Critics Agree—These Movies and TV Shows Are Actually Worth Your Time This Month

Updated 02/06/19
The best movies and TV shows on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO this month
@brooketestoni

Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but the hibernating season is far from over. With snow, rain, and sleet dominating daily forecasts, thawing temperatures are still several (long) months away. Luckily, there's a fresh crop of marathon-worthy movies and binge-able television shows to queue up while we await the proverbial darling buds of May. And, boy, is the lineup good this February.

As of today, Netflix is debuting its highly anticipated series Russian Doll, Amazon Prime is releasing the BBC's modern take on Agatha Christie's ABC Murders, Hulu is airing beloved modern classics like While You Were Sleeping and Mystic Pizza, and HBO is scaring the masses with its horror anthology Folklore. If you're looking to update your watch list, keep scrolling to find out which movies and TV shows are actually worth your time, according to the critics. 

Netflix

Russian Doll

The Show: Russian Doll. This highly anticipated Netflix original series created by Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler, and Natasha Lyonne promises to be a compulsively watchable show. Lyonne stars as a young woman living in New York City who discovers she might be stuck in a time loop.

The Critic's Endorsement: This series is already being hailed as a "a brilliant mix of satire, sci-fi, and sincerity" by The Atlantic. "The show's gimmick feels like Groundhog Day, until a twist midway through jolts the mystery up a level," the culture magazine teases.

Available to Stream: 2/1

Velvet Buzzsaw

The Movie: Velvet Buzzsaw. Jake Gyllenhaal and Renee Russo head up the star-studded cast of this satirical thriller set in Los Angeles' contemporary art scene from Dan Gilroy, the writer/director of Nightcrawler.

The Critic's Endorsement: "Its colorful, uniformly narcissistic ensemble enter and exit in fabulous outfits as they weave a tangled web of money, sex, and influence, but we know we're really just there to see who dies and how brutally," endorses Vulture.

Available to Stream: 2/1 

The Movie: Dear Ex. In this Mandarin-language film, a recently bereaved widow who is devastated to learn that her recently departed husband left his insurance payout to his gay lover.

The Critic's Endorsement: "The Chinese-language black comedy was a favorite on the Asian festival circuit and won an array of regional awards," reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Available to Stream: 2/1

The Tree of Blood (El árbol de la sangre)

The Movie: El árbol de la sangre. This Spanish-language romantic thriller (the title translates to The Tree of Blood) follows a young couple tracing the roots of their genealogical history. Lurking in the shadows is a dark secret that threatens to tear them apart. 

The Critic's Endorsement: "The Tree of Blood returns [director Julio Medem] to the themes of some of his best-known titles in its mix of seeming fatalism, sexual passion and atavistic violence, as it unfolds the tale," reports Variety.

Available to Stream: 2/8

The Umbrella Academy

The Show: The Umbrella Academy. Based on the award-winning Dark Horse comic series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, this Netflix original show follows a dysfunctional family of estranged superheroes who are forced to reunite in the wake of their adoptive father's death.

The Critic's Endorsement: "Netflix's The Umbrella Academy is even weirder than the comic. It's an absolute must see," raves The Washington Post.

Available to Stream: 2/15

Amazon Prime

Thelma & Louise

The Movie: Thelma & Louise. This Academy Award-winning drama starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as two friends turned outlaws on the run was originally released in 1991—and it still holds up in 2019.

The Critic's Endorsement: "Thelma & Louise is powerful in part because it's about more than friendship," according to The Atlantic. "It's about transformation and liberation that at once intensely personal and deeply political. It's about escaping, however fantastically, the agonizing constraints of gender, class, time, and place."

Available to Stream: 2/1

Agatha Christie Presents: ABC Murders

The Show: Agatha Christie Presents: ABC Murders. This thrilling BBC miniseries starring John Malkovich based on Agatha Christie's famed mystery is finally reaching an American audience this month thanks to Amazon.

The Critic's Endorsement: "John Malkovich, despite being born in Illinois, made the one Poirot I've ever really been able to believe in," writes Ed Power in Observer.

Available to Stream: 2/1

Lorena

The Show: Lorena. For fans of true crime, Jordan Peele's documentary about the notorious case of Lorena Bobbitt and John Wayne is a must watch on Amazon Prime this February.

The Critic's Endorsement: "Lorena wants to us to reckon with the wrenching truth of a supposedly juicy tabloid story, and the role that our culture’s fascination with exploiting it played in making it all so much worse," according to Variety.

Available to Stream: 2/8

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot

The Movie: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. Adapted from cartoonist John Callahan's autobiography, this insightful film is about how a life-altering accident led one man to uncover the healing powers of art.

