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What to Watch: February Streaming Guide

“Nomadland” hits Hulu on February 19. (Searchlight Pictures)

This guide was originally written for CLTure.org.

As the weather gets chillier, the list of reasons to stay inside and binge gets longer – and all of the new movies and shows hitting streamers this month help too.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect rom-com to set the mood on Valentine’s Day, the latest Oscar contenders, or your new favorite series to obsess over, we’ve got you covered.

Here are all the best new watches hitting Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and Hulu in February:  

* = Original Streaming Content

MOVIES

Malcolm & Marie* – Feb. 5 (Netflix)

Zendaya and John David Washington – need we say more? Two of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars are teaming up with writer-director Sam Levinson (Euphoria) to deliver a last-minute awards contender for Netflix. Shot in just two weeks last summer under strict COVID-19 protocols, Malcolm & Marie is 106 minutes of the titular couple going at it as their relationship is pushed to its limits. As the trailer teases, “This is not a love story. This is the story of love,” so maybe give this one a test viewing before deciding it’s the perfect Valentine’s Day movie for you and your boo.

Space Sweepers* – Feb. 5 (Netflix)

A film 10 years in the making, Space Sweepers is finally set to hit Netflix, and when it does, it will become the first Korean space blockbuster ever made. Set in the distant future, Earth has become uninhabitable, leaving nowhere to go but up. But in space, it’s not all sunshine and roses either. The lower class are forced to salvage and sell space debris in order to make ends meet, but when a gang of scavenging misfits – think Guardians of the Galaxy-type banter – pick up the wrong piece of junk, things get crazy. If you’re looking to mix it up and broaden your global film perspective this month, Space Sweepers is here to help.

Judas and the Black Messiah – Feb. 12 (HBO Max)

Did someone say last-minute Oscar contenders? Judas and the Black Messiah would like a word. Telling the infuriating and heartbreaking true story of the U.S. government’s efforts to take down the Black Panther Party and its leader Fred Hampton, this film feels incredibly timely after the political and civil unrest of the last four years. Stars Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You) have already garnered high praise for their performances and are both expected to be contenders for acting nominations. Judas will become the latest of Warner Bros. and HBO Max’s films to hit the theaters and the streamer on the same day, and it will remain on the latter for a month after its release, so don’t wait to watch it!

To All the Boys: Always and Forever* – Feb. 12 (Netflix)

After four years and two films, Lara Jean’s love story is set to come to a close in the third and final chapter of the To All the Boys series – and just in time for Valentine’s Day. With graduation looming and the real world right around the corner, Always and Forever isn’t holding back as it ups the drama, romance and production value in this globe-trotting finale. Plus, if you’re really looking to binge, catch up on the series’s first two films on Netflix, too!

Nomadland – Feb. 19 (Hulu)

Nomadland is certainly an Oscar frontrunner, but don’t let its February release fool you – it’s not last-minute. Writer-director Chloé Zhao’s film premiered last September at the Venice Film Festival and took home the top prize, before also earning the highest award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Since then, it’s had limited theatrical and streaming releases, but at last it will now be available to the masses on Hulu. Set in 2011, Francis McDormand stars as Fern, a laid off factory worker suffering to survive the Great Recession. As a result, she packs up and travels the country living out of her van as a modern-day nomad, working odd jobs here and there to make ends meet – a struggle that hits close to home right now, as many across the country are unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. McDormand is a strong contender to take home Best Actress at the Oscars, and Zhao is in the middle of the Best Director discussion, which would make her the first Asian woman ever nominated.

I Care A Lot* – Feb. 19 (Netflix)

Rosamund Pike has already proven she can portray a ruthless villain in Gone Girl, but how about a lighter, but equally despicable bad guy? In I Care A Lot she does just that as a con artist who gains legal guardianship of elderly folks and drains them for all they’re worth, but this time around her target is connected to some very powerful gangsters. Starring Pike and Peter Dinklage, this crime comedy is poised to be an under-the-radar hit this month.

The United States Vs. Billie Holiday – Feb. 25 (Hulu)

We all know Andra Day has the voice of an angel, but she’s about to show the world what she can do on camera, too, in this biographical drama. Based on the book Chasing the Scream, this film tells the true story of the U.S. government’s quest to silence the jazz singer’s revolutionary calls for justice and stifle her popularity. Directed by Oscar-nominee Lee Daniels, The United States Vs. Billie Holiday is getting a bit of awards buzz and could make a late push.

Tom & Jerry – Feb. 26 (HBO Max)

Relive your childhood glory days with this modern take on the world’s most iconic cat and mouse duo. This animation-live-action hybrid features cartoon versions of the titular animals inserted into the real world alongside the likes of Michael Peña, Chloë Grace Moretz and Ken Jeong. As Jerry makes himself at the hotel managed by Peña’s character, Moretz and the rest of the staff team up with Tom to rid the building of its mouse problem. As you can expect, hijinks ensue – mostly at Tom’s expense. While this one may be geared towards a younger audience, it’s sure to strike a chord with anyone who watched the old cartoons growing up.

