Looking for the best shows and movies to watch on HBO Max in February? The shortest month of the year is a showcase of what HBO Max has done so well since its launch. There are HBO documentaries, some theatrical releases coming straight to streaming, and some choice imports that prove the company's strategy to go global is paying off. The highlight, however, has to be the premiere of Shaka King's Judas and the Black Messiah, an instant Oscar contender about the assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. If you're looking for something lighter (but more cartoonishly violent), there's also the new Tom & Jerry movie.
Our list of suggestions for the best shows and moves on HBO Max in February is below, but here's the full list of what's new on streaming in February. If you'd like even more hand-picked suggestions, click over to our full list of recommendations.
Available Feb. 1 at 10/9c
The 2018 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall by entrepreneur Peter Madsen on a submarine made international headlines and is the basis for this true-crime series that isn't like other true-crime series. The six-episode Scandinavian miniseries is a dramatic retelling of the investigation of the crime rather than a recount of the crime itself and follows the head of Copenhagen police as he sorts through the details and trawls the ocean for clues. What this means is the killer isn't the centerpiece of the series, and more of the focus is on the victim and her family, tapering the sensationalism typical in recent true crime shows. That won't sit well with everyone, especially those who watch the genre to get inside the minds of killers, but if you're a fan of detailed procedurals, this will be warmly welcomed.
Available Feb. 2 at 9/8c
Social media influencer sounds like a pretty good job. People pay you to have fun and use their facial scrubs, and hopefully, you make enough money off that so you can retire at 26. But guess what? Influencers may not be everything they're portraying themselves to be. In Fake Famous, journalist Nick Bilton conducts an experiment to create three new influencers -- who are in on the experiment -- by flooding their Instagram pages with bots and paid accounts that engage with them, creating new overnight social media sensations. But with all the new attention comes the realization that the whole concept of influencers is entirely stupid.
Earwig and the Witch
Available Feb. 5
It's been almost five years since the last Studio Ghibli film was released (2016's The Red Turtle), and with the increasing popularity of the Japanese animated movie studio worldwide for films like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Ponyo, the latest release should be cause for celebration. But there's some trepidation. Earwig and the Witch -- about a young orphan girl who doesn't know she's a witch -- is Studio Ghibli's first film that's entirely CG, a step away from the gorgeous slightly imperfect hand-drawn animation that made its films so different in the face of other studios bombarding kids with perfect 3D models of mammoths and such. Will it be just another computer-animated kids movie? Or will it be a new generation of Ghibli? Unfortunately, it looks like early reviews indicate that it's more of the former.
Judas and the Black Messiah
Available Feb. 12
The latest film coming straight to streaming as part of Warner Bros.' decision to premiere its 2021 theatrical slate for home audiences because of the pandemic is this biopic about Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), who was betrayed by petty criminal William O'Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) as part of a deal with the feds. Reviews aren't out yet, but there's already buzz out of Sundance, where it's making its premiere on Feb. 1.
Season 1 available Feb. 22
The best-selling book from Swedish author Fredrik Backman comes to HBO as a five-episode series via HBO Nordic. Beartown follows a Swedish junior hockey team on the verge of a championship that becomes rocked by scandal when one of the players rapes a 15-year-old girl. It looks heavy, with all the icy drama you come to expect from a Scandinavian series.
Tom & Jerry
Available Feb. 26
Do kids think Tom & Jerry is cool? Cool enough to reboot into a major motion picture? Some studio execs think so and have cobbled together live-action and computer animation to bring back the finest purveyors of cartoon violence. The plot sees Jerry (he's the mouse) make residence inside a hotel that's hosting a major wedding, and hotel employee Chlöe Grace Moretz has to solve the mouse problem, so she brings in Tom (the cat, I assume) to let nature take its course.
Want to know what else is coming to streaming in February? Here's everything new on Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and more in February.