Chicago - Summer is officially here! And if the box office success of "Top Gun: Maverick" is an indication, it’s going to be a big summer for moviegoing. While "Jurassic World Dominion" and Pixar’s "Lightyear" are sure to bring plenty of blockbuster spectacle to megaplexes everywhere, there are all sorts of different movies debuting this month, both in theaters and on streaming.
Hulu’s "Fire Island" leads a parade of queer romances for Pride Month, "Elvis" enters the building in a 159-minute epic and "Marcel the Shell" makes his glorious return in a kid-friendly movie from A24. Plus there’s a Netflix basketball drama starring Adam Sandler, a host of new horror movies and several Sundance hits to keep you entertained as temperatures start to rise.
Here’s what’s headed your way, cinematically speaking, in June 2022.
Watcher (in theaters June 3; VOD June 21)
Maika Monroe appears in "Watcher" by Chloe Okuno, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
"It Follows" star/modern day scream queen Maika Monroe returns to the horror genre yet again in this thriller about an American woman named Julia who moves to Bucharest with her boyfriend. Unable to speak the language, Julia finds herself increasingly isolated in her new life. And as a serial killer known as The Spider stalks the city, she becomes increasingly convinced she’s being watched by her sinister neighbor. As FOX Digital film critic Clint Worthington explained in his Sundance review of the film, "Laced through [director Chloe] Okuno’s evocative film is a sparse, chilling element of cultural alienation, adding yet more tension to scenes that speak to the specific anxieties of being a woman in public spaces."
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: William Fichtner becomes obsessed with the woman next door in "The Neighbor"
Fire Island (streaming on Hulu June 3)
(From L-R): Matt Rogers, Zane Phillips, Tomas Matos, Joel Kim Booster, Torian Miller and Bowen Yang in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Kick off the summer romance season with this hotly anticipated rom-com written by comedian Joel Kim Booster. Set on Fire Island, the famous gay escape destination off the southern shore of Long Island, the movie follows two best friends (Booster and "SNL" breakout Bowen Yang) who set off on their annual week-long vacation with an eclectic group of friends (including den mom Margaret Cho). "Fire Island" promises to be an unapologetic, modern day rom-com about found family, queer romance and cheap rosé, all loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice."
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: "My Big Gay Italian Wedding"
Crimes of the Future (in theaters June 3)
Léa Seydoux, Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart in "Crimes of the Future."
The Beethoven of body horror returns. "Crimes of the Future" is Canadian auteur David Cronenberg’s first film since 2014’s "Maps to the Stars," and his first as both writer and director since 2012’s "Cosmopolis." And if the early trailers (and the response out of the Cannes Film Festival) are any indication, this is classic Cronenberg, a visceral, subversive exploration of autonomy, humanity, evolution and transformation. Cronenberg fave Viggo Mortensen plays a performance artist who, in a near-future, highly synthetic world, "publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances." French superstar Léa Seydoux plays his partner; Kristen Stewart is the investigator on their tail. It’s a safe bet that things get complicated, both in the world and inside the human body. Maybe skip the refreshment stand on this one.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen chart "A History of Violence"
Hustle (in theaters June 3; streaming on Netflix June 8)
HUSTLE. (L-R) Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz and Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugerman in Hustle. Cr. Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2022.
While Adam Sandler’s partnership with Netflix has mostly led to goofy comedies like "The Ridiculous 6," "Murder Mystery" and "Hubie Halloween," "Hustle" is a welcome addition to the "Sandler does drama" canon. (See also: "Punch-Drunk Love" and "The Meyerowitz Stories.") Here Sandler plays a down-on-his luck basketball scout determined to recruit an international phenom with a checkered past to play in the NBA. That means two "one last shot" stories rolled into one, in a sports drama that’s almost certainly a passion project for the real-life basketball-loving comedian. Let’s just hope it’s a little less stressful than the Sandman’s last dramatic outing, "Uncut Gems."
Rated R. 117 minutes. Dir: Jeremiah Zagar. Featuring: Adam Sandler, Queen Latifah, Robert Duvall, Juancho Hernangómez, Ben Foster, Kenny Smith, Anthony Edwards, Jordan Hull, Maria Botto, Ainhoa Pillet, Raúl Castillo, Jaleel White, Heidi Gardner.
