We’ll be honest; this isn’t going to be a vintage month for Netflix. In the past, we’ve been blessed with multi-hour epic originals, treats directed by Scorsese and Coen Brothers — and hidden gems that have brightened the darkness of drab, dragging winters. We’ve had Tiger Kings, Chess Queens and series we couldn’t binge fast enough.
February 2021, by comparison, is looking a little drab. But, despite the lack of any discernible buzz (save perhaps for the moody monochrome of Malcolm & Marie) we’ve sifted through the series and features to find the best things to watch on Netflix this month…
Snakes on a Plane, February 1st
Let’s start as we mean to go on; with Samuel L Jackson kicking a python in the face. Snakes on a Plane may be bad (it really is bad), but it’s also the sort of hammy, schlocky filmmaking that’ll see you through February with a smile on your face. Genuine lines include: “Turn this big motherf**ker left!”, “This s**t is bananas!” and “Well, that’s good news. Snakes on crack!”
Detroit, February TBC
A pivot, now, to a film with fewer murderous reptiles — unless you count Will Poulter’s cold-blooded, corrupt police officer (which you probably should). Kathryn Bigelow’s visceral take on the US city’s 1967 riots is a must-watch film — starring John Boyega and Will Poulter in a hard-hitting history lesson-slash-impressive showcase of young British acting talent.
Tribes of Europa, February 19th
Next up, the first of two future-set, foreign-language titles to hit Netflix in February. Tribes of Europa may sound like a cult prog-rock band, but it’s actually a German dystopian drama set in 2074. The world has descended into a bunch of warring tribal micro-states — where big fur coats and bushy moustaches seem almost obligatory — and we follow a set of siblings determined to make a difference.
Space Sweepers, February 5th
Once you’re done with Tribes of Europa, stick on Space Sweepers — a 2092-set Korean space blockbuster. On board the spaceship Victory, this film follows a rag-tag crew as they attempt to escape the destruction of Earth. Expect cute stowaway children, cuter droid-y robots and some genuine impressive, shiny visuals.
News of The World, February 10th
You had us at Tom Hanks. Brought to Netflix by the Bourne franchise director Paul Greengrass, News of the World is a western starring Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks’ beard and newcomer Helena Zegel. Hanks plays a Civil War veteran who travels across America reading out newspapers to remote townsfolk. He stumbles across a young girl and must return her to her family — crossing criminals, radicals and shoot-outs along the way.
Red Dot, February 11th
Another foreign-language offering, Netflix original Red Dot is a Scandi thriller set in the wilds of northern Sweden. A couple take a romantic trip, but are soon pursued by a red dot — similar to the sight of a sniper rifle, or one of those laser pointers you used to play with at school. The trailer is completely baffling — in a good way. We hope the film will be similarly intriguing.
Pelé, February 23rd
It may not be getting the wide theatrical release of Diego Maradona — 2019’s dramatic study of the late, great Argentine star — but Pelé is certain to pack a similar punch. Charting the career highs and lows of the 20th century footballing legend, this new documentary strings together archive footage and interviews as Edson Arantes do Nascimento goes from poverty to World Cup winner.
Next, February 1st
We’ll be honest — we thought this was a different late-noughties Nicolas Cage sci-fi film about seeing into the future. We thought it was Knowing. But it’s not. Whereas Knowing is a genuinely exciting thriller, Next sees Cage playing small-time Las Vegas magician Cris Johnson, a man trying to evade heavily armed terrorists and the FBI. It’s about as good as it sounds. Watch Knowing first (it’s also on Netflix) and give this a go if you want more of the same (or slightly worse).
Animals on the Loose, February 16th
In a round-up that contains futuristic dystopian dramas and actual snakes on an actual plane, Animals on the Loose is somehow the strangest offering on Netflix this month.
Using the audience-choice technology created from Black Mirror’s middling Bandersnatch, viewers must control Bear Grylls as he attempts to track down and recapture a lion and a baboon that have escaped from a wildlife sanctuary. Highlights include a fight in a lagoon with a boa constrictor (where’s Samuel L Jackson when you need him?).
Malcolm & Marie, February 5th
Finally, something to look forward to. Easily the most exciting launch of February sees Tenet’s John David Washington and Euphoria’s Zendaya team up for a black-and-white, Oscar-tipped take on the intricacies and pitfalls of love. It’s set to be a heavy, arty watch — and perhaps not one to stick on if lockdown has tested your own relationship…
Looking a little further ahead? These are the films we’re watching out for this year…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.