Jurassic World: Dominion, Elvis, Lightyear, and 15 other must-see movies for June – The A.V. Club

With Memorial Day upon us, summer movie season is in full swing. Of course, audiences have already been swinging back to theaters with Downton Abbey and Top Gun sequels, but even more blockbuster fare awaits in June. The dinosaurs finally have dominion in a new Jurassic World that stages a reunion with original franchise stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum; David Cronenberg and Baz Luhrmann cultists have Crimes Of The Future and Elvis, respectively; and a strong summer of animation continues with Lightyear and DC League Of Super-Pets. Here’s a closer look at all the June 2022 movies that are worth a trip to your local multiplex.

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Hulu June 3
Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang costars in this rom-com set on the famous gay party island. It’s loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, but with way more dudes in Speedos, which Jane Austen might have written if she could have gotten away with it. Or if she’d known what a Speedo is. Yang and screenwriter-producer Joel Kim Booster play best friends looking to get laid, and finding that even among buff, nearly naked guys, class and money remain obstacles to romance. But surely not insurmountable ones, as Austen herself well knew. Margaret Cho plays host to the lovelorn duo and their pals, and if it’s not possible to steal the scenes away from all those abs, rest assured that she’ll give it a good try. Known for directing dramas, director Andrew Ahn previously gave us Brian Dennehy’s final performance in the movie Driveways. He’s earned the right to lighten up, and with Yang and Cho aboard, Ahn should have some fun with it. [Luke Y. Thompson]3 / 21
Select theaters June 3
Anglophiles used to reliably receive big screen fixes of films like The Phantom Of The Open—comedy-dramas about quirky figures chafing under class restrictions, or grappling with the red tape of various bureaucratic authorities. Abetted in no small part by the $250-plus million gross of 1997’s low-budget The Full Monty, there was for the better part of two decades no shortage of studio commercial bets on twee British rom-coms and other character-based imports. Apart from the more comparatively staid Downton Abbey films, however, the last several years have served up somewhat slimmer pickings. The Phantom Of The Open looks to reverse that trend. Less a long-shot story than a no-shot tale, it taps into the same “lovable loser” vein as 2016’s underrated Eddie The Eagle. Directed by Craig Roberts, the movie is based on the true story of Maurice Flitcroft, a shipyard crane operator and self-taught very bad golfer whose historically terrible qualifying round for the 1976 British Open Championship, and attempts to crash subsequent competitions in disguise, was met with much harrumphing by snooty golfing powers-that-be. Starring Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins, two skilled performers who know how to pull comedic levers within a grounded context, this offering could be a hole-in-one with adult audiences looking for a good reason to return to theaters. [Brent Simon]4 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 3
One of the many bone-chilling scenes in Sundance standout Watcher involves going to a movie alone. Julia (played by indie scream queen extraordinaire Maika Monroe) has joined her husband Francis (Karl Glusman) in moving to Bucharest, where she doesn’t speak much Romanian and doesn’t have much to do while he’s off at work. At a near-empty matinee screening, a man creaks into the chair directly behind her, leans forward, and breathes down her neck. Could it be the same man, as Julia tries explaining to her husband and local police, that then followed her into the grocery store? Could it be the same man Julia sees through her window, at all hours of the night, watching from an apartment across the street? Could it even be the same man stabbing and beheading young women in the neighborhood? Alfred Hitchcock would approve of Chloe Okuno’s masterfully tense directing in Zack Ford’s simple-but-effective tale of paranoia and isolation. All of which is to say, see Watcher in a movie theater. But maybe don’t go see it alone. [Jack Smart]5 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 3
