Play Hard

Culture | What we’re watching, reading and doing this February

Written by High Life North
Published 31.01.2020

By Christopher Kingston

2020 has seen loads of great film, TV and book releases already. Here’s what we’re into and we think you’ll love it too…

Birds of Prey

A female-led superhero movie, now is the time for the villainess Harley Quinn to shine. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Harley Quinn is the Joker’s girlfriend and was introduced in the 90s animated series of Batman. Played by Margot Robbie, she made her live-action debut in the film Suicide Squad (2016) and in Birds of Prey leads a group of women against Ewan McGregor’s evil Black Mask. Love it or hate it there’s no denying that the all-female production of this film is a significant and positive step in the industry.  

In cinemas 7 February


If Superhero action is definitely not your thing then why not try Dolittle? Robert Downy Jr plays Doctor John Dolittle who can talk to animals and leads an all-star cast including Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Emma Thompson and Ralph Fiennes. This is one for the whole family and is based on the beloved book.

In cinemas 7 February

Mr Jones 

James Norton, star of hit TV Shows Grantchester, McMafia and more recently The Trial of Christine Keeler makes his big-screen debut in this film, which tells the story of journalist Gareth Jones who in 1933 went to Stalin’s Russia to report corruption. Based on a true story.  

In cinemas 7 February


 A revamp of an old classic, based on the novel by Jane Austen. Anya Taylor Joy plays Emma Woodhouse in this classic tale of a woman who interferes in other peoples affairs. It also stars Bill Nighy as Emma’s father and the always enjoyable Miranda Hart. Highly recommended. 

In cinemas 14 February

What About Love

Two young people spend a summer together in Europe and make a film about love while also coming to realise that they are actually falling in love with each other. 

In cinemas 14 February 

The Rhythm Section

Blake Lively (who looks completely different) plays Stephanie whose family is killed in a plane crash leading her to seek revenge by assuming the identity of an assassin. Produced by the same team who make the James Bond films. See this if you like a good action thriller. We also recommend checking out the book of the same name.

In cinemas 31 January

Good Omens

Based on the book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Michael Sheen and David Tennant play an angel and demon who must work together to save the world from a coming apocalypse. Look out for cameo appearances from a host of comedic talent. If you have not watched it you are in for a treat, it’s really funny and we highly recommend that you check out the book as well.

Out now on BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime

Miss Americana

One we’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for, this is a documentary film that follows Taylor Swift and her life over the course of several years of her career. Netflix describes it as a raw and emotionally revealing look at Swift during a transformational period in her life as she learns to embrace her role as a songwriter, performer and celebrity. 

On Netflix 31 January

Sex Education – Season 2

We loved Season 1 of this Netflix series which focuses on a group of teenagers trying to navigate sex and relationships. Easy watching and yes, it’s a young cast but it’s still entertaining and we’re really pleased to see a popular series like this raising topical issues such as chlamydia, sexual abuse, relationships and bullying. Bravo Netflix. 

Out now on Netflix

The Stranger 

An eight-part psychological thriller based on the Harlan Coben book of the same name. Richard Armitage plays Adam Price who has a chance meeting with a stranger which leads to a shocking secret being revealed about his wife. Also stars Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea (if you like it, you may also like Safe on Netflix too).  

Out on Netflix 30 January

Next in Fashion

Tan France and Alexa Chung host a reality competition show where 18 fashion designers compete in rounds based on trends and styles that influence what people wear worldwide. The contestants are all professionals who have been dressing celebrities and working with major fashion houses. Over 10 episodes, they battle it out to win 250,000 dollars and a debut own-label collection with Net-a-Porter. Funny, entertaining and easy watching for those who love fashion. 

Out now on Netflix 

Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer

Following on from the film ‘Extremely Wicked, Shocking, Evil and Vile’ and the documentary ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’, comes this five-part documentary in which his ex-girlfriend and his daughter describe their lives living with him. A must for our true-crime loving readers. 

Out on Amazon Prime, 31 January 

Grown Ups

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much…

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara gets a concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

We can’t wait to get our hands on this one. Pre-order yours here. 

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Described as this year’s most ‘heartrending’ debut and a BBC Radio 2 book club pick, this is the debut novel by Deepa Anappara which follows Jai, Pari and Faiz. When a school friend goes missing, Jai must use his newly acquired crime-solving skills to find him. Together they journey into the most dangerous parts of the city as kids continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, the police and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth. 

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant 

Chaya, a no-nonsense and outspoken hero, leads her friends and an elephant on an adventure through the jungle where revolution is stirring. Will stealing the Queen’s jewels be the beginning of the end for this intrepid gang? 

This sounds like a magical one to buy for bedtime reading with the kids. 

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