This June has no shortage of potential summer-movie crowd-pleasers, from the return of Pixar’s unstoppable super-family to a heist packed with famous faces to a cataclysmic meltdown featuring gigantic, genetically-altered dinosaurs. Thankfully, if blockbusters aren’t your bag, you’re also getting a cavalcade of Sundance favorites heading your way, including a doc on public television’s unstoppable real-life superhero and a cataclysmic horror-movie meltdown featuring a hell-hath-no-fury Toni Collette. Here’s what you’ll be seeing at (hopefully air-conditioned) theater near you this month.
Action Point (June 1st)
Buckle that seatbelt and adjust that athletic supporter – Johnny Knoxville has resumed his two-front war on good taste and the fortitude of his own bones. The Jackass daredevil does all his own stunts in the role of D.C., the down-on-his-luck proprietor of an amusement park where each broken-down ride promises fun and a multiple fracture. When the corporate rival next door threatens his livelihood, he and his merry band of testicle-smashing buddies (including Jackass regular Chris Pontius) band together to save their home the only way they know how: subjecting themselves to life-threatening danger. This may be a change for Knoxville in its adherence to a script and plot, but rest assured the bruises accrued onscreen are very real.
American Animals (June 1st)
It’s a heist film wedged inside a documentary! No, it’s a true-crime report with interludes of dramatization! However you want to slice it, this indie breakout from director Bart Layton does a bit of the old soft-shoe on the line between narrative and nonfiction cinema. Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan portray Warren Lipka and Spencer Reinhard, a pair of disaffected young men who decide to take a shot at a greater life by purloining a book worth millions from a university’s rare-tome library. Meanwhile, the real Lipka and Reinhard provide their highly subjective memories of the events onscreen that call everything the audience is shown into question. Print the legend, in other words, then get the actual participants to debunk it one talking-head interview at a time.
Damsel (June 22nd)
With busted-up false teeth and a middle-parted hairdo that suggests he’s about to be pushed into a locker by jocks, Robert Pattinson’s a far cry from his dreamboat beginnings as well-to-do-frontier gentleman Samuel Alabaster. This warped Western’s “hero,” if you can call him that, is half dandy fop and half boob, heading through the wild frontier on a mini-horse named Butterscotch (no, really) in tow to marry his lady love (Mia Wasikowska). But not everyone is who they seem. Pattinson’s apparent campaign to work with as many visionary directors as possible following his teen-lit tour of duty has led him to indie stalwarts/siblings Nathan and David Zellner (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter), who truly challenge the versatile actor’s range. #TeamAlabaster
Hereditary (June 8th)
Crazy to think that in such a long and accomplished career, Toni Collette may have only just now delivered her signature role. But Ari Aster’s bloodcurdling debut has a way of messing with its viewers’ heads, and the Australian actress works in an entirely unprecedented register as an artist coping with the loss of her domineering mother. She’s slowly cracking under the twin pressures of grief and parenthood, especially since her teenage kids have been acting … odd lately. Add in a supernatural element that’s best left discovered first-hand (go in as cold as you can) and you’ve got the odds-on horror sleeper of the summer. You will never look at dollhouses, treehouses or Alex Wolff the same way ever again.
The Incredibles 2 (June 15th)
Fourteen long years have passed out here in the real world, but this sequel to Pixar’s 2004 hit rejoins everyone’s favorite superpowered family right where we left them. Ol’ papa bear Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) continues to muscle his way through middle age as a stay-at-home dad; matriarch Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) steps up to become the house breadwinner; moody teen Violet (Sarah Vowell) forges ahead through puberty; and grade-schooler Dash (Huck Milner) remains an uncontrollable ball of energy. Familiar faces like Frozone and Edna Mode return as new cast members Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Catherine Keener and Sophia Bush fill out the comic-book-styled universe. Remember: The greatest superpower of all … is togetherness.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22nd)
You’d think that after so many high-profile snafus, the conglomerate responsible for cloning and quarantining all these dinosaurs would think twice about giving it yet another shot. But franchises, ah, they do find a way! A volcanic eruption on the extant dinos’ island home threatens their safety. Our human heroes (Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt) must intervene to save their gigantic reptile pals. Also there’s a massive genetic hybrid known as the “indosaur.” Will the bond between a trainer and the velociraptors he raised as his own weather this cataclysm? Will the government ever start regulating the reckless synthesizing of towering lizard monsters? Will Bryce Dallas Howard finally get some sensible footwear? We need answers, people.
Ocean’s 8 (June 8th)
Everything a person needs to know about this quasi-extension of Steven Soderbergh’s heist-flick franchise-iverse can be communicated with nouns. Robbery. Met Ball. Necklace. Quips. Sandra Bullock. Cate Blanchett. Anne Hathaway. Helena Bonham Carter. Mindy Kaling. Sarah Paulson. Rihanna. Awkwafina. The star-studded dream-cast lineup of actresses hits all the classic crime archetypes – the mastermind, the forger, the hacker, the sleight-of-hand expert – in a most diverting caper. If this has half the fizzy energy of the 2000s trilogy, we’re so in.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29th)
Emily Blunt’s by-the-book agent Kate Macer may be M.I.A., but this sequel to the popular 2015 action film brings back her take-no-prisoners associates Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) and Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) for more narco-hunting south of the border. There’s a secret-ops plan to destabilize the drug trade by inciting war between rival cartels; quicker than you can say “human rights violation,” an innocent life has gotten caught in the crossfire and Gillick goes rogue. is this just an excuse for Del Toro to growl some tough-guy one-liner in Spanish before gunning a guy down in cold blood? Probably, and we consider such simple pleasures worth the price of a ticket.
Under the Silver Lake (June 22nd)
Something wicked this way comes in modern-day Los Angeles – and while a young, tousle-haired hipster (Andrew Garfield) isn’t sure what it is, he knows that it has something to do with the number 751, pop-song lyrics, a serial dog murderer and that cute girl (Riley Keough) he saw swimming in his housing complex’s pool. And did we mention that Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow plays the king of the homeless? This paranoiac noir from David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) tosses our aimless stoner hero into a spiral of conspiracies and iconography, leaving him to decipher the messages hidden all around a weirdo version of the City of Angels. Think David Lynch-lite, but in the best possible way.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor (June 8th)
If the abstract concept of goodness ever took human form, it’d look a lot like Fred Rogers. For over three decades, the saintly writer-puppeteer-actor-musician marshaled all of his talents for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a children’s program that emphasized honest emotion and gentle self-expression – and in the process, became a father figure for several generations of latchkey kids. This documentary examines the minister-turned-television-icon’s exemplary life and the legacy left behind, providing everyone with a valuable reminder to treat your fellow human beings with kindness. Or, in other words, WWFRD?