On Demand: New & Recommended This February

February is a juicy time for cinemas in Aotearoa as we’re treated to a heap of Oscar-nominated features. The small screen doesn’t lag behind either, bubbling with a melting pot of quality from fellow Academy Award nominees (Hell or High Water, Arrival) to under-recognised gems (The Witch, American Honey). Here’s what’s new and good for On Demand platforms and on disc.

New to Neon

The Witch

Atmospheric horror set in 1630 New England that won the Directing Award at Sundance 2015 for first-timer Robert Eggers. “Its focus on themes over plot is what elevates it to something near greatness.” -The Guardian. Available from 28th February.

The Boss

Melissa McCarthy is a titan of industry sent to prison after she’s caught for insider trading in this comedy from the director of Tammy. “The talent on-screen keeps things watchable…” -Dominic Corry, Flicks. Available from 20th February

Hard Target 2

Martial arts star Scott Adkins leads this bare-knuckle action film as a fighter who is offered a huge amount of money for one final fight. Available now

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth return for this action fantasy follow-up to Snow White and the Huntsman, co-starring Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. “Spectacularly unnecessary.” -Tony Stamp, Flicks. Available now

Jarhead 3: The Siege

Scott Adkins also stars in the third film following up the Sam Mendes war drama that starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx. Available now


The directors of Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled team up for this Disney family animated comedy that claimed Best Animated Film at the Golden Globes. “The animators and visual artists knock every frame out of the park.” -Liam Maguren, Flicks. Available now

Outcast: Season One

Drama series created by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) following a man who has been possessed by demons since he was young. Available now

Reign: Season Four

Mary, Queen of Scots, is back (played by Adelaide Kane from The Purge) for more political games and social promiscuity. Available now (also see: Season One, Two & Three)

Animal Kingdom: Season One

American TV adaptation of the incredible Australian crime film of the same name about a family who deal heroin. Available from 24th February

Big Little Lies: Season One

Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan) and Oscar nominee Laura Dern (Wild) star in this series directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) following three mothers, their their first-grade children, and a spot of murder. Available from 26th February

New to Netflix

Imperial Dreams

Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega is a 21-year-old reformed gangster returning to his old stomping grounds in Watts, LA, in co-writer director Milk Vitthal’s debut. “An assured debut that stands to connect with a diverse audience.” -Hollywood Reporter. Available now

Girlfriend’s Day

Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) leads this Netflix black comedy as a loser writer of mushy love cards who’s hit rock bottom. From the director of Best Worst Movie. Available now

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore

Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood are just so sick of assholes in this mild crime comedy from actor Macon Blair (Green Room). Available from 24th February

Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special

Big, sexy Michael Bolton has a big, sexy surprise in his big, sexy Valentine’s Day special from them Lonely Island fellows. Available now

The Dead Lands

Māori history is brought alive in this period action-adventure based on the traditional fighting art of Mau rākau. “Patu-wielding, arse-kicking, uniquely Aotearoan action…” -Steve Newall. Flicks Available now

American Crime Story: The People V OJ Simpson

Not to be confused for the Oscar-nominated documentary OJ: Made in America, this Golden Globe-winning series stars Sarah Paulson, John Travolta, Courtney B Vance and Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Available now

The Gambler

Mark Wahlberg has a serious gambling problem in this remake of the James Caan-starring 1974 drama. “A stylish, energetic but disappointingly glib remake of Karel Reisz’s still-potent 1974 drama.” -Variety. Available now

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

The second SpongebBob movie featuring a 3D live-action sequence, time-travel, and Antonio Banderas in a horrible beard. “[Delivers] pure laughs in every surreal, bonkers way it can.” -Liam Maguren, Flicks. Available now

New to Everything Else

Poi E: The Story of Our Song

From director Tearepa Kahi (Mt. Zion), this documentary tells the story of iconic, chart-topping, Kiwi song Poi E by the Patea Māori Club. “An unstoppable joy.” -Liam Maguren, Flicks. Available now

