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It’s January 2022 on Hulu, but it might feel a bit like it’s still 2021 thanks to the premiere of some notable films from the previous year, including an acclaimed documentary about one of America’s greatest choreographers and a gentle but haunting exploration of the creative process. But there’s new stuff to look forward to, too including a sexes-reversed sequel to a classic sitcom and a promising-looking teen comedy. But first, since it cannot be escaped, there’s a Covid-inspired piece with many authors.
The Year of the Everlasting Storm (January 3)
For this 2021 anthology, seven filmmakers from around the globe contribute short films offering their perspectives on life during quarantine. The results include everything from narrative shorts to documentaries to abstract experiments from such renowned directors as David Lowery, Jafar Panahi, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Women of the Movement (January 7)
The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 became one of the galvanizing events of the civil rights movement, but that might not have happened were it not for the tireless search for justice undertaken by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Written by Marissa Jo Cerar and starring Broadway star Adrienne Warren, this six-part series chronicles the story of Till-Mobley’s quest and the ripples it created. Gina Prince-Bythewood directs the first episode.
Pharma Bro (January 7)
The latest from documentarian Brent Hodge (A Brony Tale) profiles one of the 21st century’s most-hated men, Martin Shkreli. Sort of. Without access to Shkreli, Hodge interviewed everyone from reporters to neighbors to psychologists in an attempt to figure out what makes the former pharmaceutical exec/troll/con man tick. The film earned mixed reviews last year but should feed streaming service audience’s seemingly bottomless appetite for films about recent scandals.
The Golden Palace (January 10)
Before there was And Just Like That… there was this sequel series to The Golden Girls, in which Blanche, Rose, and Sophia take over a Miami hotel. And, also like And Just Like That… the follow-up lost a major cast member when Bea Arthur declined to return (though she did return for a two-parter.) Co-starring Cheech Marin, the show only lasted one season but it did provide an early role for Don Cheadle.
Ailey (January 10)
The pioneering work Alvin Ailey helped reshape 20th century dance with his genre-defying choreography but he tried to keep his personal life—including his sexuality and struggles with mental illness—out of the public eye. Jamila Wignot’s acclaimed documentary attempts to lift the veil a bit while conveying the importance and lasting influence of Ailey’s art.
Sex Appeal (January 14)
Thanks to films like Plan B and Vacation Friends, Hulu has quietly become a reliable source for solid comedy features of the sort that used to play theaters. This teen comedy looks to continue that trend via the story of a high school overachiever (Mika Abdalla) trying to prepare to lose her virginity with the same studiousness she brings to school.
Bergman Island (January 14)
For much of his life, director Ingmar Bergman lived, and often worked, on the Swedish island of Fårö. Understandably, the place has acquired a certain mystique over the years. It’s also drawn tourists and, in this latest film from Mia Hansen-Løve (Thing to Come), a pair of filmmakers played by Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps try to turn a trip to Fårö into a working vacation. Mia Wasikowska co-stars in a story that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. (Bergman did shoot Persona there, after all.) It’s one of 2021’s best films, so now’s a chance to catch up if you missed it.
How I Met Your Father (January 18)
This sequel to the long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother stars Hillary Duff as a single New Yorker navigating adulthood with a close-knit group of friends while her future self (Kim Cattrall) recounts the misadventures of her youth to her children. If that sounds a lot like How I Met Your Mother with a sex change, well, that’s probably no accident. But it worked before so why not try it again?
Single Drunk Female (January 21)
Sofia Black-D’Elia (The Mick) stars in a comedy that takes its title seriously. Black-D’Elia plays Sofia whose hard-drinking ways force her to move back in with her mother (Ally Sheedy) and commit to getting clean in order to avoid going to jail.
Small Engine Repair (January 30)
Playwright John Pollono makes his directorial debut with the adaptation of his 2011 play about an after-hours reunion between high school friends that takes an unexpected turn. Pollono co-stars in the role he originated alongside Shea Whigham and Jon Bernthal, who played the same role in the play’s original L.A. production.