13 Must-See Movies Coming to Netflix in February

Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Keith Bernstein, Netflix

The movies popping up on Netflix in February are a grab bag of comfort food for Millennials, prestigious Oscar winners, and brand new wonders all swaddled in a huge nest of Netflix Original series. And stand-up specials. Oh, the stand-up specials.

The best of the bunch offer you a chance to either relax your brain with nostalgic familiarity or challenge it with complicated human challenges that run from the Civil War to a mute bartender dismantling a sci-fi gang operation.

Plus, since we’re in the age of infinite entertainment, if none of these titles perk your ears, our picks for the 25 best movies currently available to stream await your judgment. In the meantime, here are 10 can't-miss titles that are coming to Netflix in February.

1. GOODFELLAS (1990)

Spoiler alert: That guy was talking to Joe Pesci. The Godfather rightly gets a lot of accolades, but Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece of ambition is always in the running for best crime film of all time, anchored by Nicholas Pileggi’s real-life experiences, Thelma Schoonmaker’s peerless editing, and Ray Liotta’s manic portrayal of rising mobster/cocaine trade star Henry Hill. Endlessly quotable, now you can do your best De Niro in the comfort of your own home or while riding the bus.

2. MEN IN BLACK (1997)

On the lighter side of things, here's a movie where Will Smith catches an alien squid baby covered in what looks like runny mayonnaise. Smith’s follow-up to his career-launching turns in Bad Boys and Independence Day was a perfect showcase for his action and comedic chops that treated the end of the world with a smiling intensity. Smith got a chance to crack wise while Tommy Lee Jones bristles and Vincent D’Onofrio’s skin falls off his bones.

3. AMERICAN PIE (1999)

Paul and Chris Weitz’s surprisingly empathetic look at a group of insecure high school dudes promising to lose their virginity by graduation revitalized the sex comedy genre with a poppy soundtrack and the most advanced dial-up webcam technology of the day. The first two movies and three of its direct-to-DVD spinoffs are all coming to Netflix, so, you know, watch the first two movies and then go canoeing or start a glee club.

4., 5., AND 6. OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001), OCEAN’S TWELVE (2004), AND OCEAN’S THIRTEEN (2007)

Steven Soderbergh captured an incredible magic with Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, creating heist films with the biggest stars on the planet that somehow felt fresh and thrilling while promising at every turn that it would all work out just fine. George Clooney’s devil-may-care swagger and Brad Pitt’s constant snacking gave the movies wings, but they took a backseat to the real star: the labyrinthine plot winding through Las Vegas.

7. AND 8. KILL BILL: VOL. 1 (2003) AND VOL. 2 (2004)

Before John Wick, The Bride was revenging all over the place, leaving stylish bodies in her wake. Quentin Tarantino’s four-hour epic—which was eventually broken up into two films—updated grindhouse aggression for a 21st century audience, offering Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah, Lucy Liu, and Vivica A. Fox a platform to chew gloriously through scene after scene of destruction and dark revelations.

9. WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (2007)

Criminally underrated, the John C. Reilly-starring spoof is still sharp and hilarious—more than 10 years later. Reilly twists the self-seriousness of figures like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan into parodic genius, and the script from Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan takes exactly none of it seriously. It’s a pitch-perfect sendup of both protest-era musicians and their biopics.

10. THE HURT LOCKER (2008)

Percussive and harrowing, Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Picture winner was a sensation just five years into the Iraq War. Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) is a kind of superhero who’s an expert at disposing of bombs, using a sniper rifle, and sneaking off post without consequence. But even if his actions offer a comically inaccurate version of military operations, the movie is still profoundly compelling, and Renner digs as deep into his character as an actor can.

11. LINCOLN (2012)

If you happened to miss Steven Spielberg’s biopic of our 16th president’s courageous push to pass the 13th Amendment through an unfriendly congress, now’s your chance for a stunningly beautiful history lesson. Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar-winning performance as Abraham Lincoln is astonishingly layered, offering us a look at a man dwarfed by the crucible of the moment finding the intestinal fortitude and honor necessary to bend the arc of history.

12. THE RITUAL (2017)

A new release that played at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival, this woodsy horror flick is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Adam Nevill. The concept of old friends heading into the forest to relive warm memories and rehash old arguments is familiar, but the execution is surprising and clever. Directed by David Bruckner (who made his name with indie The Signal and the V/H/S anthology), it’s also gritty, unnerving, and should make you want to seal your camping equipment in your attic (if you feel safe going up there).

