The Summer Movie Season gets into full swing this June with big-name tentpoles coming out every single week now that Endgame is safely in the rear-view and they don’t have to worry about being mauled by the alpha-dog on campus. Another iconic superhero franchise reaches its indifferently-anticipated finale, Danny Boyle gambles it all on a late-period Richard Curtis script with a questionable premise, James Gunn produces a Superman deconstruction that’s hopefully actually good this time, and Pixar have reanimated the beloved Toy Story one last time (please). Despite how this sounds, I promise you there are also films to be excited about this month.
Here’s our Summer Movie Guide for June 2019!
All release dates are UK specific, taken from the Film Distributors Association website and, whilst correct at press time, are subject to change.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Date: 5th June
Dir: Simon Kinberg
Star: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner
Our long national nightmare will soon come to an end. We will be freed from the tyranny of non-Deadpool X-Men movies for a long time. Real talk: across 19 years and 11 movies, 20th Century Fox have been able to make exactly 3 great ones (First Class, Logan, Deadpool 2) with 5 being serviceably mediocre and 3 others being full-on abysmal disasters (The Last Stand, Origins: Wolverine, and Apocalypse). The first two Bryan Singer movies whilst important for their time do not hold up outside of great casting, the two recent Singer movies pissed away all the promise and excellence of Matthew Vaughn’s reboot through character-stunting decade-hopping and a dreary self-seriousness obsessed with meaningless plot minutiae, and the current cast are either extremely bad (Sophie Turner’s post-Game of Thrones career is failing to disavow my belief that everyone whose career started from GoT is actually a bad actor) or extremely ready to get the hell off this sinking ship (Fassbender and especially Jennifer Lawrence). They’ve delayed and reshot this thing something like three times, the exact same creative team which bodged the Dark Phoenix Saga last time are going again (with Brett Ratner subbed out for writer Kinberg directing his first anything), and it looks forking awful. But we are almost free. Just one last push and then we are free.
“What about The New Mutants?” LOL at that ever seeing the light of day.
Date: 7th June
Dir: Nisha Ganatra
Star: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling
The lukewarm, though not negative, reviews out of Sundance plus the mediocre trailer have checked my anticipations somewhat, but I’m still hopeful for this one. Mindy Kaling’s jump into feature screenwriting, plus the theatrical directorial return of Nisha Ganatra (of the lovely Chutney Popcorn) after a decade of TV work, follows her character Molly’s trial-by-fire entrance into the boys’ club of writing for late-night comedy. Emma Thompson hasn’t had a decent chance to flex her abundant live-action comedy muscles in a long while so I’m down for seeing her play Comedian Miranda Priestley, an even half-decent screenplay should be able to find bountiful satirical material in the world of late-night, and I’m glad somebody out there is still throwing money and marketing respect at movies like this and The Big Sick – not coincidentally, both are Amazon Studios productions. I don’t get enough movies like these during the Summer anymore, so I’ll always show out when one does arrive.
Date: 14th June
Dir: Asif Kapadia
Here’s the big test for Asif Kapadia. Not to take anything away from Senna and Amy, two of the best documentaries of the decade, but the scales in those were tipped somewhat in his favour since Amy Winehouse was one of my favourite musical artists and I adored Formula 1 growing up. I was already predisposed to liking them, even though fondness for a doc’s subject doesn’t cause a bad doc to skate through unflogged (just going to leave this link to my review of Joan Jett doc Bad Reputation here). But his third documentary feature is about football, a subject I otherwise could not give a single fork about, so if he can get me as heartfelt and invested in the story of Diego Maradona as he could Winehouse and Ayrton Senna then he’s untouchable in my books. In all seriousness, I have complete faith in Kapadia’s ability to smash this one into the back of the net since he’s demonstrated a preternatural ability to balance the personal stories of his subjects with the wider social climate they grew up in in ways which are resonant and illuminating no matter how interested the viewer was going in. All in for this one and I promise not to yell out “THAT WAS LIQUID FOOTBALL” at any point during my screening.
Men in Black: International
Date: 14th June
Dir: F. Gary Gray
Star: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson
90’s nostalgia has officially come for the Men in Black franchise except that Tommy Lee Jones has finally managed to extricate himself from the series (allowing us to pretend the thematically-fitting Agent K retirement those sequels stomped all over stuck) and Will Smith is off having a very public midlife crisis, so here’s your unofficial Thor: Ragnarok sequel. Whilst I’m out here dropping hard-truth bombs, does Men in Black really have the cache to pull off a soft-reboot? Cos, again hard truths, only the first of these were any good and, for all the inherent franchise potential it has, later works from this series have struggled to properly mine said potential when they weren’t just outright sucking. Also, cos I can’t stop dropping bombs: the cartoon series is not as good as you remember, F. Gary Gray’s blockbuster direction turned out to be pretty pedestrian in The Fate of the Furious, and both trailers outside of a few decent gags have been shockingly… meh. Tessa Thompson looks the motherforkin’ BOMB in a suit, granted, but a film really does need more than just that to be worthwhile, y’know?
