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The Best Of June On Hulu

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June means Pride Month, and Hulu’s ready for it.  This month features an acclaimed documentary about transgender teen athletes, a French drama about an elderly lesbian couple, and a new season of a teen dramedy about an out high school athlete.

Other highlights of the month include new seasons of a crafting competition hosted in part by Amy Poehler and a fantasy where witches are trained to fight in the U.S, military.  There’s also an Ivory Coast-set film about the power of storytelling as well as the cult feminist horror comedy slagged on original release because the knives were out for its writer and its star.  And if you can, make time for a genial low-key New York City-set tale that’s an unexpected parable about emerging from life under lockdown.   

Changing The Game

June 1

Changing The Game–You’ve seen transgender teen athletes treated as boogeymen by the Right wing.  Now meet three actual teens at various stages of transition.  There’s Sarah, a skier and teen policymaker from New Hampshire; Andraya, a Connecticut track star who’s openly transitioning; and Mack, the Texas State Wrestling Champion who wound up being treated as a hero by some and a hate object by others. 

Housebroken–This adult animated comedy series comes from actresses Clea DuVall and Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe,” “Pulling”).  Set in the suburbs, it’s an ensemble comedy about a group of neighborhood animals who regularly meet to discuss and understand the weird behavior of the humans they deal with. 

Hud–This revisionist Western was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2018.  Paul Newman, in one of his iconic performances, is arrogant and self-centered rancher Hud Bannon,  He’s the opposite of his principled rancher father Homer (Melvyn Douglas).  The discovery of an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease among the ranch’s cattle leads to a conflict between Hud and Homer for both the ranch’s future and the loyalty of Homer’s grandson Lonnie. 

Jennifer’s Body–Once a commercial flop, this horror-comedy directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Diablo Cody is now considered a feminist horror cult classic.  Desperate nerdy Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and popular cheerleader Jennifer (Megan Fox) are the most unlikely of best friends.  A fire at an indie rock concert both girls attend results in the two friends becoming separated.  Needy goes home alone while the disoriented Jennifer winds up stumbling into the band’s van.  The encounter with the band leaves Jennifer changed.  She’s now possessed by a demon who satisfies a hunger for human flesh by ripping unlucky boys limb from limb.  Needy soon realizes she’s the only one who can stop Jennifer.  

Motherland Fort Salem

Young Adult–In this dark comedy, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) has made a successful career out of writing young adult fiction.  However, it’s clear that her success rests on a combination of overheard high-schooler chatter and very loosely recounted memories of her own high-school years.  Mavis’ mental fragility takes a decisive tumble after she learns her high school sweetheart Buddy has a happy family life in the crummy hometown Mavis escaped.  This revelation causes Mavis to return to her backwater hometown with a plan to destroy Buddy’s marriage.  Along the way, Mavis develops an unexpected alliance with Matt (Patton Oswalt), a fat loser nerd she wouldn’t have looked at in high school.      

June 3

A Glitch In The Matrix–What if the world that we see around us is actually a very sophisticated simulation?  Rodney Ascher’s new documentary meets real-life people who subscribe to this idea, known as simulation theory.  While “The Matrix” popularized this idea for the mass public, Ascher shows that the history of this theory has a far longer lineage beyond the Wachowskis’ film.  But in interviews with simulation theory adherents, disturbing questions get raised about the dark side of applying this theory to how one deals with life.

A Glitch In The Matrix

Night Of The Kings–In the forests of the Ivory Coast, there is a prison known as La Maca where the inmates rule.  A young man arrives as a new prisoner at La Maca on the night a red moon rises.  According to tradition, the Boss dubs him the Roman and tasks him with telling amusing tales for his fellow prisoners.  So the new prisoner begins telling stories of the life of the legendary outlaw known as Zama King.  The catch is that if the Roman’s story ends before dawn’s arrival, the Roman’s life ends as well.

June 8

Legion Of Brothers–In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government sent two teams of Green Berets to Afghanistan.  These teams would prove instrumental in delivering crippling blows to both Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Greg Barker’s documentary recounts their exploits and the tangled legacy they left behind.

June 10

Two Of Us–In this acclaimed French drama, retirees Nina (the legendary Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine have been lovers for decades.  However, Madeleine never came out to her family, so her children and grandchildren regard Nina as a friendly neighbor.  A birthday party for Madeleine is supposed to be the occasion for her to out herself to her family and announce that she and Nina are moving together to Italy.  But circumstances foil that announcement…and then things get worse for the couple.  

June 11

Come True–18-year-old Sarah sleeps at night in a sleeping bag on a playground slide.  She constantly dreams of moving through dark misty passageways where shadowy figures lurk.  When Sarah volunteers for a university sleep study, Dr. Meyer (who runs the study) doesn’t mention why he’s interested in the silhouetted man with glowing red eyes the girl sees in her dreams.  It turns out that same mysterious figure also appears in view of those suffering from sleep paralysis.  The only thing known about these figures is that they’re definitely not friendly.  And an encounter with one such figure which results in a bleeding eye makes Sarah question her decision to take part in the study.     

Love, Victor Season 2–The new season of this teen dramedy starts up moments after the first season finale.  Victor has come out of the closet to his family, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s accepted the news with a shrug.  Meanwhile, the consequences of breaking ex-girlfriend Mia’s heart and being an openly gay star athlete at Creekwood High School still need to be dealt with.  Here’s hoping the excitement of Victor’s new relationship with Benji will make facing these challenges doable. 

