It’s a huge month on streaming thanks to the long-awaited arrival of Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” on Peacock. The atomic bomb epic, led by Cillian Murphy, grossed more than $950 million at the worldwide box office during a lengthy theatrical run that made “Oppenheimer” the highest-grossing biographical drama in history. It then became an awards season juggernaut, winning best picture prizes at the Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice Awards before landing a staggering 13 Oscar nominations. “Oppenheimer” is the most nominated film at the 2024 Academy Awards, where it’s widely viewed as the frontrunner for best picture.
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Beyond Christopher Nolan’s three-hour, R-rated masterpiece, February brings a lot of original romantic-comedy offerings as Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and more set to dominate Valentine’s Day weekend. Netflix is banking on “Jane the Virgin” favorite Gina Rodriguez and “Lucifer” star Tom Ellis to bring in the views with “Players,” while Prime Video is putting its cards on “Riverdale” alum Camila Mendes, who headlines the international rom-com “Upgraded.”
Check out a full rundown below of the buzzy new films to streaming this month.
Oppenheimer (Feb. 16 on Peacock)
At long last, Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb epic “Oppenheimer” arrives on Peacock this month after earning $955 million at the worldwide box office (the highest-grossing biographical drama in history) and picking up 13 Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director. The drama was named the best film of 2023 by Variety critic Owen Gleiberman: “Christopher Nolan’s mesmerizing drama became a testament to the promise that serious movies for adults can, and will, have a future in movie theaters…He stages ‘Oppenheimer’ as a coruscating light show of history, dazzling in every detail. It’s a film that draws you in with centrifugal force, even at it both celebrates and interrogates the fabled figure of J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Cillian Murphy as a charismatic mandarin whose scientific genius is matched by his self-justifying insolence.”
Past Lives (Feb 2. on Paramount+ With Showtime)
Celine Song’s rapturous debut “Past Lives” is nominated for two Oscars: best picture and best original screenplay. It was named the fourth best movie of 2023 by Variety film critic Peter Debruge: “Celine Song’s poetic debut offers a poignant counterpoint to A24’s busy, Oscar-winning ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ while suggesting a low-key alternative to that movie’s multiverse premise: What if, instead of there being infinite parallel realities, old souls found one another again and again over the centuries? Here, Nora (Greta Lee), a New York-based playwright born in Korea, reconnects with her childhood sweetheart (Teo Yoo), confronting what her life might have been.”
Priscilla (Feb. 23 on Max)
Cailee Spaeny won the best actress prize at the Venice Film Festival and picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the title role of Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” but the Oscars overlooked the rising star this year. Same goes for Jacob Elordi’s quietly menacing supporting turn as Elvis as well as Coppola’s deft directing and screenplay. From Variety’s review: “As Priscilla, Cailee Spaeny has an avid stare and a sharpness of spirit, and she makes a point of playing the teenage Priscilla as a typical American girl of her time, courtly and decorous, though with a taste for adventure…As for Elordi, he doesn’t look all that much like him. Yet his louche body language is perfect, and what he does with Elvis’s voice brings him closer to being a dead ringer than (in my opinion) Austin Butler was.”
Crossroads (Feb. 15 on Netflix)
Britney Spears’ film debut “Crossroads” is finally coming to streaming for the first time courtesy of Netflix. Shonda Rhimes, who went on to create “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” wrote the coming-of-age road movie, which was directed by Tamra Davis. The story follows three childhood friends, Lucy (Spears), Kit (Zoë Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning), who, after eight years apart, rediscover their friendship on a cross-country trip. “Crossroads” originally premiered in 2002 and, despite negative reviews, grossed $61 million globally. At the time Spears filmed “Crossroads” — which came out on Feb. 15, 2002 — she was in the midst of recording her third album and had already become the best-selling teenage artist of all time thanks to blockbuster singles like “Oops…I Did It Again” and “Baby One More Time.”
Monica (Feb. 25 on Hulu)
“Transparent” breakout Trace Lysette earned a much-deserved nomination for best lead performance at the Indie Spirit Awards thanks to her work in Andrea Pallaoro’s understated drama “Monica,” but that’s frustratingly as far as her awards prospects reached this Oscar season. Lysette stars in the film as a trans woman who returns home to her estranged family to care for her dying mother (Patricia Clarkson). Lysette is a sensitive force in the lead role, giving such a lived-in performance that even the film’s most intimate moments carry the emotional weight of an epic. Here’s hoping the film’s streaming debut on Hulu brings it a lot more eyeballs.
Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó (Feb. 9 on Disney+)
Rising director Sean Wang just won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival for his feature directorial debut “Didi,” which makes his Oscar-nominated short film “Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó” all the more of a must-see when it premieres on Disney+ this month. The film is a contender at the 2024 Academy Awards in the documentary short race. The 17-minute film follows the daily, often humorous, lives of Wang’s elderly maternal and paternal grandmothers who are best friends and live together. The short doc premiered at the 2023 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it took home the grand jury prize and audience award. Wang began filming his grandmothers in 2021 when he lived with them for a brief stint between a move from New York City to Los Angeles.
Shortcomings (Feb. 1 on Netflix)
A Japanese-American filmmaker on a temporary split from his girlfriend explores other romantic options while applying his cynical views on ethnic identity to everyone but himself in Randall Park’s feature directorial debut “Shortcomings,” based on the Adrian Tomine comic of the same name. The film’s cast includes Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, Tavi Gevinson ,Debby Ryan, Sonoya Mizuno, Jacob Batalon and Timothy Simons. From Variety’s review: “‘Shortcomings’ is also quite the event. It’s a fresh-faced, funny directorial debut from the ever-engaging Park…From the attractiveness of the cast to the chic-yet-normcore costuming right through to Santiago Gonzalez’s bright, easy-on-the-eye cinematography and a cleverly curated, hip soundtrack, it has an aesthetic that is much closer to ‘Always Be My Maybe.’”
Players (Feb. 14 on Netflix)
Netflix’s big Valentine’s Day offering this year is the original romantic-comedy “Players,” starring Gina Rodriguez (who led the streamer’s 2019 rom-com “Someone Great”) and Tom Ellis (best known for his leading role on the series “Lucifer,” which aired its final three seasons on Netflix to enormous popularity). Rodriguez stars as Mack, a New York City sportswriter who creates hookup schemes for her best friends to help them get laid. She becomes her own score when she meets Ellis’ Nick, one of the most eligible bachelors in the city. The supporting cast includes Damon Wayans Jr., Joel Courtney, Augustus Prew, Liza Koshy, Ego Nwodim and Marin Hinkle.
Mea Culpa (Feb. 23 on Netflix)
Tyler Perry delivers his latest Netflix original movie this month, a seductive crime romance that pairs Kelly Rowland with “Moonlight” breakout Trevante Rhodes. The plot centers on a criminal defense attorney who, in the hopes of becoming partner, takes on the case of an artist who may or may not have murdered his girlfriend. The ensemble cast also includes Sean Sagar, Nick Sagar and RonReaco Lee. “Mea Culpa” marks Perry’s fifth film directed for Netflix, following “A Fall From Grace,” “A Madea Homecoming,” the period drama “A Jazzman’s Blues” (Perry’s longtime passion project) and the upcoming World War II-set drama “Six Triple Eight,” which is likely due out later this year on the streaming platform.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (Feb. 23 on Netflix)
With Oscar season in full swing, it’s the perfect time for last year’s best picture winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” to make its Netflix debut. The film picked up seven Oscars, from best picture to best director and three acting prizes (actress for Michelle Yeoh, supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan and supporting actress for Jamie Lee Curtis). From Variety’s review: “It takes the red-pill mind-screw of ‘The Matrix’ and multiplies it by infinity. It’s ‘The OA’ on acid…True to their brand, the Daniels have made a film that reflects their off-the-wall sense of humor.”
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (Feb. 20 on Netflix)
“Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” barely made it past $40 million at the worldwide box office, making it a summer 2023 bomb for Universal Pictures, but family audiences may discover it more when hits Netflix this month after making its streaming debut on Peacock last fall. Lana Condor voices the title character, a teenage kraken girl desperate to fit in during her freshman year at Oceanside High. The voice cast also includes Toni Collette, Annie Murphy, Colman Domingo and Jane Fonda. From Variety’s review: “The film is a reasonably clever myth-twisting toon. The creative team’s high-concept take suggests ‘Twilight’ as a (literal) fish-out-of-water comedy, wherein a family of blue-skinned squid-things attempt to pass as human.”