Moviemaking legend David Cronenberg cut his teeth on intelligent, thought-provoking, and highly gross movies in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, many concerned with the human body and manipulation of it. Some classic Cronenbergian fare of this nature include Dead Ringers, The Brood, Rabid, and Crash. Yet in the early 2000s, Cronenberg turned his thoughts and films towards more psychological studies with films like Spider, A History Of Violence, and Eastern Promises. While these films and other later-stage Cronenberg are solid, many of us miss the good ol’ days of him sticking fingers into people in myriad ways. Those of us in that camp rejoiced when the trailer for his latest film, Crimes Of The Future, starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart, seemingly dropped out of nowhere prior to the film’s premiere at Cannes this month. Its plot is pretty tricky, and probably best left unrevealed, as it centers on a performance artist who shows off his ability to metamorphosize his organs. Some basic mental math in regards to Cronenberg’s proclivities and that basic plot summary will add up to what is sure to be a weird and provocative cinematic experience. [Don Lewis]6 / 21
Netflix June 8
Adam Sandler and Queen Latifah play husband and wife…but this isn’t some high-concept joke, even if it does include the star’s standard subplot about being a neglectful dad who works too much. In a sports drama co-produced by LeBron James, Sandler plays a former basketball scout looking to sign a new Spanish player to the NBA. If you loved his fast-talking desperation in Uncut Gems, but would prefer a less anxiety-inducing story in which a character like that might (no spoilers!) actually prevail by the end, this could be it. And if you were hoping his Netflix deal would include more than gleefully dumb comedies, you got it. He and Latifah play it completely straight; so, we assume, do Robert Duvall, Ben Foster, Jaleel White, and Heidi Gardner. Jeremiah Zagar (from the magical realist coming-of-age tale We The Animals) directs, from a script by Will Fetters (A Star Is Born) and Taylor Materne (NBA 2K20…yes, the game). Which seems to be the sort of combined experience you’d want to pull this off. [Luke Y. Thompson]7 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 10
Although Jurassic World: Dominion is billed as the “epic conclusion of the Jurassic era,” don’t assume that means the end of Universal’s successful run of dino-mite action thrillers. We still have the Triassic and Cretaceous Periods to mine as well as the neo-Jurassic era that was ushered in at the end of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. But for now we’ve got Dominion, which is already a must-see because it brings together the legacy Jurassic Park trio of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum for the first time since the 1993 Steven Spielberg franchise launcher. They’re paired with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who’ve ably shepherded the series since 2015’s Jurassic World.
That film’s director, Colin Trevorrow, returns after sitting out Fallen Kingdom. He’s been teasing that Dominion’s big baddie will be the Giganotosaurus, an actual dinosaur species that he likens to Batman’s maniacal arch-nemesis, The Joker. Otherwise, the film’s trailer reveals that in a world now overrun with dinosaurs, Owen Grady (Pratt) is called into action to help his raptor BFF, Blue, whose baby has been kidnapped. Excitement is guaranteed from Safety Not Guaranteed director Trevorrow and his co-screenwriter Emily Carmichael, although a sense of eye-widening awe that’s been missing since the Spielberg original would be welcome, too. [Mark Keizer]8 / 21
HBO Max June 16
Edward Streeter’s novel Father Of The Bride was a New York Times bestseller when it was published 73 years ago, but it’s still not as memorable as the movies that were spawned from it. The first film adaptation was in 1950 and starred Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. Then in 1991, Steve Martin and Diane Keaton did the honors along with a scene-stealing Martin Short as Franck, the wedding planner. What those two iterations have in common, other than critical huzzahs and financial success, are their all-white leads. HBO Max intends to fix that with a most-welcome take that revolves around Latinx families.
