Crossing the Streams is our monthly look at all the offerings hitting the big streaming services each month, and this time we’re checking out the new Amazon Prime arrivals for February 2021. This month’s titles include a film from the creator of The Magicians, a double feature from Jackie Chan, and more!
Amazon Prime Pick of the Month for February 2021
Time loop movies are rarely less than engaging and often spectacular, so new ones are always welcome. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (arrives February 12th) sees two teenagers who meet in a loop and decide to chart the best and most beautiful beats within it, and as they grow closer they become unsure if it’s a cycle they want to escape. The film is written by Lev Grossman, from his own short story, and if his name sounds familiar it’s because he created Syfy’s popular The Magicians series.
It’s doubtful this new feature will follow the same saucy blend of flesh and fantasy that Grossman’s series does, but it doesn’t need to. The story and cast look strong enough with the latter being led by the great Kathryn Newton. The Freaky star has experience playing someone caught in a weird blend of YA concerns and fantastical elements, and her presence alone makes this a film worth seeking out. Add in a time loop premise, a la Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day, and you have a must-see that hopefully delivers the goods.
Take a Break with a Jackie Chan Double Feature
Jackie Chan’s later output may have lost its footing, but he remains the greatest living action star. Yeah, I said it. He entered the Hong Kong action scene as a hopeful follow-up to Bruce Lee, but he quickly found his own way through a combination of incredible martial arts skills and an equally impressive comedic ability. His best includes the likes of Heart of Dragon (1985), Police Story (1985), Project A (1983), and others, but it’s two later films hitting Prime this month.
I may be in the minority here, but Shanghai Noon (2000) remains a highly entertaining action/comedy/western despite the presence of Owen Wilson. I kid, I kid, Wilson is fine here as one half of the odd couple alongside Chan, but it’s Chan’s antics that deliver big fun in a western setting as the pair face off against the genre’s usual villains with intricate set-pieces and creative action. It was followed three years later with the lesser Shanghai Knights which still manages a few thrills.
Less impressive on all fronts, but worth it as a family film, is Chan’s The Spy Next Door (2010). The film casts him as a CIA agent named Bob who finds his greatest challenge while babysitting his girlfriend’s three boisterous children. Director Brian Levant’s comedic stylings take precedence over Chan’s, and that’s unfortunate as his filmography suggests. Problem Child 2 (1991), Beethoven (1992), The Flintstones (1994)… yeah, but it’s still worth a watch for Chan.
The Other Amazon Original Movies
While The Map of Tiny Perfect Things looks to be Amazon Prime’s big Original this month, it’s not alone. Bliss is a sci-fi/romance starring Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek, and it looks to at least be interesting. Wilson plays a lonely dude who meets a strange woman with an even stranger belief that they’re living in a computer simulation. It’s interesting enough on its face, but writer/director Mike Cahill makes it more worth watching as his previous films (Another Earth, I Origins) are at-times fascinating sci-fi features.
Chemical Hearts is yet another YA romance, this time based on a best-selling book, and it looks to take a more traditional arc with its tale. It stars Austin Abrams as a high-schooler named Henry who believes in love despite never having experienced it, but that changes when a new transfer student arrives. Lili Reinhart, so great in Hustlers, is a girl with a scar and a secret, and Henry can’t help but fall for her mystery. Will they graduate to love? Eh, maybe.
The Best Older Arrivals
While new films catch all the attention each month, sometimes the best titles are from years past. John Landis’ Coming to America (1988) remains a very funny film and an epic vehicle for star Eddie Murphy in multiple roles. Forget Norbit, this is the film that sees Murphy excel at bouncing between various supporting characters buried beneath prosthetic makeup while still delivering a great time in the lead. Give it a re-watch in preparation for next month’s premiere of Coming 2 America.
Less funny by a country mile while still being darkly humorous, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (2016) is a brilliant tale of love, lust, and escape. It’s a twisty tale of suspense, intrigue, and intention, but it’s also a fairly intense and affecting love story. The film’s erotic nature received most of the attention, but the love at its heart beats even stronger. And not for nothing, but Park’s film is even more beautiful than you’re expecting from the filmmaker behind Thirst and Old Boy. It’s a gorgeous film filled with pain, yearning, and effort, and it builds to an immensely satisfying conclusion.
Finally, while Memento remains my favorite Christopher Nolan film, The Prestige (2006) is almost inarguably his best. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale star as competing magicians in 19th century England, and the film is a marvelous puzzle box packing an emotional wallop. There’s a genius to its construction, but instead of sucking the emotion out with its plot mechanics, it all works to enhance the gut-punch of it all. This is Nolan’s masterpiece.
The Complete Amazon Prime List for February 2021
|2/1||35 & Ticking (2011)|
|Aaron Loves Angela (1975)|
|Be My Valentine (2013)|
|The Big Sick (2017)|
|Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)|
|Brokeback Mountain (2005)|
|Burn Motherf**ker, Burn! (2017)|
|Chemical Hearts (2020)|
|Coming To America (1988)|
|Dazed And Confused (1993)|
|Down To Earth (2001)|
|Guava Island (2019)|
|The Handmaiden (2016)|
|The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)|
|Hitsville: The Making of Motown (2019)|
|How She Move (2008)|
|The Ides Of March (2011)|
|Imagine That (2009)|
|Intolerable Cruelty (2003)|
|Just Wright (2010)|
|The Last Appeal (2016)|
|Life in a Year (2020)|
|Lost in Translation (2003)|
|Love by Accident (2020)|
|Love by the 10th Date (2017)|
|The Love Letter (2013)|
|Love Roise (2015)|
|Moulin Rouge (2001)|
|Notes On A Scandal (2006)|
|The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)|
|The Prestige (2006)|
|The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020)|
|Sense and Sensibility (1995)|
|Shanghai Noon (2000)|
|Spy Next Door (2010)|
|Sylvie's Love (2020)|
|There's Something About Mary (1998)|
|Two Night Stand (2015)|
|Uncle Frank (2020)|
|Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)|
|The Village (2004)|
|The Weekend (2019)|
|What If (2014)|
|What Men Want (2019)|
|When A Man Loves a Woman (1994)|
|Where's The Love (2014)|
|Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)|
|The Wood (2020)|
|2/5||Bliss||Amazon Original Movie|
|2/12||Map of Tiny Perfect Things||Amazon Original Movie|
|The Warrior Queen Of Jhansi (2019)|
|2/18||Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)|
|2/26||The Informer (2020)|