The Best of June On Netflix
Despite it being June, Netflix is a bit light on Pride-related programming. However, that doesn’t mean Netflix’s new programming will be boring. Some ot this month’s offerings will take interested viewers to Iceland, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, or even the Messier 87 galaxy. Prepare to say goodbye to a beloved comedy/drama about Korean immigrants in Canada as well as a BAFTA-nominated dramedy about the troubled life of a stand-up comedian with addiction issues. Finally, get ready to see George Washington wielding a chainsaw.
The essential film to watch this month, though, will be a documentary giving the deets on the incredible urgency of keeping Earth habitable for all life.
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Black Holes: The Edge Of All We Know–How do you make a film about “something that struggles with all of its might to be unseen?” For filmmaker Peter Galison, his black hole documentary answers that question by following two different efforts to understand these mysterious astronomical objects. One is the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, which succeeded in capturing the first ever image of a black hole. The other is a group of theoretical astrophysicists (including the late Stephen Hawking) convinced answering the information loss paradox regarding black holes will provide a vital clue to these objects’ nature. That paradox might be summed up loosely as “what happened to the physical information that shows how black holes were formed?”
Creator’s File: GOLD–In this Japanese mockumentary series, comedian Ryuji Akiyama portrays “creators” from various walks of life. The fun comes from Akiyama’s bringing a sense of apparent professionalism in speech and gesture to some very odd people and/or jobs.
Kim’s Convenience Season 5–It’s unfortunately the final season of this award-winning Canadian comedy. The Kims are a Korean immigrant family who run the titular convenience store in Toronto’s Moss Park neighborhood. However, the show takes the Kims’ Koreanness as a given so it can get to real issues such as the estranged relationship between Mr. Kim and his son Jung (Simu Liu).
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie–What would have been the fourth season of “Sailor Moon Crystal” is now being released as a double-length feature film. This is an adaptation of the “Dream” arc from the original source manga. Fans of the 1990s anime version of “Sailor Moon” will recognize the story as the basis for the series’ fourth season, known as “Sailor Moon SuperS.” During a total solar eclipse, the Dead Moon Circus comes to Tokyo. They want to possess the Legendary Silver Crystal, and have brought the evil nightmare-driven beings known as Lemures to invade Earth. Meanwhile, main heroine Usagi meets Pegasus, who’s searching for a particular Maiden to finally break the seal on the Golden Crystal.
Breaking Boundaries: The Science Of Our Planet–Even though veteran nature documentarian Sir David Attenborough lent his name to this documentary, the film’s real star is Johan Rockstrom of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research. In 2009, Rockstrom identified nine natural processes on which all life on Earth depends. To break the boundaries of these processes would mean endangering humanity’s (and other life forms) continued existence. But human activity has negatively affected each of these processes to various degrees. Unless you’re a suicidal idiot or in permanent denial, this compact and must-see film will show you why urgent action to save our planet is the only answer.
Feel Good Season 2–Stand-up comedian Mae Martin’s semi-autobiographical BAFTA-nominated comedy moves to Netflix for its concluding season. Mae’s visit to Canada is also an opportunity to go into rehab for their relapsed cocaine addiction. Soon, they return to the UK to resume their relationship with beloved girlfriend George. However, between other people trying to one-word label Mae and George as well as Mae’s own long-term psychological issues, the couple’s relationship is about to hit very choppy waters.
Sweet Tooth–Jim Mickle (“Hap And Leonard,” “Cold In July”) adapts the titular Jeff Lemire Vertigo comic for the small screen. It’s a decade after The Great Crumble, the name for a series of worldwide traumatic events which include a deadly global virus and the mass births of hybrids (children possessing both human and animal parts). Gus is a deer boy hybrid who’s lived on the outskirts of civilization and has no sense of the outside world. But the deer-boy’s soon forced to leave his sanctuary to search for the mother he never knew. Providing companionship and protection for Gus across the post-apocalyptic landscape is Tommy Jepperd, a crusty ex-football star turned wandering vigilante.
Kitty Love: An Homage To Cats–Dutch film actor-cat Abatutu and Dutch TV presenter Nicolette Kluijver host this look at the routines and adventures of a group of Dutch cats, which hopefully includes more than a few funny cat videos.
Fresh, Fried & Crispy–In this new food and travel show, YouTube fast food critic Daym Drops travels across America looking for unusual fried foods with fresh ingredients. One such dish is the whale burger, whose ingredients include fried lobster tail, wagyu beef, and gold-dusted bacon. The show will take viewers to restaurants in Cleveland, San Diego, and Savannah, GA among others.
Tragic Jungle–In 1920 British Honduras, the beautiful Agnes escapes an unwanted marriage to a ruthless English landowner by running away into the jungle. She’s soon found by a group of Mexican chicleros (agricultural workers who harvest the tree sap used to make the chewing gum ingredient chicle) who make her part guest/part prize. Yet could this fugitive woman also be the personification of the legendary Mayan demon Xtabay, who lured men to their doom? A Venice Film Festival award winner.
Camellia Sisters: Living Like Royalty–The Vietnamese romantic comedy blockbuster series turns to a dramatic mystery in this installment. The titular sisters battle each other for possession of the legendary Phoenix Robe. However, this notorious garment unexpectedly winds up being the key to unlocking their family’s darker secrets.
Lupin Part 2–Modern-day thief Assane Diop (Omar Sy) wanted to bring down his father’s former employer, wealthy and powerful Hubert Pelligrini. The rich man framed Diop’s father for a crime he never committed, which resulted in Diop’s father eventually dying in prison. However, as the second half of this season begins, our hero’s farther from his goal than ever. The cops have figured out Diop’s identity and are now after him. Meanwhile, Raoul, Diop’s teenage son, has been kidnapped during a family seaside vacation by one of Pelligrini’s thugs.