Andy Garcia (has there ever been a bad Andy Garcia performance?) and Gloria Estefan play a Cuban-American husband and wife ready to announce their divorce when their youngest daughter announces she’s getting married. On top of that, her fiancé is Mexican-American and has a wealthy, overbearing father with his own ideas about the wedding. Directed by Mexico City-born Gaz Alazraki, Father Of The Bride will certainly include plenty of laughs. But reports are that Alazraki will lean in on the culture clash between the two Cuban and Mexican families, which should add depth to what’s been a funny yet syrupy, and awfully white, series of films. [Mark Keizer]9 / 21
Apple TV+ June 17
Actor-writer-director Cooper Raiff got some serious Sundance buzz in 2020 with his breakout film Shithouse. Now he’s back (and doubling down on film titles that are a tough sell) with rom-com Cha Cha Real Smooth. Raiff stars as Bar Mitzvah party host Andrew, who is facing all-too-familiar struggles of growing up and figuring out how to make a living. While being a party host for Jewish boys coming of age probably has its moments, it’s certainly not anyone’s career goal, but we digress. At one of his gigs he becomes friendly with the attractive mother (Dakota Johnson) of an autistic daughter and complications arise. Reviews so far are overwhelmingly positive and most point out how funny and touching the film is. However, most reviews are light on plot spoilers which likely means there’s some twists and turns which are better left discovered watching the film. Does this mean Apple TV+ could have another CODA-sized hit on its hands? We’ll find out June 17. [Don Lewis]10 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 17
For kid and adult moviegoers alike, any extension of the Pixar Animation Studios Cinematic Universe is cause for celebration. But Lightyear will feel like a particularly special installment, imagining a sci-fi-action-adventure spectacle for Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story, the film that first launched computer-generated animation to infinity and beyond. It’s a full-circle moment, especially when you consider just how advanced Pixar’s filmmaking has become since their early days; John Lasseter & Co. opted to make their first feature about dolls and toys because depicting convincingly human characters was still a ways off, technology-wise. Look at the lighting and visual nuance in the dog in Toy Story versus Buzz’s high-octane rocket launch around a blazing sun in Lightyear. It’s, well, light years apart. Chris Evans taking over the iconically cheesy-yet-noble character proves a match made in voiceover heaven, but the real star of the show will be Sox, the robot cat given hilariously deadpan life by Peter Sohn. He may go down in cinema history as the most adorable Pixar sidekick yet. [Jack Smart]11 / 21
Select theaters June 17
Tom Gormican’s The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent and Judd Apatow’s The Bubble have already taken us behind the scenes of Hollywood stardom this spring. But Argentine directors Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s Official Competition, co-written with Duprat’s brother Andrés Duprat, stands a good chance of snagging the title for best entertainment satire of 2022. Fittingly debuted at last year’s Venice International Film Festival, Official Competition follows Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz), a Palme d’Or-winning filmmaker who unexpectedly finds her avant-garde taste thrown at a book adaptation. Eager to find unique chemistry on screen, Lola casts self-obsessed A-lister Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas) opposite studied stage actor Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez)—but, through a ridiculous rehearsal process teased in the trailer, finds she suddenly has more fireworks than she can handle. We haven’t gotten a chance to check this one out yet, but, for industry obsessives like us, it’s probably a winner. [Alison Foreman]12 / 21
Hulu June 17
Fans of Emma Thompson’s film work—which includes, let’s face it, 100% of audiences who have ever seen Emma Thompson’s film work—are in for a treat with Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, from director Sophie Hyde and writer Katy Brand. There’s a sense of culmination in her performance as Nancy, a widowed mother hiring a young sex worker (Daryl McCormack, in a surely star-making breakout performance) and embarking on a two-steps-forward-one-step-back sexual awakening. For decades on screen, Thompson has delivered masterclasses in both restraint and release; her ability to depict the inner lives of women reassessing their desires is practically unparalleled. And off camera, every chance she gets, she’s one of our most charmingly frank commentators on the sexism, expectations, and double standards facing women in her industry. So Leo Grande, which wades into the waters of female pleasure and the bittersweet process of aging, feels like a perfect alignment of actor and part, one of the most important chapters in the story of Thompson’s legacy. It’s worth seeing for its stunner of a final shot alone. [Jack Smart]13 / 21
Netflix June 17
When you think mad scientist, what actor comes to mind? Peter Cushing, perhaps? Jeffrey Combs? Probably not Chris Hemsworth, which maybe makes his madness that much harder to see coming for the prisoners he experiments on. Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett play the latest victims, who volunteer to test emotion-altering drugs in exchange for a lesser prison sentence. It is, of course, too good a deal to be true. Tron: Legacy and Oblivion’s Joseph Kosinski directs what sounds like a return to sci-fi form for him after his more conventional Top Gun: Maverick. And Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick did the script, which suggests a forecast of extreme violence ahead. But then, it’s also based on a short story from The New Yorker by George Saunders, so maybe it’ll have a surprisingly classy side as well. Still…if Chris Hemsworth asked for permission to manipulate your emotions, you’d let him, right? [Luke Y. Thompson]14 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 17
Adapted from a 2017 short film of the same name, Brian And Charles is a whimsical, amiable cinematic hangout that should roundly connect with fans of Flight Of The Conchords and What We Do In The Shadows. Unfolding in a mockumentary style, the film chronicles the relationship peaks and valleys of its titular characters. Brian (co-writer David Earl) is a lonely, oddball would-be inventor of contraptions, like an “egg belt,” for which no one in particular is clamoring. When his robot creation, Charles (co-writer Chris Hayward), achieves unlikely sentience, it at first provides him with glorious friendship. Soon, however, a surly Charles begins to lash out in frustration over the limits of life in their small Welsh town, leaving Brian to grapple with trying to thread a needle between indulging protective instincts and letting Charles leave the nest.
