The best movies new to streaming on Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, and Hulu (February 2023)


February is finally upon us! You know what that means: There’s a whole bushel’s worth of movies new to streaming this month to dive into and watch.

We’ve pored over the movies now available to Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Hulu, and more to bring you best of what this month has to offer so far in terms of subscription streaming selections. This month we’ve got Edge of Tomorrow, the 2014 time loop action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt; the Lord of the Rings trilogy on Netflix; Men in Black on Peacock; the indie anime comedy On-Gaku: Our Sound, and more. Here’s what to watch this month, based on everything new across the platforms.


New on Netflix

It (2017)

Image: New Line Cinema

Genre: Horror/thriller
Run time: 2h 15m
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis

Stephen King adaptations are everywhere and have been for almost 50 years, but few recent examples have struck gold in quite the way It Chapter One did. This movie smartly takes King’s epic story about a group of kids (and, later, adults) who face off with a murderous alien clown and splits it into two halves, telling the story of the young kids in Chapter One and saving their (less interesting) adult stories for Chapter Two. While that decision hamstrung the sequel, it frees up Chapter One to be a fun scare-a-minute ride with plenty of Pennywise the Dancing Clown and his terrifying shenanigans. —Austen Goslin

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

The fellowship gathers in Rivendell in Lord of the Rings

Image: New Line Cinema

Genre: Fantasy/adventure
Run time: 2h 58m (The Fellowship of the Ring); 2h 59m (The Two Towers); 3h 21m (The Return of the King)
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen

Peter Jackson’s game-changing trilogy returns to Netflix this month — that’s right, all three movies, for nine and a half hours of your viewing pleasure, with as many intermissions as you want. Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, and Ian McKellen (though we could go on) star in the best cinematic adaptation of high fantasy ever created.

The story of Frodo Baggins and the One Ring is of course timeless, and the Lord of the Rings movies have also aged phenomenally well from their 2001-03 debuts, especially for how groundbreaking their special effects were. Beyond blockbusters, Jackson and his crew — including screenwriters Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh — made each film deeply personal. The love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s prose and humanistic themes comes through in every line. We could say more (a year’s worth of more), but we don’t want to take up another nine and a half hours of your time. —Susana Polo

Underworld

A short-haired woman in a leather jumpsuit and black coat kneels on the edge of a building overlooking a city at night with church steeples and buildings in the distance.

Image: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Genre: Dark fantasy/action
Run time: 2h 1m
Director: Len Wiseman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly

Are you tired of funny vampires? Does What We Do in the Shadows make you turn up your nose? Are you bored of Anne Rice’s vampires? Do you wish Lestat would just get stuck in a well for a century? Do you want some vampire media that’s full of The Matrix cosplayers hissing cattily at each other in wood-paneled rooms and also badass werewolf fights? Something that takes itself so seriously it’d probably flinch away from any wardrobe piece not made of lace, leather, or silk?

Can I introduce you to Underworld, which is sort of a vampire/werewolf Romeo and Juliet with explosions and sort of a plot line from your college buddy’s Vampire: The Masquerade LARP? The hidden gem of it all is Bill Nighy doing his darndest as a vampiric leader woken up from torpor too soon. —SP

New on Hulu

If Beale Street Could Talk

Clementine “Tish” Rivers (KiKi Layne) and Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James) in If Beale Street Could Talk.

Image: Annapurna Pictures

Genre: Romantic drama
Run time: 1h 59m
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King

Barry Jenkins’ 2018 adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk is an achingly tender and beautiful story of love, hope, and freedom deferred by the institutional racism and the malicious indifference of the carceral state. KiKi Layne stars as Clementine “Tish” Rivers, a young woman who falls in love with her childhood friend Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James) and becomes pregnant with his child.

Dreaming of their life together, the couple’s hopes for the future are dashed when Fonny is falsely accused of rape and sent to jail. Boasting an impressive cast of supporting performances, led by Regina King and Colman Domingo as Tish’s parents, If Beale Street Could Talk is a tremendous work of cinematic excellence. —Toussaint Egan

New on Prime Video

Crank

Jason Statham as Chev Chelios clamping his tongue and right nipple with jumper cables in Crank.

