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What to Watch in February 2024

image: Film4 Productions

Our new monthly round-up of the best upcoming films and TV series features five of each, handpicked by us for your viewing pleasure. Here's what you can expect to see on screens big and small in February...

Films

Wicked Little Letters (February 23)

Based on a true story – which happens to have taken place in the Sussex town of Littlehampton during the ‘roaring’ 1920s – this black comedy from director Thea Sharrock stars Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley as Edith and Rose, two neighbours who become embroiled in a dispute when a series of scandalous letters targeting Edith and other women in the town begin circulating, leaving Rose squarely in the frame of suspicion.

Along with their local policeman WPC Gladys Moss (Anjana Vassan), a group of the town’s women set out to find the real culprit behind the malicious missives. Also starring Timothy Spall, Joanna Scanlan and Gemma Jones, this is sure to be one of February’s cinematic highlights - and Colman’s gloriously sweary performance is simply a joy to behold.

 

American Fiction (February 2)

Westworld star Jeffrey Wright has already earned himself an Academy Award nomination at this year’s Oscars for his performance in this new comedy-drama, adapted from Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure. Wright stars as a black writer and professor from Los Angeles, whose books are critically praised and respected, but are viewed by his publisher as commercial failures.

In response being told his latest manuscript isn’t “black enough”, he pens a new satirical book filled with the racial stereotypes and tropes he loathes, only to find the irony is lost on his American audience, who quickly propel the book to becoming a bestseller. Soon he finds himself labelled as a hypocrite by his peers and the film follows his trials and travails as he deals with the fallout of his new and unwanted success.

Cord Jefferson, whose writing credits include The Good Place and the recent TV adaptation of Watchmen, makes his directorial debut here – and an impressive one it is too.

 

Argylle (February 2)

This latest outing from director Matthew Vaughn, the brains behind films such as Kick-Ass and the Kingsman series, stars Bryce Dallas Howard as an introverted spy novelist named Elly Conway who has just finished putting the finishing touches on her latest book, centred around its fictional protagonist - a secret agent named Aubrey Argylle.

Things suddenly take a surprising turn when she is involved in an incident on a train and saved in dramatic fashion by a real-life spy. Spookily, the incident closely resembles a chapter in her book and Elly slowly begins to realise that the fictional events she conjured are beginning to transpire for real.

Henry Cavill co-stars as the fictional-but-somehow-real Argylle, alongside an impressive cast that also counts Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella and John Cena among its ranks. Due to arrive on February 2, this action-packed comedy is sure to be worth your time.

 

Migration (February 2)

If you’re looking for a film the whole family can enjoy this month then look no further than this new animated adventure from Illumination, the studio responsible for Despicable Me and Sing, among many others.

Based around the story of a duck named Mack Mallard (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) and his family’s decision to migrate to Jamaica for the winter, Migration follows their misadventures along the way, providing plenty of laughs in the process. The film’s voice cast also features Elizabeth Banks, Keegan-Michael Key, Danny DeVito and Awkwafina, with Ernest & Celestine director Benjamin Renner calling the shots. Due to hit cinema screens on February 2, this is one to be enjoyed by folks of all ages.

 

The Iron Claw (February 9)

If you thought Zac Efron’s acting chops were limited to his roles as a variety of airheaded himbos in films such as Baywatch and Dirty Grandpa or the all-singing, all-dancing high camp of The Greatest Showman, your opinion of him may have to be reassessed after watching this gritty drama based on the harrowing real-life story of a wrestling dynasty – and their utterly wretched luck.

If you think the film is a difficult watch, whatever you do, don’t google their real story – if anything The Iron Claw pulls its punches, at least a little. Still, it’s well worth the effort as Efron delivers what may well turn out to be a career-defining performance. Not for the faint-hearted, but absolutely gripping all the same.

 

TV

Mr & Mrs Smith (Prime Video, February 2)

You might remember the tale of husband-and-wife spy duo Mr & Mrs Smith from Doug Limon’s 2005 film of the same name starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but it has now been transformed into a new TV series co-created by the writer behind Limon’s original film Francesca Sloane – whose other credits include the TV adaptation of Fargo – and Atlanta’s Donald Glover, also known to many by the name of his musical alter-ego Childish Gambino.

Glover also stars in the new series alongside Maya Erskine, with the story taking us back to their first meeting as two recruits at a spy agency, forced by their employers into an arranged marriage in order to provide cover for their espionage activities. But things quickly become more complicated when the pair begin to develop real feelings for each other.

The series begins on February 2 on Prime Video, but if you can’t wait that long there’s also a bonus preview episode available on the streaming platform right now to whet your appetite.

 

The New Look (Apple TV, February 14)

If you’re fascinated by fashion then you won’t want to miss this stylish new series from writer-director Todd A. Kessler (Bloodline, The Sopranos). Set in the aftermath of the Second World War, the action is centred on the life and career of fashion designer Christian Dior, whose sartorial creations in the post-war era helped to revolutionise Parisian couture, giving rise to the term ‘the New Look’ to describe his elegant designs.

Ben Mendelsohn stars as Dior himself alongside Juliette Binoche as Coco Chanel, heading up a star-studded cast that also includes John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Emily Mortimer and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams. The New Look makes its debut on Apple TV on February 14 – just in time to bring a little style to Valentine’s Day.

 

One Day (Netflix, February 8)

Based on David Nicholls’ 2009 novel, this new TV series adapted by Nicholls himself follows the story of Dexter and Emma, two students who meet at university and form a lasting bond, revisiting their friendship at regular intervals over the course of 20 years.

Leo Woodall (The White Lotus) and Ambika Mod (This is Going to Hurt) take on the leading roles in this heart-warming drama, starring alongside a cast that also includes Tim McInnerny, Toby Stephens and Joely Richardson. In My Skin director Molly Manners helms the show, which makes its debut on Netflix on February 8.

 

Constellation (Apple TV, February 21)

Apple TV seem determined to corner the market in big-budget sci-fi series and Constellation broadly follows in the footsteps of other recent offerings such as Invasion, For All Mankind and Severance. Noomi Rapace leads the cast of this space-themed thriller, starring as an amnesiac astronaut trying to unravel the mystery behind her missing memories.

Set to debut on February 21, there’s plenty to like about this taut and tense series if you’ve enjoyed the likes of the shows mentioned above.

 

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 12 (Sky Comedy, February 5)

Returning for its twelfth and final series as creator and star Larry David prepares to bring down the curtain on his long-running comedy hit – not to mention his curmudgeonly, fictional self - Curb Your Enthusiasm is set arrive on our screens for one last run this month, with the first episode due to air on Sky Comedy on Monday February 5th.

Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and all the other regular cast members return for the show’s final send-off, which is set to run for 10 episodes starting this month. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wince at the sheer awkwardness of it all. But you’ll miss him when he’s gone.

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