Until we get the updated weather report from Punxsutawney Phil, it might remain best to stay inside, stay warm and stream. Below are the most interesting of what we’ve found among the new TV series and movies coming to the major streaming services in February, followed by a roundup of all the best new titles in all genres. (Streaming services occasionally change schedules without giving notice.)
It can be hard to tell whether the current obsession with the lifestyles of the rich and famous — now often referred to as Kardashian Syndrome — is old hat, or a sign of something seriously wrong with our society. The photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield investigates modern celebrity worship and the rampant consumerism that feeds into it by talking to bond traders, porn stars, child beauty pageant queens and the writer Bret Easton Ellis. Her film is most insightful, though, when she turns the camera on herself and her family and takes stock of their own values and aspirations. Could they be heading in the same sad direction as her other subjects?
The many-layered “Russian Doll” is a sort of downtown “Groundhog Day” — Nadia (Natasha Lyonne), a video game programmer, dies on the night of her 36th birthday party in the East Village, then wakes up to relive the same night and the same party all over again. And again. And again … Did she take a bad drug? Is she losing her mind? Or is something more existential in play? Lyonne, who created the show with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, is a revelation in this cleverly constructed, nearly perfect character study.
This supernatural satire takes us inside a pompous art scene in which the latest buzz surrounds the disturbing work of a recently deceased painter. The artist’s last wish was that all of his work be destroyed, but (spoiler alert) that doesn’t happen. Unpleasant, demonic occurrences unfold for anyone attempting to make a profit off the art, including a smug critic played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The writer-director Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”) finds plenty to laugh about even among the carnage.
John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) became a heavy drinker at the age of 12 and, after a car accident, a quadriplegic at 21. Despite his troubled beginnings, Callahan went on to become a noted cartoonist who managed to find caustic humor in the subject of disability. In “Don’t Worry,” based on Callahan’s memoir, the director Gus Van Sant also finds biting wit and brings an airy sweetness to this offbeat tale. The supporting cast, including Jonah Hill, Jack Black and Carrie Brownstein, is excellent. But this is Phoenix’s movie: He creates a portrait of a man who must learn how to bear this seemingly unbearable direction his life has suddenly taken and do so while making others laugh.
‘High Flying Bird’
Starts streaming: Feb. 8, on Netflix.
In this intimate, complex basketball drama from Steven Soderbergh, Ray (André Holland) is a top sports agent strategizing to get his players paid during an NBA lockout — which means deftly navigating a maze of contract negotiations, power structures and racial dynamics before the clock runs out. Soderbergh shot “High Flying Bird” on an iPhone (as he did with his previous feature “Unsane”), reportedly in just two weeks. But this doesn’t feel like a rush job: Instead, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s (“Moonlight”) tight, subversive script feels urgent and thrilling even though most of the action takes place on the sidelines or in offices, not on the court.
Starts streaming: Feb. 8, on Hulu.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle are fully grown adults, but in this coming-of-age comedy series co-produced by The Lonely Island, the actresses play versions of their 13-year-old selves in seventh grade. (All of their middle-school classmates are played by actual 13-year-olds. Wisely, when one of their characters has her first kiss, an adult’s lips stand in for the teenage actor’s in close up, minimizing the ick factor.) The series is as strange as it sounds, and maybe a little strained; but it mostly works because Erskine and Konkle are not that tall and slouch a lot. “Pen15” shows there’s fun to be had in mining the cognitive dissonance of grown-ups inserted into adolescent situations.
‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’
Starts streaming: Feb. 9, on HBO.
Morgan Neville’s documentary about Fred Rogers, the nicest neighbor in the history of television, is not an exposé revealing dark truths or secret scandals about the man inside the cardigan sweater. Instead, we learn that Rogers was a genuinely good person who saw his long-running show as a kind of ministry for children. (One of his sons calls him “the second Christ.”) Rogers himself might have felt as if he failed in his efforts to counter more popular, violent programming, but spending time with him here will make the world seem like a better place, at least for a little while.
‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season 1
Starts streaming: Feb. 15, on Netflix.