Image: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Genre: Action/thriller
Run time: 1h 28m
Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Carlos Sanz

Viewers need to be in a very particular mood to enjoy 2006’s Crank, and that mood is expressly not “looking for a sophisticated, emotional adult drama that sheds light on the human condition.” Writer-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor — the revved-up duo behind Gamer and the hilariously awful Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance — borrowed the premise of the classic 1949 noir movie D.O.A., where a fatally poisoned man tries to solve his own murder before he dies. Then they ramped it up to hilariously manic heights. Jason Statham stars as a professional assassin who’s been poisoned, and can only stay alive as long as he keeps his heart racing through a series of frantic set pieces involving everything from picking fights with thugs to grabbing his girlfriend (Amy Smart) for some exceptionally exhibitionistic public sex. It’s all tongue-in-cheek and mercilessly silly, but Neveldine and Taylor are fully aware that the breathless, adrenalized action is mostly aimed at provoking shocked laughter. And Statham is eternally game for roles where he simultaneously plays a one-note tough guy and subverts the stereotype. This one’s pure goofy fun. —Tasha Robinson

Devil in a Blue Dress

Denzel Washington, wearing a white tanktop, reads the newspaper in Devil in a Blue Dress.

Image: Sony Pictures

Genre: Neo-noir mystery/thriller
Run time: 1h 42m
Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals

Carl Franklin’s adaptation of Walter Mosley’s excellent novel has it all: steamy noir Denzel, Don Cheadle in a “you have to see it to believe it” role, and all the necessary pieces for a great LA detective movie. It’s a crying shame we weren’t treated to many more Mosley adaptations with Denzel as Easy Rawlins. —Pete Volk

New on HBO Max

The Crazies (2010)

A group of ominous figures in lime-green hazmat suite and gas masks with red tinted lenses.

Image: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Genre: Horror
Run time: 1h 41m
Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson

Bleak, violent, and decidedly mean, this remake of George Romero’s 1973 horror classic borrows some of the earlier movie’s biggest beats while turning its anger up to 11. Just like the original, this remake takes place in a small town where a military plane crashes, unleashing chemical weapons that turn those infected into rage-filled monsters and murderers. The original was released at the height of government distrust in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam, and it plays its conspiratorial story like a covert CIA operation inside U.S. borders. Meanwhile, the remake plays up the security state a little more, letting a faceless government unleash terror on the town that its own evil creation doomed in the first place. —AG

Edge of Tomorrow

A woman (Emily Blunt) lifts herself from the floor of a training area after doing a series of push ups.

Image: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Genre: Sci-fi/action
Run time: 1h 53m
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

One of the best time loop movies ever, Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise as a military suit forced to play a part in saving the world from alien invaders. Thankfully, war hero Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) is there to help train him, along with his infinite looping attempts at living the same day over and over again. Perhaps the best and most interesting part of Edge of Tomorrow is that it’s the rare Tom Cruise vehicle that allows him to play against type. Edge of Tomorrow spends most of its run time breaking down our most competent movie star — best known as an ace pilot, pool prodigy, hotshot lawyer, and action super-genius — and letting us watch him fail over and over and over again until he gets it right just once. It’s simultaneously the most human Cruise has felt in a movie in decades, and one of the few on-screen reminders that one reason he’s so good at being a star is because he works so damn hard at it. —AG

Swiss Army Man

A pale injured man (Daniel Radcliffe) in a light blue suit and tie lying face up in a field of exotic foliage while a long-haired man in a burgundy hoodie (Paul Dano) leans over him.

