As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
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The Edge of Seventeen (February 1)
In this high school melodrama, Hailee Steinfeld (Ender’s Game, True Grit) plays an awkward student who discovers that her best friend is in a relationship with her cooler-than-thou older brother. Also starring Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick, The Edge of Seventeen garnered widespread acclaim for its honest — and humorous — look at teenage life.
Jaws (February 1)
It’s the middle of winter, so chances are, you’re imagining a relaxing day at the beach to beat those icy doldrums. So it seems kind of mean for Netflix to begin streaming the movie that made crowds forever nervous about going into the water. Released in June of 1975, Jaws’ epic tale of “man vs. shark” created the template for all summer blockbusters to come. (If you’re willing to wade into even more shark-infested waters, Jaws 2 and Jaws 3 arrive on Netflix at the same time, too.)
Russian Doll (February 1)
In this original series by Amy Poehler, Natasha Lyonne, and Leslye Headland, Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black) plays a woman in her mid-thirties who keeps dying in embarrassing ways and re-living her 36th birthday all over again á la Groundhog Day. The trailer makes it pretty clear that this one’s sense of humor is going to run pretty dark and twisted, if that’s your thing.
Velvet Buzzsaw (February 1)
Jake Gyllenhaal reteams with writer/director Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) for this surreal thriller. Gyllenhaal portrays an art critic who becomes fascinated with a strange series of paintings, only to discover that they contain a supernatural force that’s killing people. The film, which looks like it takes a pretty satiric look at the art world, also stars Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, and John Malkovich.
The Dragon Prince, Season 2 (February 15)
The Dragon Prince’s first season created an intriguing fantasy setting in which the worlds of humans and elves are in conflict over an ancient betrayal. It falls to two human princes and a rogue elven warrior to try and bring about a new peace. Season one left several plot threads unresolved, so I’m looking forward to seeing how season two resolves them while showing us more of the series’ mythology. And hopefully, season two will also fix the series’ animation issues.
The Umbrella Academy, Season 1 (February 15)
If you’re tired of Marvel superheroics, then maybe this one’s for you. Based on the comic by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy follows a dysfunctional family of superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their adoptive father’s death — and possibly prevent the apocalypse. Ellen Page (X‑Men: Days of Future Past, Juno) stars alongside Mary J. Blige and Colm Feore.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in February 2019.
The Big Lebowski (February 1)
Make yourself a White Russian and get ready to spend some time with the Dude… I’ll admit, the first time I watched The Big Lebowski, I kind of hated it. It seemed so directionless and pointless. But then I realized that it’s more about the characters and their interactions then any standard plot (though one does exist). The movie boasts a number of classic scenes, from the discussion about the importance of rugs to a discussion about nihilism. Oh, and the trippiest bowling dream sequence in cinema history.
The Bourne Ultimatum (February 1)
The first three Bourne films represent some of the best action thrillers of the ’00s, as former government agent Jason Bourne attempts to recover his memory and identity while battling the covert government program that made him in the first place. The Bourne Ultimatum brings that trilogy to a thrilling conclusion, thanks to Matt Damon’s intense portrayal, some smart directing and writing, and truly thrilling action sequences.
Equilibrium (February 1)
In Equilibrium, a totalitarian government has outlawed emotions in order to prevent humanity from succumbing to its worst impulses. It’s corny-sounding premise, but Christian Bale brings gravitas to his “tortured lawman” role and the movie’s efficient plot, slick style, and modest scale makes it a fun dystopic ride. Special credit goes to the movie’s martial arts-influenced approach to gun fights, aka “gun kata,” which adds an interesting wrinkle to the many action sequences.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (February 1)
With a new Hellboy movie (starring Stranger Things’ David Harbour) coming out this April, now’s the perfect time to get reacquainted with Guillermo del Toro’s original take on the titular hero. In this 2008 film, Hellboy and his fellow supernatural soldiers find themselves guarding the world against an upstart elven prince who wants to destroy humanity with an unstoppable magical army.
The Royal Tenenbaums (February 1)
Arguably my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums is a dark, drier-than-dry — and at times, quite poignant — comedy about a trio of genius siblings who must confront their deadbeat dad when he announces that he’s dying. The film stars the usual Anderson players, along with Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, and Gene Hackman as the conniving-yet-lovable father, Royal, who seeks to redeem himself after causing his family years of grief.
Three Kings (February 1)
In the final days of the Gulf War, several U.S. soldiers set out to steal some gold bullion that the Iraqi army had taken from Kuwait — and quickly find themselves in over their heads. It’s by turns quirky and dark, poignant and cynical, but to his credit, writer/director David O. Russell navigates the tonal changes adroitly — and even throws in some experimental filmmaking for good measure. And he’s helped by solid acting from the likes of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze.
Wayne’s World (February 1)
Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth! Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar seem to have it made when their public access TV show is bought up by a big time producer. But will their newfound fame and money go to their heads and destroy their friendship? Wayne’s World was a huge cultural moment for my friends and I in high school. We’d drop phrases from the movie in every conversation and for a while, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was everyone’s favorite song.
Legion, Season 2 (February 3)
In Legion’s first season, David Haller discovers that he’s not schizophrenic; his episodes and experiences are actually the result of being one of Earth’s most powerful psychics. Hunted by government agents, he eventually finds community with other fellow mutants. However, David has an even bigger foe, a psychic parasite named the Shadow King who threatens his new life. I loved Legion’s first season thanks to its mind-bending visuals and skewed sense of reality — it’s arguably the most inventive Marvel series to date — and I’ve been eagerly awaiting season two.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in February 2019.
The Blues Brothers (February 1)
When Jake and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) learn that their old orphanage needs $5,000 to keep going, they decide to track down the members of their old blues band and put on a show to raise the money. Along the way, they’ll demolish a shopping mall, enrage a country band, take on some Nazis, and cause massive vehicular chaos across the state of Illinois. Arguably one of the best Saturday Night Live films, The Blues Brothers is a true cult classic.
The Matrix (February 1)
The first time I saw The Matrix was one of those moviegoing moments, where your mind is completely and thoroughly blown, and you can honestly say you’ve never seen anything like that before. In the ensuing years, the film has been copied, parodied, and whatnot to kingdom come, and the two sequels — which start streaming at the same time — muddled up the mythology a bit. But there’s no denying that The Matrix is a sci-fi/action movie classic. Whoa…
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (February 1)
True story: When I was in high school, a friend let me borrow a copy of Terminator 2 that he’d recorded off HBO. Not only was the movie mind-blowing in terms of special effects and action, but it was one of my first brushes with fan obsession. I must’ve watched the movie ten times in a single week. (I’m surprised that VHS tape survived the ordeal.) 26 years later, the movie still holds up as an action masterpiece, and the unstoppable liquid metal T‑1000 — played excellently by Robert Patrick — remains one of movie sci-fi’s best and most cleverly devised antagonists.
The Expanse, Season 3 (February 8)
You could make a good argument for The Expanse being the best sci-fi TV series around, thanks to its gripping, realistic plot about the rising tensions between various factions of humanity in the distant future — tensions that come to a boiling point after a strange phenomena is discovered. Season three was going to be The Expanse’s final season, but after a massive fan protest, Amazon announced that they’d picked up the series for several more seasons — which means even more Chrisjen Avasarala.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in February 2019. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.