13. MUTE (2018)

A spiritual sequel to his breakout sci-fi meditation Moon, Duncan Jones has been trying to get Mute made for years. It focuses on a mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgård) looking for his missing girlfriend (Seyneb Saleh) in futuristic Berlin. Jones has shown incredible strength when playing in the science fiction sandbox, and the prospect of him riffing on Blade Runner is fantastically exciting, especially since it includes a cameo from Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, reprising his character from Moon and tying it into this new adventure, which Jones hopes will be the second of a trilogy.

The Elder Wand from Harry Potter Will Be Surprisingly Important in Fantastic Beasts 2

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

For about a year now, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been using an image of the Elder Wand in promotional teases, as pointed out by The Ringer. You surely remember the instrument—which is said to be the most powerful wand to have ever existed in JK Rowling's Wizarding World—from the original Harry Potter series. So just how important will it be to the Fantastic Beasts sequel? Extremely.

According to Pottermore, the Elder Wand (also known as the Deathstick or "The Wand of Destiny") is the most sought after of the three Deathly Hallows. According to "The Tale of the Three Brothers," a fairy tale often told to wizard children, the Elder Wand was given to Antioch Peverell by Death himself. Whoever was able to reunite the wand with the other two Deathly Hallows—the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility—would become the Master of Death.

As such, the Elder Wand is extremely dangerous—and can be made even more so, depending on the intentions of the wizard who possesses it. As Dumbledore once ​said in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "Those who are knowledgeable about wandlore will agree that wands do indeed absorb the expertise of those who use them."

So how does all of this connect to Fantastic Beasts? While in disguise in the first Fantastic Beasts movie, Gellert Grindelwald didn't carry the Elder Wand—though we know from previous installments that he had acquired it by the time the first movie takes place. Grindelwald stole the wand from Mykew Gregorovitch, stunning the wizard to gain the allegiance of the Elder Wand, sometime before 1926. But while promotional stills indicate that Grindelwald will have physical possession of the wand in this second movie, which witch or wizard has the wand's allegiance is less clear—after all, Newt Scamander captured Grindelwald at the end of the first film, and Tina Goldstein disarmed him.

However, we know from the Harry Potter series that Dumbledore takes possession of the Elder Wand after a duel in 1945, which is the same year the Fantastic Beasts series will end (so it's pretty safe to assume that Dumbledore and Grindelwald will face off in the series' fifth and final film). And Dumbledore's own words about how he came to possess the wand in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are also particularly telling. "I was fit to own the Elder Wand, and not to boast of it, and not to kill with it," he stated in the novel. "I was permitted to tame and to use it, because I took it, not for gain, but to save others from it."

We'll have to wait until this weekend to see how it all plays out in The Crimes of Grindelwald, but this is one story that will take several more installments to tell.

Simon Pegg Says New Star Wars Films Are Missing George Lucas's Imagination

John Phillips, Getty Images for Paramount Pictures
John Phillips, Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

While many Star Wars fans were unimpressed with the most recent film in the Luke Skywalker saga, The Last Jedi, even those viewers would likely agree that the most recent slate of entries into the Star Wars franchise are much better than the prequel series ... right? Well, it might not be so black and white.

Simon Pegg, who appeared in The Force Awakens as Unkar Plutt, had previously slammed the prequels, specifically ​calling The Phantom Menace a "jumped-up firework display of a toy advert." But now he seems to have come to a new conclusion: Star Wars needs George Lucas.

"I must admit, watching the last Star Wars film [The Last Jedi], the overriding feeling I got when I came out was, 'I miss George Lucas,'" Pegg confessed on The Adam Buxton Podcast. "For all the complaining that I'd done about him in the prequels, there was something amazing about his imagination."

Pegg also shared the story of how he once met Lucas at the premiere of Revenge of the Sith, and that the legendary filmmaker gave him some advice.

"He was talking to Ron Howard and I think he'd seen Shaun of the Dead  because he immediately went, 'Oh hey, Shaun of the Dead!,' and shook my hand," Pegg recalled. "And George Lucas immediately changed his demeanor."

"Don't be making the same film that you made 30 years ago 30 years from now," Lucas told Pegg, according to the actor.

Of all the complaints about The Last Jedi, from Rey's parentage reveal to Luke abandoning the Force, the lack of George Lucas is not quite a popular criticism. But we are glad to know his influence is missed—by at least one person.

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