My birthday is in January, so for selfish reasons I’ve always been immune to Blue Monday. Plus, I find the first month of the year more motivating than depressing, but by the time February rolls around, the inspiration has worn off, winter is straight winter-ing, and every other ad you see is — shudder — Valentine’s Day–related. February’s only saving grace is that it’s Black History Month.
It's OK fellow February haters, there are plenty of ways to distract from the frigid temperatures and corny commercials. There’s Netflix for that. Here are the top 10 titles coming to Netflix Canada in February.
Netflix original film High Flying Bird debuted at Sundance this week to rave reviews. It’s directed by Steven Soderbergh, shot entirely on an iPhone, and written by Moonlight co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. I was sold based on those facts alone, but here’s some more: The cast is stacked with powerhouse actors like Moonlight’s Andre Holland, Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz, with scene-stealers Zachary Quinto, Kyle MacLachlan, and Bill Duke. High Flying Bird is about a sports agent (Holland) in the middle of an NBA lockout trying to save his career with a 72-hour deadline. On February 8, we find out if he drains a buzzer beater. You’re lucky that was my only bad basketball pun.
Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with Dan Gilroy, the director of Nightcrawler, and his co-star Rene Russo for this thriller about the bougie art scene in L.A. If Velvet Buzzsaw gives us nothing else, at least we’ve got this clip of Gyllenhaal correcting Dan Gilroy’s pronunciation of “melancholy” that I can’t stop watching. If Gyllenhaal gives even half of the performance he does in that clip, I’m in. Toni Collette, Billy Magnussen, Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), Daveed Diggs, Zawe Ashton, and John Malkovich round out the cast. February 1.
Rolling Stone calls Natasha Lyonne a “revelation” in Russian Doll, the Netflix comedy series she created with Amy Poehler, about a woman who dies and wakes up over and over again in the middle of her 36th birthday. We’ve seen the “repeat the same day” trope a lot in movies (Groundhog Day being the OG of course), but this sounds like a fresh take on a clichéd concept and a good vehicle to finally showcase Lyonne’s underrated talent. Bonus: Every one of the show’s eight episodes were directed by women. February 1.
Hasan Minhaj's take on the political satire talk show is one of the most nuanced and genuinely funny series of its kind. The former Daily Show correspondent brings his signature brand of blunt and charming humour to some seriously heavy topics. In Season 1, an episode was pulledin Saudi Arabia for Minhaj’s (valid)criticism of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the country’s role in the devastation in Yemen. The episode was brilliant, informative and somehow made me laugh while tackling sh-t that should not be funny. More of this in season two, please. It starts streaming Sundays, beginning February 10.
5. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This documentary has a 98 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was generally beloved when it dropped last year — just like Fred Rogers himself. The late puppeteer/writer/producer/America’s friendliest neighbour is immortalized in this heartfelt documentary that proves he was one of the good ones. During the 30-year run of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers spoke openly and honestly to children about the tough stuff, without condescension, and became a staple in homes around the world. Rogers was a genuinely decent human being just trying to make the world a better place. No scandal. No dirty secrets. Just a good dude. What a concept. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is the top-grossing biographical documentary of all time, and yet it got snubbed by the Oscars for a nom. Watch it for a good cry and so you can be just as mad as I am that it won’t compete for Best Documentary Feature. February 1.
February is Black History Month, so it’s a fitting time to look back at the story of Sam Cooke, one of the most outspoken and important artists of the Civil Rights Movement in America, and the man behind the timeless classic “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Cooke was murdered outside of an L.A. motel the age of 33. Director Kelly Duane de la Vega does a deep dive into the circumstances surrounding his death and asks whether Cooke was silenced for using his voice to speak up for the rights of Black people in America. February 8.
I know I threw some hate at Valentine’s Day above but since February is the month of romance, it gives me an excuse to gush over one of the most under-appreciated bad rom-coms of the past decade. Leap Year is so bad it’s good. No, it’s not a great movie, but it’s got GREAT performances by Amy Adams as Anna, an uptight real-estate stager determined to propose to her boyfriend for a Celtic tradition, and Matthew Goode as Declan, a surly Irish innkeeper. It’s the classic "we hate each other but secretly love each other" plot we’ve come to know and love (or hate) in romantic comedies, but this one works because of the sheer charm of Adams and Goode. February 6.
I have a few television rules but one I swear by, without fail, every time, is this: Watch everything Tami Taylor is ever in. Tami Taylor is, of course, the seminal character played by Connie Britton on Friday Night Lights. This rule applies to almost every actor who appeared on FNL (especially Michael B. Jordan) but Connie gets my blind faith every time because she’s an extraordinary actor, and anyone who kept Nashville on the air for as long as she did deserves major credit. Dirty John was adapted from a popular podcast about how a romance between a wealthy businesswoman Debra Newell (Britton) and a charismatic man named John Meehan (Eric Bana) goes terribly wrong. Sounds like the perfect Valentine’s Day counter-programming to Leap Year. February 14.
Ken Jeong was a successful comedian long before Crazy Rich Asians, but after the groundbreaking success of that film, now seems like the perfect time for Jeong’s first-ever stand-up comedy special. It’s directed by Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu and follows Jeong’s life as a doctor turned comedy superstar. Jeong’s story isn’t just funny, it’s also emotional. His wife battled breast cancer while he was starring in The Hangover and the special is dedicated to her, if you hadn’t guessed from the incredibly moving title. February 14.
Unless you’re a die-hard My Chemical Romance fan, you may not have known that front man Gerard Way created and wrote a successful comic book series called The Umbrella Academy. It has been adapted into a new Netflix series starring Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, and Mary J. Blige. The story goes like this: Estranged siblings are reunited after their father’s death — they’ve got powers, family secrets to uncover and the world to save. Netflix describes the show with three words: mind-bending, offbeat, and imaginative. February 15.
See below for a full list of the titles coming and leaving Netflix Canada in February.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part III
Dear Ex (Netflix Original)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Nightflyers (Netflix Original)
Siempre bruja (Netflix Original)
Snow White & the Huntsman
The Lego Batman Movie
The Road to El Dorado
Velvet Buzzsaw (NetflixOriginal)
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Bordertown: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner (Netflix Original)
Shameless: Season 8
Jaws: The Revenge
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
¡Nailed It! México (Netflix Original)
El árbol de la sangre (Netflix Film)
Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History (Netflix Original)
One Day at a Time: Season 3 (Netflix Original)
The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
Unauthorized Living (Netflix Original)
The Break: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
Flavorful Origins: Chaoshan Cuisine (Netflix Original)
Dating Around (Netflix Original)
Larry Charles' Dangerous World of Comedy (Netflix Original)
The Breaker Upperers (Netflix Film)
The Dragon Prince: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
Yucatan (Netflix Film)
Kong: Skull Island
Gomorrah: Season 2
The Drug King
Chef's Table: Volume 6 (Netflix Original)
Firebrand (Netflix Original)
GO! Vive a tu manera (Netflix Original)
Paddleton (Netflix Original)
Paris Is Us (Paris est à nous) (Netflix Original)
Rebellion: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
Suburra: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
The Big Family Cooking Showdown: Season 2 (Netflix Original)
The Photographer of Mauthausen (Netflix Film)
Van Helsing: Season 3 (Netflix Original)
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments: Season 3B (Netflix Original)
Billy Graham: An Extraordinary Journey
PAW Patrol: Season 3
Batman vs. Robin
The King's Speech