Movie fans who limit their streaming options to Netflix are missing out. Amazon Prime has gained serious ground selection-wise and now stands as a real option to Netflix in all genres. Prime has tons of movies especially and their selection is different enough from Netflix that paying for both services is worth it... if you're a real movie fan that is. Here are five great films you can only get for free as a Prime member. Netflix doesn't have them.
1. Raising Victor Vargas (2002)
Starring: Victor Rasuk, Judy Marte, Melonie Diaz
Director Peter Sollett's sweet and funny coming-of-age film is a modern ghetto romance. Victor Vargas is a cocky kid with a reputation to keep on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He talks fast and walks fast, and spends much of his time being obsessing about girls. The neighborhood's chosen one, Judy, is on his mind most, but everyone wants her. Gradually, Victor wins Judy's affections, but his grandmother is old school and Victor has to respect his family's conservative values. The performances here are fantastic and true. The young cast members all use their real first names and have incredible chemistry.
2. 99 Homes (2014)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern
A searing drama set on the ground level of the American housing crisis. Andrew Garfield plays Dennis, a construction worker who can't pay his mortgage and is evicted ruthlessly, his belongings thrown on his front yard. Real estate bloodsucker Rick Carver (the sensational Michael Shannon) has no sympathy, but he does give Dennis a menial job clearing out abandoned houses for him. It's not long before Dennis is evicting people himself and questioning his integrity.
3. The Handmaiden (2016)
Starring: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Beautiful, sexy, funny, stylized... a thousand adjectives apply to director Park Chan-wook's tale of Sook-hee, a con artist posing as a handmaiden for a rich and gorgeous widow. Sook-hee is being paid to help convince the widow to remarry her conniving partner, Count Fujiwara, but the job turns out to be much more than she ever dreamed. She decides she wants the widow for herself. The Handmaiden was one of the dreamiest films of 2016 and a must-see for fans of Park (Stoker, Snowpiercer).
4. The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
Starring: Ian Holm, Bruce Greenwood, Sarah Polley, David Hemblen
I won't lie to you. This is a sad movie. It's really sad, and slow, and methodical, and beautiful. Based on real events, The Sweet Hereafter begins with a tragic school bus accident that kills 14 children in a small British Columbia town. The incident tears the community apart and a class-action lawsuit ensues. The film takes a close look at the strained relationships of the townspeople and how each of them looks for solace in their own way while struggling with the moral implications of a lawsuit.
5. Harsh Times (2005)
Starring: Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, Tammy Trull
I'm not going to say Harsh Times is a great film. It's not, but it is very entertaining and it does contain performances that deserve to be seen. Foremost is the work of Christian Bale. He plays a former Army Ranger with serious demons who returns home to South Central L.A. to become a cop. When he fails his psych test, he drags his best friend down with him and the two get wasted and get into the kind of trouble that might kill them both. Bale is a live wire here, fully dangerous and unpredictable.