February may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s packed with a ton of new streaming titles slated for release. There are so many, as a matter of fact, that it’s been a formidable effort to shave the fat down, so to speak, for our standard categories. Shout out to the honorable mentions, though, in Raised by Wolves Season 2 (HBO Max, Feb. 3), I Want You Back (Prime Video, Feb. 11) and Will Smith’s Bel-Air reboot (Peacock, Feb. 13). You can still check out those stories upon their releases. However, the main attractions and intriguing underdogs are in the list below.
Given it’s the traditional month of love, we of course added a romantic comedy to the final cut. But truth be told, these soon-to-be streaming movies and television shows in February are not all hearts and flowers. (That is, unless viewers consider several titles dealing with A.I. panic as romantic.) It’s also Black History Month, so there’s sure to be plenty of stories of forgotten history and fresh perspectives to explore. Admittedly, the majority of choices are way off the beaten path–even for the most up to date cinephile. So try something new and happy viewing!
A Show Everyone Will be Talking About: Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
Feb. 16 (episodes released weekly) | Netflix
Rapper Kanye West has made a lot of interesting (and frequently controversial) remarks throughout his career. The biggest one perhaps being that he is a certified artistic genius, or Jeen-Yuhs, as it is stylized in his upcoming Netflix documentary about himself. The three-part series is over 20 years in the making, including behind-the-scenes footage of West’s life and creative endeavors in that span of time. (Apparently, even his failed 2020 presidential campaign was fair game.) The first act premiered at Sundance recently and is already generating huge buzz, which will more than likely be the case again when it starts dropping on Wednesdays this February.
Watch This, Then That: The Girl Before and Kimi
Feb. 10 | HBO Max
Do you love thrillers with strong female leads? Sleek visuals? Themes surrounding the growing fear of our artificial intelligence being surpassed only by our fears of murderous humans? Well, then, we have the perfect double feature for you: HBO Max’s acquired the limited series The Girl Before and the feature film Kimi, both premiering on the platform on Feb. 10.
First released only in the U.K. on BBC late this past December, The Girl Before follows Jane Cavendish (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who moves into a minimalist “smart” house designed and overseen by its architect, Edward (David Oyelowo). But all doesn’t seem right as Jane starts learning more about Edward, his rules, and the home’s previous occupants. (Think modern-day Crimson Peak.)
Similarly, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s latest film Kimi sees Zoe Kravitz in the lead role of an agoraphobic “voice dream interpreter,” who overhears what sounds like a real crime taking place. She leaves her safe haven apartment, out into the big scary world, to report the crime–only to be met with opposition from bureaucrats and the A.I. technology called “Kimi” (equivalent to Amazon’s “Alexa”). The two stories hold everything one needs for a good thriller night: murder, intrigue, and distrust of hi-tech devices.
A Hidden Gem: Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship
Feb. 8 | Disney+, Hulu, NatGeo
National Geographic’s newest documentary film–Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship–digs into a terrible and often forgotten piece of history. It’s the story of the schooner called Clotilda, which is the most intact slave shipwreck ever to be discovered. Dating back to 1860, the vessel once carried 110 kidnapped African people across the sea for slave trade, only for its traffickers to later sink the ship in an effort to hide their crime from authorities. The doc features interviews with historians, maritime archeologists (who actually filmed a deep dive down to the wreckage), as well as descendants of the enslaved passengers. A vitally important story that needs to be heard. It premieres first on Nat Geo on Feb. 7 but will be available next day for streaming on Hulu.
Date Night: Book of Love
Feb. 4 | Prime Video
If February means Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day means date night, then date night means… romantic comedy. Therefore, the Amazon Prime original Book of Love is certainly an option on the menu. Sam Claflin (Me Before You) stretches his rom-com legs once again as the film’s main character, a writer whose work gets a little lost in Mexican translation. The trouble is largely thanks to a certain beautiful spitfire who’s also an aspiring writer moonlighting as a translator (played by Verónica Echegui). Technically, we’ve seen the same “opposites attract” formula play out countless times before, but the spark between the two actors seems to genuinely sizzle on screen. All in all, it’s something wholesome for both couples and singles alike on the big day of love.
Family Watch: The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder
Feb. 23 | Disney+
Twenty years after the original Proud Family premiered on Disney Channel, the iconic kids show (like many from the early aughts) is getting the revival treatment. In The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, slated for Disney+ this month, it’s the same family but in a new, 2020s era. The animation got a modernized facelift too. Penny Proud is now a teenager and she and the other characters deal with never-before-seen issues, such as gender non-conforming identities and homosexual relationships. But they all are as wacky and honest and hilarious as ever, making this a perfect option for millennial parents and the next generation to enjoy together.
An International Find: Bigbug
Feb. 11 | Netflix
Just imagine for a moment: Stepford Wives meets Squid Game meets I, Robot meets Amélie. Only then would you have some kind of summation of expectations for the French film Bigbug coming to Netflix. It’s a madcap satirical interpretation of what would happen if A.I. robots locked a bunch of humans in their suburban homes for their “safety.” (But much more whimsical in spirit.) Acclaimed director of the French classic Amélie and the wildly imaginative City of Lost Children, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, does in fact stand at the helm of Bigbug, so be prepared for a resplendent mix of the surreal with the banal. As only the French can do best.