Toy Story 4
Date: 21st June
Dir: Josh Cooley
Star: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts (voices)
As I said back in March when the full trailer dropped: making the first extended look at your notably-troubled and sceptic-courting fourth return to a series which wrapped perfectly nine years ago be a spoiler-heavy trailer that gives off the alarming impression you’ve just remade Toy Story 2 with certain particulars find+replace’d – Prospector with Bo Peep, Tokyo museum with fairground town, Zurg and Boxed Buzz with Forky – does not fill me or anyone else with much in the way of confidence. Please understand, I want nothing more to be wrong about this and I will likely cry my eyes out irrespective of quality, but I can only call ‘em like I see ‘em and especially after Incredibles II came and went with barely a footprint I cannot help but approach Toy Story 4 guarded and ready to have my heart broken. It’s ok to just let series end sometimes, even as I have to wonder if I would have expressed this kind of scepticism at the prospect of Toy Story 3 were I that age when it came out. Prove me wrong, Pixar. Redress your batting average for the decade.
Date: 28th June
Dir: Danny Boyle
Star: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran
Yesterday is either going to be an absolutely delightful triumph or an insufferable trainwreck and there will be not an ounce of middle-ground. Richard Curtis is a proven great writer – his resume includes Blackadder, Mr. Bean, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and the first Bridget Jones – but he’s also not been a great writer for a very long time – said resume also includes Love, Actually, the second Bridget Jones, and About Time. He’s also prone to simplistic, reductive and insipid clichés in his romances which are full of uncomfortable undertones and just plain lazy writing: Love, Actually being the worst offender of this but they crop up to varying degrees in all of his works. Danny Boyle, meanwhile, is one of my favourite directors but he also has a very nasty habit of dropping a giant stinker roughly every seven years of his career: in 2000 that was The Beach, in 2007 that was almost the entire second half of Sunshine, and in 2013 that was the bizarrely pretentious Trance. The next stinker should have been 2017’s T2: Trainspotting and yet, somehow, that movie was an essential triumph (if thoroughly depressing), which means the bases have been loaded for a full-on strike-out here. I mean, Ed Sheeran is acting in this! Why not just smash 500 mirrors and sprint under 2,000 ladders whilst you’re at it?!
Other Films of Note
I’m an anxious bundle of barely-functioning nerves on forever-verge of a breakdown, so I find it really hard to experience horror movies and especially horror movie trailers which like to be nothing but the LOUD JUMP SCARES one after another – just gonna leave a link to the latest Brightburn trailer here. Hence why the month’s horrors are all being dumped here because I am completely useless as to telling you whether they’re any good. And we get A LOT of them this June, all clustering together for some unknowable reason. Leading the charge is the much-ballyhooed Brightburn (19th June) as James Gunn’s cousins, Brian and Mark (previous of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island), script a vicious deconstruction of the Superman origin story but, unlike Zach Snyder’s efforts, hopefully good this time. James is producing and The Hive’s David Yarovesky is directing. Two days later, we will all be treated (?) to the Child’s Play (21st June) reboot that does not feature the input of creator Don Mancini or Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky and despite the fact that the original incarnation of the Child’s Play franchise is still ongoing (there’s a SyFy TV series coming next year).
Then a week later, it’s been a hot minute which means the public MUST be screaming out for another Conjuring-verse entry! Annabelle Comes Home (28th June) marks the directorial debut of Conjuring-verse architect and It screenwriter Gary Dauberman, and I really feel Warner Bros. could’ve waited until Halloween to pump this one out but I guess they don’t want its stink wafting over to the new Mike Flanagan film. Those craving something further afield may be delighted to hear that Peter Strickland is at long last back with movie #5, the horror-comedy In Fabric (28th June) about a cursed dress which sounds like exactly the sort of premise only Peter “Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy” Strickland could decently realise. As for existential horror, it turns out that the Teletubbies are still going? Or they brought it back? Whichever is the case, they’re doing the Peppa Pig-style theatrical compilation/spin-off ahead of their next season in 2020, Teletubbies: Songtime at the Cinema (7th June), and it’s exclusive to VUE so please be extra nice to those poor staff employees over the half-term week, ok?
Gloria Bell (6th June) sees acclaimed Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (the Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman) making his English-language debut by remaking his own 2013 Gloria, a romance-drama following a middle-aged divorcee through her romantic travails, with the long-overdue-another-meaty-role Julianne Moore in the title part. US IMAX sensation Apollo 11 (28th June) provides a new perspective on the historic moon landings as we near the 50th anniversary still somehow stuck on this slowly decaying rock without any jetpacks. Sometimes Always Never (14th June) is a deadpan mystery dramedy written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and starring Bill Nighy that involves Scrabble, a missing son, and a dead body. Mumblecore originator Andrew Bujalski’s outstanding and highly-acclaimed Support the Girls (28th June) has, 10 MONTHS after its US release, FINALLY received UK distribution so now we can all watch it legal-I mean for the very first time. *coughs* There’s also Kim Nguyen’s capitalist satire The Hummingbird Project (14th June) but… I honestly still have no idea what that one’s actually about, which is at least consistent for Nguyen’s career output so far if nothing else.
That’s our Summer Movie Guide for June 2019! What are you most looking forward to out of this list? Have we missed anything from the schedule? Let us know in the comments below!