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (Feb. 24 on Netflix)
A24 earned an Oscar nomination for best animated feature with “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” which gives Jenny Slate’s beloved online character the perfect star vehicle. The movie’s super-loose conceit imagines that director Dean Fleischer-Camp has landed at an Airbnb somewhere in Los Angeles, and there he discovers Marcel and his grandmother Nana Connie (a slightly larger shell voiced by Isabella Rossellini) and proceeds to film them. That’s all the explanation we get. Attempting to untangle any of the greater ontological questions about Marcel’s existence would only get in the way of the joke, which instead concentrates on how small and self-sufficient this curious little creature can be.
Code 8: Part II (Feb. 28 on Netflix)
Don’t be surprised if “Code 8: Part II” is the surprise Netflix smash hit of February. The movie is a sequel to the 2019 science-fiction action movie “Code 8,” which paired brothers Robbie Amell and Stephen Amell in the story about a man with superpowers who works with criminals to raise money to support his sick mother. The brothers made a short film version of the movie in 2016 as a way to secure financing for the feature, which earned a staggering $3.4 million in crowdfunding from fans and other donors. The film became a viral sensation, and now a sequel is being exclusively released on Netflix. The Amell brothers return as the story shifts focus to a young girl seeking justice for the death of her brother at the hands of the police.
Next Goal Wins (Feb. 15 on Hulu)
Taika Waititi’s sports comedy “Next Goal Wins” arrives on Hulu this month after a fall run at the box office where it made nearly $20 million worldwide. Michael Fassbender plays a downtrodden soccer coach who gets forced into leading the American Samoa national football team, considered one of the weakest soccer teams in the world, to qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. From Variety’s review: “You can figure out where ‘Next Goal Wins’ is going. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy getting on a bus doing 20 in a 35 zone, headed straight for a destination anyone can imagine a mile away.”
The Pod Generation (Feb. 16 on Hulu)
Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor headline writer-director Sophie Barthes’ “The Pod Generation,” which takes a look at pregnancy in the future as it follows a couple in New York who use new technological advances such as detachable artificial wombs to help grow their family. From Variety’s review: “One of the many things ‘The Pod Generation’ taps into is how the combined forces of technology and corporate power now seem almost designed to divide people off from each other…The film also takes witty swipes at everything from the privatization of education to the severing of food from nature. Barthes has made a cautionary tale that is not only oodles more relevant than ‘Don’t Worry Darling,’ but one that can speak to audiences with a casual audacity that outdoes what David Cronenberg tried to bring off in ‘Crimes of the Future.’”
Nomadland (Feb. 19 on Hulu)
It’s a great month to catch up on recent Oscar winners for best picture. Not only is “Everything Everywhere All at Once” streaming on Netflix, but Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” is returning to Hulu. The film took home three trophies at the 93rd Academy Awards: best picture, best director and best actress for Frances McDormand. She plays Fern, a 60-something Nevada widow who lost her house when the gypsum mine that had propped up the town of Empire closed for good. She now travels (and lives) in her run-down white van. From Variety’s review: “‘Nomadland’ benefits from Zhao’s instinctive curiosity and identification with outsiders, reminiscent of French filmmaker Agnès Varda, who turned her empathetic camera on vagabonds and gleaners in her innovative docu-fiction features.”
Kokomo City (Feb. 2 on Paramount+ With Showtime)
Grammy-nominated producer, singer and songwriter D. Smith makes her feature directorial debut with the Sundance-winning documentary “Kokomo City,” which follows the lives of four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York City – Daniella Carter, Koko Da Doll, Liyah Mitchell and Dominique Silver. From Variety’s review: “In its no-holds-barred approach, ‘Kokomo City’ aims to unpack why entrenched ideas of masculinity and gender roles make trans-ness so threatening to the Black community in particular. To hear them tell it, trans women have what Black men can’t get at home, but could, if they got past the shame of their sexuality.”
