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 January 2021. This month’s titles include a fantastic directorial debut from Regina King, some classic Westerns, genre films you might have missed in 2020, and more!
Amazon Prime Pick of the Month for January 2021
My pick of the month on these streaming guides is typically reserved for a new film or show, but I’d be a fool not to highlight the absolute best of this month’s offerings. Yes, of course, I’m talking about Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys. It may be over two decades old now, but this film is no less of a masterpiece worthy of watching, revisiting, and/or honoring. The cast — Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr., Tobey Maguire, Katie Holmes, Rip Torn, Frances McDormand, Jane Adams, a young Rob McElhenney, and more — is perfection, and all of them help bring this deliciously funny and humane college-set comedy to glorious life. Michael Chabon’s novel is great, but this adaptation somehow tops it. If the film has somehow eluded you until now, take this opportunity to turn off the outside world and turn on one-hundred-and-seven minutes of sublime bliss.
New Amazon Originals of Note
Last month saw Prime deliver an original film about a single mom on the run from a messed up situation in I Am Woman, and now Herself (arriving January 8th) takes the theme in a different direction. It follows a single mother whose immediate struggle is building a home when it seems like the world is against her. A cluttered, resistant bureaucracy and her abusive ex stand in her way, but I’m betting she wins out in the end!
Regina King’s One Night in Miami (premiering January 15th) is one of 2020’s best films, but you don’t have to just take my word for it as it also made our Chief Film Critic’s list (stay tuned). The film (pictured) brings together four icons — Jim Brown, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X — as friends who reunite on the night Clay beats Sonny Liston in Miami, Florida, in 1964. The men converse, argue, and celebrate, and we see each struggle with his own place in America, Black society, and history itself. It’s a fantastic watch.
Flack (which starts streaming on January 22nd) looks to be an import over from Pop TV and follows a public relations team as they put out various fires for their clients. This first season originally aired in 2019, but this is the first I’ve heard of it — a pickup from Amazon in advance of a second season should raise its awareness. Is it good? No clue, but Anna Paquin leads the team, so proceed accordingly.
The legendary John Sturges (Bad Day at Black Rock, The Magnificent Seven) directed plenty of memorable films across his long career, and 1957’s Gunfight At The O.K. Corral is among them. While a pair of competing Westerns from the ’90s have stolen the Wyatt Earp spotlight, Sturges’ film remains a classic telling of the famed shootout and all that led up to it. Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper, and more bring the tale to life.
John Wayne has his detractors, but the man’s personal issues don’t change his effectiveness on the screen. The Sons Of Katie Elder, from 1965, is a fine example of why he’s a Western icon as he heads up a strong ensemble of cowboys seeking vengeance for their parents. Wayne is joined by Dean Martin, George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper, Earl Holliman, and more in this terrifically entertaining film delivering Western action and familial hijinks.
Sam Raimi is an unlikely filmmaker to deliver a truly memorable western, but he does just that with The Quick And The Dead (pictured). Its freshness hits right out of the gate with Sharon Stone as a lady gunslinger facing off against a deliciously evil Gene Hackman. The supporting cast includes Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, Gary Sinise, and plenty of other recognizable faces. The highlights keep coming, though, as Raimi brings his creative and energetic visual style to the Western genre resulting in some highly entertaining sequences.
New Genre Movies
Last year was an odd one at the movies, and with people staying home more there were new films that were missed in the shuffle. Gretel & Hansel (which comes knocking on January 7th) tackles the familiar enough tale of lost siblings and a witch in the woods, but filmmaker Osgood Perkins reimagines it with an intriguing feminist slant. The underappreciated Sophia Lillis headlines and delivers an intriguing turn on a classic fairy tale.
The Rhythm Section (pictured, starts playing on January 11th) is an action/thriller about a woman seeking revenge, but it makes some interesting choices along the way. Blake Lively is quite good in the lead role even if the character goes through some sharp turns, and Jude Law is along for the ride doing what he does best: playing a charismatic but shifty supporting character. Action fans should give it a spin.
Finally, Mortal (premiering January 29th) delivers something of a genre blender with its tale of a young man who discovers some extraordinary powers. Andre Øvredal directs and captures some solid genre beats, and Nat Wolff is a solid lead, but the real highlight here is a third act reveal that turns an ordinary enough feature into an unexpected superhero origin story. You can kind of see it coming along the way, but it’s still an entertaining turn of events.
The Complete Amazon Prime List for January 2021
|Bloody Sunday (2002)|
|The Brass Legend (1956)|
|Broken Arrow (1996)|
|The Brothers Mcmullen (1995)|
|Confessions Of A Shopaholic (2009)|
|The Cooler (2003)|
|The Devil's Own (1997)|
|Donnie Brasco (1997)|
|Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)|
|Escape From Alcatraz (1979)|
|Eve's Bayou (1997)|
|The Firm (1993)|
|Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974)|
|Girl Most Likely (2013)|
|Good Luck Chuck (2007)|
|Gun Duel In Durango (1957)|
|Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957)|
|In & Out (1997)|
|The Interview (2014)|
|Jazz (2001) (PBS Documentaries)|
|Kiss The Girls (1997)|
|Last Of The Mohicans (1992)|
|The Legend Of Bagger Vance (2000)|
|Like A Boss (2020)|
|The Longest Yard (1974)|
|Love The Coopers (2015)|
|Major League (2015)|
|Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World (2003)|
|A Night At The Roxbury (1998)|
|The Peacemaker (1997)|
|Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)|
|Places In The Heart (1984)|
|The Quick And The Dead (1995)|
|Regarding Henry (1991)|
|Ride Out For Revenge (1958)|
|Signed, Sealed, Delivered (2013) (Hallmark)|
|The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965)|
|Soul Food (1997)|
|St. Elmo's Fire (1985)|
|Star Trek Beyond (2016)|
|The Town (2010)|
|The Truman Show (1998)|
|Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys (2008)|
|Vampire In Brooklyn (1995)|
|Walking Tall (1973)|
|When A Man Loves A Woman (1994)|
|Where Hope Grows (2015)|
|Wonder Boys (2000)|
|1/6||Mighty Oak (2020)|
|1/7||Gretel & Hansel (2020)|
|1/8||Herself (2020)||Amazon Original Movie|
|The Silencing (2020)|
|1/11||The Rhythm Section (2020)|
|1/15||One Night In Miami (2020)||Amazon Original Movie|
|Tandav: Season 1|
|Pandora: Season 2|
|1/19||Grantchester: Season 5|
|1/22||Flack: Season 1||Amazon Original Series|
|Jessy and Nessy: New Episodes||Amazon Original Series|
|1/29||Chick Fight (2020)|