At a Q&A following the film’s Sundance Film Festival world premiere, director Jim Archer and his collaborators described an unlikely mixture of inspirations—the awkward friendship of 1999’s documentary American Movie and the heartwarming aspects of E.T.—but early critical response indicated it hit a sweet spot for many viewers. If audiences follow, could a new and decidedly low-fi franchise be born? [Brent Simon]15 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 24
If you’ve been on the internet in the past decade or so, perhaps you remember Jenny Slate bringing pitch-perfect life to a small shell with huge problems for director Dean Fleischer-Camp’s 2010 short Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. Co-written by Slate and Fleischer-Camp, the stop-motion project earned critical recognition among film fans for its charming main character and supremely clever execution, appearing at Sundance and winning Best Animated Short at AFI Fest. It was followed up by two sequel shorts, a book, and countless memes. Now, everyone’s favorite mini mockumentary subject is back again, getting a feature-length debut from A24 with Slate reprising her starring voice role and Fleischer-Camp directing once more. This little adventure for the big screen, written by Slate, Fleischer-Camp, and Nick Paley (with additional story by Elisabeth Holm), explores Marcel’s quest to find her family after living with only her grandma Connie (Isabella Rossellini) for two years. [Alison Foreman]16 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 24
In a soundproof basement, no one can hear you scream. That’s the terrifying truth 13-year-old Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) discovers after being abducted by a sadistic child killer simply known as “The Grabber.” You see, the multi-masked madman—played by Ethan Hawke in full-on creep mode—has a nasty habit of luring kids to his equally creepy van with magic tricks and his signature black balloons. Once their guard is down, he snatches them, and hauls them to his lair where they are confined to his basement with nothing but a mattress and a black phone that’s disconnected…or is it? Lucky for Finney, the phone has a mysterious connection to the afterlife, enabling him to communicate with the Grabber’s many former victims who help devise a daring escape plan.
Based on a short story by acclaimed author Joe Hill (Horns, NOS4A2), The Black Phone is directed by Scott Derrickson, who makes a long-awaited return to horror after playing in the Marvel sandbox for quite some time with Doctor Strange and the early stages of its sequel (which he exited due to creative differences). The Black Phone also reunites Derrickson with Hawke, who starred in Sinister, a film that science once deemed as “the scariest movie of all time.” Could The Black Phone be as hair-raising as Sinister? Early reviews seem to think so, and with Hawke looking like he’s channeling a deranged cross between Buffalo Bill and Pennywise the Clown, The Black Phone looks like a call that horror fans should answer. [Gil Macias]17 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 24
In a time when Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark” video has about 10 billion more YouTube views than Elvis Presley has album sales, it’s hard to imagine the tectonic shift, in music and culture, that The King helped ignite in the ’50s and ’60s. So it’s only appropriate that in 2022, the story of Elvis’ meteoric rise and drug-fueled fall is told by cinema’s great maximalist, Baz Luhrmann, who’ll guarantee that no camera move, shiny sequin, musical note, or lighting cue goes to waste. It promises to be quite the spectacle, and it all rests on the white jumpsuited shoulders of Austin Butler (best known for Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood) who, if the trailers are any indication, is going to kill it. The big question is Tom Hanks, wearing gobs of prosthetics and affecting a Dutch accent to play Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Then again, as we’ve learned time and again, never bet against the Hanks.
