19 Best Movies to Watch From Amazon MGM Studios

Staff & contributors

Many people lament the decline of the mid-budget drama with Hollywood A-listers in the lead roles, and for good reason: when the charms of an inspirational, feel-good true story work, they really work. The Burial seems to have been made with this same, unabashedly sentimental attitude, and it makes for an endlessly watchable courtroom underdog tale. The film moves with real energy between its more comedic asides and its more urgent themes of underprivileged people being taken advantage of by wealthy companies. And while it still would've probably been effective as just a straightforward legal drama, the movie makes the effort to seek out a bigger picture—deepening its own title by grounding all its characters against complicated race relations in Mississippi.

Director and co-writer Maggie Betts doesn't stray too far from the template that these kinds of films operate with (perhaps to a fault, especially during its climactic moments), but the cast she's assembled is unimpeachable. Jamie Foxx turns in the kind of funny, energetic, deeply felt star performance that earned him an Oscar almost 20 years ago, while Tommy Lee Jones brings a powerful sense of modesty and centeredness to a role that could've easily taken a back seat to his flashier co-lead. Supporting turns from Jurnee Smollett and Alan Ruck round out a uniformly great ensemble that gives this small movie a commanding air of prestige.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, History

Actor: Alan Ruck, Amanda Warren, Andrea Frankle, B.J. Clinkscales, Bill Camp, Billy Slaughter, Christopher Winchester, David Alexander, David Maldonado, David Shae, Donna DuPlantier, Dorian Missick, Doug Spearman, Eric Mendenhall, Erika Robel, Evan Brinkman, Fracaswell Hyman, George Ketsios, Gralen Bryant Banks, Jalene Mack, Jamie Foxx, Jason Bayle, Jim Klock, Jurnee Smollett, Keith Jefferson, Lance E. Nichols, Logan Macrae, Lorna Street Dopson, Mamoudou Athie, Mike Harkins, Olivia Brody, Pamela Reed, Sam Malone, Summer Selby, Teisha Speight, Tommy Lee Jones, Tywayne Wheatt, Vince Pisani

Director: Margaret Betts

Rating: R

Celebrities are often described as being “vulnerable” in documentaries, but it’s never been more fitting in this case. Here, Celine Dion opens up about her near-paralyzing illness, which affects her vocal cords and muscles and consequently prohibits her from performing on stage. We see clips of the star having spasms and breakdowns as she tries and fails and tries again to get her voice back. More than just a simple biography of what Dion has achieved, which we already know is massive, the film is largely about the doubt that creeps in and threatens to rock your sense of self, and the strength of the human spirit to persevere despite all that. The film is bracingly, unflinchingly raw, but it’s never exploitative, thanks partly to director Irene Taylor’s gentle direction and to Dion’s unwavering resilience.

Genre: Documentary, Music

Actor: Céline Dion, Eddy Angélil, Nelson Angélil, René Angélil, René-Charles Angélil

Director: Irene Taylor

Rating: PG

Silver Dollar Road isn’t a new story– it’s one of many that comes as a consequence of systematic Black land loss that continues to happen to this day. Director Raoul Peck tells it in a new way, completely focusing on the Reels family and hearing their story entirely, from the initial confusion to two of the homeowners’ incarceration, and remembering the good old days when they used to enjoy the land. The land dispute has escalated to years of harassment, imprisonment, and being taken advantage of from opportunistic legal counsel. While it could have benefitted from from detailed legal proceedings, Silver Dollar Road still powerfully depicts an intimate family story that outlines the systemic racism enabling Black land loss today.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Kim Renee Duhon, Mamie Reels Ellison

Director: Raoul Peck

Rating: PG

As biopics go, Cassandro skews towards the conventional. It follows a template familiar to anyone who has seen a life-story movie about the underdog climbing up the ranks thanks to their unmatchable heart and talent. But it’s also a template that’s elevated by Bernal’s wonderful performance and Roger Ross Williams’ careful and naturalistic direction. Save for a few melodramatic moments, many parts of Cassandro feel fresh and authentic, not least of which is Saúl's heartwarming relationship with his mother Yocasta (Perla De La Rosa). It’s unapologetic joy is another element that sets it apart: instead of being punished for his flamboyance and cheer, Saúl is rewarded for it. This seems like a rare triumph in LGBTQ+ stories, and on that merit alone Cassandro deserves to be seen. 

