The start of a new month means a fresh batch of new movies on Max, the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max. And while February may be a shorter month Max isn’t slacking off when it comes to delivering a collection of must-watch movies.
The new additions to the library include a sweeping romantic drama set across both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, a delightful animated adventure across a world constructed of plastic bricks and an unquestionable classic that is widely considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time. Max subscribers will have plenty to watch this month.
Our roundup of the best Max movies is already overflowing with cinematic gems, and thanks to these new additions, the list is only going to get even bigger. Plus, every single pick below has scored at least 90% or higher on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, so whichever you pick you’re guaranteed to watch a quality flick. Now let’s dive into the 7 best new to Max movies for February 2024…
‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
“Citizen Kane” has left such a legendary mark on the cinema industry that it’s become a common shorthand expression for a quality movie. This 1941 drama, directed by and starring Orson Welles, is almost universally considered one of the greatest movies ever made, and there’s so much to praise here from the powerful lead performance to the innovative direction that would serve as an inspiration for generations of filmmakers.
I’ll assume you’ve at least heard of “Citizen Kane”, but if you don’t know what it’s about, the 1940s drama centers on the rise of a fictional newspaper tycoon named Charles Foster Kane (Welles). We follow Kane from his happy childhood playing in the snow through to his death bed where he utters a single final word, “Rosebud.” Shortly after his passing, a lackey journalist is tasked with exploring Kane’s life in the hopes of unlocking the secret behind his mysterious last utterance. Put short, “Citizen Kane” is a movie that every self-respecting movie fan must watch.
“Brooklyn” is a drama based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Colm Tóibín, and asks a simple, but deeply difficult-to-answer, question: What do you choose when you’re torn between your heart and your home? That’s the conundrum that Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) finds herself wrestling with after moving across the ocean to New York City, falling in love with a Brooklyn native, and then being offered the chance to return home to her native Ireland.
Eilis is not just torn between the U.S. and The Emerald Isle, but also two very different men, baseball-mad Tony (Emory Cohen) and soft-spoken Jim (Domhnall Gleeson). “Brooklyn” is a tear-invoking romantic drama with a winning performance from Ronan, and an excellent supporting turn from Julie Walters as Mrs. Kehoe, the matron of Eilis’ boarding house. Just make sure you’ve got the tissues close by for this one, as things get pretty emotional.
'The Lego Movie' (2014)
A wonderfully imaginative and seriously awesome animated adventure, “The Lego Movie” brings the popular Danish construction toy to life. Set in a world made entirely of plastic Lego blocks, Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is just an average guy. But when he accidentally gets the fabled Piece of Resistance stuck to his back, he must lead a group of rebels to thwart the sinister schemes of Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who wants to glue the Lego world together.
Also featuring the voice talent of Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett and Nick Offerman, “The Lego Movie” is the perfect flick for master-builders young and old. It gets bonus points for being brilliantly self-aware, and regularly poking fun at itself. Plus, the movie’s unique animation style is glorious. The filmmakers managed to make the movie look like pieces of Lego come to life, and that’s arguably its biggest achievement.
'Up in the Air' (2009)
A strong awards contender back in 2009, “Up in the Air” is an easy sell just based on its cast list alone. It’s led by George Clooney, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga but also includes Jason Bateman, Danny McBride, Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons and Zack Galifianakis. Of course, a list of recognizable names doesn’t guarantee a movie’s quality, but fortunately “Up in the Air” has lots more to offer than just star power. It’s clever, witty and highly relevant to our modern times.
The comedy-drama sees Clooney play Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing specialist living out of a suitcase. He flies all over the country visiting businesses to help them complete lay-offs efficiently and compassionately. He loves his life of hotel rooms and airport lounges, but when a hotshot young colleague (Kendrick) pitches a new system that would see Ryan permanently grounded, he aims to prove the old methods are the best. And he might just find love along the way with a fellow frequent flyer (Farmiga).
'Full Metal Jacket' (1987)
Stanley Kubrick’s masterful examination of the Vietnam War and the dangers of an unwavering military mindset, “Full Metal Jacket” will practically give you whiplash as it switches between laugh-out-laud comedy and harrowing drama on a dime. Under a lesser filmmaker, this could have led to a very conflicted tone, but Kubrick somehow meshed both aspects together neatly. Even in a filmography as remarkable as Kubrick’s, “Full Metal Jacket” stands out from the rest.
“Full Metal Jacket” can be neatly split into two segments, the first follows Private Joker (Matthew Modine), who is tasked with getting his struggling fellow recruit Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio) through basic training under the cruel watch of their harsh drill sergeant (Lee Ermey). The second portion follows Joker and his friends after they are shipped off to the frontline, and must adapt to the realities of bloody conflict and the brutality of 1968’s Tet Offensive.
'A Ghost Story' (2017)
“A Ghost Story” is a tricky movie to recommend. It’s a critical darling, receiving praise for its thoughtful direction, memorable visuals and rich themes, but its minimalist approach to storytelling will alienate some viewers. It’s arguably more of an art piece than a movie, but if you watch with the correct mindset, you might find yourself bewitched by this unique indie flick.
Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, “A Ghost Story” sees an unnamed man (Affleck) return from the dead after a fatal car crash. Taking the form of a spectral spirit that cannot communicate with those still living, the ghost is stuck within the house he used to share with his wife (Mara) and can do little but observe those around him. As time passes, he eventually begins a new journey across time and space in order to move on to the afterlife.
'Miss Sharon Jones!' (2015)
An inspirational documentary following blues singer Sharon Jones across the most difficult year of her life, “Miss Sharon Jones!” is a testament to the power of the human spirit. The Grammy-nominated artist faces some of life’s toughest tests as she attempts to keep her soul and funk band together while also battling an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.
Directed by Barbara Kopple, this doc is a real celebration of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. It also fully displays how hard the singer had to work to make her breakthrough a little later in life after decades of struggling to make it in the cutthroat music industry. Sharon Jones is easy to root for, making this documentary all the more engaging as you see her face each roadblock with dignity and grace. “Miss Sharon Jones!” offers an inspiring insight into a remarkable character.