Welcome to our monthly movie preview. Here, we will count down our top choices for films opening in the month of June. With the summer movie season in full bloom, the major Hollywood studios are set to premiere some of their most anticipated titles. The next chapter in the horror franchise of the moment, a reboot of a beloved ’90s classic, a Pixar movie that actually looks good – all are angling to dominate the cinematic conversation next month. Even so, some of the more interesting offerings heading to cinemas during the month of June may be the quieter, stranger movies arriving at the local art house theater. Let’s get underway.
10) THE TRIBE
Buzzometer: 4/10 – With a nearly terminally bleak premise and an aesthetic set to challenge even the most adventurous art house moviegoer, The Tribe appears the definition of inaccessible. Yet the movie was a sensation of the 2014 festival circuit (winning prizes at Cannes, London Film Fest, AFI Fest, Fantastic Fest) and has received raves from critics all around the world praising the films’ audacity and underlying universality. A small fracas even erupted when Ukraine decided against selecting The Tribe as its Oscar submission for Best Foreign Film last year. The novelty may provide a few headlines, but The Tribe, North American box office be damned, appears ripe for a strong cult following through the years.
Release Date: June 19th (limited)
9) THE WOLFPACK
Buzzometer: 4/10 – The film earned the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival where some critics favorably compared it to the immortal Maysles classic Grey Gardens. With it oddball premise, The Wolfpack is bound to a hit with the cinephile community. A steady sign: Magnolia Pictures, which made a hit out of last years’ similarly movie-loving ode with the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, picked up the title at Sundance.
Release Date: June 12th (limited)
8) INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3
Buzzometer: 5/10 – Look, contemporary horror franchises tend to come in waves – the meta-infused Scream movies somehow morphed into the torture porn facets of the Saw films, which lost appeal when the Paranormal Activity movies brought a sleek, modern sensibility to creak-in-the-night conventions, and so on and so forth. The Insidious franchise, however, has seemingly taken on a more grassroots efforts. The first film was a cheap sleeper in the spring of the 2011 and Insidious: Chapter 2 built on fan goodwill when it opened in the fall of 2013. Focus Features, the franchise’s distributor, clearly has hopes here, dropping the movie in the heart of the summer movie season. While this franchise will inevitably give way to something else in the near future, Chapter 3 looks to take advantage of relatively horror-free movie season.
Release Date: June 5th
Buzzometer: 5/10 – One of the breakout hits of Sundance this year (where the film won a Film Editing prize and sparked a bidding war Open Road Films eventually won), Dope caught the eye of critics early, with many favorably comparing the film to modern Risky Business. Particular praise has been extended to potential breakout star Shameik Moore. With a confident and inventive trailer that showcases a daring verve matched with a smart-alecky wit, Dope could well become a novel bit of summer counter-programing. Then again, 2014 Sundance breakout Dear White People seemed to generate the same kind of promise, yet sputtered out shortly after the film hit theaters.
Release Date: June 19th
6) LOVE & MERCY
Buzzometer: 5/10 – Musical bios are an old troupe at this point, but early reviews (including ours) suggest that Love & Mercy is a cut ahead thanks to committed performances of Cusack and Dano. More so, the film could certainly benefit for being one of the few options for grown-ups during the month of June. As film as varied as Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), What’s Love Got to Do With It (1994), Ray (2004) and Walk the Line (2005) have proven, bios of musicians can often times be Oscar-winning hits as well.
Release Date: June 5th (limited)
5) TED 2
Buzzmeter: 6/10 – Last year’s poorly received comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West (which MacFarlane directed and starred in) proved that MacFarlane’s brand wasn’t invulnerable, but he’s back in safer terrain here. The original Ted proved a sleeper hit in the summer of 2012 (minting over $500 million worldwide), which should prove enough goodwill for a successful number two. Then again, the film’s one-note premise (amusing as it may be) might prove a bit too strenuous a second time.
