Netflix dominates the streaming premieres for February. Amazon Prime gets the new costume drama The Collection which already premiered in the UK and another series Patriot premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, but Netflix has the new original series Santa Clarita Diet, three premiere movies and a major Valentine’s Day special for streamers this month.
Ads for Santa Clarita Diet were a tonally twisted as the dark comedy itself. Made to look like a Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig spot, those inviting Santa Clarita Diet ads would get people to watch this graphic, bloody show about a Santa Clarita mom (Drew Barrymore) who suddenly dies and becomes a zombie.
Zombies are all the rage now and a zombie comedy is not a first (Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies), but half hour sitcom format is a first. While it takes some time to find its tone (as her husband, Timothy Olyphant seems to be in a different show than Barrymore), fans of gory zombie action ought to enjoy Santa Clarita Diet‘s irreverent take. Maybe it’ll make someone a convert to The Walking Dead!
I remember Michael Bolton as the power ballad crooner with long, curly hair in the ‘80s. I know he’s still around but I haven’t heard his recent stuff, except for his Lonely Island duet about Pirates of the Caribbean. Maybe that’s a good thing since The Lonely Island is involved with this special.
Akiva Schaffer directs while Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone are among the many celebrity guests. Think A Very Murray Christmas but for Valentine’s Day, with a more absurd Lonely Island style than deadpan holiday spirit. If it’s half as good as Popstar, I’ll be happy!
The original British The Office gets its own movie. Ricky Gervais brought back his character David Brent, who spawned the long-running American version of The Office. The movie is both a sequel to The Office and a very different sort of comedy.
It’s still a fake documentary, but David Brent is now trying to be a rock star. He goes on tour with his own money, not breaking even on the gigs, and it’s a disastrous road trip with hilarious performances. The songs are pretty great. The joke isn’t that David Brent sucks, but many of them have hilariously misguided messages. A treat for British Office fans and fans of Ricky Gervais’ humor in general.
Bob Odenkirk made a movie in between seasons of Better Call Saul. He wrote and stars in Girlfriend’s Day, which has a premise that sounds as outrageous as anything from Mr. Show With Bob and David.
Odenkirk plays a greeting card writer framed for murder. So imagine a hard boiled detective movie only with a greeting card writer in the Humphrey Bogart role. Aside from clearing his name, his task is to create a card for the new holiday Girlfriend’s Day, which sounds like the perfect made up Hallmark Holiday! Can’t wait to see this just in time for the real Valentine’s Day.
This is a historic first for Netflix. They had several Netflix original films premiere at Sundance this year, and as an opening night film, I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore was first. Last year was the big year Netflix and Amazon bought movies at Sundance. It only took another year for them to bring their own films to the fest. I think it’s good. Streaming is the new way to watch films so they should benefit from the festival buzz as much as theatrical releases.
I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore marks the directorial debut of Macon Blair, who produced and starred in films with Jeremy Saulnier, most notably Blue Ruin and Green Room. If you’re a fan of their dark, violent thrillers, you’ll be happy with many moments in this film. It’s a bit more of a comedy, as Melanie Lynskey plays a woman who is robbed and tries to find her thieves, with the help of a neighbor (Elijah Wood). These bumbling vigilantes get in way over their head in a surreal caper full of outrageous laughs.