Amazon has begun to invest more in movies streaming exclusively at Amazon Prime Video, and it can be tough to keep up with the latest. As the rest of the catalog has shrunk, original content has grown, but even the giant retailer’s latest movies can be hard to find on the site. Below are a dozen of Amazon Prime’s biggest film releases over the last six months, covering everything from drama to horror to anime to action comedy. The quality varies as much as the genre.
Amazon Prime Release Date: Dec. 10, 2021
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Alia Shawkat, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale
Runtime: 131 minutes
Paste Review Score: 3.9
Watch on Amazon Prime
There’s a good movie baked into Being the Ricardos’ 131 minutes. It’s about 90 minutes long, maybe a little less. The remaining 41 minutes comprise an Aaron Sorkin movie, and like too much cream in a beautifully fried donut, they weigh down the total package with needless fat: Talking heads, flashbacks and archival footage. Lucille Ball’s story of perseverance, both in an industry that saw her as livestock to be herded rather than a professional to respect, and in a marriage held together by hot temperaments, hot sex and a collective drive to succeed, is an all-timer. Quite literally, the world that Being the Ricardos exists in wouldn’t without Ball and I Love Lucy. She’s a legend. She’s a pioneer. She’s shockingly good at pantomiming ineptitude. She’s Lucy! But Sorkin has never met a culture-altering figure he couldn’t interpret as one of his home-grown characters. There’s a reason Lucille Ball registers as Lucille at all, and that reason is Nicole Kidman, cast as the great comedienne, businesswoman and trailblazer in spite of the howls of protest on Twitter. Kidman may not be a 100% match for Ball in appearance, but boy does she commune with her spirit. Watching Kidman become Ball is dazzling. Being the Ricardos is set during one week in 1952, when the House Un-American Activities Committee accused her of being a communist, right as her popularity, and the sitcom I Love Lucy’s popularity, were at a high: More people tuned in for the show than for Eisenhower’s inauguration and the Queen’s coronation. Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem), Ball’s husband, co-star and the titular “I” of the show, wasn’t the only person who loved Lucy. America loved Lucy. This is a colossal production, of course, and while everyone else in the cast has a chance to stand out—Bardem as Arnaz, J.K. Simmons as William Frawley, Nina Arianda as Vivian Vance, Tony Hale as Jess Oppenheimer, Alia Shawkat as Madelyn Pugh—no one really does. As for Sorkin, he doesn’t seem as interested in characters as in status, putting more effort into crafting Being the Ricardos as rich, slick prestige bait via DP Jeff Cronenweth and the design team, who bring the 1950s to life with glossy brio. It’s a …….