If Wes Anderson were inclined to make an emo superhero movie, it might turn out like “The Umbrella Academy.” Based on the hit graphic novel series by Gerard Way, the leader of the band My Chemical Romance, the series concerns a very dysfunctional family in which several gifted children have been adopted by an eccentric billionaire, given numbers for names and brought up to save the world. They’re also apparently in a competition to see which of them can be the most deadpan — while fending off an apocalypse, of course.
‘The Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy’
Starts streaming: Feb. 22, on Amazon.
Remember the quick, funny, fourth-wall-breaking cameos sprinkled into Adam McKay’s “The Big Short,” featuring the likes of Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez? McKay has taken that same technique and stretched it out into an eight-part docu-series hosted by Kal Penn. The film includes comedians like Zach Galifianakis, Pete Holmes and Rashida Jones, who help explain such knotty subjects as bitcoin, counterfeiting and money laundering (which is way too easy to do, by the way). Should you be appalled, or just take notes?
This disturbing documentary profiles a set of triplets separated as infants and adopted by three separate families. As young adults, the brothers reconnect by chance and even land a cameo in the Madonna movie “Desperately Seeking Susan.” Squint your eyes and this could almost pass for a feel-good reunion story. But it turns out social engineering has been at play and an insidious narrative is revealed. The more the brothers learn about their past, the more they wonder who they really are, and why.
Also Arriving This Month:
New to Amazon Prime Video: “The ABC Murders” (Feb. 1), “The Blues Brothers” (Feb. 1), “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (Feb. 1), “Marathon Man” (Feb. 1), “The Matrix” (Feb. 1), “The Portrait of a Lady” (Feb. 1), “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (Feb. 1), “Thelma & Louise” (Feb. 1), “Wayne’s World” (Feb. 1), “The Expanse” Season 3 (Feb. 8), “White Dragon” Season 1 (Feb. 8) and “The Party” (Feb. 17).
New to Hulu: “The Big Lebowski” (Jan. 1), “Born on the Fourth of July” (Feb. 1), “Caddyshack” (Feb. 1), “Capote” (Feb. 1), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Feb. 1), “Dazed and Confused” (Feb. 1), “Field of Dreams” (Feb. 1), “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (Feb. 1), “Hairspray” (Feb. 1), “Marathon Man” (Feb. 1), “Mississippi Burning” (Feb. 1), “Moonstruck” (Feb. 1), “Mystic Pizza” (Feb. 1), “The Portrait of a Lady” (Feb. 1), “The Royal Tenenbaums” (Feb. 1), “The Secret Garden” (Feb. 1), “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (Feb. 1), “Thelma & Louise” (Feb. 1), “Three Kings” (Feb. 1), “Wayne’s World” (Feb. 1), “Wedding Crashers” (Feb. 1), “Legion” Season 2 (Feb. 3), “The Party” (Feb. 17) and “The Sisters Brothers” (Feb. 18).
New to HBO: “The Bourne Identity” (Feb. 1), “Collateral” (Feb. 1), “The Pelican Brief” (Feb. 1), “Sunshine” (Feb. 1), “2 Dope Queens” Season 2 Premiere (Feb. 8), “Deadpool 2” (Feb. 16), “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” Season 6 Premiere (Feb. 18), “It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It” (Feb. 23) and “O.G.” (Feb. 23).
New to Netflix: “About a Boy” (Feb. 1), “As Good as It Gets” (Feb. 1), “Billy Elliot” (Feb. 1), “Hairspray” (Feb. 1), “Jaws” (Feb. 1), “Pretty in Pink” (Feb. 1), “The Edge of Seventeen” (Feb. 1), “Velvet Buzzsaw” (Feb. 1), “Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner” (Feb. 5), “One Day at a Time” Season 3 (Feb. 8), “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” Volume 2 (Feb. 10), “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho” (Feb. 14), “The Breaker Upperers” (Feb. 15), “Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy” (Feb. 15), “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” (Feb. 16) and “Paddleton” (Feb. 22).
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