Genre: Drama

Actor: Bad Bunny, El Hijo del Santo, Gael García Bernal, Joaquín Cosío, Julieta Ortiz, Leonardo Alonso, Mark Vasconcellos, Perla de la Rosa, Raúl Castillo, Roberta Colindrez, Yavor Vesselinov

Director: Roger Ross Williams

Rating: R

We’ve already seen the coming-of-age conflict presented in Música in other films– namely, where parents, society, and loved ones expect things from a male protagonist, but he has a passion for his creative endeavors, only awakened by a gorgeous girl that recognizes his talent. It’s a cliché storyline, even for a musical, but we’ve never heard it this way before, the way Rudy Mancuso takes in the day-to-day noise of his Brazilian neighborhood in Newark and turns it into a musical soundscape paired with rhythmic dancing, theatrical set pieces, and a metanarrative portrayed by his puppets that he says is unfortunately real. There’s something special in the way Mancuso’s directorial debut unfolds, so visually and sonically creative, with a lot of heart that we’ve been missing.

Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance

Actor: Andy Grotelueschen, Andy Muschietti, Bia Borin, Bianca Comparato, Camila Mendes, Camila Senna, Francesca Reale, Gregory Jones, J.B. Smoove, José Báez, Maria Mancuso, Milly Guzman, Regina Schneider, Rudy Mancuso

Director: Rudy Mancuso

Rating: PG-13

In the vein of classic 80s films, Totally Killer is an homage to the genres that got its heyday in the decade. This film happens to be a serial killer mystery, a time-travel sci-fi adventure, and a teen comedy all at once. With mentions of Back to the Future and Molly Ringwald, the new addition to the Prime Video’s current horror roster makes a throwback to when these genres were at its peak. But these throwbacks aren’t just for style – like how true crime rehashes old cases for content, the small town of Vernon still rehashes the serial murders for entertainment, as if stuck and unable to move on from its glory days. Admittedly, this film does the same sin. Plenty of the twists and turns can feel predictable to those familiar with 80s movies. But the multi-genre mix still feels like a fun ride, even when it contradicts the point it’s making.

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction

Actor: Alex Pychtin, Amy Goodmurphy, Andrew Barber, Andy Thompson, Anna Diaz, Brendan O'Brien, Charlie Gillespie, Conrad Coates, Eliza Norbury, Ella Choi, Fred Henderson, Jeremy Monn-Djasgnar, Jonathan Potts, Julie Bowen, Kelcey Mawema, Kevin Osea, Kiernan Shipka, Kimberly Huie, Liana Liberato, Lochlyn Munro, Madeleine Kelders, Olivia Holt, Pam Kearns, Patti Kim, Randall Park, Shahrokh Ferdowsi, Stephi Chin-Salvo, Tate Chernen, Tommy Europe, Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Valin Shinyei, Vanessa Prasad, Zachary Gibson

Director: Nahnatchka Khan

Rating: R

No one watches a romantic comedy expecting anything novel, although it’s nice to be surprised once in a while. In the past years, we’ve seen movies like Rye Lane and Palm Springs subvert expectations and give the genre a pleasant, refreshing twist. Upgraded isn’t like those movies. It’s pretty standard and formulaic, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t enjoyable—Amazon Prime’s latest romcom is breezy good fun from start to end. The predictable parts of the film are buoyed by vibrant performances. As leading lady Ana, Camila Mendes expertly toes the line between approachable and aspirational, while Marisa Tomei delivers campy goodness as Ana's boss Claire Dupree, who is like a less serious, more humorous Miranda Priestly. In fact, the entire film is like a pleasant blend of The Devil Wears Prada and every single Cinderella story in Hollywood, from Pretty Woman to What a Girl Wants. If you’re looking for something new, you can skip this film, but if you like recalling your favorites and are satisfied by performances before anything else, then Upgraded comes highly recommended.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Aimee Carrero, Alex McNally, Andrew Schulz, Anthony Stewart Head, Archie Renaux, Camila Mendes, Carlson Young, Fola Evans-Akingbola, Grégory Montel, Joe Osborne, Lena Olin, Marisa Tomei, Matteo Lane, Paul Hawkyard, Rachel Matthews, Renny Krupinski, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Thomas Kretschmann

Director: Carlson Young

Rating: R

For a romantic comedy with a fairy tale premise (a star falls in love with a regular person, and a much older one at that), The Idea of You is surprisingly relevant. It interweaves its romance with discussions of ageism and sexism, making it more self-aware than other movies in the same genre. But with that relevance comes a certain dryness; The Idea of You, for all its steamy scenes, lacks the sensuality and charm of a legitimate romcom. Solene is overly cautious, which doesn’t give much way to mystery and mistakes. She makes for a wise role model sure, but not necessarily a rootable heroine. If you like your romcoms to be more on the smart and predictable side, then you’ll enjoy The Idea of You. But if you prefer more hearty laughs and big gestures, then you’re better off looking for another title to stream.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance

Actor: Adele, Angela Davis, Anne Hathaway, Annie Mumolo, Bethany Brown, Brent Bailey, Chandler Lovelle, Cheech Manohar, Demi Castro, Dustin Lewis, Ella Rubin, Grace Junot, Graham Norton, Hedy Nasser, Holly Morris, Jon Levine, Jordan Aaron Hall, Lauren Revard, Mathilda Gianopoulos, Meg Millidge, Melanie Kiran, Nicholas Galitzine, Nina Bloomgarden, Perry Mattfeld, Rashal James, Raymond Cham Jr., Reid Scott, Roxy Rivera, Tiffany Morgan, Trevor David

