Best Movies to See in June: New ‘Men in Black,’ ‘Toy Story,’ ‘X-Men’
This month at the movies — reboots, retreads and revisits, in every direction as far as the eye can see. Hankering for more Men in Black? Good news! Feel like one more go-round with foot-tall murderer Chucky? You’re in luck! In need of another dose of far-out soul from John Shaft? Today’s your day! Throw in sequels for the X-Men and Toy Story franchises, and we’re approaching a critical mass of nostalgia. Also on deck: a downtempo zombie invasion from Jim Jarmusch and a fantasy soundtracked to the tunes of the Beatles. Here’s what’s coming to a theater near you this June.
Anna (June 21st)
The latest addition to Luc Besson’s long line of lady killers is Anna Poliatova (Russian model Sasha Luss), bred to be the ultimate assassin. And at this point in the French writer-director’s filmography, we pretty much know what to expect: a few sexy wigs, a twist or two, a supporting cast having some fun (see: Helen Mirren’s cantankerous elder operative) and action set pieces in flagrant defiance of basic physics. If the movie is half as exciting as the restaurant sequence featured in the above trailer, you may want to bring heart medicine.
Child’s Play (June 21st)
Chucky, the most stab-happy maniac in the annals of evil cinematic toys, has returned to show the Conjuring franchise’s Annabelle how it’s done. The pint-sized pyscho unleashes hell on young Andy (Gabriel Bateman of Lights Out fame), mom Karen (Aubrey Plaza), and the police officer (Brian Tyree Henry) assigned to their case. There’s a sinister corporation in the mix as well, offering a unsettling glimpse into the fiendish process by which Chucky was able to enter our world. Did we mention Mark Hamill voices this generation’s take on the slasher movie murder-doll?
Dark Phoenix (June 7th)
The chronology-hopping timeline of the X-Men movies looks like a game of cat’s cradle at this point, so here’s where matters currently stand: A decade has passed since the events of Apocalypse. A grateful America reveres the X-Men as heroes; Magneto has defected to his mutants-only island nation of Genosha. Then a solar flare hits the super-team during an intergalactic mission, and suddenly Jean Grey (Game of Thrones alum Sophie Turner) finds herself with unlimited power. She renames herself Phoenix and, well, readers of the comics know what happens next. (In short: All hell breaks loose.)
The Dead Don’t Die (June 14th)
Jim Jarmusch: zombie-movie–maker? (Not to be confused with “zombie moviemaker). The indie-cinema icon dips his toe into the horror subgenre with this tale of the walking dead and the local law enforcement folks — namely, a skeptical Bill Murray, a mild-mannered Adam Driver and fearful Chloë Sevigny — who try to contain them. Luckily, they’ll get help from an assortment of eccentric townspeople, with an ensemble cast including Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Tom Waits and the RZA. Board up the doors and prepare for the worst.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (June 7th)
Real-life friends Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails co-created this drama loosely based on Fails’ own experience growing up in the Bay Area. A young man (played by Fails himself) harbors an obsession with the Bay Area Victorian he briefly lived in as a kid. When the house’s ownership becomes the issue of a dispute and temporarily unoccupied, he and his playwright buddy (Jonathan Majors) move in and start restoring the residence. But the currents of gentrification don’t change so easily. A hit at Sundance, this could very well be the best movie of 2019.
Late Night (June 7th)
Mindy Kaling plays Molly Patel, an inexperienced comedy writer plucked from obscurity by talk-show legend Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) to add a dash of color to her blindingly white — and male — writing staff. The young, ambitious woman resolves to prove that she can do more than fulfill a quota, and might just provide the veteran late-night host’s flagging program with the shot in the arm it so desperately needs. Kaling’s signature romcom wit hits a few more hot buttons than usual in this riff on The Devil Wears Prada, as well as giving Thompson one hell of a meaty, acid-tongued role.
Men in Black: International (June 14th)
Tessa Thompson holsters her laser-gun as new MiB recruit agent M, paired with headstrong Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) under the orders of head honcho High T (Liam Neeson). So many letters! The duo is tasked with putting the kibosh on a situation involving a dangerous artifact, an extraterrestrial named Pawny (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) and a pair of creepy shape-shifting twins. Never mind the M.I.A. Will Smith; expect this to be the franchise’s sci-fi/action/wisecracking summer-blockbuster business as usual.
Shaft (June 14th)
Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? After all these years, the answer is still the same, but this reboot gives audiences not one, not two but three Shafts for the price of one. The O.G. John Shaft (Richard Roundtree, reprising his career-defining role) has gone into retirement, leaving the crimefighting mantle to his nephew John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson). He’s got a son of his own, but his relationship to John “JJ” Shaft Jr. (Jessie Usher) has grown strained. Then a suspicious disappearance brings the family back together for a multi-generational beatdown. And before you ask, yes, they’re all bad mother- what?! We’re just talkin’ about Shaft!
Toy Story 4 (June 21st)
Things take a turn for the existential in the latest installment of Pixar’s flagship series, as the crude creation known as Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) wrestles with the question of what it means to be a toy. Then the new favorite toy gets lost. Woody (Tom Hanks) has to find him. He gets separated from the gang. Buzz (Tim Allen) leads an expedition to retrieve them. You know the drill. New pals to aid our beloved playthings on their quest include Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as a pair of smart-mouthed carnival plushies and Keanu Reeves as an Evel Knievel-style daredevil named Duke Caboom.
Yesterday (June 28th)
What if you woke up one day to find that nobody but you had any idea who or what the Beatles are? Would you recreate their music to the best of your ability, pass it off as your own and ride that gravy train all the way to overnight stardom? If so, then you’re well into the first act of this speculative-fiction musical from screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually) and director Danny Boyle, in which a hapless English guitarist (Himesh Patel) lands in one such fantastical situation. Sure, he realizes his long-unfulfilled dreams of fame and fortune. But maybe all he needs is love, in the form of his long-suffering manager/friend (Lily James)?
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