June 2021’s Best Streaming Titles: Lupin, Batman Begins, Fight Club, Loki, Harry Potter

Netflix’s master thief, the world’s greatest detective, Project Mayhem, the MCU’s trickster god, the Boy Who Lived, and more.
Lupin - Netflix
Omar Sy’s charismatic thief returns in Netflix’s Lupin

As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.

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Netflix

The Big Lebowski (Jun 1)

Make yourself a White Russian and get ready to spend some time with the Dude… I’ll admit, the first time I watched The Big Lebowski, I kind of hated it. It seemed so directionless and pointless. But then I realized that it’s more about the characters and their interactions than any standard plot (though one does exist). The movie boasts a number of classic scenes, from the discussion about the importance of rugs to a discussion about nihilism. Oh, and the trippiest bowling dream sequence in cinema history.

Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know (Jun 1)

When I was in junior high, I was absolutely convinced that I’d become a cosmologist due in large part to my fascination with black holes. Even now, I’m still fascinated by the mysterious phenomenon. So how can I not be interested in this documentary about scientists’ attempt to capture the first images of a black hole?

Sweet Tooth, Season One (Jun 4)

Adapted from the long-running comic by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth is set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by human-animal hybrids. The titular character is a young deer-boy who’s hunted by those who view his kind as an abomination. He encounters a mysterious wanderer who promises to lead him to safety. I’m a fan of Lemire’s work — his other titles include Black Hammer, Descender, Gideon Falls, and Justice League Dark — so I’m excited for Sweet Tooth based on that reason alone.

Lupin, Part Two (Jun 11)

If you’re like me, then you’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since the first part of Lupin ended on a cliffhanger. Lupin is a clever and thoroughly enjoyable series highlighted by Omar Sy’s charismatic performance as a professional thief who draws inspiration from Maurice Leblanc’s classic novels. A huge hit around the world, Lupin has become Netflix’s most popular non-English series to date, and I fully expect Part Two to deliver even more thrills, twists, and revelations.

Trese (Jun 11)

This original Netflix anime series is an adaptation of an award-winning Filipino comic book that draws inspiration from the mythology of the Philippines. Detective Alexandra Trese is a specialist in all things occult, but as the trailer makes clear, she may be facing more than she can handle as dark forces begin to threaten the citizens of Manila.

Godzilla Singular Point (Jun 24)

In this animated series produced in part by animation studio Bones (My Hero Academia, Darker Than Black, RahXephon), a couple of young geniuses find themselves caught up in the world of kaiju and facing a threat to the entire globe. In addition to the Big G, Singular Point will also feature a number of classic Godzilla friends and foes, including Jet Jaguar and Rodan.

Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in June 2021.


Hulu

Batman Begins (Jun 1)

Before Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale came along, the Caped Crusader hadn’t fared too well on the silver screen. True, Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman was enjoyable in a campy way, thanks to an ultra-gothic aesthetic, Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top Joker, and a funky Prince soundtrack. But it wasn’t until Nolan’s Batman Begins that the world’s greatest detective truly came into his own.

The Blair Witch Project (Jun 1)

When three student filmmakers venture into a Maryland forest to investigate a local myth, they soon become hopelessly lost while assaulted by strange and frightening phenomena — all of which suggest that the myth is more than just a myth. Its legacy may be tarnished thanks to the countless films that have copied its “found footage” aesthetic, but when The Blair Witch Project debuted in 1999, it was unlike anything seen before. More importantly for a horror film, it was absolutely terrifying.

Silence (Jun 1)

Martin Scorsese spent 25 years preparing this adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s novel about a pair of Jesuit priests who sneak into 17th century Japan to find their former mentor who is rumored to have abandoned the faith. Facing extreme persecution and torture, the two priests’ faith is pushed to extremes. Silence is considered one of Scorsese’s best films, and stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and a number of Japanese stars (e.g., Shinya Tsukamoto, Tadanobu Asano, Yōsuke Kubozuka).

A Glitch in the Matrix (Jun 3)

Well, everyone knows that the world around us is real. What this documentary by Rodney Ascher presupposes is… maybe we don’t? Drawing inspiration from Philip K. Dick, Ascher interviews numerous individuals who believe that we, in fact, live in a computer simulation. And if that’s the case, then what are the moral, ethical, and spiritual ramifications of that reality?

Jack Reacher (Jun 30)

I’ve never read any of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, so I have no idea how well this Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation holds up to the original material. In any case, I found the movie — which stars Tom Cruise as a former Military Police officer investigating a violent sniper attack and the conspiracy behind it — a serviceable action thriller. And as usual, Cruise acquits himself well as the titular antihero.

Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in June 2021.


Amazon Prime

Adaptation (Jun 1)

When you put together the talents of director Spike Jonze, writer Charlie Kaufman, and Nicolas Cage, you know you’re in for something… unique. Inspired by Kaufman’s own struggles to adapt Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, Adaptation is a meta-fictional movie about a screenwriter (Cage) struggling to adapt The Orchid Thief while also dealing with his deadbeat twin (also Cage). Adaptation won multiple awards in 2002, including a “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar for Chris Cooper.

An American Werewolf In London (Jun 1)

Written and directed by John Landis, this 1981 horror comedy is a true cult classic, due in no small part to Rick Baker, who won the very first Oscar for Best Makeup. The movie follows a young American backpacker who, while traveling through the English moors, is attacked by a wild beast. Several weeks later, he finds himself turning into a werewolf and attacking innocent bystanders, and must figure out a way to keep himself from harming anyone else.

