Every month Amazon and Netflix add and take away lots of great, and sometimes average at best, movies that you can stream until your heart is content. Can’t get enough of those sweet Charlie’s Angels (2000)? Log in to Netflix and stream away. Are you behind on The Americans? Amazon Prime will let you binge baby binge.
This time of year is great for streaming because these and other outlets start grabbing up the best and often under viewed movies of the previous year. Dozens of movies will be available from years gone by as well of course, but in between the former blockbusters like Armageddon and raucous comedies like Talladega Nights (both of which I will revisit at least once for sure) there are three films from 2015 that Cinephiles should absolutely make time for in February 2016.
Amy (Amazon Prime, February 1)
96% Rotten Tomatoes
Nominated for Best Documentary
I have a very hit or miss relationship with documentaries. It’s not as simple for as whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ , but it has to have a certain narrative structure as well as a subject that I find compelling. This film, which is being widely praised and is probably the front-runner for best documentary at the Academy Awards, instantly appealed to me, and I have been only more eager to see it with each commentary and review I hear. It never opened very wide, but it does round out what was a great year for A24, who also gave us Ex Machina (one of my favorite movies of 2015), Room (one I am still excited to see), and Slow West (also great and streaming on Amazon).
81% Rotten Tomatoes
77% Meta Critic
I can’t say I have followed Spike Lee’s career in years, but none of his recent films have been as well reviewed and regarded as 2015’s Chi-raq. Angela Basset, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Canon, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack, Samuel Jackson and many more come together to create this quasi-musical modern retelling of the Greek tragedy Lysistrata. Chi-raq was Amazon’s first theatrical release, as they and Netflix continue to grow their influence in the film industry. Despite how great the reviews have been for this movie, when asked by The Hollywood Reporter ‘Why Amazon?’ Mr. Lee responded ‘They are a great company. And everyone else said no.’
Dope (Netflix, February 10)
88% Rotten Tomatoes
This movie came out early last year, with a small second release around the time Straight Outta Compton was tearing up the box office, but it never found an audience. Despite a semi-wide release of over 200 theaters and an opening weekend of $6 million, the film topped off at $18 million and never quite found its audience, despite showing up big at Sundance in 2015 and being purchased by Open Road and Sony. According to a Deadline article from last year, many others were interested as well.
Kofi Outlaw (@ppnkof) at ScreenRant expertly describes the film: As a coming-of-age tale, Dope plays like Superbad meets House Party by way of Breaking Bad. That comparison is somewhat reductive, however, as the DNA of those of aforementioned stories is mixed and distilled through the imagination and vision of Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood), into a fun, lively, funny, and ultimately insightful teen movie odyssey. Dope is a smart urban homage to the legacy of John Hughes films, but still manages to distinguish itself as something uniquely special.
What streaming movies being added in February are you most interested in? Full Metal Jacket? Teen Witch? The Karate Kid? Share your thoughts in the comments below.