The Janes (streaming on HBO/HBO Max June 8)
A still from The Janes by Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
As FOX Digital film critic Caroline Siede explained in her Sundance review of this timely documentary, "It takes real finesse to deliver a history lesson that’s lively, funny and personal but still conveys the weight of its subject matter. And that’s exactly where HBO’s upcoming documentary "The Janes" excels. ‘We were really ordinary women, and we were trying to save women’s lives,’ one interview subject recalls near the end of the documentary. ‘We wanted every woman who contacted us to be the hero of her own story.’ She’s talking about the Jane Collective, the underground Chicago network that provided around 11,000 safe, affordable, illegal abortions between 1968 and 1973. Equal parts accessible and informative, "The Janes" shines a light on what life looked like at a time when a woman’s right to choose wasn’t protected by law."
Rated TV-14. 101 minutes. Documentary. Dir: Tia Lessin, Emma Pildes.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The 2019 drama "Ask for Jane"
Jurassic World Dominion (in theaters June 10)
2021 Universal Studios and Storyteller Distribution LCC. All Rights Reserved.
Last we checked in on the "Jurassic World" franchise in 2018’s "Fallen Kingdom," Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howardwere releasing a host of dinosaurs into the wilds of California. Now "Dominion" is set four years later in the "neo-Jurassic Age," where humans and dinos tentatively live alongside one another across the globe. It’s a major shift for the "Jurassic" franchise, but the even bigger selling point here is that original "Jurassic Park" stars Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblumand Sam Neill are all back to reprise their iconic roles. (Alongside frequent franchise player BD Wong, of course.) Billed as the "epic conclusion of the Jurassic era," "Dominion" will almost certainly be one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer.
Rated PG-13. 146 minutes. Dir: Colin Trevorrow. Featuring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, Justice Smith, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Daniella Pineda.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: "Jurassic Shark 2: Aquapocalypse"
Halftime (streaming on Netflix June 14)
Halftime. Jennifer Lopez in Halftime. Cr. Netflix © 2022
More than just a concert film, this Jennifer Lopez documentary promises to provide an intimate portrait of the global superstar, all anchored around her February 2020 Super Bowl halftime performance. It was around that time that Lopez was snubbed by the Academy Awards for her critically acclaimed turn in the crime drama "Hustlers." And "Halftime" aims to explore the lows as much as the highs of Lopez’s lengthy time in the public eye. Expect behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, insights into the Lopez family group chat and interviews with Ben Affleck.
Rated TV-MA. 95 minutes. Documentary. Dir: Amanda Micheli. Featuring: Jennifer Lopez.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: "Jennifer Lopez: Behind Closed Doors"
Mad God (in select theaters June 10; streaming on Shudder June 16)
She-it - Mad God - Photo Credit: Shudder
Here’s a movie that’s been 30 years in the making. "Mad God," a stop-motion horror film, comes from the mind of Oscar-winning special effects pioneer Phil Tippett, whose work you might have seen in little movies like "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park" (on which he was credited as "dinosaur supervisor"), "RoboCop," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and the "Twilight" saga. It follows a character known only as "The Assassin" as he moves "through a forbidding world of tortured souls, decrepit bunkers, and wretched monstrosities forged from the most primordial horrors of the subconscious mind." The fact that it exists at all is incredible; that it’s also reportedly very good makes it a can’t-miss proposition. And luckily, even if you don’t have Shudder, you won’t have to: While originally destined for a streaming-only release, it will now hit theaters for a limited run on June 10.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Phil Tippett directs "Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation"
Lightyear (in theaters June 17)
TRIAL AND ERROR – After being marooned on a hostile planet, Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans) attempts multiple test flights in an effort to recreate the complicated fuel required to reach hyperspeed so he and the whole crew can return to Earth.
As star Chris Evans helpfully clarified on Twitter, "Lightyear" isn’t about Buzz Lightyear the toy. "This is the origin story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on." What does that mean, exactly? It’s anyone’s guess as Pixar tries to spin off its beloved "Toy Story" franchise in a decidedly Christopher Nolan-esque direction. "Lightyear" follows the young test-pilot-turned-Space-Ranger as he’s marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander, their crew and a robot cat named Sox. We can only assume their attempts to escape will take them to infinity and beyond.
Cha Cha Real Smooth (in theaters and streaming on Apple TV+ June 17)
Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in "Cha Cha Real Smooth," premiering June 17, 2022 on Apple TV+.
"Don’t be put off by the fact that "Cha Cha Real Smooth" sounds like a movie you’ve seen before," FOX Digital film critic Caroline Siede explains in her Sundance review of this indie rom-com. "This is a tale as old as time (or at least as old as "The Graduate"), yet [writer/director/star Cooper] Raiff elevates it so gently and empathetically that the well-trod beats somehow feel fresh all over again." Raiff plays Andrew, an aimless 22-year-old college graduate who gets a job as a bar mitzvah party starter and quickly falls head-over-heels for a 30-something single mom played by Dakota Johnson. As Siede explains, ""Cha Cha Real Smooth" is a special little movie that’s deeper than the moniker "crowd pleaser" might suggest... somehow both a gut-punch and a warm blanket all at the same time."