The film centers around The King’s complicated relationship with The Colonel, a former traveling circus barker who orchestrated most aspects of Elvis’ life and career while keeping the real story of his past a closely held secret. Olivia DeJonge plays Elvis’ first wife, Priscilla Presley, who he met when she was only 14 years old. Look to fall in love (again) with Elvis’ greatest hits as a fearless director gives us a unique look at one of the 20th century’s most consequential pop culture figures. [Mark Keizer]18 / 21
Select theaters June 24
Taking its title from New York City-bred director Rebeca Huntt’s nickname as a child, Beba is an autobiographical filmic essay from the perspective of a young Afro-Latina woman of Dominican and Venezuelan heritage. Powered by a collagist sensibility (the film is stitched together from video diaries, 16mm film, poetry, and other sources) and bearing the stamp of auteurist certitude, Beba assays questions of racial identity, familial history, mental health, and general late-Millennial occupational uncertainty; adds an abundant portion of radical ambivalence along with no small amount of navel-gazing; and then puts everything in furious spin cycle.
For both adventurous nonfiction film fans and industry-watchers on the lookout for the type of filmmaker who might bring to bear an idiosyncratic stamp on challenging, left-of-center material, Beba could mark Huntt as a talent to watch in the vein of Kevin Macdonald or James Marsh—someone who could break out as an interesting director and swing back and forth between documentaries and fiction films. On the other hand, her movie could also possibly be the next Tarnation—a highly personal, largely one-off work that makes an intense art-market splash, but augurs no larger career breakthrough. Distributor Neon, which picked up Beba following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, is no doubt hoping for the latter. [Brent Simon]19 / 21
Theaters everywhere June 29
You know what they say: A dog is (Super)man’s best friend. Secret Life Of Pets meets The Justice League in this new animated adventure about a group of furry friends saving the world with their super paw-ers. After Superman (John Krasinski) and the rest of Metropolis’ heroes are kidnapped by Lex Luthor (Marc Maron), Superman’s dog Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) embarks on a rescue mission with the help of Batman’s dog Ace (Kevin Hart), a potbellied pig named PB (Vanessa Bayer), Lulu the hairless guinea pig (Kate McKinnon), Merton the turtle (Natasha Lyonne), and a squirrel named Chip (Diego Luna). Director Jared Stern co-wrote the project with John Whittington; the pair previously worked together on The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie. It’s a cute enough premise and the sky’s the limit with a voice cast this great; Keanu Reeves, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, Dascha Polanco, and Jameela Jamil can also be heard. [Alison Foreman]20 / 21
Film fest favorite Benediction (theaters everywhere June 3) finds Terence Davies following his ode to Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion with another depiction of a tortured poet, Siegfried Sassoon. An altogether different festival hit, Neptune Frost (select theaters June 10) is, per its logline, an Afrofuturist musical about “an intersex African hacker, a coltan miner, and the virtual marvel born as a result of their union.” The Lost Girls (select theaters June 17) returns to Neverland, sort of, imagining four generations of Darling women. Paramount+ brings a charmer of a biopic to your streaming screen on June 17 with Jerry & Marge Go Large, starring the always-amazing Annette Bening and Bryan Cranston; similarly, I’m Charlie Walker (select theaters and VOD June 10) stars Mike Colter as the real-life eponymous construction entrepreneur cleaning up the San Francisco Bay. Documentary junkies should check out Emelie Mahdavian’s Bitterbrush (select theaters June 17) and Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman’s The Human Trial (select theaters June 24). And horror weirdos will be satiated this month with Blumhouse’s Unhuman (digital platforms June 3), IFC Midnight’s Flux Gourmet (select theaters June 24), and especially Phil Tippett’s 30-years-in-the-making stop-motion animation opus Mad God (Shudder June 16). [Jack Smart]

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