From action blockbusters to a viral horror movie, several seedy, sexy thrillers and even a kind of retro sci-fi, this week is overflowing with new movies and shows to enjoy. Whatever genre you fancy, you’re sure to find it here.
What to watch on Netflix
The Woman King
One of last year’s biggest movies is making its streaming debut on Netflix this week. The Woman King shows a chapter of history often neglected by mainstream storytelling, focusing on the West African kingdom of Dahomey and its fearsome, all-female warriors, the Agojie. Viola Davis stars as the unit’s strict general, while Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim play her trusted lieutenants and John Boyega serves as their king. The action is crisp and crunching, and relative newcomer Thuso Mbedu makes for quite the lead as her character goes from headstrong girl to legendary fighter. The Woman King premiered Thursday, February 16th.
What to watch on Hulu
In this spy thriller based on a wild real-life story, a man cons countless victims by masquerading as an MI-5 recruit whose job is to protect British citizens from the threat of the IRA in the ‘90s. Rogue Agent stars James Norton as the slippery fiend, and Gemma Arterton plays a woman wooed by him who ultimately sets out to take him down. It’s a slick and sleek caper that’s happy to subvert expectations, moving from a romantic drama to a thrilling saga with twists and turns galore. Rogue Agent starts streaming Friday, February 17th.
What to watch on Amazon Prime
Three Thousand Years of Longing
From the director of Mad Max: Fury Road and Happy Feet (no one has a range quite like George Miller) comes a fantastical romantic drama. Three Thousand Years of Longing stars Tilda Swinton as a scholar who has a fascination with fantasy; when she travels to Istanbul for a conference and accidentally unleashes a djinn (or a genie) from an antique glass bottle, she’s more than willing to engage with the potential trickster. The mythical being is played by a dashing Idris Elba, who offers her three wishes as well as three stories from his own past. Three Thousand Years of Longing premieres Friday, February 17th.
How does one market a movie — trailers, YouTube ads, billboards? Whatever the typical answer may be, Smile upended it last year by stationing a troupe of creepy smilers at baseball games broadcast around the country. The stunt worked, people saw the movie, and — even better — it became an instant classic of high concept horror. When a therapist’s patient experiences an eerie episode before committing suicide in front of her, she becomes entrenched in an unsettling pattern of violence. Can she break this curse, or will she fall victim to it too? Smile premieres on streaming Tuesday, February 21st.
What to watch on HBO Max
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The beloved and frequently Emmy-winning series (26 in total!) Last Week Tonight with John Oliver returns this weekend, boasting the start of its 10th season. Though ostensibly a satirical late night news program, the show often does some genuinely great reporting, digging into both hot button issues and the smallest, silliest stories you could ever hope to hear about. From contributing to the last Blockbuster in existence to creating his own tax-exempt church, the host knows how to use absurdity to make a point. Season 10 of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver premieres Sunday, February 19th.
What to watch on Apple TV+
Billy Crudup has already staked his claim at Apple with his continued success on The Morning Show, and he’s likely to renew that goodwill with his new series, Hello Tomorrow!. In a retro-futuristic world (think the ‘50s but with a healthy dose of The Jetsons), Crudup’s slightly smarmy salesman recruits a team to go door to door, selling timeshares on the moon. The sky is hardly the limit for these folks, and that’s exactly what the team is hoping to exploit. Hank Azaria, Alison Pill, and Jacki Weaver also star. Hello Tomorrow! premieres Friday, February 17th.
From the man who directed several episodes of The Crown and Andor comes a devilishly fun new thriller. Sharper features a series of cons done by and to members of the New York City elite. The story is complex, with characters constantly interacting and overlapping with each other in new ways. It’s a world where cash is king, but secrets decorate the throne. Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, John Lithgow, and newcomer Briana Middleton all star in “one of the classiest intellectual thrillers in ages,” where “surprises heighten every scene and nothing is what it seems.” Sharper premieres Friday, February 17th.
What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.