The Wave

A mountain pass town in Norway must evacuate immediately before a gigantic tsunami – 85 meters high – wipes it out. “An exotic edge-of-seater plays on the beauty and terror of nature.” -Hollywood Reporter. Available now

Free to Run

Swiss documentarian Pierre Morath explores the development of the distance running movement over the past fifty years. “As a capsule history it offers revelatory insights, particularly in its emphasis on the role of distance running in the women’s movement.” -Los Angeles Times. Available now

Hell or High Water

Chris Pine (Star Trek), Ben Foster (The Program) and Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges lead this contemporary Texan bank-robbing thriller that NZ critics labelled Best Film of 2016. “It’s one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.” -Aaron Yap, Flicks. Available now

Embrace of the Serpent

Oscar-nominated dramatic adventure depicts the relationships between an Amazonian shaman, the last of his tribe, and two exploring scientists who, decades apart, sought a rare healing plant. “The type of film we’re always searching for, yet seems so obvious once we’ve found it.” -The Guardian. Available now

The Light Between Oceans

A lighthouse keeper (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Alicia Vikander) living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. “If you’re a sucker for long, slow-paced, tear-jerkers, this’ll have you sobbing into your popcorn.” -Adam Fresco, Flicks. Available now


Joseph Gordon-Levitt leads this biographical thriller from Oliver Stone as Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who blew the whistle on mass surveillance and leaked thousands of classified documents to the press. “Mr. Stone has made an honourable and absorbing contribution to the imaginative record of our confusing times.” -New York Times. Available now

The Accountant

Ben Affleck is Christian Wolff, a math savant working as an accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organisations in this thriller from the director of Warrior. “Its sombre savant is star enough, backed up with solid action sequences and plenty of interesting elements jostling for attention.” -Steve Newall, Flicks. Available now

Operation Avalanche

Faux-doco conspiracy thriller, partly filmed at NASA after fooling the powers-that-be about the film’s intentions. “Celluloid-sniffing cinephiles, conspiracy theorists and alternate-history enthusiasts alike should have a field day.” -Aaron Yap, Flicks. Available now

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

A psychologist uses mind-entering technology to figure out what happened to a boy in a coma in this science fiction drama. “As in director Alexandre Aja’s Horns, the action alternates reality/fantasy to middling effect.” -Total Film. Available now

Girl Asleep

Australian writer-director Rosemary Myers’s critically-acclaimed directorial debut is a coming-of-age tale that journeys deep into the teenage mind. “A fresh-faced delight with all the makings of a local crowd-pleaser.” -SBS Australia. Available now


Two teen girls stuck in a boarding school during the winter break are subjected to an evil force in this atmospheric horror led by Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) and Emma Roberts (Nerve). “When you replay the movie in your mind after the final fadeout, you realize that every twist was dutifully presaged, and the final reveal was hidden in plain sight all along.” -Variety. Available now


Sicario director Denis Villeneuve casts Amy Adams as an expert linguist enlisted by the US government to investigate and communicate with an alien spacecraft, one of a dozen that have landed on Earth. “Throughout Johan Johannsson’s sonorous score is lovely; the performers spot on; and the philosophical concerns deep enough to confuse Christopher Nolan.” -Matt Glasby, Flicks. Available from 22nd February

American Honey

A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew in this Cannes-winning comedy-drama from filmmaker Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank). “It’s constantly, engrossingly active, spinning and sparking and exploding in cycles like a Fourth of July catherine wheel.” -Variety. Available from 22nd February

Under the Shadow

1980s Tehran is the rare setting for this horror film that won Outstanding British Debut for director Babak Anvari. “I got repeated goosebumps and sank fingernails into my arms; my pal dished out some impressive screams.” -Steve Newall, Flicks. Available from 22nd February


Kate Mara (The Martian) leads this sci-fi mystery about a brilliant-yet-dangerous artificial being whose life is left in the hands of a risk-management consultant. “It’s well designed and shot, but in service of a story that never coalesces into something intelligent or compelling.” -Empire. Available from 22nd February