Image: A24

Genre: Black comedy
Run time: 1h 37m
Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

With Daniels’ martial-arts-comedy-slash-existential-essay Everything Everywhere All at Once showing up all over this year’s Oscar nominations, it’s a perfect time to revisit their previous feature-length film, Swiss Army Man, which in every way feels like the project where they tested the waters to see exactly how weird they could go while still winning over an audience. Paul Dano stars as Hank, a lonely sad-sack marooned on an isolated island. Daniel Radcliffe is Manny, the rotting corpse Hank finds, befriends, and repurposes as an endlessly useful tool kit to help him escape and survive.

Much like the most outrageous parts of Everything Everywhere (we’re looking at you, anal-insertion fight sequence), Swiss Army Man is over-the-top ridiculous, entirely straight-faced about it, and full of fairly silly special effects. (It’s also a lot grosser and more fart-focused than EEAAO.) But also like EEAAO, it’s warm, humanistic, and philosophical. For a movie largely built around transgressive jokes about death and the decay of the human body, it’s surprisingly philosophical, thoughtful, and life-affirming. —TR

New on Peacock

Men in Black

Two men in a black suits and wielding futuristic weapons watch as a saucer-shaped vehicle crashes through a large statue resembling a globe.

Image: Columbia TriStar Home Video

Genre: Sci-fi action-comedy
Run time: 1h 38m
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino

All three Men in Black movies are hitting Peacock this month, but let’s be real: You only need to watch the first one. Starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (and shoutout to Vincent D’Onofrio in an early and unforgettable villain turn) in one of the last great biracial buddy cop action comedies of the 1990s, Men in Black is first of all a fabulous movie top to bottom. Second of all, it’s more subversive than we give it credit for.

The Men in Black are more than cops — better, the movie tells us. The “best of the best of the best” decorated soldiers, cops, and covert agents in America wash out of MiB recruitment the moment they fail to show an instinctual empathy for those on the other end of their guns. And while the sequels have favored spectacle over street scenes, the original is a loving portrait of New York City as a hub of blue collar (space alien) immigrants. Aliens walk among us, and they want the same things we do: freedom from persecution, opportunity for happiness, and safety for their families. —SP

Speed

A man with low-cropped black hair (Keanu Reeves) in a blue denim dress shirt and white undershirt stands beside a woman (Sandra Bullock) driving a bus.

Image: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Genre: Action/thriller
Run time: 1h 56m
Director: Jan de Bont
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock

Kind of the Crank of its day, the 1994 Jan de Bont thriller Speed (or, as The Simpsons dubbed it, The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down) has such a dumb premise that it’s almost brilliant. A terrorist wires a Los Angeles city bus to explode if its speed drops below 50 mph, so the LAPD — particularly Keanu Reeves as the one-man army dealing with the bus issue — has to find ways to keep it tearing around town while trying to save the people stuck on it. (Michael Bay has to have been thinking of Speed when he directed 2022’s Ambulance.) The genius of Speed is how seriously de Bont takes this crackpot idea, how sharp and slick he makes the action, and how well Reeves sells the idea of a cop dealing with such a lunatic plot, and everything that comes out of it. This one isn’t exactly a smart movie, but it’s still satisfying, and it’s easy to get yanked into the action as the writing team tries to come up with one new speeding-bus-related problem after another. —TR

New on Criterion Channel

On-Gaku: Our Sound

On-Gaku band jams out

Image: GKIDS

Genre: Musical comedy
Run time: 1h 11m
Director: Kenji Iwaisawa
Cast: Shintaro Sakamoto, Tateto Serizawa, Tomoya Maeno

Based on Hiroyuki Ohashi’s manga, Kenji Iwaisawa’s 2019 hand-drawn animated feature centers on a group of rowdy high school troublemakers who discover a sense of purpose and creative fulfillment after forming a small rock band after school. An independent production produced by a creative team with no prior experience in animation, On-Gaku: Our Sound is a brilliant oddball coming-of-age comedy that taps into the amateur DIY energy and aesthetic of Ohashi to create a cinematic experience that exemplifies that fragile yet indomitable spirit through and through. Iwaisawa’s film is as hilarious as it is visually impressive, and it’s one that absolutely warrants your attention this month. —TE



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