as Helen Mirren, Dan Stevens, Morgan Freeman or Anne Hathaway among others, who in almost all the stories they act alone, reflecting on the isolation to which we sometimes submit with or without the help of technology. Despite some interpretative excesses and overload of plot intensity, the result is very positive and makes one wish that there were more anthological genre productions.
Powerful drama disguised as an alien body thief movie, with a Riz Ahmed embarked on a mission to save your children from the potential danger of the arrival of aliens on our planet through insects. Soon the movie turns into an aimless getaway, and while it could have benefited from a bit more ambiguity, it’s a nice unexpected crossover between bad parenting drama and body horror quirky.
Derived from the latest batch of racial terror and that has given us such stimulating products as ‘Lovecraft Territory’ or the Jordan Peele films. Especially ‘We’, with which this Little Marvin anthology series has striking similarities (starting with ingredients as obvious as the title or the series’ own typography and aesthetics). Here a black family moves to a suffocatingly white neighborhood in the fifties, making them a focus of threats supernatural and otherwise. Tense, intelligent and stimulating, although perhaps sometimes too derivative.
Kind Teen thriller with dystopian touches that will have no continuity after its first season, but it remains as an experiment young adult very estimable and that takes place in a small Texas town that nobody leaves. Each year, high school graduates compete in a series of challenges after which the winner gets a chance to get out of there. Youthful adventure for a gymkhana with lethal consequences.
‘The wheel of time’
Time passes, but the platforms are still looking for their fantasy series with literary roots that hits the bell. In this case, ‘The wheel of time’ is Amazon’s recent ambitious gamble based on Robert Jordan’s blockbuster novels. The spectacular result has already been remarkably successful and tells how four young people come into contact with a stranger who claims that one of them will confirm an ancient prophecy that will end the balance of forces between Light and Darkness.
Overwhelming superhero satire even more intoned than the popular ‘The Boys’ (also from Amazon Prime Video, although this year we had no season) and based on a Robert Kirkman comic. The animation of classic roots suits this series wonderfully about a teenager with a superhero father and a clear transcript of Superman, who begins to discover his powers on the one hand and that life is not exactly as he had believed on the other. Violent and brimming with criticism and bad grapes, it is undoubtedly one of the great Amazon productions of the year and the perfect antidote to sugary Marvel productions.
‘Stories to not sleep’
The mythical horror and suspense series by Chicho Ibáñez Serrador receives a consistent remake by Spanish directors related to the genre, who remake some mythical chapters from the original series in black and white. Although some – like the ventriloquist doll – fly considerably higher than others, the effort and the result are much appreciated, and the franchise’s potential to host Spanish-style mysteries is considerable.
‘The Expanse’ T6
Although it was not born within Amazon, it has been the platform that has wanted to buy the broadcasting rights of the series from Syfy to definitively conclude its story after its cancellation. That ending kicks off in season six, and continues with the tone and aesthetic that made the series famous: science fiction with a political subtext portraying a galactic crisis of unexpected ramifications.
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