Here are some terrific recent additions to the Amazon Prime Instant Video catalog, worth the rental or purchase price even if you aren’t an Amazon Prime member! Descriptions below are from IMDB.
Young Sherlock Holmes (PG-13, 4.5/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to buy in SD / $14.99 to buy in HD, currently FREE for Prime members to view)
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson meet as boys in an English Boarding school. Holmes is known for his deductive ability even as a youth, amazing his classmates with his abilities. When they discover a plot to murder a series of British business men by an Egyptian cult, they move to stop it.
- Written by John Vogel
KF on KND Editor’s remarks: This is a terrific, old-school style mystery-adventure with some fantastic special effects that hold up to this day. In particular, watch for a then-groundbreaking animation sequence in which a stained glass window comes to life; this sequence earned the film a visual effects Academy Award nomination. While the young lead actors may not be familiar faces, the behind-the-scenes roster is positively star-studded! The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus (Gremlins, Night at the Museum, Harry Potter films, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief), the director is Barry Levinson (The Perfect Storm, Rain Man), and the film’s producer is Steven Spielberg.
Anastasia (G, 4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to buy in SD / $12.99 to buy in HD, currently FREE for Prime members to view)
The daughter of last Russian Tsar, Anastasia, is found by two Russian con men, Dimitri and Vladimir, who seek the reward that her grandmother, Marie, promised to the ones who’ll find her. But the evil mystic of the Tsar family, Rasputin, still wants the Romanov family to be destroyed forever. - Written by Anonymous
KF on KND Editor’s remarks: This is an oft-overlooked gem, easily giving any of the classic Disney princess films a run for their money in terms of beauty, musicality, humor and a heroine you can root for. The voice cast is stellar, and includes Meg Ryan, John Cusack and Kelsey Grammer.
Hugo (PG, 4/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to buy in SD / $14.99 to buy in HD, currently FREE for Prime members to view)
Hugo is an orphan boy living in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris. He learned to fix clocks and other gadgets from his father and uncle which he puts to use keeping the train station clocks running. The only thing that he has left that connects him to his dead father is an automaton (mechanical man) that doesn’t work without a special key.
Hugo needs to find the key to unlock the secret he believes it contains. On his adventures, he meets George Melies, a shopkeeper, who works in the train station, and his adventure-seeking god-daughter. Hugo finds that they have a surprising connection to his father and the automaton, and he discovers it unlocks some memories the old man has buried inside regarding his past. - Written by napierslogs
KF on KND Editor’s remarks: When I took my kids to see this film in the theater (they were 15 and 9 at the time), I found it to be pretty boring but both kids absolutely loved it. The period sets and costumes and steampunky details are beautiful, and the performances are pretty strong across the board; I simply found the story kind of slow-moving. But where kids are concerned, count this one a crowd-pleaser.