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The romantic drama "Beyond the Lights"
Spiderhead (streaming on Netflix June 17)
SPIDERHEAD. Chris Hemsworth as Abnesti in Spiderhead. Cr. Netflix © 2022
Less than a month after "Top Gun: Maverick" hit theaters, director Joseph Kosinski and star Miles Teller are back with another stylish flick. This one is more of a trippy sci-fi thriller than a fist-pumping fighter jet adventure, however. "Spiderhead" stars Chris Hemsworth as the overseer of a prison/scientific lab where inmates serve as test subjects for emotion-altering drugs. Teller and Jurnee Smollett play two prisoners who strike up a connection in their unnerving environment. But as the drugs force them to grapple with their pasts, can they find a way to forge a new future?
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (streaming on Hulu June 17)
Daryl McCormack and Emma Thompson in the film GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Another big hit of this year’s Sundance film festival, "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande" stars Emma Thompson as a widow who’s never experienced good sex and Daryl McCormack as the suave sex worker she hires to change that. As FOX Digital film critic Allison Shoemaker explained in her festival review, "Even in a career filled with terrific, wide-ranging performances, Thompson’s turn here stands out. As is the case with many of the women Thompson plays, Nancy Stokes crackles with intelligence; she’s also immensely appealing without ever losing a certain amount of thorniness. She is a person, not a heroine. (Okay, she’s a little bit of a heroine.) Daryl McCormack’s performance, in contrast, doesn’t seem nearly as complex right off the bat, but as the film progresses and the dynamic shifts it becomes clear exactly how layered his work has been, creating the Leo Grande persona while leaving the occasional crack or fracture that reveals part of the person beneath."
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Sophie Hyde’s 2019 comedy-drama "Animals"
Rise (streaming on Disney+ June 24 )
You don’t have to care a single lick about sports to love a good sports movie, and this looks like it could be a great one. But NBA fans should be especially excited about "Rise," Disney+‘s cinematic retelling of the life (so far) of Milwaukee Bucks megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo (an executive producer for the film) and his brothers, several of whom are also professional basketball players. As with all great sports movies, however, the story is as compelling as the actual athletic activity, if not more.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan lead a remake of "The Karate Kid"
Elvis (in theaters June 24)
AUSTIN BUTLER as Elvis in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama "ELVIS," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Hugh Stewart
Move over "Rocketman" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," the King has entered the building. Former teen star Austin Butlersteps into the blue suede shoes of Elvis Presley himself, while Tom Hanks plays his eccentric manager. Clocking in at a whopping 2 hours and 39 minutes, "Elvis" definitely runs the risk of being just another bloated music biopic. But there’s reason to be hopeful too. This flick comes from gonzo Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann, the director behind "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet," "Moulin Rouge!" and "The Great Gatsby." That means that no matter what else, "Elvis" will almost certainly have over-the-top style to spare.
Rated PG-13. 159 minutes. Dir: Baz Luhrmann. Featuring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Luke Bracey, David Wenham, Natasha Bassett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Kodi Smit-McPhee.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: "Elvis: Behind Closed Doors"
The Black Phone (in theaters June 24)
Screenshot: The Black Phone trailer
After parting ways with Marvel over creative differences on "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," director Scott Derrickson returns to his small-scale horror roots. And he enlists new Marvel "Moon Knight" player Ethan Hawketo help him do it. Based on a 2004 Joe Hill short story of the same name, "The Black Phone" stars Hawke as a 1970s child kidnapper and serial murderer known as "the Grabber." The creepy villain has left a trail of missing kids in a suburban Colorado town. But when the Grabber’s latest hostage finds a way to communicate with past victims via a mysterious telephone, the paranormal could become a saving grace.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Scott Derrickson directs the 2005 horror flick "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (in theaters June 24)
Screenshot: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On trailer
Back in 2010, a humble little shell named Marcel took the internet by storm in a three-minute YouTube stop-motion shortcalled "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On." Two more shorts and several children’s books eventually followed, and now, after an eight year hiatus, the tiny sneaker-wearing shell is back with his first full-length adventure. While this coming-of-age mockumentary from A24 is very much a funny, family friendly good time, it’s also a surprisingly poignant story about friendship, family and finding your place in the world. Jenny Slate returns to voice the optimistic little seashell (and co-write the screenplay with Dean Fleischer Camp), while the legendary Isabella Rossellini is on hand as Marcel’s loving grandmother. Expect laughter and tears in equal measure.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The big adventures of "Stuart Little"
Center: "Hollywood Stargirl." Clockwise from top left: "Neptune Frost," "The Phantom of the Open," "Wildhood," "Dashcam".