Director: Michael Showalter

Rating: R

While this documentary may not provide the level of insight or as cohesive a narrative as other films from recent years about children's entertainment, Hot Potato benefits from the sheer charm and approachability of The Wiggles themselves. It's inspiring to see these men and women be perfectly ordinary people who just patiently put in the work to get to where they are today. The film doesn't necessarily find a central idea or philosophy behind The Wiggles' music, but their creativity and enthusiasm for performing manages to turn the simplest things (like fruit salad) into a celebration of life. The documentary isn't particularly good at balancing its tones, especially when it deals with the struggles that various Wiggles have faced in their personal lives, but it remains likable and wholesome all the same.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Anthony Field, Bindi Irwin, Caterina Mete, Emma Watkins, Evie Ferris, Greg Page, Jeff Fatt, John Travolta, Lachlan Gillespie, Lucia Field, Matthew Broderick, Murray Cook, Paul Field, Paul Paddick, Robert De Niro, Sam Moran, Sarah Jessica Parker, Simon Pryce, Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, Tsehay Hawkins

Director: Sally Aitken

This is Me…Now is more than just a glorified music video. It’s a personal confessional for one, and a surprisingly effective comedy for another. In parts, Jennifer Lopez speaks to her therapist (Fat Joe) about the dreams she’s been having, which then give way to surreal sequences of Lopez singing songs off her latest album, all about love and personal growth. You’d have to be a fan of Lopez’s pop style to appreciate the music, but the choreography is mesmerizing and, dare I say, Lopez’s true strength. When she’s not regaling us with her thoughts on love, we have the Council of Zodiac Signs, played by a stacked cast that includes Jane Fonda, Sofia Vergara, and Trevor Noah, to humor us with their genuinely funny observations. Lopez obviously has a vision, and it’s admirably big and earnest, but the technical side of the film fails her. Except for the ornate storybook opener, most of the dream sequences are gray and sludgy, and they rarely reflect Lopez’s rose-tinted view of life. I wish the film had more light, but instead, we get melty, inferior CGI work that is just painful to look at. Some people might be able to forgive this, but because film is largely a visual medium, I find that it ultimately detracts from the experience.

Genre: Drama, Music

Actor: Alex West, Alexander Pelaez, Alix Angelis, Ashley Versher, Ben Affleck, Brandon Delsid, Carlito Olivero, Danielle Larracuente, Derek Hough, Fat Joe, Idaliz Christian, Jane Fonda, Jay Shetty, Jenifer Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, Jocelyn Marie, Keke Palmer, Kim Petras, Malcolm Kelner, Matthew Law, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Paul Raci, Post Malone, Sadhguru, Sofia Vergara, Trevor Jackson, Trevor Noah

Director: Dave Meyers

Rating: PG-13

When injustice takes away the ones you love, and when what you relied on abandoned you, it can be hard to open up again. Breath of Life is a story of a man that has gone through this, a man betrayed by both God and the colonial powers that once celebrated his talents, but he finds new purpose when his hired househelp enters his life. While the cast is great, the choice to stick completely in English feels disarming, some of the events that follow go down cliche paths, and the solutions found feel contrary to its intended message. Breath of Life has an interesting point, but the themes don’t mix as well as they could have.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Ademola Adedoyin, Chimezie Imo, Genoveva Umeh, Wale Ojo

Director: Bodunrin Sasore

A Million Miles Away sticks so closely to the Hollywood biopic template that it threatens to be less about José Hernández as a person with his own complexities and more about the idea of him as a one-size-fits-all inspirational figure. This isn't to say the film isn't effective when it really counts; Hernández is worth admiring not necessarily because of his ultimate success, but because how much he failed and got back up again. Director Alejandra Márquez Abella keeps the film's tone light and bouncy, flattening some of its more serious moments, but also helping make Hernández's long, hard road to space more of a process of discovery. It's easy, inspiring viewing that quietly tiptoes past harder questions about poverty and NASA's potentially discriminatory practices.

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Ashley Ciarra, Blake Webb, Bobby Soto, Constantino Caso, Dylan Hall, Emma Fassler, Eric Johnson, Francisco Barreiro, Garret Dillahunt, Gerardo Trejoluna, Isaac Arellanes, Isabel Aerenlund, Jordan Dean, Jorge Briseño, Julio Cedillo, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Marilyn Uribe, Mercedes Hernández, Michael Adler, Michael Peña, Michelle Krusiec, Peter Theis, Rosa Salazar, Sam Harrison, Sarayu Blue, Steve Kisicki, Veronica Falcón, Xochiquetzal Martínez

Director: Alejandra Márquez Abella

Rating: PG