June 14

Rurangi

Rurangi Complete Season 1 (The Yellow Affair)–The Audience Award winner of last year’s Frameline festival gets its American broadcast premiere.  A decade ago, transgender activist Caz Davis left Rurangi, a remote politically divided New Zealand dairy community.  Now he’s returned to town and hopes to reconnect with his estranged father, who hasn’t heard from Caz since his pre-transition days.

June 15

Born To Play–Meet the Boston Renegades.  They’re a real-life women’s tackle football team whose members range in age from 19-49.  But the sport isn’t their day job; each player’s day job helps to pay for the cost of playing.  After the Renegades lose a championship game after having an unbroken season of victories, they’re determined to finish the job by winning this year’s championship.  This film follows the team through this bounceback season.        

Nasrin–Iranian human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh has made a career out of fighting for the rights of women, LGBTs, journalists, and religious minorities among others.  Representing 138 Iranian women protesting the country’s mandatory hijab law eventually gets Nasrin imprisoned for 38 years and subjected to 148 lashes of the whip.  Yet even prison has not curbed Nasrin’s activism.  This documentary is narrated by Oscar winner Olivia Colman and features an original song performed by 4-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo.

The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson–What if you were a young black gay teen stuck in a “Groundhog Day” situation ending in your getting shot to death by trigger-happy white cops?  The good news for young black prep-school kid Tunde Johnson is that he can make small shifts in his life (such as coming out to his folks) and sometimes reap deep emotional payoffs.  The bad news is Tunde relives his time loops with no memory of anything that happened previously…including the role white privilege plays in getting him killed.   

The Outside Story–Sleeper of the month is this New York City-set tale. The homebody ways of  Charles (Brian Tyree Henry) have gone hand-in-hand with a life that’s stuck.  He’s given up filmmaking aspirations to edit for Turner Classic Movies video obituaries of dead movie stars.  He avoids social gatherings.  His girlfriend Isha (Sonequa Martin-Green, “Star Trek: Discovery”) has had it with Charles’ won’t-leave-home ways and is calling it quits.  It’s doing the alternate side-street parking thing for Isha’s car that eventually results in Charles accidentally getting locked out of his apartment without wallet or shoes.  To get back into his apartment and complete an editing job, this homebody will need to reconnect with the people in his neighborhood instead of being just “Isha’s boyfriend whom no one ever sees.”

The Outside Story

June 17

Dave Season 2–It’s the new season of FXX’s currently most-watched comedy.  Dave (series co-creator Dave “Lil Dicky” Burd) sets out on his next step to rap superstardom by recording a debut album.  However, fame costs and what a person is willing to pay for it says a lot about that person.  In Dave’s case, will he sacrifice friendships, love, or even his sense of self to make his dream a reality?  Expect guest appearances by Kendall Jenner, Benny Blanco, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, CL, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among others.    

June 21

Hostiles–This brutal revisionist Western is helmed by Scott Cooper (“Black Mass”).  It’s 1892 New Mexico.  Cavalry Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) made his name fighting the Cheyenne his whole life.  So he’s less than happy when he’s ordered to release the infamous Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and escort him back to the Valley of the Bears so the cancerous Native American can die in his birthplace.  On the 1,000 mile trek, Captain Blocker meets and takes along Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), whose family was just brutally slaughtered by Comanche bandits.  But as the journey progresses, can the chains of hatred and violence that transformed the West be broken at least once?  Expect lots of nasty violence with this one.  

June 23

Motherland: Fort Salem Season 2–In this alternate world fantasy series, the Salem witches were actual magic wielders who made a deal with the U.S. government to contribute their skills for national defense in exchange for freedom.  However, the band of terrorist witches known as the Spree make clear they despise witches being part of the U.S. military.  Caught in the middle are three young witches named Raelle, Abigail, and Tally.  As the new season begins, the trio have been promoted to attend War College.  However, Raelle and Abigail still have to deal with their near-death experience while Tally’s dealing with becoming a biddy.  And waiting in the wings are the Camarilla, an ancient group of witch hunters dedicated to the extermination of all witches.

June 25

False Positive–Ilana Glazer (“Broad City”) goes from comedy to horror with this modern day take on “Rosemary’s Baby.”  Lucy (Glazer) and Adrian (Justin Theroux) employ the services of fertility specialist Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan) to get pregnant.  The procedure is a success and Lucy is pregnant with a baby girl.  However, when a creepy image shows up on the sonogram and her internal organs feel as they’re being rearranged, Lucy’s intuition suggests that something is very wrong and Dr. Hindle might be more sinister than he appears.  Any resemblance between the events of this film and Glazer’s own pregnancy is purely a bit of imagination…we hope. 

Making It

Making It Season 3–It’s the new season of this crafting competition reality show hosted by “Parks And Recreation”’s Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.  Eight talented makers from across the country have been brought together to create a variety of handmade projects to impress Poehler, Offerman, and a panel of judges.  Projects in previous episodes have included such things as unique snack stadiums, designing a mailbox capturing the feeling of their homes, and an interactive lawn display celebrating their favorite holiday.  Part of the fun of watching the series is not the competition as much as seeing the contestants learn from each other and even share information.

June 26

The Choe Show–Ready for a different take on the TV interview show?  Artist David Choe acts as both a motivational interviewer and compassionate listener to his guests.  His aim is to paint both a literal and figurative portrait of the people he interviews.

 

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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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