Release Date: June 26th
4) ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
Buzzometer: 6/10 – Me and Earl won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival (joining distinctive company by the likes of Oscar winners Whiplash and Precious) where it was picked up by Fox Searchlight in one of the biggest gets of the festival. On the surface the film seems like the epitome of a “Sundance” movie– quirky and spliced with a nearly Wes Anderson-like sense of whimsy. With audiences, that could go either way– for every Little Miss Sunshine Sundance has premiered, there’s been a many more Happy, Texases. Yet, don’t be surprised if Me and Earl breaks through all the noise and spectacle of the summer movie season. Cinephiles, at the very least, should appreciate the Werner Herzog references as well as Greg’s silly classic film parodies – one imitation title to relish: “Eyes Wide Butt.”
Release Date: June 12th (limited)
Buzzometer: 7/10 – McCarthy may not have been quite at top form with last years’ comedy Tammy (a film she also co-wrote), yet Spy looks like a course correction. The film premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival recently where critics and audiences celebrated the film, with many claiming in the best work of McCarthy’s career. The spy game has been riffed time and time again (from Austin Powers to this years’ very own Kingsman: The Secret Service), yet as Feig and McCarthy proved two years ago with The Heat, a little girls power push can sharpen lots of established tropes. Hopefully, the same will be true when the duo team again for the upcoming all-girls Ghostbusters.
Release Date: June 5th
2) JURASSIC WORLD
Buzzometer: 8/10 – Curiosity and nostalgia likely guarantee Jurassic World will yield a strong gross, yet there still appears a sting of unease for the property as a whole. Part of which may be will be that Treverrow is an unproven talent with big event spectacle – he went the Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spider-Man) route by gaining the keys to a studio tentpole after wowing the Sundance crowd with his first try. Part of that may also stem from reboot fatigue in general (not everything needs to come back). Still with those reservations in mind, the Jurassic Park franchise is an important one, and one that Universal Pictures surely wants to keep active.
Release Date: June 12th
1) INSIDE OUT
Buzzometer: 9/10 – Early word suggests that Inside Out is top-drawer entertainment from Pixar. Refreshing news considering the studio, once the king of Hollywood ingenuity, has been in a noticeable lull lately (Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University). The film recently premiered out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival where critics boisterously raved on Inside Out‘s originality, heart and emotional resonance, suggesting that the Best Animated Feature Academy Award may well be off the table this year and further giving hope to what for so many years was the most consistent outlet in town.
Release Date: June 19th
ALSO OPENING IN JUNE:
- BATKID BEGINS – Documentary centering around a 5-year-old leukemia patient who wished to be Batman for one day. (June 26th – limited)
- EDEN – Biographic drama about a teenager exploring the underground nightclub scene in early ’90s Paris. (June 19th – limited)
- ENTOURAGE – More movie industry shenanigans are in store for actor Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) as he and his posse head to the big screen in this adaptation of the popular HBO series. (June 5th)
- HUNGRY HEARTS – Girls star Adam Driver won the Best Actor prize at the 2014 Venice Film Festival for this dramatic thriller about a New York couple at odds after the birth of their first child. (June 5th – limited)
- INFINITELY POLAR BEAR – Dramedy about a manic-depressive (Mark Ruffalo) trying to restore his fractured family; premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. (June 19th – limited)
- MANGLEHORN – Legendary actor Al Pacino continues to atone for Jack & Jill with another indie– this one about an eccentric loner trying to rebuild his life. (June 19th – limited)
- MAX – Yarn about a military dog stationed in Afghanistan who is adopting by his late handler’s grieving family. (June 26th)
- A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE – Greatest movie title ever. This top prize winner at the 2014 Venice Film Festival is the latest Swedish auteur Roy Andersson. (June 5th – limited)
- THE OVERNIGHT – A bizarre evening awaits recent Los Angeles transplants Alex and Emily (Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling) in this twisty comedy at caused a stir at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival; Jason Schwartzman co-stars. (June 19th – limited)
- SET FIRE TO THE STARS – Elijah Woods portrays a 1950s-era poet who meets his hero, icon Dylan Thomas. (June 12th – limited)
- TESTAMENT OF YOUTH – A who’s who of rising actors (Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Taron Egerton) star in this in this WWI epic adapted from the memoir by Vera Brittain. (June 5th – limited)