What to Watch in June: ‘Loki,’ ‘The Conjuring’ and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In the Heights’
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What will moviegoing look like post-vaccine? We might soon have a better idea. Where May served as something of a dry run for whether or not audiences turn out via films like Wrath of Man and A Quiet Place Part II, June looks like the main event thanks to In the Heights, F9, and a new Pixar movie. Wait… the Pixar movie is premiering on Disney+? Maybe we won’t know what post-pandemic moviegoing will look like for a while after all.
Still, there’s plenty to watch on big screens big and small. Summer is traditionally home to unapologetically dumb television, a tradition happily carried on by returning shows like Holey Moley. But look a little further and you’ll find some more ambitious offerings. And while roaring cars might be what ultimately lures the masses back to the multiplexes, June’s other releases include everything from a documentary charting the ups and downs of the ultimate cult band to werewolves. Here are a few of the upcoming month’s most intriguing options.
We Are Lady Parts (Peacock, June 3)
Can an all-female Muslim punk band make it in the London music scene? What if their lead guitarist can’t perform without throwing up? Since premiering on Britain’s Channel 4 last month, this sitcom has won praise both for its knowing disruption of Muslim stereotypes and its original songs, written in part by creator Nida Manzoor and her siblings. Its premiere on Peacock gives Americans a chance to see what all the fuss has been about. Watch with a free trial to Peacock here.
Lisey’s Story (Apple TV+, June 4)
Stephen King has called his 2006 novel Lisey’s Story his favorite of his books, which probably increases the pressure on anyone hoping to adapt it. Maybe that’s why Apple assembled such an impressive team for this eight-part limited series. Julianne Moore stars as the widow of a famous author (Clive Owen) who’s plagued both by a threatening fan and suppressed memories as she sorts through her husband’s papers. Pablo Larrain (No, Jackie) directs, King scripted the project himself, and the supporting cast includes everyone from Joan Allen to Jennifer Jason Leigh. Watch on Apple TV+.
Sweet Tooth (Netflix, June 4)
In the near future, the world has been ravaged by a disease that’s wiped out much of the human population. But wait, there’s even more going on in this series adapting a comic book by Jeff Lemire: the plague arrived accompanied by a new generation of children that appear to be part human and part animal, inspiring fear among those who’ve survived the disease. Could Gus (Christian Convery), a boy with deer features raised in the wilderness by his father (Will Forte), hold the secret of survival? Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones) co-stars as a one-time football star who takes it upon himself to protect Gus from the dangers of a post-apocalyptic world in which he seemingly has no place. Watch on Netflix.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Theaters and HBO Max, June 4)
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in this follow-up to The Conjuring 2. Set partly in a courtroom where a man tries to use demonic possession as part of his defense, this is the third proper Conjuring film but far from the third in the ever-expanding Conjuring universe, which now includes branches dedicated to a killer doll, a ghostly nun, and other supernatural pests. Michael Chaves, who directed one such spin-off, The Curse of La Llorona, takes over the director’s chair from James Wan, though Wan has stayed on board as both producer and one of the story’s co-writers. Watch on HBO Max.
Vivo (Netflix, June 4)
June sees the premiere of not one but two Lin-Manuel Miranda musicals. Its release kicked back a year, In the Heights hits theaters and HBO Max a little later in the month, but not until after the premiere of this animated film for which Miranda wrote the songs and provides the voice of Vivo, a music-loving kinkajou who has to beat the odds and travel from Havana to Miami to deliver a message of love. Watch on Netflix.
Undine (Theaters, June 4)
Christian Petzold follows up a pair of intense dramas about life under fascism — Phoenix and Transit — with a change of pace: a contemporary fairy tale about a water sprite named Undine (Paula Beer) living in Berlin who finds herself dealing with heartbreak and her supernatural mandate to kill her straying lover.
Little Birds (Starz, June 6)
After years of livening up movies and TV shows Juno Temple finally scored a breakout role thanks to her winning supporting turn in Ted Lasso. This six-part adaptation of a posthumously published collection of Anaïs Nin stories casts her as an American newlywed whose visit to 1950s Tangier turns into a journey of self-discovery. Watch on Starz here (bonus deal: get three months of Starz for just $5 total here).
Awake (Netflix, June 9)
Sweet Tooth isn’t the only apocalyptic drama popping up on Netflix this month. Gina Rodriguez stars in this science fiction thriller set in a world troubled by a sweeping power failure that’s also left everyone unable to sleep, creating a groggy, technologically backwards hell on earth. Watch on Netflix.
Loki (Disney+, June 9)
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, a consistent highlight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, gets his own series in which he finds himself compelled to fix a messed-up timeline or risk being wiped from existence. That sounds promisingly weird, and if WandaVision proved anything it’s that weird and Marvel TV shows make a fine combination. Owen Wilson co-stars and Michael Waldron, who’s logged time at both Community and Rick and Morty, serves as creator and showrunner. Watch on Disney+.
