Ranked: The Best Movies to Watch on Netflix in February 2019

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Newsweek

The sub-zero cold snap currently gripping large parts of the country means cuddling up in front of Netflix has never been more appealing. Luckily for subscribers, the streaming service has uploaded a slew of great new movies for February, meaning you’ll be tided over throughout the winter and well into spring.

These new offerings include a number of Netflix originals. One is the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring horror movie Velvet Buzzsaw, due to drop on February 1. The movie sees Gyllenhaal take on the role of an LA art critic drawn into the world of a punk rocker gallery owner—with gory results. The oddball movie has been getting middling-to-good reviews, and looks to be worth a watch—The Houston Chronicle described it as "I Know What You Did Last Summer with a better cast and an MFA degree.”

Perhaps the most anticipated Netflix release is Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird, which is released on February 8. The movie follows a rookie basketball player who takes on a controversial business project. It sees the acclaimed director returning to his experimental roots, having filmed the entire thing on an iPhone.

Comedy movie Paddleton, another Netflix original, drops on February 22. Starring Mark Duplass and Ray Romano, it follows two buddies who undertake a road trip after one is diagnosed with cancer. It’s been described as low-key and consistently funny—more of a gentle appreciation of friendship than a full-on weepy.

Alongside these three movies, Netflix will also host a number of classics from February. Steven Spielberg's seminal horror movie Jaws, along with its two sequels, will be streaming alongside the American Pie franchise and the musical Hairspray.

They join Netflix’s already impressive list of movies. Newsweek has combed through all of the cinematic offerings for the streaming platform that are available in February, and ranked them by how highly they scored on critical review databases Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, and we've also factored in user scores on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. 

There's a three-way tie at the top between a film noir mystery, a (largely) black-and-white World War II epic and a fast-talking eminently quotable 90s cult classic.

01 Children of Men
Universal Pictures

50. Children of Men (2006, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller). Total score: 79.25%. IMDb users: 7.9. Metacritic: 84. Rotten Tomatoes: 8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.7. 
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón. Starring: Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine. 
Plot summary: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.
What the critics said: "Despite the bleakness of its vision, Children of Men is also thrilling, both for its groundbreaking style (there are action sequences here unlike any filmed before) and its complex, vividly realized ideas." Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

02 Shrek
DreamWorks Distribution

=48. Shrek (2001, Animation, Adventure, Comedy). Total score: 79.75%. IMDb users: 7.9. Metacritic: 84. Rotten Tomatoes: 7.8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.9. 
Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson. Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow. 
Plot summary: A mean lord exiles fairytale creatures to the swamp of a grumpy ogre, who must go on a quest and rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back.
What the critics said: "The movie is helped immensely by its cast, who carry it through some of the early, sluggish scenes. But this is Murphy's movie. Donkey gets most of the good lines, and Murphy hits every one." John Zebrowski, Seattle Times

03 Avengers- Infinity War
Marvel/Disney

=48. Avengers: Infinity War (2018, Action, Adventure, Fantasy). Total score: 79.75%. IMDb users: 8.5. Metacritic: 68. Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 4.5. 
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin. 
Plot summary: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
What the critics said: "It's the epitome of a summer blockbuster. The explosive action is practically nonstop, breaking only occasionally for jokes and a touch of romance—though without ever breaking its grim, apocalyptic tone." Britton Peele, Dallas Morning News

04 Lincoln
Touchstone Pictures

=46. Lincoln (2012, Biography, Drama, History). Total score: 80%. IMDb users: 7.4. Metacritic: 86. Rotten Tomatoes: 8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 4. 
Directed by: Steven Spielberg. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Jared Harris, David Oyelowo, Adam Driver. 
Plot summary: As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
What the critics said: "The phenomenal Daniel Day-Lewis plays Lincoln with immersive, indelible power in Spielberg's brilliant, brawling epic." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

05 Beasts of No Nation
Netflix

=46. Beasts of No Nation (2015, Drama, War). Total score: 80%. IMDb users: 7.8. Metacritic: 79. Rotten Tomatoes: 7.9. Rotten Tomatoes users: 4.2. 
Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga. Starring: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi. 
Plot summary: A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.
What the critics said: "A very powerful and confidently made movie, a film that really puts its audience through the wringer, which finally refuses any palliative gestures, with towering performances from Elba and Attah."Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

06 The Graduate
Embassy Pictures

=42. The Graduate (1967, Comedy, Drama, Romance). Total score: 80.25%. IMDb users: 8. Metacritic: 77. Rotten Tomatoes: 8.8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.8. 
Directed by: Mike Nichols. Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross. 
Plot summary: A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.
What the critics said: "Few movies have communicated with such dark hilarity all the anxiety and flamboyant misery of youthful sexual initiation." Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

07 Mudbound
Netflix

=42. Mudbound (2017, Drama, War). Total score: 80.25%. IMDb users: 7.4. Metacritic: 85. Rotten Tomatoes: 8.2. Rotten Tomatoes users: 4. 
Directed by: Dee Rees. Starring: Jonathan Banks, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan.
Plot summary: Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
What the critics said: "Dee Rees's story of one black and one white family struggling in the WW II-era South is a fiercely intimate epic that couldn't be more timely. Mary J. Blige should be on every Oscar list for best supporting actress." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

08 Howards End
Cohen Media Group

=42. Howards End (1992, Drama, Romance). Total score: 80.25%. IMDb users: 7.5. Metacritic: 89. Rotten Tomatoes: 8.3. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.7. 
Directed by: James Ivory. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Prunella Scales, Samuel West. 
Plot summary: A businessman thwarts his wife's bequest of an estate to another woman.
What the critics said: "Elegant and powerful, accommodating collisions of class and temperament with the grace of a perfect Edwardian hostess, Howards End is the work to which all Merchant Ivory's other films have pointed and aspired." Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine.

09 45 Years
Sundance Selects

=42. 45 Years (2015, Drama, Romance). Total score: 80.25%. IMDb users: 7.1. Metacritic: 94. Rotten Tomatoes: 8.6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Andrew Haigh. Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James. 
Plot summary: A married couple preparing to celebrate their wedding anniversary receives shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives.
What the critics said: "Less is not only more in 45 Years, Andrew Haigh's study of marriage and memory, it is eloquently and anguishingly more, and what's unspoken is almost deafening." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

10 Y Tu Mamá También
IFC Films

=40. Y Tu Mamá También (2001, Adventure, Comedy, Drama). Total score: 81%. IMDb users: 7.7. Metacritic: 88. Rotten Tomatoes: 8.1. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.9. 
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón. Starring: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna. 
Plot summary: In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.
What the critics said: "Part travelogue, part road picture, part meditation on class, mortality and intimacy, this extraordinary little movie might be the perfect harbinger of summer, as astute as it is steamy." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

11 Full Metal Jacket
Warner Bros.

=40. Full Metal Jacket (1987, Drama, War). Total score: 81%. IMDb users: 8.3. Metacritic: 76. Rotten Tomatoes: 8.3. Rotten Tomatoes users: 4.1. 
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick. Starring: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio. 
Plot summary: A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.
What the critics said: "Kubrick's harrowing, beautiful and characteristically eccentric film about Vietnam, is going to puzzle, anger and (I hope) fascinate audiences as much as any film he has made to date." Vincent Canby, New York Times