12 of the best films to watch in June

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Alice Vikander in Firebrand (Credit: Alamy)
(Credit: Searchlight Pictures)

(Credit: Searchlight Pictures)

1. Kinds of Kindness

It’s only been a few months since Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things was released, but the Greek director has already finished another film – or, in a way, three other films. Kinds of Kindness is a triptych of blackly comic short stories, each of them set in an uncanny version of the present-day US, and each of them featuring the same actors in different roles: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, and Mamoudou Athie. Co-written by Efthimis Filippou, who scripted Lanthimos’s early films, it’s a return to his starkly creepy, but often hilarious roots. “It’s a quizzical concoction bound to baffle and delight in equal measure, structured so it feels like binge-watching three episodes of a nihilist Twilight Zone knock-off,” says Peter DeBruge in Variety. “This long, scaldingly original film enthralls even as it frustrates, defying conventional logic while presenting an absurdist riff on modern society.”

Released on 21 June in the US and Canada, and 28 June in the UK, Ireland and Sweden

(Credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

(Credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

2. I Am: Céline Dion

Anyone who remembers the release of Titanic in 1997 will remember its theme song, My Heart Will Go On by Céline Dion. The power ballad was an Oscar and Grammy winner that became the biggest-selling single of 1998 – and it was just one of Dion’s hits. More recently, though, she has been living with a rare neurological disorder, Stiff-Person Syndrome, which causes muscle stiffness and spasms, and has prevented her from performing. Irene Taylor’s documentary shows how she has coped. “This last couple of years has been such a challenge for me, the journey from discovering my condition to learning how to live with and manage it, but not to let it define me,” Dion said in a statement. “As the road to resuming my performing career continues… I decided I wanted to document this part of my life to help others who share this diagnosis.”

Released on 15 June on Amazon Prime

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

3. Inside Out 2

In 2015, Inside Out introduced us to a young girl, Riley, who was upset about moving house, and then it showed us all the emotions that were bickering away inside her mind: Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. Pixar’s hit cartoon ended with Riley becoming a teenager, so it was inevitable that teenage angst would be the sequel’s main theme. Sure enough, Inside Out 2 sees the gang being joined by a host of new emotions: Embarrassment, Ennui, Envy and, most importantly, Anxiety (voiced by Maya Hawke). The film’s director, Kelsey Mann, told Jackson Murphy at Animation Scoop that the new story is about how we deal with that feeling. “It’s about staying in the present and worrying less about the future –  just worrying about, ‘Okay. What’s happening right now?’ That’s in part learning to manage anxiety, which is what we tried to put in this movie.”

On general release from 14 June

(Credit: Alamy)

(Credit: Alamy)

4. The Exorcism

The Exorcism is a horror movie with two big postmodern twists. It’s the story of an actor named Anthony Miller, played by Russell Crowe, who loses his mind while shooting a film which is just like The Exorcist, thus raising the question of whether he is being possessed by a demon himself, or whether the pressures of the shoot are pushing him back into his old addictions. The first postmodern twist is that Crowe starred in The Pope’s Exorcist last year, so he is an actor who was in an exorcism film, playing an actor who is in an exorcism film. The second twist is that The Exorcism is directed and co-written by Joshua John Miller, whose own father, Jason Miller, played Father Damien in The Exorcist back in 1973. “If that wasn’t haunting enough on its own,” the director said in a statement, “my dad never shied away from telling me stories of just how ‘cursed’ the movie was: the mysterious fires that plagued the production, the strange deaths, the lifelong injuries – the list went on and on. The lore of any ‘cursed film’ has captivated me ever since.”

Released on 21 June in the US and the UK

(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

5. Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Kevin Costner has already directed two Westerns, Open Range and the Oscar-winning Dances with Wolves. Now that number has gone up to three… or maybe four. And it could soon be five or six. As the title suggests, Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 is just the first instalment of Costner’s new Western, which he also co-wrote, produced and self-financed. Chapter 2 will be released in August, and he plans to make two more. A sprawling account of frontier life in the mid-19th Century, the film features Costner as a roving gunslinger alongside Sienna Miller as a widowed mother, Sam Worthington as a dashing army captain, and many more. I confess I wasn’t a fan: in fact, I gave it a one-star review for the BBC. But Rory O’Connor at The Film Stage calls Horizon “a classic Western told through the unhurried framework of a limited series and a vision as wide as the open sky”.

On general release from 28 June

(Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

(Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

6. Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Will Smith hasn’t been in cinemas much since he slapped Chris Rock just before he won the Oscar for best actor in 2022. But he returns to the multiplex in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the fourth instalment in the Miami cop franchise. Incredibly, 29 years have passed since Smith and Martin Lawrence starred in the first Bad Boys (Lawrence got top billing), but Smith claims that the Bad Middle-Aged Men’s latest caper has a deeper purpose than just keeping the brand going – or rehabilitating his image. “It has to feel like it earned its right to be a movie today,” Smith told Empire magazine. “I always hate when you see sequels that are victory laps. In Ride or Die we’re taking some really aggressive creative shots… We wanted to push the envelope of how much life experience and age specificity you can put into these movies… There’s a spiritual aspect to it.”