Fight Club (Jun 1)

When it was released in 1999, Fight Club generated no small amount of controversy due to its dark, seemingly nihilistic plot about a couple of guys (Edward Norton, Brad Pitt) who start an underground fight club that eventually grows into an anarchist cell. But all of the hullabaloo over the film’s darkness and violence overlooked the fact that it also made some valid points about the hollowness of consumerism and materialism (read my review). Since then, Fight Club’s reputation has grown, with some critics calling it a defining movie of the late 20th century.

The Fisher King (Jun 1)

Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is a narcissistic radio shock jock who is forced to reassess his life after he accidentally inspires one of his listeners to murder several innocent people. Now destitute, he encounters a homeless man (Robin Williams) who is searching for the Holy Grail. But unbeknownst to Lucas, his life is irrevocably linked to that of the homeless man. Directed by Terry Gilliam, The Fisher King is the kind of movie they don’t make any more: it doesn’t comfortably fit into any genre, but instead, relishes in its weirdness, idiosyncrasies, and unabashed romanticism.

The Wrestler (Jun 1)

Mickey Rourke received several awards for his portrayal of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed up pro wrestler trying to put his career behind him and reunite with his estranged daughter. But the lure of the wrestling ring is still strong. Will he leave the past behind or will he re-enter the ring for one last shot at glory? The Wrestler was a critical success but perhaps more importantly, numerous pro wrestlers (e.g., Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Mick Foley, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper) praised the film for its treatment of their profession.

Here’s everything arriving on Amazon in June 2021. As usual, there’s some overlap between Hulu and Amazon’s offerings.


Disney+

Loki, Season 1 (Jun 9)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe gave us a number of great characters, but its breakout star was arguably Loki, the mischievous trickster god that we all loved to hate thanks to Tom Hiddleston’s copious charm. While Loki met his fate in Avengers: Infinity War, the vagaries of time travel have brought him back for another round of exploits as he wreaks havoc across human history and encounters a mysterious organization charged with protecting the multiverse’s timelines. Owen Wilson stars as one of organization’s members, and I can’t wait to see him and Hiddleston square off and trade quips.

Luca (Jun 18)

Young Luca and his new best friend are having the time of their lives exploring Portorosso, a little town in the picturesque Italian Riviera. But there’s just a catch: they’re both sea monsters in disguise whose lives would be in danger from Portorosso’s many fishermen. Inspired by director Enrico Casarosa’s own childhood, and intended as a celebration of childhood friendships, Luca looks like a vibrant, colorful treat of a movie.

The Mysterious Benedict Society (Jun 25)

In this series based on Trenton Lee Stewart’s acclaimed children’s novel, a group of young orphans are assembled by an enigmatic benefactor (played by Tony Hale) to stop a nefarious plot that threatens the entire world. The series also stars Kristen Schaal and Ryan Hurst. The Mysterious Benedict Society was originally planned for Hulu, but was moved to Disney+ last November.

Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in June 2021.


HBO Max

Black Rain (Jun 1)

Just to be clear, Ridley Scott’s Black Rain has nothing to do with Shohei Imamura’s Black Rain. The latter deals with the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the former is a gritty cop drama in which a disgraced cop (Michael Douglas) takes on the yakuza to break up a counterfeiting ring, and encounters all sorts of cross-cultural friction when his American style of policing offends his Japanese hosts. The film also stars legendary Japanese actor Ken Takakura.

Dr. Strangelove (Jun 1)

In this pitch-black comedy by Stanley Kubrick, America is faced with the threat of nuclear combat when an American general decides to preemptively attack the Soviet Union in order to protect Americans’ precious bodily fluids. Meanwhile, the President confers with his frantic — and increasingly ineffectual — staff in the Pentagon War Room. Starring Peter Sellers in three roles, George C. Scott, James Earl Jones, and Slim Pickens as Major T. J. “King” Kong, Dr. Strangelove is widely considered one of the greatest comedy films of all time.

Harry Potter (Jun 1)

The entire Harry Potter film franchise — all eight films — are coming to HBO Max this month. Join young Mr. Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as they experience the magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry while trying to prevent the machinations of that most evil of wizards, Lord Voldemort.

Kung Fu Hustle (Jun 1)

Sing (Stephen Chow) has one dream in life: to become a member of the feared Axe Gang. But when he encounters a group of reclusive and unlikely martial artists, he’s slowly begins to realize that he could be something more. But not without plenty of hijinks — this is a Stephen Chow movie, after all. Coming on the heels of Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle went even further into CGI-fuelled leaps of martial arts slapstick. While Shaolin Soccer is the better film overall, Kung Fu Hustle still has plenty of hilarious delights all its own.

Pale Rider (Jun 1)

Pale Rider features Clint Eastwood in one of his most iconic roles, that of an otherworldly gunfighter who sides with a group of prospectors against a greedy businessman and corrupt marshal. Critically acclaimed by the likes of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, the movie was also a commercial success, and has since come to be regarded as one of the greatest westerns of all time.

Three Days of the Condor (Jun 1)

In this classic political thriller, a low-ranking CIA analyst (Robert Redford) must go on the run when everyone else in his office is murdered. Seeking to bring his co-workers’ killers to justice while also staying one step ahead of a growing conspiracy, his only confidant is the woman that he’s taken hostage (Faye Dunaway). Three Days of the Condor was directed by Sydney Pollack and also stars Max von Sydow an an enigmatic assassin.

Here’s everything arriving on HBO Max in June 2021.


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