Jun 1, 2017

The Best Streaming Titles for June 2017

Vietnam War epics, Disney’s Polynesian musical, wrestling ladies, Muay Thai mayhem, a Rat Pack remake, and more.

Ong-Bak
Tony Jaa dishes out some fiery justice in Ong-Bak.

As Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services begin to offer increasing amounts of content every month, it can be difficult to sift through all of the upcoming titles and know what to look out for. Here’s a list of particularly noteworthy titles to add to your queues this month.

Netflix

Full Metal Jacket (June 1)
Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War epic feels like two films in one. The first takes place during basic training, and is highlighted by R. Lee Ermey’s creative insults and abuse. The second takes place in Vietnam, and follows a group of soldiers as they venture into horror and madness. Oftentimes, the first part overshadows the second, but both are gripping in their own right.

The Sixth Sense (June 1)
In hindsight, you could consider M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense a gimmick film. But it’s such a well-done gimmick, aided by a haunting atmosphere and affecting performances by Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, and Toni Collette. Even if you know the twist — and of course there’s a twist, it’s an M. Night Shyamalan film — it’s still enjoyable because the film pulls it off so well.

Sword Master (June 10)
Derek Yee got his start making acclaimed melodramas like Viva Erotica and One Night in Mongkok. His latest film, however, hearkens back to the over-the-top CG-filled wuxia films of the late ’90s and early ’00s, like The Storm Riders, The Duel, and The Legend of Zu. But with Yee at the helm, I’m hoping Sword Master will be a bit subtler and more complex.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 4 (June 15)
I’ve been a big fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but I was a little skeptical going into its most recent season. The inclusion of Ghost Rider seemed a bit farfetched, even for Agents, but I was pleasantly surprised by the character’s sympathetic depiction. Also, the season’s final act gets into some intriguing moral territory involving virtual reality.

Moana (June 20)
I was also pretty skeptical of Disney’s latest feature, and largely ignored it. Suffice to say, I was very pleasantly surprised at how affecting and wonderful I found Moana to be when we watched it on a family movie night. Moana is everything you could want from a Disney movie: colorful characters, catchy songs, and an entertaining coming-of-age storyline that’s more nuanced than you might think.

GLOW: Season 1 (June 23)
A new series from the folks behind Orange is the New Black, Netflix’s GLOW is a reimagining of the “classic” ’80s wrestling TV show featuring gorgeous ladies with big hair and flashy spandex. Starring Alison Brie (Community), this looks like it could be some trashy, nostalgic fun.

Okja (June 28)
The latest from Korean directory Bong Joon-ho caused a stir at Cannes, but by all accounts, it’s another hit. Whereas his previous films focused on monsters (The Host) and trains (Snowpiercer), this one revolves around genetically engineered pigs and the company trying to capitalize on them. Since this is a Bong Joon-ho film, expect lots of absurdist humor and pointed social commentary alongside some brilliant filmmaking.

Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in June 2017.


Hulu

Aeon Flux (June 1)
There was quite a bit of criticism about how this Karyn Kusama-directed adaptation failed to capture the craziness of Peter Chung’s seminal animation series. (Chung himself called it a “travesty.”) But when I watched Aeon Flux a few years ago, I found it rather hypnotic to watch — though that might have been due to the acting — and its set design and visual style was topnotch, if nothing else. So maybe not a great movie, but still perhaps more interesting than people have made it out to be.

Apocalypse Now (June 1)
Much has been written about the sheer insanity of Apocalypse Now’s production — film sets being destroyed by weather, cast members suffering breakdowns and heart attacks, etc. But Francis Coppola’s Vietnam War epic is now considered one of the greatest movies ever made, and a true cultural touchstone. (Apocalypse Now Redux, which includes 49 additional minutes, will also start streaming on June 1.)

Silverado (June 1)
I’ve been in the mood for a good western lately, so I’m excited that Silverado — which was written and directed by the great Lawrence Kasdan — is will be streaming on Hulu. In his review, Steven D. Greydanus draws comparisons to Raiders of the Lost Ark and writes that the “sprawling story is sturdy and well-crafted, the dialogue razor-sharp, the action rousing and cleverly choreographed.”

Star Trek Beyond (June 17)
The recent Star Trek movies may not live up to the humanism and optimism of Gene Roddenberry’s original series, but that doesn’t mean that Star Trek Beyond isn’t fun to watch. There’s no denying that Kirk and crew using The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” to blow up thousands of alien spaceships is completely ridiculous, but it’s completely ridiculous in a completely awesome way. (Geoffrey Reiter posted some interesting thoughts on how relationships and community are portrayed in the movie.)

Ong Bak (June 29)
Tony Jaa plays a country bumpkin who travels to the big city to recover his village’s stolen Buddha statue, only to be drawn in to an underground fighting competition. Fortunately, he possesses some bad-ass Muay Thai skills, and the film gives him ample opportunity to show off his skills while breaking bones and busting skulls. Put simply, this movie is incredible (my full Ong Bak review). (Hulu will also be streaming Ong Bak 2 and Ong Bak 3. I’ve only seen Ong Bak 2 and it was pretty terrible. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the third one but I’ve heard it’s just as bad.)

Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Hulu in June 2017.


Amazon Prime

Gone Baby Gone (June 1)
In this tense thriller, a private detective and his girlfriend join the search for a missing girl, and slowly unravel a larger conspiracy. Brutal, bleak, and absolutely brilliant, with amazing performances from Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, and Amy Ryan as the young girl’s troubled mother, Gone Baby Gone is a compelling film that really gets under your skin.

Magnolia (June 1)
P.T. Anderson’s sprawling drama is bravura filmmaking of the highest order. Jumping from character to character — the film’s cast is the very definition of star-studded — Magnolia teases out all of the strange ways their lives are connected, and in the process, explores human nature, fate, redemption, and the damage that our sins and failures do to those around us.

The Memphis Belle (June 1)
One of my favorite World War 2 movies, The Memphis Belle follows the crew of the titular aircraft as they try to survive one last bombing run over Germany before they can return home. Featuring a great cast (e.g., Matthew Modine, Billy Zane, Eric Stoltz, Sean Astin), The Memphis Belle is an exciting, action-packed — though perhaps a wee bit clichéd — story of heroism and bravery.

Ocean’s Eleven (June 5)
My wife loves a good heist movie, and they don’t get much better than Ocean’s Eleven. A remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film, this one stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt as the leaders of a gang determined to rob three Las Vegas casinos in one night. The film simply drips with charm and director Steven Soderbergh packs the film with style to spare. (Ocean’s Twelve, which isn’t as good, also starts streaming on this day.)

Paterson (June 22)
I haven’t seen Paterson, but enough people whom I trust have raved about it, that I feel comfortable recommending it. Starring Adam Driver (best known as Kylo Ren) as the titular bus driver/poet, the movie follows him as he goes about his daily routines. Which sounds boring, but coming from the mind of Jim Jarmusch, one of our great indie directors, it’s safe to say it’ll be anything but.

Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Amazon Prime in June 2017.

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