Amazon’ing and chilling this month? There’s plenty to get your teeth into on the site over the next few weeks. Here are the highlights – movies, TV shows and documentaries – from this month's new batch. Circle the nearest calendar with the following dates...
24 – Seasons 1-8, July 1
Back when Jack Bauer was just starting out in the whole punching-terrorists thing, 24 seemed like the freshest thing on TV. Its real-time storytelling device, ticking clock tension and outrageous double-crosses were gripping to the last. If it’s looking a little more tired these days, what better time to rediscover its glory days of assassinations, nukes, growly Kiefer Sutherland charisma and that Tony Almeida soul patch?
Preacher – Episodes 6-9 (July 4/11/18/25)
Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) and his band of misfits are winning fans by the episode. A second season has been announced and the next batch of episodes lands in weekly instalments on Amazon this month. Expect more gonzo mayhem in the southern states, a reappearance from Graham McTavish’s Cowboy, and Joseph Gilgun’s Cassidy to continue his path to cult hero status.
UnREAL – Episodes 5-8 (July 5/12/19/26)
“Why are you letting Adam get all up in your vag?” enquiries alpha producer Quinn King of one her reality TV wannabes in this new Lifetime comedy-drama. Played by the one-time Dana Gordon of Entourage fame, Constance Zimmer, she’s the puppet master who’ll be playing the show's The Bachelor-esque household like a cheap fiddle in the name of big ratings and sexy TV. This one should pull off the rare feat of uniting both lovers and haters of reality TV when it hits Amazon this month.
Mr. Robot – Season 1, Episodes 1-4 (July 14/21/28)
A surprise success given that people were worried hacker stories and been done to death. Mr. Robot hinges on Rami Malek's troubled Eliot, backed by a stew of conspiracy theories, difficult friends and the alternately charming and dangerous wiles of Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Crafted by Sam Esmail, who has taken on the task of directing every episode of Season 2 (starting in July), it's well worth your time. Take a look at our interview with Sam Esmail.
The Americans – Season 3, July 19
This slow-burn spy thriller set in Reagan-era America continues to go from strength to strength. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play – SPOILER! – KGB spies masquerading as a married couple in the suburbs of Washington. Like the first season of Homeland, it’s as much a family drama as an espionage series as the pair try to get their work/life/espionage balance right, all while evading the attentions of the CIA.
Godzilla – July 5
Let the backlash against the backlash begin! Gareth Edwards oft-maligned but also much-praised Kaiju noir is landing on Amazon Prime with plenty of scaly baggage in tow, as fans and haters alike get a chance to re-evaluate it. Expect it to lose a little of its dark grandeur on the smaller screen, but none of the moody menace.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows – July 11
While we wait to see if and when Guy Ritchie will assemble his ’tecs for the long-promised third case, number two blasts onto the streaming site with a slab of punk rock Victoriana. All Ritchie stylistic tics, from knowing Holmes humour to speed-ramped set pieces, are in evidence as Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s crime-busting bromance heads off in pursuit of Moriarty (Jared Harris).
Live. Die. Repeat: Edge Of Tomorrow – July 12
Its title has changed so often you wonder if anyone knows what its actually called. Nevertheless, The Movie In Which Tom Cruise Dies, Like, Loads But Then Comes Back To Life Again To Fight Aliens is well worth a couple of hours of your time this month. The Groundhog Day-meets-Saving Private Ryan premise is cut together with such elan and executed so cleverly, you'll forgive the third act misfires. Emily Blunt is, needless to say, awesome.
The Hangover Part II – July 15
The first one made a motza with its (actually physically) high concept idea – The Vanishing on a stag-do – funny dialogue, zany characters and smartly-judged jabs at blokish regression to the mean. The sequel doubles down on all those elements, adding Thai locations, with diminished results. Still, if you missed it in cinemas, the second Hangover should make for undemanding home viewing.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild – July 25
A little indie that’s anything but little – either in scope or ambition – Benh Zeitlin’s rural folktale packs a mighty punch. It accrued four Oscar nominations, including one that made Quvenzhané Wallis the youngest ever Best Actress nominee, and boasts a ferocious turn by newcomer Dwight Henry as her volatile dad, plenty of Bayou mystique and a pack of mythical beasts straight out of The Dark Crystal.
Mississippi Grind – July 23
There’s a strange alchemy in this pairing of the glib charms of Ryan Reynolds with the just-barely-stifled intensity of Ben Mendelsohn. They play a grimly-determined gambler and a younger, seemingly smarter card sharp who fall in together on a road trip around some of America’s seedier poker haunts. Fans of Midnight Run will revel in its odd couple tensions. If you’ve yet to catch it, you’re in for the treat.
Oculus – July 26
Mirror mirror on the wall, what’s the scariest movie coming to Amazon this month? This one, obviously. A horror in the spirit of Sinister and Insidious, it sees Karen Gillan play a woman who pins all her family’s woes on a mirror that she believes is possessed. Brenton Thwaites is her skeptical brother. Draw the curtains, dim the lights and let Mike Flanagan’s cult horror scare the bejeebers out of you this month.
All Or Nothing: A Season With The Arizona Cardinals – Episodes 1-8 (July 5/12/19/26)
Rod Tidwell’s team in Jerry Maguire, the Arizona Cardinals are back in the spotlight in a fly-on-the-wall Amazon Original that was produced with NFL collaboration. Expect an inside track on the Cards' successful 2015 season, giant men smashing into each other and lots of talk about tight ends. Fair warning: there'll be less locker-room nudity than in Tidwell’s day.