The Critic's Endorsement: "The film sings with creativity and a feel-good '70s vibe and some fantastic dark humor," says the Chicago Sun Times.

Available to Stream: 2/8

White Dragon

The Show: White Dragon. Originally aired on ITV in the UK under the name Strangers, White Dragon is a thriller about a man who travels to Hong Kong looking for answers after learning his wife has been killed in a car accident on a dangerous mountain road only to step ing a tangled web of conspiracy theories.

The Critic's Endorsement: "Through [the show's leading actor, John Simms], we understand that the things we most love—nations, wives, lives—may be illusions, mere false representations of what they purport to be," endorses Ed Cumming in Independent.

Available to Stream: 2/8

Hulu

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums. Wes Anderson's quirky comedy about a dysfunctional family featuring an exceedingly talented ensemble comes to Hulu this February. 

The Critic's Endorsement: "It's funny, poignant, laced with irresistibly flawed characters and focuses on the power of love in a family, even when nothing seems to be working," says New York Daily News.

Available to Stream: 2/1

Dazed and Confused

The Movie: Dazed and Confused. Richard Linklater's acclaimed coming-of-age story set in the 1970s follows a group of students on their last day of high school.

The Critic's Endorsement: "The teenage wasteland, 1976-style, of Dazed and Confused is smack-dab between The Brady Bunch and Children of the Damned , and it's a scary, if sometimes giddily amusing, place to visit," reports Variety.

Available to Stream: 2/1

While You Were Sleeping

The Movie: While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman star in this charming romantic comedy about a woman who, due to a series of misunderstandings, is mistaken for a comatose man's fiancee and goes with it.

The Critic's Endorsement: "This is a formula film, but it has the kind of good cheer and fine tuning that occasionally give slickness a good name," according to The New York Times.

Available to Stream: 2/1

Mystic Pizza

The Movie: Mystic Pizza. This coming-of-age movie starring Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, and Lili Taylor as three recent high school grads navigating life in a small town is, as the tagline reads, "a romantic comedy with the works."

The Critic's Endorsement: "Mystic Pizza does create the feeling of a small resort town and the people who live there and, amazingly, given the familiar nature of a lot of the material, it nearly always keeps us interested," writes Roger Ebert.

Available to Stream: 2/1

Three Identical Strangers

The Movie: Three Identical Strangers. This engrossing documentary follows the reunion of three teenage identical triplets who were separated at birth and adopted by different families.

The Critic's Endorsement: Viewers "come away with a deeper understanding of both the importance of nature and the awesome importance of loving, sensitive parenting," writes the San Fransisco Chronicle.

Available to Stream: 2/26

HBO

Folklore

The Show: Folklore. HBO's horror anthology Folklore is comprised of six, hour-long episodes that take place across six Asian countries, each inspired by the superstitions and myths unique to each culture. 

The Critic's Endorsement: "Go ahead and catch up on your sleep debt now. You won’t be getting much shut eye next month," says Vulture.

Available to Stream: 2/1

2 Dope Queens

The Show: 2 Dope Queens. Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson's hit podcast turned HBO series returns for a second season of hilarious commentary on everything from politics to pop culture this month.

The Critic's Endorsement: "Although it's always fun to watch Williams and Robinson banter back and forth, it's their big interviews that make the strongest case for Queens to make the jump to the small screen," says Refinery29.

Available to Stream: 2/8

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The Movie: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Arguably the best biopic of 2018, Morgan Neville's documentary about the lovable Mister Fred Rogers comes to HBO in early February.

The Critic's Endorsement: "This documentary by Morgan Neville reveals that he really was just what he seemed to be at first innocent sight: a kind-hearted, square but saintly man who genuinely loved and understood children in a pure, sincere way," raves The Guardian.

Available to Stream: 2/9

United Skates

The Movie: United Skates. This documentary delves into the underground subculture of roller skating to shed a light on the communities that have been far too often overlooked by the mainstream.

The Critic's Endorsement: "This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects," raves The New York Times.

Available to Stream: 2/18

Last Week Tonight

The Show: Last Week Tonight. The Daily Show alum John Oliver can be found in his swivel chair on February 18 to begin a sixth season of providing some much-needed comic relief to the week's events. 

The Critic's Endorsement: "Oliver's concise takedowns are must-see TV (or must-watch-on-YouTube), not just because they're entertaining, but because they're thought-provoking and unafraid," endorses HuffPost.

Available to Stream: 2/18

Next Up: This documentary genre will change your life in one night.

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