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What To Watch on Netflix in June

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This June sees Netflix bringing films which dispel the notion that it’s only interested in showing movies made in the last twenty years. However, this is a mixed blessing. On one hand, you’ve got Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” and Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless,” an off-kilter adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” On the other hand, the Romeo and Juliet musical “West Side Story” has classic songs and Jerome Robbins’ indelible choreography…as well as the very white Natalie Wood playing the Puerto Rican lead character. Meanwhile, “The Silence Of The Lambs” offers Jodie Foster’s fantastic Clarice Starling and introduced cinemagoers to Sir Anthony Hopkins’ memorable performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. But its chief antagonist is a transphobe’s wet dream, a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill.

Other titles coming to Netflix in June don’t need the hard sell. David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” for example, does a great dramatization of the hunt for the Zodiac Killer. Likewise, the arrival of new seasons of “Pose,” “DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow,” “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj,” “Queen Of The South,” and “Queer Eye” will have other viewers planning binge viewing sessions. But maybe spare a little time for the underrated but well done rock biopic parody “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”

Here are some other titles debuting this month that might also be worth a look:

June 1

Cardcaptor Sakura — The classic 1990s kid anime series comes to Netflix with both the Clow and Sakura seasons.  This adaptation of the popular manga from CLAMP does use the “collect the box tops for a story ending” setup.  But it’s fun seeing 10-year-old Sakura Kinimoto trying to recapture the magical Clow cards she accidentally released into the world.  Having the cards’ magical guardian Cerberus be a cute talking toy lion helps too.  Netflix will probably not censor the series’ mentions of rich friend Toyo’s feelings towards Sakura.

The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist — If you’re a regular on the Midnight Movie circuit, you’ve probably seen Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic “The Room” at some point.  Now director and actor James Franco tells the strange-but-true story of how “The Room” came to be.  Aspiring actors Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) suffer repeated rejection during their attempts to make it big in Hollywood.  Wiseau decides to create their own big acting break.  He’ll direct and star (with friend Greg) in their own low budget movie financed by mysterious sources.  But is fame achieved through the sheer awfulness of the resulting film a good thing?

Inside Man — Before Spike Lee’s newest joint drops later this month on Netflix, try this callback to 1970s crime thrillers.  Clive Owen plays the leader of a quartet of bank robbers who take the staff and customers of a Manhattan bank hostage.  Hostage negotiator Det. Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) is called in to resolve the crisis.  However, it eventually becomes clear that the robbers aren’t interested in having their demands met.  They’re stalling…but for what?  Expect to be hit by more than a few red herrings.

Lust, Caution — Ang Lee languidly adapted writer Eileen Chang’s tale of love and murder during World War II.  The married Mr. Yee (Tony Leung) has been a rising star in the wartime collaborationist government thanks to his service as a government torturer.   The married Mrs. Mak (Tang Wei) is Mr. Yee’s lover.  But she’s actually setting up Mr. Yee for assassination because his tortures help the invading Japanese forces.  However, fulfilling this assignment means she engages with Mr. Yee in the type of onscreen sexual activity that earned this film a NC-17 rating. 

June 3

Lady Bird — Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed tale of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan in a great performance) doesn’t need any more boosting, does it?  Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical tale of this Sacramento-based Catholic high school student’s senior year did make quite a few film critics’ Top 10 lists.  But there are probably still people who haven’t seen this comedy-drama because they haven’t heard of it or dislike its generally less than reverent take towards Catholicism.  Don’t be that person, otherwise you’ll miss performances from a wonderful cast including Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, and Laurie Metcalf in particular as Lady Bird’s equally strong-willed mother.

Spelling The Dream — Since 1999, Indian-American children have dominated the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee contest.  In fact, the Spelling Bee winner for the last 12 years straight has been an Indian-American child, making them the Michael Jordans of the spelling competition world.  This documentary follows four Indian-American kids of varying ages as they prepare to compete in the spelling contest.  

June 5

The Last Days Of American Crime — This Netflix Original Movie is based on the comic series by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini.  In a final attempt to stop terrorism and crime, the American government plans to continually broadcast a signal that will prevent the knowing commission of an unlawful act.  Career criminal Graham Bricke (Edgar Ramirez) enlists the help of gangster scion Kevin Cash (MIchael Pitt) and black market hacker Shelby Dupree to commit the heist of the century…something that may well be the last crime in American history.   

June 10

Curon Season 1 — After 17 years, Anna returns to her northern Italian home village of Curon.  She’s brought along her twin teen children Daria and Mauro.  But when Anna disappears shortly after arriving, the children begin a desperate search for her.  Their quest will involve them in quite a few supernatural mysteries, and a mysterious tower in a lake may play a key role.  Did we mention the village of Curon may be cursed?

The four main characters of “My Mister”

My Mister Season 1 — This South Korean television drama centers on three middle-aged brothers whose disappointing lives have left them emotionally scarred.  They’re a failed businessman, a perhaps too cautious architectural engineer, and a film director whose career never really took off.  Into their lives comes a woman with severe trust issues.  Perhaps these four damaged people can help each other heal…

Reality Z — In this Brazilian adaptation of the British horror comedy series “Dead Set,” the reality show “Olimpo, House Of The Gods” is starting Elimination Night for the show participants.   However, when the zombie apocalypse hits Rio de Janeiro, the show set becomes a refuge for both the show’s participants and its crew.  Yet how long can the survivors evade the flesh-eating hordes? 

June 12

Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods — Spike Lee’s newest film features Chadwick Boseman as one of a group of black Vietnam veterans returning for a tour of the country they once fought in.  The veterans hope to find the remains of their troop leader.  But they’re also hoping that the fortune in gold they buried in Vietnam is still there.

Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts Season 2 — The old catchphrase “Cuteness kills” gets an unexpected spin in this animated science fiction adventure.  Kipo left her underground bunker and wound up on the surface of a post-apocalyptic Earth.  There, she discovered the world had become a fantastic wonderland filled with adorable beasts trying to kill her and her friends.  The girl also eventually discovers she has special “mute” abilities.  This season, knowing how to use her powers becomes very important for Kipo.  The evil Scarlemagne has used his mind control powers to control Kipo’s people and make her father his prisoner. 

The Woods — This new Polish thriller series is based on a novel by Harlan Coben.  In 1994, a boy and a girl went missing from summer camp.  In 2019, prosecutor Pawel Kopinski, brother of the girl who disappeared, revisits the old mystery when the boy who vanished with his sister turns up murdered.  Is it possible Pawel’s sister could still be alive after all this time?  But finding the answer requires the unearthing of old family secrets.

June 14

Marcella Season 3 — In this British Nordic Noir-style crime series, Anna Friel plays Detective Sergeant Marcella Backland.  She’s a skilled investigator who has a passionate obsession with working on violent crime cases.  However, put our lead character under really intense stress, and Marcella will suffer violent blackouts during which she might attack fellow cops and even her family.  This trait might be a really big problem this season as she’s undertaking an undercover investigation of the infamous Maguire crime family of Belfast.  Perfect cover for the cop’s identity of Keira comes from a mistaken announcement of Marcella’s death at the end of last season.  But what if Marcella starts preferring making her Keira identity permanent?   

Marcella

June 17

An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn — Is this deadpan comedy a tedious piece of crap?  Or a wonderfully off-kilter piece of mutant film noir?  The curious can decide for themselves with this film from Jim Hosking (“The Greasy Strangler”).  Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) leaves her husband Shane after he fires her from her small town waitressing job.  She winds up checking into a hotel room with the highly sensitive and smitten gun-toting thug Colin (Jemaine Clement).  But Lulu’s real aim involves a reunion with her long-lost love, the titular performer.  However, odd problems keep on foiling that reunion. 

June 18

A Whisker Away — Another cute anime debuting this month is a fantasy romance directed by Junichi Satoh (“Sailor Moon”).  Muge is so desperate to get the attention of Kento, her classmate and personal crush, that she repeatedly shape-shifts into the form of a cat.  But what happens when the girl decides to stay in cat form permanently?  The Netflix premiere is also the film’s world premiere, as coronavirus concerns cancelled the original theatrical screening plans. 

A Whisker Away

June 19

Father Soldier Son — How does the forever war in Afghanistan affect the relationship between parent and child?  In this New York Times-produced documentary, Brian Eisch’s three deployments to Afghanistan led to his missing most of his sons Isaac and Joey’s childhoods.  A war injury changes Eisch and affects his relationship with his sons.  The film follows what happens to the Eisch family over the course of a decade.

Girls From Ipanema (Most Beautiful Thing) Season 2 — The 1960s set Brazilian drama follows the adventures of Maria Luiza “Malu” Carone and her female friends.  In the first season, Malu moved to Rio de Janeiro and found her husband abandoned her after stealing money intended for their restaurant.  She bounced back by establishing a club presenting live bossa nova music.  In the new season, Malu and her friends will face such challenges as becoming a working mother and breaking into a male-dominated music industry.  

Girls From Ipanema

Wasp Network — Olivier Assayas’ new film is a political espionage thriller based on the true story of the Cuban Five.  Cuban pilot Rene Gonzalez (Edgar Ramirez) leaves his family behind to relocate to Miami.  He soon joins a group of South Florida-based Cuban exiles known as the Wasp Network.  Their mission: to infiltrate and report on Cuban-American anti-Castro organizations.

June 24

Athlete A — Now Netflix offers its own documentary about how doctor Larry Nasser abused the young gymnasts under his care for years.  The film’s viewpoint characters are the Indianapolis Star journalists who chronicled the story from the beginning.

Nobody Knows I’m Here — Memo’s beautiful voice should have made him a star.  But because he was chubby instead of conventionally pretty, he got relegated to back-up singing.  His love/hate relationship with fame has now left him living quietly on his uncle’s isolated sheep farm.  Martita’s presence starts to help Memo deal with his old emotional scars.  But when her YouTube video of Memo’s singing becomes incredibly popular, what will Memo do with his new-found popular attention?

June 26

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga — The annual Eurovision Song Contest has for literal decades been an annual singing competition (with high camp factor) for mainly European countries.  In this comedy co-written and starring Will Ferrell, a pair of aspiring Icelandic singers (Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) find they have a chance to appear on Eurovision.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga

June 27

Dark Season 3 — The final season of this twisty German science fiction series will hopefully untangle its mysterious disappearances and time travel elements.  Fans of the show will notice the Netflix release date corresponds to the date of the apocalypse that occurs in the series.  

June 30

Adu — This Spanish drama focuses on a 6-year-old boy, an environmental activist, and a group of civil guards.  What links their stories together is the setting (the Straits of Gibraltar) and the situation (life-threatening attempts to immigrate by crossing the Straits). 

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Peter Wong

Peter Wong

I've been reviewing films for quite a few years now, principally for the online publication Beyond Chron. My search for unique cinematic experiences and genre dips have taken me everywhere from old S.F. Chinatown movie theaters showing first-run Jackie Chan movies to the chilly slopes of Park City. Movies having cat pron instantly ping my radar.

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