The Tiger’s Apprentice (Paramount+)
Paramount+ hopes to lure family audiences this month with the world premiere of its original animated offering “The Tiger’s Apprentice,” featuring a voice cast of Henry Golding, Lucy Liu, Bowen Yang Jo Koy, Sherry Cola, Sandra Oh and Michelle Yeoh. Based on Laurence Yep’s popular children’s book series of the same name, the movie follows a Chinese-American teenager whose life changes forever when he discovers he is part of a long lineage of magical protectors known as the Guardians. With guidance from a mythical tiger named Hu (Golding), he trains to take on Loo (Yeoh), a force that is as powerful as a Guardian but with evil intentions to use magic to destroy humanity.
Upgraded (Feb. 9 on Prime Video)
Prime Video’s bid for Valentine’s Day streaming dominance hinges on “Upgraded,” a romantic comedy starring “Riverdale” favorite Camila Mendes as an ambitious intern dreaming of a career in the art world while trying to impress her demanding boss Claire (Marisa Tomei). When she’s upgraded to first class on a work trip, she meets handsome Will (“Shadow and Bone” breakout Archie Renaux), who mistakes Ana for her boss – a white lie that sets off a glamorous chain of events, romance and opportunity, until her fib threatens to surface.
Five Blind Dates (Feb. 13 on Prime Video)
Another Prime Video rom-com offering this Valentine’s Day is the Australian original “Five Blind Dates.” The official synopsis reads: “Twenty-something Lia is stuck. Faced with her failing traditional Chinese tea shop inherited from her beloved grandma and the prospect of attending her younger sister’s impending wedding single and alone, she is reluctantly gifted with a prophecy – the fate of her shop and her love life are intertwined, and the secret lies in one of her next five dates. Under pressure from her family, Lia agrees to be set up with five different suitors. With her best friend Mason by her side, will Lia find herself (and love), or risk disappointing those she loves the most and losing the business she has put her whole life into.”
This Is Me…Now: A Love Story (Feb. 16 on Prime Video)
Jennifer Lopez’s ninth studio album “This Is Me…Now” is being released in tandem with a visual film that’s exclusive to Prime Video. The project, directed by music video icon Dave Meyers, is billed as a “a narrative driven, intimate, reflective, sexy, funny, fantastical and highly entertaining musical and visual reimagining of her publicly scrutinized love life… Alongside director Dave Meyers, Jennifer has created a narrative-driven cinematic odyssey, steeped in mythological storytelling and personal healing. Dropping in tandem with her first studio album in a decade, this genre-bending Amazon original showcases her journey to love through her own eyes. With fantastical costumes, breathtaking choreography, and star-studded cameos, this panorama is an introspective retrospective of Jennifer’s resilient heart.”
Strays (Feb. 6 on Prime Video)
After making its streaming debut on Peacock last year, the R-rated dog comedy “Strays” arrives on Prime Video this month at no extra cost to subscribers. Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx and Randall Park voice foul-mouthed canines hoping to reunite one stray with his owner. From Variety’s review: “Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, written by ‘American Vandal’ co-creator Dan Perrault and directed by ‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’ director Josh Greenbaum, ‘Strays’ balances human expectations and lost-in-translation animal experiences for a smart, suitably raunchy adventure that should resonate even if you don’t have a furry friend waiting at home for you afterward.”
Bottoms (Feb. 13 on Prime Video)
The raucous R-rated comedy “Bottoms” is finally landing on Prime Video at no extra cost to subscribers. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edibiri team up as high school losers who start a lady fight club to help them lose their virginities. From Variety’s review: “‘Bottoms,’ at moments, evokes the barb-wire camp of ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ crossed with the scandalous misanthropy of ‘Heathers.’ Yet unlike those movies, this one has a teasing humanity that sneaks up on you….This is the second feature directed by Emma Seligman, whose first film, ‘Shiva Baby’ (2021), was a critical darling, though I found it at once overdone and unconvincing. ‘Bottoms’ is a more confident and audacious piece of work, in part because Seligman has left realism behind. She has made a comedy of vicious gamesmanship, at once confessional and surreal.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Feb. 16 on Prime Video)
The Seth Rogen-produced animated adventure “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” arrives on Amazon Prime Video this month at no extra cost to subscribers after picking up $180 million at the worldwide box office last summer and originally streaming on Paramount+. The film, directed by Jeff Rowe, follows the turtles as they face off against an army of mutants and an evil crime syndicate in New York City. From Variety’s review: “The movie’s mostly just meant to be fun, and that it is, skewing young while giving lifelong fans (including those who grew up on the Turtles) plenty to geek out about.”
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