From classics to underrated films, here are the best movies coming to HBO Max in June.
A new month means new options on streaming services. When it comes to film libraries, HBO Max has stood head and shoulders above the competition, with options ranging from the latest blockbusters to the most iconic works from Hollywood’s golden era, there is something for everyone on the streamer. June sees the addition of works from some of the biggest stars of the last fifty years, in genres ranging from intergalactic science fiction, to legal thrillers, to romantic comedies and indie dramas about self-improvement. HBO Max has every audience member covered.
Writer/ Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, and Robert Downey Jr.
Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man and leading creative behind The Mandalorian, returned to his independent film roots with this crowd-pleasing comedy-drama which he wrote, directed, and starred in. Favreau stars as Carl Casper, the head chef of a fancy Los Angeles restaurant who becomes disillusioned with the demanding and restrictive nature of the role and leaves his job to run a food truck to pursue creative and professional fulfillment, which also allows him to deepen his relationships, particularly with his young son Percy (Emjay Anthony). Chef is a funny and touching movie that has a lovely depiction of a father-son relationship and features a strong supporting cast.
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Writers: Michael Kozoll and William Sackheim
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna
In the first film to feature Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character John Rambo, a traumatized veteran of the war in Vietnam is harassed and hunted by the police of a small town he was just trying to pass through. After being chased into the nearby woods, Rambo’s instincts and combat training take over and he fights off the many police officers as an army of one. Stallone gives one of the performances of his career in this action thriller that deals with themes of PTSD and the treatment of combat veterans in the United States.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writers: Ronal Shusett and Dan O’Bannon
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, and Michael Ironside
There’s never a bad time to revisit Paul Verhoeven’s classic Total Recall, and with its addition to HBO Max, it’s never been easier to get your ass to Mars. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Doug Quaid, an Earth-bound construction worker who signs up for a vacation through a false memory implant, administered by the shady company Rekall. However, before the procedure can commence, Quaid remembers that he is actually a secret agent trying to take down the villainous regime, and soon finds people trying to kill him at every turn, including his wife Lori (Sharon Stone). Total Recall is a work of chaotic art from one of our most visionary directors of science fiction, in RoboCop and Starship Troopers’ Paul Verhoeven, and remains one of Schwarzenegger’s best films. It is a total blast from beginning to end, that holds up brilliantly well over thirty years after its release.
Writer/ Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, and Dan Stevens
Anne Hathaway stars in this dark comedy as Gloria, a woman struggling with alcoholism. When her boyfriend breaks up with her and kicks her out of her New York City apartment she is forced to move into her parents’ old house in a small town in New Hampshire. While in her old hometown, she runs into Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a childhood friend who offers her a job at the bar he owns. However, after a heavy night out Gloria discovers that her drinking causes a giant monster to appear in Seoul, South Korea, and attack the city mimicking her actions. This underrated gem is a refreshing and unique take on the damage that addiction can cause, while Hathaway and Sudeikis play against type and do some of the best work of their careers.
Director: Sydney Pollack
Writers: David Rabe and Robert Towne
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeannie Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, and Gene Hackman
Based on the novel by John Grisham, The Firm stars Tom Cruise as Mitch, a recent graduate from Harvard Law School who takes a position at a boutique law firm in Memphis and is taken under the wing by senior partner Avery Tolar (Gene Hackman). Mitch quickly becomes seduced by his new job, which comes with a high salary, a new car, a house, and his student debt paid off. But it soon comes to light that the firm is representing some shady clients and keeping some dark secrets. The Firm is a strong demonstration of a young Tom Cruise at the peak of his powers, going toe to toe with an acting giant on the scale of Gene Hackman. A taut 90s legal thriller that is made all too rarely in the modern film industry.
Director: Wes Craven
Writers: Carl Ellsworth and Dan Foos
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, and Brian Cox
Horror film icon Wes Craven cranks the dread up to sky-high in his armrest clenching, airplane-set thriller Red Eye. Rachel McAdams stars as Lisa, a woman on a cross country flight home who is sitting next to a charming yet unsettling man played by Cillian Murphy. The man soon reveals himself to be a hitman who requires Lisa's help to reach his target and is threatening the life of Lisa’s father (Brian Cox) should she fail to help him. McAdams is charming and easy to root for in the lead, while Murphy creates a memorably menacing villain and Craven creates a tense atmosphere that few others can achieve.
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Writers: Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield, and Eddie Murphy
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry, and David Alan Grier
Eddie Murphy stars as Marcus, a womanizing executive businessman who has to rethink his lifestyle choices when his new boss Jacqueline (Robin Givens) treats him in the same way and it completely throws him off his game at work. Murphy’s star power is on full display in this romantic comedy that gives men a little taste of their own medicine.
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