FOR HORROR: Director Rob Savage follows up his 2020 Zoom horror movie "Host" with the livestream horror thriller "Dashcam" (in theaters and VOD, June 3). A high school field trip goes bloodily awry in the Blumhouse-produced EPIX original film "Unhuman" (VOD, June 3). Shane West rents a haunted house in "Mid-Century" (in theaters and VOD, June 17). And writer/director Peter Strickland serves up a side of foodie-based dark-comedy horror in "Flux Gourmet"(in theaters & VOD June 24).
FOR COMEDY: Oscar-winner Mark Rylance plays a golfing folk hero in the heartwarming British dramedy "The Phantom of the Open" (in select theaters June 3). Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan put their own spin on "Father of the Bride" (HBO Max, June 16). Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas get goofy in the filmmaking satire "Official Competition" (in theaters June 17; VOD August 2). And Chris Pine produces "Doula" (VOD, June 28), a comedy about the ups and downs of modern pregnancy.
FOR TEENS: "America's Got Talent" breakout Grace VanderWaal returns in the teen romance sequel "Hollywood Stargirl" (Disney+, June 3).
FOR ACTION: A nuclear missile interceptor base is under threat in "Interceptor" (Netflix, June 3). Real-life vintage aircraft take center stage in the WWII epic "Wolf Hound" (in theaters and VOD, June 3). And Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson team up as an odd couple pairing in the action comedy "The Man From Toronto" (Netflix, June 24).
FOR ROMANTIC DRAMA: Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi play British war poet Siegfried Sassoon in the biopic "Benediction" (in theaters June 3). "Firebird" (VOD, June 3) follows a gay romance set in the Soviet Air Force during the Cold War. "Peter Pan" gets a modern update featuring four generations of Darling women in "The Lost Girls" (in theaters and VOD, June 17). And "Wildhood" (Hulu, June 24) is a coming-of-age Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ drama just in time for Pride month.
FOR MUSIC DRAMAS: "The Score" (in theaters June 3/VOD, June 6) tries to pioneer the new genre of "heist musical," starring and featuring the music of Johnny Flynn. A mix tape allows a young woman to travel back in time and try to save her boyfriend’s life in the romantic drama "Press Play" (in theaters & VOD, June 24). And rapper Freddie Gibbs makes his feature film debut in the music industry drama "Down with the King" (VOD, June 28).
FOR UNIQUE CINEMA: Multidisciplinary artist Saul Williams crafts the Afrofuturist sci-fi punk musical "Neptune Frost" (in select theaters June 3). "Brian and Charles" (in theaters June 17) follows a lonely Welsh inventor who creates a cabbage-loving, artificially intelligent robot. And first-time feature filmmaker Rebeca "Beba" Huntt explores her own identity in the cinematic memoir "Beba" (in select theaters June 24).
Kickstart your June viewing with two Pride Month films
Left: "Carol." Right: "Maurice."
Carol (2015): This achingly romantic period drama from director Todd Haynes stars Cate Blanchett as the titular Carol, a glamorous woman who catches the eye of Therese (Rooney Mara), a young aspiring photographer working in a department store. Carol forgets her gloves (or does she?) and the sparks that fly across the counter catch fire when introduced to the oxygen of the outside world. Haynes’ unapologetically queer film, heavily inspired by photography of the 1950s, is swoon-worthy and stylish. Mara and Blanchett are almost as good at wearing incredible costumes as they are at acting, and they’re very, very good at acting. One of the most celebrated and moving dramas of the century so far. Rated R. 118 minutes. Dir: Todd Haynes. Also featuring Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Kyle Chandler.
Maurice (1987): Before Hugh Grant became the king of rom-coms in movies like "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill" he had his breakout debut in this sensitive Merchant–Ivory romance about young men in Edwardian England. Grant plays Clive Durham, the aristocratic student who falls for his friend Maurice Hall (James Wilby) at Cambridge in 1909. The two men strike up a complicated affair that forces them to decide what they really want for their futures. Rupert Graves also stars as a third romantic player in this poignant drama based on E. M. Forster’s classic novel. Call it the original "Call Me By Your Name." Rated R. 140 minutes. Dir: James Ivory. Also featuring Denholm Elliott.
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
About the writer: Allison Shoemaker is a Chicago-based pop-culture critic and journalist. She is the author of "How TV Can Make You Smarter," and a member of the Television Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association. She is also a producer and co-host for the Podlander Presents network of podcasts. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allisonshoe. Allison is a Tomatometer-approved Top Critic on Rotten Tomatoes.
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