SHOWS

WandaVision* – Every Friday (Disney+) 

After a yearlong hiatus in 2020 due to countless delays, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has triumphantly returned this year, and it all starts with WandaVision. The first of Marvel’s new television series to hit Disney+, WandaVision is unlike anything the superhero franchise has ever done before, turning back the clock and replicating decades of iconic television style, from the ‘50s and I Love Lucy all the way up to a Modern Family-themed episode coming soon. Along the way, the typical MCU look and feel is mixed in as characters from across the franchises come together to try and figure out what’s going on here. New episodes hit Disney+ every Friday. 

Good Girls (Season 3) – Feb. 15 (Netflix)

In case you missed out on the third season of Good Girls when it aired live on NBC last year, all 11 episodes are coming to Netflix this month. What started as a fairly simple supermarket heist has now evolved into murder, money laundering and a lengthy list of other transgressions, but despite the heavy subject matter, this crime-comedy always manages to stay true to its comedic roots. With all 11 episodes streaming at once, get ready to binge.  

Snowfall (Season 4) – Feb. 25 (Hulu)

Set in 1980s Los Angeles, Snowfall explores the crack epidemic and how it shaped the future of the city and its people. The new season begins in 1985 as President Ronald Reagan kicks off  his second term and ramps up his “War on Drugs.” The first two episodes debut on FX on February 24th, and thanks to Hulu’s next-day streaming you can catch up on the new season starting on the 25th and every following Thursday.

DOCUMENTARIES

The New York Times Presents: “Framing Britney Spears” – Feb. 5 (Hulu)

The latest episode in The New York Times and FX’s collection of standalone documentaries sets its sights on one of the music industry’s most infamous and misunderstood stars: Britney Spears. Known just as much for her hit songs as she is for her head-shaving breakdowns, what most casual fans don’t know about Spears is the details of her years-long legal battles against her father. Stuck in a court-sanctioned conservatorship, Spears has no control over the fortune she earned as a performer, but instead the decisions fall to her father. Through interviews with family friends, marketing professionals and the lawyer fighting on Spears’ behalf, this documentary dives into all the intricacies of the legal battle.

There Is No “I” In Threesome – Feb. 11 (HBO Max)

With only one year left until Ollie and Zoe tie the knot and put an end to their promiscuity, the real-life couple is taking advantage of the final days of their open relationship – and it’s all on camera. That’s what happens when you’re a documentary filmmaker, your fiancé is an actress, and your lovelife is a drama worthy of the big screen. What started as a project meant to highlight alternatives to monogamy quickly evolves into a test of jealousy, trust and the strength of the couple’s love. 

Pelé* – Feb. 23 (Netflix)

He’s one of the most iconic names in the history of soccer, and now Pelé’s story is getting the Netflix treatment in this documentary film. Featuring a mix of never-before-seen archival footage and new interviews with teammates and the legend himself, this doc tracks the footballer’s evolution from superstar to global inspiration, all throughout a dramatic time in Brazil’s history. 

ICYMI

The Little Things – HBO Max

The first of Warner Bros. 2021 releases to hit HBO Max, The Little Things provides a chilling and suspenseful murder mystery that will have any true-crime fans hook, line and sinker. Starring three Oscar winners in Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, this crime drama is the definition of a slow burn, methodically building its suspense throughout.  Washington plays a hardened veteran detective while his partner, played by Malek, is the young hot shot, and together they do their best to close in on an extremely unsettling serial killer suspect played by Leto. 

Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer* – Netflix

Speaking of serial killers, trade in the fictionalized drama for the real deal with this Netflix true-crime docuseries. From 1984 to 1985, Los Angeles was terrorized by Richard Ramirez, a serial killer dubbed the Night Stalker. Unlike most killers, Ramirez’s crimes were patternless, not targeting any specific subset of victims, which meant anyone could be next. This four-episode series dives into the multiple cases with interviews and accounts from survivors, family and friends of victims, and the law enforcement officials responsible for tracking down the killer.

Lupin Netflix

This French mystery thriller has already cemented itself as the first bingeworthy show of the new year, and for good reason. Omar Sy stars as a professional thief out for revenge on the man responsible for framing his father, but we’ll have to wait until this summer to find out what ends up happening. The streamer dropped the show’s first five episodes in January, but Part 2 won’t arrive until later this year.

Freaks and Geeks – Hulu 

Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s cult comedy classic is finally going mainstream on Hulu and you don’t want to miss it. Despite only lasting on NBC for one season in 2000, Freaks and Geeks has long been praised as one of the best television shows of all time, and it’s responsible for helping launch the careers of stars like James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Linda Caredellini. Don’t wait any longer, it’s time to check it out. 

Tiger* – HBO Max

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Tiger Woods is arguably the world’s greatest golfer. Now, this two-part HBO documentary is here to tell the full story behind Woods’s ascension to the top – and his subsequent fall from grace. Earning comparisons to the Michael Jordan-focused The Last Dance, Tiger tells the story of one man’s quest for perfection and the cost associated with it. 

Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.

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