Lisa Frankenstein; photo courtesy Focus Features

February arrives with more solid choices than I expected, so settle in as we go through ‘em.

First up is Argylle. A spy action slash comedy directed by Matthew Vaughn (the Kingsman franchise), the film tells the story of Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard – Jurassic World), an introverted yet popular spy novelist. She is drawn into the espionage world when her book plots start to reflect and even predict real-world events. With an ensemble cast including Henry Cavill (The Witcher), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), the story looks like a fun ride filled with giant set pieces, flashy explosions, chase scenes and fights galore. It releases Feb. 2.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly experience, check out Orion and the Dark. Based on the book of the same name, the story follows Orion, an elementary school kid with an incredibly long list of fears. During the night, the embodiment of Dark appears to Orin and proposes to take him around and show him that darkness is nothing to fear. Written by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and starring Jacob Tremblay (Room), Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), the familiar animation style is an easy win for family viewing, with a relatable story and nuanced characters. It releases to Netflix on Feb. 2.

If you need a horror comedy to cancel out all the Valentine’s Day propaganda, then Lisa Frankenstein is for you. Directed by Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams, and written by Diablo Cody (Juno), the plot centers on Lisa Swallows, a misunderstood goth teen in 1989. She reanimates a somehow-still-handsome corpse from the Victorian era (Cole Sprouse, Riverdale) and the two begin a murderous journey filled with love, happiness … and violence. The trailer has some great looking shots and wonderful wardrobe along with what looks to be an unhinged and entertaining performance from Kathryn Newton (The Society) in the lead role. It hits theaters on Feb. 9. 

For your comedy road trip film, look no further than Drive-Away Dolls. Starring Margaret Qualley (Maid) and Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers), the film chronicles the lives of two best friends hitting the open road to Tallahassee, Fla., in search of a fresh start. Of course, they encounter inept criminals on the way and get tangled up in something else entirely. Directed by Ethan Coen (The Big Lebowski) in a solo effort, the film is co-written by his wife, Tricia Cooke. The cast rounds out with Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us) and Matt Damon, so hopefully Ethan can pull off the solo act when it comes out on Feb 23. (Also, a quick note to the Coen brothers: hurry up and get back to making movies as a pair, we need this.)

Lastly, for your TV fix, look into Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Based on the 2005 film of the same name, the show stars Donald Glover (Atlanta) and Maya Erskine (Man Seeking Woman) as John and Jane Smith – only this time they aren’t out to kill each other, but rather to work together under the guise of a newly married couple. The action and story look promising, so we’ll see if it can repeat the success of the original film when it releases on Feb. 2 to Prime Video.

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