New on Amazon in September: Hand of God, Up, Toy Story 1-3

The first season of the religious fanatic drama lands on the streaming site as well as a number of lighthearted, much-loved animated films from Pixar


Hand of God
From 4 September

Hand of God stars Ron Perlman as Pernell Harris, a man who is found naked, speaking in tongues, in the middle of a public fountain. He’s also a judge, so he finds himself on the news Asap. We soon learn that his son is in a coma (he shot himself after being forced at gunpoint to watch his wife being raped); the perpetrator hasn’t been caught. We also see that Judge Harris is experiencing hallucinations – but are they messages from God, his son, or signs of a breakdown? Add in more subplots including dodgy preachers, corrupt politicians, construction deals and a long-standing appointment with a call girl and you get some idea of the flavour of Amazon’s latest original drama. With Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives), Alona Tal (Broken City), Andre Royo (The Wire) and Julian Morris (Once Upon a Time).

The Following
Season 2 – available now

The Following is the story of serial killer-cum-cult-leader-cum-swarthy-stud Joe Carroll and his merry band of psychopathic followers, as they are relentlessly pursued by Kevin Bacon’s maverick (what else?) FBI agent Ryan Hardy. In the first series, Carroll, a university lecturer played with charismatic lunacy by James Purefoy, escaped from jail – where he had been sent for murdering several young female students – and assembled a group of like-minded loons to go around stabbing people. Kevin Bacon’s Hardy, who originally put Carroll away, tries to stop them. The finale of the series involved a jetty and a lot more stabbing, eventually ending in Carroll’s death. Or did it? Edward Tew

Criminal Minds
Seasons 1 to 9 – available now

From the start it has been pacy, witty and exciting – with twisty plotlines, thoughtful subtexts and great characters. The show follows the FBI’s behavioural analysis unit as they track down serial killers, terrorists and other dangerous threats to society. They study pathology, run statistics, cross-check patterns and utilise all the tools of modern crime fighting. But they also lean on intuition and experience. Darragh Mcmanus

Season 4 – available now

A smart and savvy show that’s both a sendup of, and homage to, the high-school genre. Frankie Mathieson

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 and Superman: Unbound
3 September

Frank Miller’s legendary graphic novel gets the animated treatment with Peter Weller as Batman and Lost’s Michael Emerson as The Joker. Superman: Unbound, based on the Superman: Brainiac comic, features Matt Bomer as Superman and Fringe’s John Noble as Brainiac.


The Dead Lands
Available now

Resembling Mel Gibson’s Mayan jungle drama Apocalypto with more overt Asian action-cinema influences, this similarly foliage-heavy epic powers away relentlessly and soon becomes numbing – except when Makoare waggles his tongue in traditional warrior manner, which is genuinely a fearsome thing to behold. Jonathan Romney

From 4 September

The Pixar-Disney animation from director Pete Docter is a lovely, charming and visually stunning family comedy which can leave no heart unwarmed, although very young children might be a bit scared at some of the chancier moments. Peter Bradshaw

We’re the Millers
From 6 September

Starring Ed Helms and Jennifer Aniston. A genial broad comedy directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (who gave us Dodgeball) about a small-time drug dealer who must appease a crime kingpin by bringing a vast amount of marijuana into the US from Mexico. PB

Dark City
From 10 September

Sci-fi fantasy about a man who wakes up believing he committed a crime, even though he cannot remember the event. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland and Rufus Sewell.

Toy Story
From 11 September

Its lightness of touch has not diminished, nor has its near-miraculous kidult-fusion humour. You can, if you want, remain slightly sneery about the root nostalgia underpinning the storyline – would any kid, these days, really love a plastic spaceman that much? – but the top-notch voicery (with Wallace Shawn standout as a neurotic T-Rex) makes everything hum along. Andrew Pulver

Monsters University
From 11 September

This prequel takes us back to Sulley and Mike’s student days at Monsters University: this is a standard buddy movie, sports movie and campus movie (with, incidentally, an eerie similarity to The Internship). There’s a reference to Carrie, which is so blandly non-specific and sanitised that it might not even count as a reference at all. It is funny. But the longed-for return to Pixar greatness seems as far away as ever. PB