In the Heights (Theaters and HBO Max, June 11)
Speaking of alternate timelines, if global events had gone a different way we would have seen this adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first hit musical last year, when it might have joined Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story in creating a movie musical revival. Instead we’ve had to wait a year for this tuneful slice-of-neighborhood-life look at New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood (but critics who did manage to see it last year had nothing but nice things to say about it). Watch on HBO Max.
Censor (Theaters, June 11)
The early 1980s found Great Britain upset about the spread of “video nasties,” horror films and other material released on home video that didn’t pass the stringent requirements of the British censorship board. That hysteria serves as the backdrop to this first feature by Prano Bailey-Bond starring Niamh Algar as Enid, a censor troubled by a sleazy producer’s especially unpleasant horror movie — one that seems to be drawing on Enid’s own past.
Tuca & Bertie (Adult Swim, June 13)
Netflix cancelled this much-loved, Lisa Hanawalt-created animated sitcom about the friendship between two birds with contrasting personalities (voiced by Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong) to much outcry after a single season. Adult Swim heard that outcry and picked it up for a second season, creating one of the happiest comeback stories since NBC snapped up Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Watch with a free trial to Hulu here.
Kevin Can F**k Himself (AMC, June 13)
On Schitt’s Creek, Annie Murphy brought layers of depth and weirdness to what could have a spoiled socialite stock character. That sounds like great preparation for her new role as Allison, a long-suffering sitcom wife who decides to kill her oafish husband. Created by Valerie Armstrong (Lodge 49), the series splits time between domestic scenes filmed like a traditional sitcom and the darker world (and headspace) Allison enters when she leaves home. The show streams on AMC June 13 and airs on the channel June 20. Watch with a free trial to AMC.
Fatherhood (Netflix, June 16)
In a change-of-pace role, Kevin Hart plays a father struggling with the responsibilities of caring for his daughter when his wife dies shortly after giving birth. Paul Weitz (About a Boy) directs, working from a memoir by Matthew Logelin. It appears to be a dramatic departure for Hart, up to a point: the trailer promises both scenes of dramatic reflection and poop jokes. Watch on Netflix.
Pixar’s Luca (Disney+, June 16)
With Undine and now Pixar’s Luca, June is shaping up to be a big month for sea monsters. Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer provide the voices of, respectively, Luca and Alberto, a pair of Italian sea spirits who break the rules and venture to the surface where they can pass as human — unless they get wet. The feature debut of Pixar veteran Enrico Casarosa, it’s curiously debuting directly on Disney+. Watch on Disney+.
Physical (Apple TV+, June 18)
Sometimes you think you know what an actor is all about then they find another gear. Rose Byrne was, and remains, a fine dramatic talent but revealed a new side of herself via comedies like Neighbors and Spy. A dark comedy created by playwright Annie Weisman, whose TV works includes Desperate Housewives and The Path, this new series looks likely to draw on all sides of Byrne’s talent, casting her as a neglected housewife who immerses herself in the world of aerobics and begins to climb the ladder to success. Watch on Apple TV+.
The Sparks Brothers (Theaters, June 18)
Brothers Ron and Russell Mael have been making music together as the band Sparks since the early Seventies, falling in and out of fashion as they released album after album, winning a devoted following in the process. Lifelong fan Edgar Wright makes his documentary debut with this exhaustive look at the highs and lows and Sparks’s career, following the the Maels as they evolve from rock mavericks to unlikely dance music pioneers and beyond. A host of Sparks fans ranging from Björk to Neil Gaiman join him to offer their appreciation.
F9 (Theaters, June 25)
The Fast & Furious franchise takes an unexpected turn with this cerebral ninth entry… Wait. Nah. F9 looks like it will continue the pattern the series has followed for years: adding cast members and going for bigger and louder moments of vehicular mayhem (including at least one promised scene in space). John Cena joins the already overstuffed cast as Jakob Toretto, Dom Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) previously unseen brother. Will this be the movie that brings blockbuster-starved (and hopefully vaccinated) fans back to theaters? If any movie can, it’s this one. See tickets and showtimes here.
False Positive (Hulu, June 25)
We don’t yet know much about False Positive ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in a few weeks shortly ahead of its Hulu debut, but what we do know sounds intriguing: 1) It stars Ilana Glazer and Justin Theroux. 2) Pierce Brosnan plays an OB-GYN who’s maybe not what he seems to be (as suggested by a disturbing still released ahead of the film). 3) It’s directed by John Lee, one of the creators of Wonder Showzen and the director of Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday. Watch with a free trial to Hulu here.
Werewolves Within (Theaters, June 25)
Another intriguing looking film set to premiere at Tribeca, Werewolves Within stars Sam Richardson (Veep) and Milana Vayntrub (This is Us) as a pair of unlikely sleuths trying to get to the bottom of some mysterious doings in a snowbound town. It’s the second feature from Josh Ruben, a follow-up to his 2020 debut Scare Me, and looks likely to continue a winning streak mixing scares and laughs.
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