Trese–Netflix’s newest adult animated series adapts Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo’s award-winning Filipino komik. Alexandra Trese is a detective who specializes in investigating crimes having a supernatural aspect. This line of work will bring the detective into contact with such well known-creatures of Filipino folklore as the werehorse Tikbalang.
F.T.A.–This documentary records highlights from the Pacific Rim leg of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland’s Free The Army tour. The F.T.A. shows may have been musical revues for American troops, but they had a pronounced anti-war bent. What will stay in viewers’ minds will be seeing and hearing actual soldiers speak out about their frustrations with the seemingly endless Vietnam War and the long shadow of American imperialism. Legend has it the Nixon White House pressured the film’s distributor to yank the film after a week in the theaters.
Sir! No Sir!–It has been forgotten that during the Vietnam War, the number of G.I.s opposing the war steadily increased to the point that the Pentagon sought ways around this problem. David Zeiger, who worked in a Fort Hood, Texas anti-war coffee house, brings the long-ignored story of this movement back to light with this documentary.
Penguin Town— Every summer, the South African seaside burg of Simon’s Town gets visited by a flock of African penguins. The birds, who are listed as endangered, come to find food, have babies, and temporarily claim some prime beach real estate for their life cycle purposes. Humans may be in Simon’s Town to get suntans and wax their surfboards. But these penguins don’t consider it a problem. They’ve adapted to the heat and are quite capable of traveling long distances. The traffic jams and other mayhem the penguins cause for Simon’s Town’s humans turn out to be oddly funny. Patton Oswalt provides narration for this docuseries.
Katla–Netflix’s first series from Iceland makes its debut. A year ago, Grima’s sister disappeared around the time that the subglacial volcano known as Katla began erupting. Now Katla’s eruptions have grown violent enough that evacuating the nearby town of Vik is necessary. However, with the volcanic eruptions comes heat…that has started melting the icy tombs of some long buried and surprising things.
Jagame Thandhiram–Indian star Dhanush plays Suruli, a wandering Madurai-based witty gangster who goes to London in search of a place to call home. There, he locks horns with local gangster Peter Sprott (James Cosmo, “Game Of Thrones”), as their former relationship has turned nasty. Expect lots of gunplay and singing.
Nevertheless–In this Korean romantic drama, Park Jae Uhn (popular actor Song Kang) may appear happy-go-lucky and flirty, but he feels nothing towards others. Yoo Na Bi has been burned emotionally by her first lover and no longer trusts love. But when these two meet, they slowly bring down each other’s emotional barriers.
This Is Pop–In this new docuseries, eight different directors look at moments in pop music history that impacted American culture at large. Ranging from early protest music to the Auto-Tune era and more, the series will feature interviews with such artists as Brandi Carlisle, Steve Earle, Boyz II Men, and Shania Twain. In this series, learning why a particular song touched so many people offers a key to understanding the era it came from.
Murder By The Coast–This Spanish true-crime documentary looks at the notorious Wanninkhof-Carabantes murder cases. In October 1999, Rocio Wanninkhof was found murdered a month shy of her 20th birthday. Dolores Vazquez, a former lover of Wanninkhof’s mother, wound up being imprisoned for the crime despite lack of evidence linking her to it. Then in 2003, teen Sonia Carabantes was also found murdered. Carabantes’ killer also confessed responsibility for Wanninkhof’s death. Yet this revelation did nothing to liberate Vazquez from prison…
Godzilla Singular Point–Get ready for a spectacular take on the King of the Monsters in Netflix’ newest anime. In the Chiba Prefecture town of Nigashio, Obon (the Japanese version of Halloween) is coming and the paths of several characters are destined to cross. They are: Yun and Haberu, who’ve come to Nigashio to investigate a possible yurei-infested deserted mansion; Mei, a Biologia Phantastica graduate student who studies “imaginary” creatures; and Goro Otaki, an old industrialist whose obsessions with aliens and underground civilizations has led him to create the protector robot known as Jet Jaguar. Add into the mix a local Nigashio legend about “an apocalyptic monster which emerges from the sea when it turns red,” and you’re now ready for some kaiju-punching action.
Sisters On Track–Meet Tai, Rainn, and Brooke Sheppard. They’re three Brooklyn-born homeless sisters who all happen to be gifted in track and field sports. When they encounter coach Jean Bell, the older woman inspires these girls to dream big and beat their socioeconomic odds. This documentary follows the Sheppard sisters from their being named Sports Illustrated’s 2016 Kids Of The Year to their last junior high school years in 2019.
Sex/Life–Billie (Sarah Shahi, “Person Of Interest”) may appear to be a devoted wife and mother. Yet she hasn’t forgotten the freer and wilder days of her youth, particularly with ex-flame Brad. Get ready to see lots of sex and desire as presented from a female perspective. There will be oral sex, sex on a rooftop, and lots of male objectification.
America: The Motion Picture–Phil Lord and Chris Miller produced this animated film which crosses the story of America’s Founding Fathers with a superhero movie. Hear George Washington (voice of Channing Tatum) say “Ding dong! It’s America, motherf**ker!” Watch London’s Big Ben become a Transformers-like robot! Expect appearances by renowned scientist Thomas Edison and pissed-off Native American warrior Geronimo! See Sam Adams swig lots of beer! American history may be many things, but it’s definitely not this.
Sophie: A Murder In West Cork–In 1996, French documentary producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was beaten to death in her West Cork, Ireland cottage two days before Christmas. Despite the passage of a quarter century, the case remains unsolved. The prime suspect, journalist Ian Bailey, has fended off extradition efforts. This docuseries, made with the blessing of the Toscan du Plantier family, will focus on the murder victim’s life as well as the crime and its investigation.