From 17 September

“Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”

The Blind Side
From 17 September

The true-life story from which this Oscar-winning movie is taken may well be every bit as inspirational and remarkable as its fans believe it to be. But the film itself is dead from the neck up and the neck down: a Photoshopped image of reality that is bland, parochial, and stereotypically acted … Sandra Bullock got her Oscar for playing the tough-love Christian Republican wife and mother who takes in a troubled African-American teen and motivates him to greatness on the football field. PB

Toy Story 2
From 18 September

The story of Toy Story 2 is still bizarrely gripping and moving. Old-fashioned cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) is told to abandon dreams of being loved forever by kids and instead embrace his ­antiseptic destiny of existing in a toy museum ­behind glass. Kids are just fickle ­creatures. However painful it is in the short term, he must reject their flawed, inconstant love. Kids – and ­humanity ­itself – must be painfully, ­angrily ­rejected. It is strange that the moral ­dilemma endured by toys should be as real and compelling as anything in modern Hollywood. But there we are. PB

A Most Violent Year
From 20 September

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are quietly engrossing as the American dream couple, struggling to expand their domestic heating-fuel business by purchasing a Brooklyn waterfront plot that will bring them both power and prosperity. But with his fuel trucks being hijacked on a daily basis and the DA’s office interested only in investigating his own misdemeanours, Colombian-born Abel Morales (Isaac, channelling Al Pacino in Godfather III more than Scarface) is struggling to stay on the right side of the law. Meanwhile, doughty mob-daughter Anna (Chastain) urges her husband to sort things out before she does it for him, observing ominously: “You’re not going to like what’ll happen if I get involved.” Mark Kermode

The Emperor’s New Clothes
From 25 September

Essentially an expansion of his YouTube series “The Trews” (“true-news”, geddit?), Russell Brand’s sub-Michael Moore polemic finds the comedian-turned-activist failing to gain megaphone-waving access to the headquarters of major banks, with sporadically entertaining results. His bullet points are simple, nay simplistic: wealth inequality is bad, tax-dodging sucks, and you’re more likely to go to jail for small-scale benefit fraud than the wholesale pillaging of the economy. MK

Toy Story 3
From 25 September

The last and arguably the greatest of the Toy Stories – and the moment at which the modern golden age of animation appeared to come to an end. It is a joyous, heartrending parable of saying goodbye to one’s childhood – and accepting that one’s children will grow up and grow away. PB

From 27 September

In the still-segregated 1940s, Jackie Robinson made history by becoming the first African-American to compete in major league baseball in the modern era, and you’d have to work pretty hard to make a Horlicks of his heroic life story. It’s in safe hands here with Brian Helgeland, whose no-nonsense direction recalls the straight-bat delivery of late-period Clint Eastwood. MK

Going the Distance
From 29 September

Here is a romantic comedy with an interesting, real-world premise: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, but boy and girl have professional lives in different cities and have to endure a long-distance relationship on the phone, seeing each other only every month or so. Which of them should abandon their current job so they can be together properly as a couple? Justin Long plays Garrett, an A&R man in Manhattan; Drew Barrymore is Erin, a would-be journalist, who’s doing an internship at a New York paper, but who must return to San Francisco soon. PB

The Town
From 29 September

The energy, power and confidence with which director Ben Affleck puts together this blue-collar crime opera commands attention, and he even gets away with some of the macho-sentimentalism that always tends to sink this kind of movie. Affleck plays Doug, a career bank-robber who’s come up from the mean streets of Charlestown, a tough part of Boston. PB

The Last Five Years
From 29 September

Now here’s an enjoyable anomaly. The Last Five Years is not just a romcom for people who hate romcoms, it’s also a musical … Adapted from a 2001 stage show with lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown, The Last Five Years is somewhat school-of-Sondheim, in the best way. It’s essentially a two-hander, starting just after a New York couple’s break-up, as failed actress Cathy (Anna Kendrick) looks back on the course of her relationship with novelist Jamie (Broadway star Jeremy Jordan). JR

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