Best new movies on Hulu in February 2022

February, for North American audiences, is in many ways a month of remembrance, honor and celebration. February 1 begins Black History Month. We have Valentine’s Day and the Superbowl, and it’s also Aquarius season, with the latter bringing an earthy sensuality to the month. It’s our shortest month on the calendar, so with that comes feelings of beginnings and endings, middle ground, and awkward – or perhaps precise – in-betweens. These seven films releasing on Hulu this month are all about the specialness and surprise of February and, ultimately, its magic.

Batman


BatmanMichael Keaton
Picture via WB

Available: February 1st

Director:Tim Burton

Writers: Bob Kane, Sam Hamm, Warren Skaaren

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To throw: Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

The story of Batman has become a major film franchise, with the recent take on a Joker-only story reaching cult-level fandom status. But, the original film, directed by Tim Burtoninfuses it with a naturalistic whimsy that none of his later versions reproduces as delicately and simply as Burton. Jack NicholsonThe Joker’s iteration is campy and terrifying. His origin story of spraying chemicals, and later, dancing around Kim Basinger‘s Vicki in an art gallery, gives a disturbed and funny feeling. To reflect on the comic book narrative, including the core traits of the eponymous Batman, Batman is an excellent and very nice watch.

The French connection


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Image via 20th Century Fox

Available: February 1st

Director:William Friedkin

Writers: Ernest Tidyman, Robin Moore

To throw: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco

Who can forget when the bad guys indulge in a hearty, hot buffet inside a restaurant, and the nice detectives shove corner pizza in their mouths parked outside in the freezing New York winter? The duo between evil and good plays out so harmoniously that the french connection easily becomes one of modern cinema’s most delightful dances of villainy to watch and delve into. The film is packed with clever conversation, deep character dives and action sequences, both infamous, involving the city’s good old subway system, that anyone is in for a solid, suspenseful, and decidedly new movie. Yorkers, is in for a treat.


Glory


Denzel-Washington-Glory
Image via Tri-Star Images

Available: February 1st

Director: Edward Zwick

Writers: Kevin Jarre, Lincoln Kirstein, Peter Burchard

To throw: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman

This film is the ultimate viewing for any Civil War film retrospective. Glory follows the story of the first all-black army volunteer unit, facing prejudice from their own comrades and Confederates. Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington, holding leadership positions in the unit, form an honest, if not laconic, bond that displays trust as something to be relied upon and also something that evolves and can withdraw into itself. History is written here and the film never forgets it, delivering balanced fighting force and interpersonal scenes that bring out the complexities of the American Civil War.

How Stella got her groove back


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Image via 20th Century Fox

Available: February 1st

Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Writers: Terry McMillan, Ronald Bass

To throw: Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, Taye Diggs

The chemistry between Angela Bassetteis Stella and Taye Digg‘ Winston wears this film. Stella is uptight and Winston is an open-to-love puppy-dog, making for an often awkward and even cringe-worthy match, but never lacking in authenticity, and a joy to watch in their deployment. Whoopi Goldberg is superb as Stella’s best friend, a mature, grounded woman who wants nothing more than Stella’s happiness, and wobbles as the comedic and dramatic backbone of the film. The film is set in Jamaica and Northern California, offering plenty of environmental beauty to enjoy as well.

Rosemary’s baby


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Image via Paramount Pictures

Available: February 1st

Director:Roland Polanski

Writers: Ira Levin, Roman Polanski

To throw: Mia Farrow, John Cassavettes, Ruth Gordon

Rosemary’s baby gained a reputation as a classic film for its combination of lackluster domestic melodrama and chilling side tension. The element that crosses the film during mia farrowThe titular pregnant Rosemary questions the meaning of sanity, and in retrospect, the film is a great ancestor for explorations of gaslighting. Farrow and John Cassavettes are excellent as a wife and husband, credible as a young couple in love. There’s something off about their neighbors and the film has us theorizing anxiously, until its final scenes reveal all.

Terms of endearment


Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger in Terms of Affection (1983)
Image via Paramount Pictures

Available: February 1st

Director:James Brooks

Writers: Larry McMurtr, James Brooks

To throw: Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger

It is difficult to enumerate the number of romantic relationships in this beautiful film, one of James Brooks‘ better. Is it the tender and belated love that blossoms in spite of them between Jack Nicholson’s Garrett and Shirley McLaineis Aurora? Is it the delicious, tense (i.e. realistic) mother-daughter relationship between Aurora and Debra Wingeris that emma? Is it the heartbreaking relationship Emma has with her children as she suffers from a physical illness? Each performance is authentic and will strike your heart.

What eats Gilbert grapes?


Available: February 28

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

Writers: Peter Hedges

To throw: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Darlene Cates

For people who didn’t know Leonardo DiCaprio from his work on television (he made a few films in 1993; the famous basketball diaries was released in 1995), his portrayal of a mentally handicapped child was emotionally and physically powerful. He loves his mother very much (a tour de force of Darlene Cates) and also lives with his older brother (Johnny Depp, with its usual depth and sensitivity). It’s a film of family drama, loyalty and love, but it probes deeper, opening up about fat phobia and discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. He tells us that with ugliness there is beauty, and explains how they balance each other.


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