On general release from 5 June

(Credit: Bleecker Street)

(Credit: Bleecker Street)

7. Treasure

The first film to address the Holocaust since The Zone of Interest, Julia von Heinz’s road-trip drama takes quite a different approach. Treasure “uses whimsy and anecdote instead of shock tactics”, says Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent, “[but] it still provides probing insight into everything from casual antisemitism to the plague of historical forgetfulness”. Adapted from Lily Brett’s 1999 autobiographical novel, Too Many Men, the film features Lena Dunham as a music journalist from New York who tours Poland in 1990 with her father, an Auschwitz survivor played by Stephen Fry. But this jovial old man would rather crack jokes than talk about his past. “Treasure is likely to be far more accessible to a general audience than more forbidding Holocaust movies,” says Macnab. “It skirts close to mawkishness at times… but is still likeable and engaging, generally dealing with very dark subject matter in a sure-footed way.”

Released on 14 June in the US

(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

8. The Watchers

Dakota Fanning stars in this twisty supernatural mystery thriller as an artist who gets lost in a forest in Ireland. When a monster chases her, she finds refuge in a bunker with three other people, only to learn that none of them can leave, and that they must stand by a glass screen every night to be inspected by the unseen alien “watchers”. Adapted from the novel by AM Shine, The Watchers sounds a lot like an M Night Shyamalan film – and it just so happens that it was written and directed by Shyamalan’s daughter, Ishana Night Shyamalan. “The training from him has existed my whole life,” Shyamalan Jr told Christina Radish in Collider. “I’ve had this time of quiet observation for the first 22 years of my life, to watch and see how [he] did it and to watch [his] emotions throughout the process. I reference that knowledge as much as I can, as I’m going about it.”

On general release from 7 June

(Credit: 20th Century Pictures)

(Credit: 20th Century Pictures)

9. The Bikeriders

The Bikeriders benefits from one of this year’s coolest casts, including Tom Hardy, Austin Butler (Elvis), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and Mike Faist (Challengers). Hardy plays Johnny, the founder of the Vandals MC, a motorcycle club in 1960s Chicago. This denim-and-leather-clad posse is soon spending as much time getting into fights as it is revving up Harley Davidsons, and when the Vandals freewheel into organised crime, the wife (Comer) of one member (Butler) hopes that he’ll find a new hobby before it’s too late. Jeff Nichols’ film is “an absorbing drama with echoes of great mob pictures such as Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas,” says Brian Viner at the Daily Mail. “As in those mob narratives [the characters] are rogues and rascals, yet we find ourselves rooting for them, especially in the case of Kathy’s ineffably cool, incomparably laid-back, infuriatingly laconic husband Benny (Butler), to whom Johnny… wishes to pass his crown.”

Released on 21 June in the US, the UK, Canada and Ireland

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

10. A Quiet Place: Day One

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place was about a family hiding in a farmhouse from ravenous aliens. In the sequel, the family ventures out into the countryside. But in this prequel, written and directed by Michael Sarnoski (who made Pig with Nicolas Cage), we get to see the chaos caused by the monsters when they first fall from space and land in New York City. Lupita Nyong’o stars alongside Djimon Hounsou, reprising his character from A Quiet Place: Part Two. “It came back to something I loved about the first two films,” Sarnoski told Nick Romano in Entertainment Weekly. “Yes, these are monster films, they’re horror-thriller movies that have these exciting, scary moments, but at their core, they’re stories about people dealing with something that they don’t know how to deal with. I wanted to focus on that but in its own unique way.”

On general release from 27 June

(Credit: Alamy)

(Credit: Alamy)

11. Firebrand

There has already been a king’s banquet of films about Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, but we rarely see much of his sixth and final bride, Catherine Parr. Firebrand bucks that trend. Adapted from Elizabeth Fremantle’s 2013 novel Queen’s Gambit, this stylish costume drama features Alicia Vikander as Catherine and Jude Law as a heartily repulsive Henry. As various courtiers plot against her, and the ageing king’s mental and physical health drain away, how can she ensure that she survives longer than he does? Firebrand is “a taut historical thriller, bathed in muted, Rembrant-esque lighting and filled with viperish conspiracies and courtly colour,” writes Phil de Semlyen in Time Out. “[It] always catches fire when the supercharged Law is on screen.”

Released on 14 June in the US

(Credit: Alamy)

(Credit: Alamy)

12. Banel & Adama

Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s magical and mysterious debut film is named after a pair of star-crossed lovers. Adama (Mamadou Diallo) is a teenage boy who is supposed to become the chief of his remote Senegalese village after the death of his father and brother. Banel (Khady Mane) is a teenage girl who is supposed to have Adama’s children. But Banel and Adama would rather defy tradition and live on their own in the desert outside the village. The trouble is that when the area is hit by a searing drought, the villagers see it as divine punishment for the lovers’ behaviour. “Banel & Adama is a striking debut that puts Sy on the map as a purveyor of deceptively gorgeous visions,” writes Sophie Monks Kaufman at IndieWire. “The combination of ethereal voiceover with nature at its most breathtaking evokes our cinema’s philosophical high priest, Terrence Malick.”

Released in the US on 7 June

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