BBC: Ten films to watch in June

June sees the release of a slasher remake, the latest instalment of the Toy Story series and a documentary about one of the world’s greatest footballers.

31 May 2019
Nicholas Barber

Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix is the 12th film in the X-Men franchise, if you count the Wolverine and Deadpool spin-offs, but it’s the first to have a female central character: an X-Woman rather than an X-Man. Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) stars as Jean Grey, a mutant whose psychic powers are supercharged when a space rescue mission goes wrong. She’s joined by Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and the other regulars, and Jessica Chastain plays an alien who tries to lead Jean astray. How any of this connects to the ‘Dark Phoenix’ storyline in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand… well, you might need some psychic powers of your own to know for sure.

Released on 5 June in the UK and France, 6 June in Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands and 7 June in the US

Late Night

Mindy Kaling, creator of The Mindy Project, writes and co-stars in this comedy about the US’s only female late-night talk show host, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), a boss from hell with an attitude and a silver hairdo to match Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. To save her show from cancellation, Katherine hires an inexperienced fan (Kaling) who advises her that she is “a little old and a little white”. Jason Bailey in Flavorwire says that Late Night “may be a longer and more sincere 30 Rock, but there’s some pretty heady stuff about ‘diversity hires’ and workplace inequality in what has always been and remains a very straight-white-male-centric world”.

Released on 7 June in the US, the UK, Ireland and Canada

Men In Black: International

Seven years on from Men In Black 3, the sci-fi comedy franchise returns, but Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones aren’t returning with it. Instead, the trademark suits and shades have been handed down to Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who are currently better known as Thor and Valkyrie from The Avengers. Thompson plays Agent M, a newly recruited alien hunter who meets Hemsworth’s Bond-like Agent H in the agency’s London office. The director of Men In Black: International, F Gary Gray, made the most entertaining of the Fast and the Furious films, 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, which has to be a good sign.

Released on 14 June in the UK and the US

The Dead Don’t Die

Jim Jarmusch’s zombie movie pastiche stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny as the rural cops who have to deal with an undead epidemic in their leafy small town. Iggy Pop is one of the reanimated corpses, Selena Gomez is a tourist who chooses the wrong night to check into the local motel, and a scene-stealing Tilda Swinton is an undertaker with a samurai sword and a broad Scottish accent. The Dead Don’t Die, which BBC Culture reviewed from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is a quietly quirky homage to 1950s sci-fi B-movies, which works best if you think of it not as a zombie comedy but as a zombie tragicomedy.

Released on 13 June in Italy and 14 June in the US

Shaft

Could this be the only case of three films in the same series having exactly the same title? First of all there was 1971’s Shaft, a blaxploitation classic starring Richard Roundtree. Then the series was revived with 2000’s Shaft, starring Samuel L Jackson as the nephew of Roundtree’s character, and now we have yet another Shaft, with Jessie T Usher joining the family business as the son of John Shaft II and the grand-nephew of the first. Can you dig it? This version, directed by Tim Story, is a comedy, with much the same wimpy younger guy/tough older guy dynamic as Story’s 2014 hit, Ride Along.

Released on 14 June in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK

Diego Maradona

The latest documentary portrait from the Oscar-winning Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy), Diego Maradona tells the tragic tale of how the Argentine footballing legend rose to godlike status  before falling to the level of “Italy’s most hated man”, and then falling further still. As ever, Kapadia has sifted through hundreds of hours of archive footage, and used it to fashion a story with the pace and tension of a thriller. When the film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Indiewire called it a “breathless and gripping saga” of sex, drugs and organised crime – and, let’s not forget, some almost unbelievable displays of speed and dexterity on the pitch.

Released on 14 June in the UK

Toy Story 4

Does one of cinema’s all-time great trilogies really need a part four? Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, Woody and Buzz Lightyear respectively, promise that the ending of Toy Story 4 is even more heart-wrenching than the ending of Toy Story 3 – although, unless it involves the lingering deaths of all of the major characters, it is hard to see how that could be possible. At any rate, Disney Pixar’s cartoon sees the return of Bo Peep (Annie Potts), and the arrival of Forky (Tony Hale, Arrested Development and Veep), a plastic spork who suffers an existential crisis when he is made into a toy. Also in the toy box: Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), an Evel Knievel-style motorcyclist figure, and the villainous Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), a doll who has been stuck in an antique shop for 60 years. 

Released on 20 June in Australia, 21 June in the UK, the US and Canada and 26 June in Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands

Child’s Play

Released in the UK and the US on the same day as Toy Story 4, here is another film featuring living dolls, but this one, made by the producers of 2017’s It, should be the creepier of the two. It’s a remake of the 1988 slasher movie about a toy possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Aubrey Plaza plays the single mother who really should have bought a more suitable plaything for her teenage son. Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker in various Batman cartoons, provides the mocking voice of Chucky. But the far-fetched premise is slightly more credible this time around, in that it is smart technology rather than voodoo magic that enables Chucky to butcher anyone who mistakes him for Buzz Lightyear.

Released on 20 June in Australia and on 21 June in the UK, the US and Mexico

Anna

A stylish thriller about a supermodel-turned-assassin (Sasha Luss) who shoots and stabs her way around expensive Paris restaurants while wearing designer outfits? Yes, it does sound like the same film that Luc Besson has been writing and directing ever since Nikita came out in 1990, but after 2017’s sci-fi folly, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, you can hardly blame him for returning to a winning formula. Besides, 2014’s Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, was a colossal hit, so Besson might well believe that action heroines with four-letter names are his lucky charm. Helen Mirren, whose father was Russian, plays Anna’s Russian handler, with Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans as the men she may or may not kick in the face.

Released on 20 June in Australia and Italy and on 21 June in the US

Yesterday

Imagine there were no Lennon and McCartney songs. It’s easy if you try. It was easy for Richard ‘Love Actually’ Curtis, anyway, who scripted this high-concept romantic comedy directed by Danny ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ Boyle. Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik, an aspiring singer-songwriter who has no fans except his loyal best friend Ellie (Lily James). That all changes when a cosmic storm dents the space-time continuum, leaving Jack in a world where The Beatles never existed, but where he can still remember all of their songs. All he has to do is claim those songs as his own and megastardom beckons. Yes, there was a similar plot strand in a 1990s BBC sitcom, Goodnight Sweetheart, but HeyUGuys hails Yesterday as “utterly joyous and smile-inducing throughout. It’s a glorious celebration of the intoxicating beauty of music, human connection and the beautiful British summertime.”

Released on 28 June in the UK, the US and Canada

Source: BBC

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Ten films to watch in June
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Ten films to watch in June
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Dark Phoenix is the 12th film in the X-Men franchise, if you count the Wolverine and Deadpool spin-offs, but it’s the first to have a female central character: an X-Woman rather than an X-Man.