The Film Fix: Reviews of Top Films in Theaters, Streaming in June

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By JONATHAN W. HICKMAN, Special to The Paper

Below are reviews and capsules of various films this month in theaters and/or streaming.

Review rating … A “Fix” is recommended with a rating between 6 and 10. A “No Fix” is not recommended with a rating between 1 to 5.

In Theaters

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (now playing) – Fix Rating 7/10 – This fifth film in the “Mad Max” franchise is a prequel to 2015’s Oscar-winning “Fury Road.” “Furiosa” gives us the origin story of the title character, a grizzled one-armed heroine played by Charlize Theron in the previous installment. “Furiosa” reveals how she lost her arm and the crucible of violence that created the fierce, expert driver of the almost unstoppable rolling killing machine called the War Rig.

Like “Fury Road,” the story is set in the dangerous desert, where gangs rule the wasteland, and a fortress called the Citadel is governed by the strange Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme, taking over the role from the late Hugh Keays-Byrne).

As part of the origin story, we meet Furiosa as a child (played by Alyla Browne), where she lives in a kind of garden paradise. But her idyllic world is shattered when a motorcycle gang steals her away. Furiosa falls into the hands of an evil and crazy warlord who calls himself Dementus (a bizarre Chris Hemsworth). Her experiences with Dementus lead her on an adventure that we know ends in the employ of Immortan Joe behind the walls of the Citadel.

The first third of “Furiosa” is thrilling and impressive. While this part of the story takes place within the “Mad Max” universe, it feels like its own contained story. But when the film shifts to the older version of the character (then played by Anya Taylor-Joy), the elements that made “Fury Road” a stone-cold-classic take over but with a more muted effect. Furiosa’s journey is somewhat familiar, as she distinguishes herself on the hard-fought road, helping to fend off marauding gangs that attack the infamous War Rig.

The script fleshes out the rules of the wasteland, revisiting Immortan Joe’s sickening harem of beauties and his attempts to sire “whole” children. And we get the politics of the various strongholds that feed Joe’s compound. The War Rig is instrumental in maintaining the balance of power, and a sequence showing the construction of one of these gas-guzzling marvels will interest franchise fans.

Streaming Selects

NETFLIX

How to Rob a Bank (June 5) Fix Rating 8/10 – Directors Stephen Robert Morse (see “Amanda Knox”) and Seth Porges tell the story of a mysterious 1990s Seattle bank robber dubbed the world’s best. Through creative use of archived footage, high-end Hollywood-style re-enactments, and colorful comic book-like animations, Morse and Porges vividly put us in the moment, creatively chronicling the rise of a notorious and famous Robin Hood-type character. Interviews with the surviving members of the ill-fated criminal operation narrate this “how to” and “hownot to” cautionary tale. At the film’s end, you will be jonesing for a narrative feature film that uses this skillfully produced documentary as the template.

Hit Man (June 7) – Actor Glen Powell (see “Top Gun: Maverick” and recent surprise hit “Anyone But You”) co-writes “Hit Man” with his “Everybody Wants Some!!” director Richard Linklater. The film has Powell playing a college professor named Gary, who moonlights as the title character, a fake assassin for hire working for the police department. However, things take a dangerous and romantic turn when Gary falls for one of his clients (Adria Arjona).

AMAZON PRIME
The Boys (season 4, June 13) – It’s time to become “wrathful gods!” Homelander (Antony Starr) suggests to his fellow supers in the trailer for season 4 of Prime’s violent comic book series. It’s been two years since the end of season 3, with Homelander realizing that the more evil he gets, the more popular he becomes. Can Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and his team stop the fascist forces led by Homelander and the sinister corporation Vought International? I’ll bet watching how things play out will be a bloody good time.

DISNEY PLUS
Star Wars: The Acolyte (series premiere June 4) – Set a hundred years before “The Phantom Menace,” “The Acolyte” takes place during the Star Wars universe’s High Republic era. The story has a Jedi Master investigating some unusual crimes that may be linked to a former Padawan. The diverse cast includes Jodie Turner-Smith (see 2019’s criminally underrated “Queen & Slim”) and Carrie-Anne Moss, who will get to use a bit of the Force that may remind viewers of her moves as Trinity in “The Matrix” franchise.

APPLE TV+
Presumed Innocent (June 12) – Jake Gyllenhaal plays a prosecutor in Chicago who is accused of a shocking murder in this limited series based on the Scott Turow bestseller. The material was adapted for the big screen in 1990 with the late Alan J. Pakula (see “All the President’s Men”) directing and Harrison Ford in the lead. Like most Apple TV+ projects, this eight-episode series is handsomely produced and sports a top-tier cast, including Ruth Negga (see “Preacher”), Bill Camp, and Peter Sarsgaard.

MAX
House of the Dragon (June 16) — The splashy, sexy, and violent prequel series to HBO’s epic “Game of Thrones” franchise delivers its second season with more complex George R.R. Martin storytelling. After a compelling but uneven first season that helped to construct a familiar but new world, this second helping appears to lean heavily on the action by heaping on the battles and fire-breathing dragons. With a new king occupying the famed Iron Throne, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and her vicious brother, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), must find a way to reclaim their rightful place in the kingdom. Of course, that means that many must die.

Theatrical Teasers

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (June 7) — After reviving the “Bad Boys” franchise in 2020 with the surprisingly successful “Bad Boys for Life,” Will Smith and Martin Lawrence slide back into the roles of Miami Police Detective Lieutenants Michael Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. When their late Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is accused of being in league with a drug cartel, Lowey and Burnett work together and outside official channels to clear their mentor’s name. Directors Adil & Bilall return to helm this installment after finding commercial success with the
last one.

Inside Out 2 (June 14) – Pixar tries to capture the old magic that led them to Oscar and commercial gold in 2016 with the original “Inside Out.” In this sequel, Riley Anderson (now voiced by Kensington Tallman, replacing Kaitlyn Dias) is 13 years old and begins to experience new emotions. While much of the voice cast returns, actor Tony Hale replaces Bill Hader as Fear, and Maya Hawke joins the cast playing a new emotion, Anxiety.

Tuesday (June 14) – Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Zora, a mother devoted to caring for her disabled daughter Tuesday (Lola Petticrew). They are forced to confront Death when it arrives in the form of a fantastic talking bird. The trailers for this one tease a moving and inspiring portrait that explores end-of-life decisions while celebrating the short time in this world we all hold near and dear.

The Bikeriders (June 21) – This long-delayed project about a Midwestern motorcycle club known as the Vandals will finally make its way to the big screen after being pushed out last year. The film is written and directed by the talented Jeff Nichols (see 2016’s “Loving” and 2011’s “Take Shelter”). The cast is equally impressive, led by breakout “Elvis” star Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, Boyd Holbrook, Jodie Comer, and “Challengers” heartthrob Mike Faist. Local readers will be keen to see this one because Norman Reedus has a significant role.

A Quiet Place: Day One (June 28) – The third film in the “A Quiet Place” franchise is the first installment not directed by John Krasinski. As the title suggests, this entry is a prequel showing us the arrival of the killer aliens from a different perspective. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o stars.

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 (June 28) – The first of two Horizon films to be released this year, “Chapter 1,” is Kevin Costner’s big budgeted Western gamble. The story is set over a 15-year timespan, both before and after the Civil War. Costner is in the film, along with a large ensemble cast. Part 2 will be released on August 16.

Jonathan W. Hickman is an entertainment attorney, filmmaker, college professor, and novelist. More about Jonathan can be found by visiting: filmproductionlaw.com.

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