Mark your calendars: Here are the home-viewing movies we’re most looking forward to this month on the three major streaming platforms.
Available June 3
Spelling the Dream
If you’ve been seeking another inspiring spelling-bee documentary to fill out a double feature with 2002’s “Spellbound,” the wait is over. Following much the same formula but with a more-specific focus, director Sam Rega’s “Spelling the Dream” follows four Indian-American competitors vying to win the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee. It features impressive words from these young sesquipedalians (look it up!), and insights from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Fareed Zakaria and, of course, the endearing young spellers themselves.
Available June 12
Da 5 Bloods
Arguably Netflix’s highest-profile original release of 2020, “Da 5 Bloods” is Spike Lee’s epic follow-up to his Oscar-winning “BlackkKlansman,” and his 29th feature overall. The premise is both ruggedly authentic and fanciful: Four African-American Vietnam veterans return to that country to search for, of all things, buried treasure, as promised by their fallen squad leader decades earlier. Weaving together flashbacks and a contemporary story, and a history of racism with a commentary on the immorality of the Vietnam War, Lee’s two-and-half-hour tapestry features a stunning multi-ethnic cast, including Delroy Lindo, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Jean Reno and Giancarlo Esposito.
Available June 24
Details about this documentary are sensitive and hush-hush, for obvious reasons: It’s about USA Gymnastics doctor and sexual predator Larry Nasser, who assaulted at least 250 young women in his position of power. Star gymnast Maggie Nichols, later identified as “Athlete A” in legal proceedings against Nasser, is interviewed in this film, along with reporters from the Indianapolis Star who broke the story. Netflix, which has not released a trailer for this one, classifies it as a “sports movie,” but of course it’s much more than that.
Available June 5
Biography and fantasy merge uneasily in this fact-bending, reality-disrupting psychological drama. Elisabeth Moss, ever drawn to challenging and provocative projects, stars as the real-life horror scribe Shirley Jackson, who penned such gothic masterpieces as The Haunting of Hill House. She was a tortured and, at times, reclusive soul as well as a skilled author, both aspects channeled through Moss’ chaotic performance, as the writer and her husband (Michael Stuhlberg) welcome newlywed houseguests (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young) to their home, and let new and old psychodramas fester.
Available June 25
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band
There aren’t enough superlatives to encompass the influence and impact of the New York by way of Canada quintet the Band, which all but birthed the roots-rock genre of Americana, backed Bob Dylan on the folksinger’s controversial transition to rock ‘n’ roller, and released 11 albums of their own, at least half of them seminal touchstones. This documentary, fresh off its cut-short theatrical run, synthesizes their greatness, their debilitating habits and their endurance, despite the premature deaths of three of the five musicians. Martin Scorsese, who directed the Band’s concert film “The Last Waltz,” financed this doc, and is interviewed in it as well.
ON AMAZON PRIME
Available June 18
Arriving just in time for hurricane season, and calibrated to exploit Floridians’ deepest meteorological fears, “Crawl” is the latest catastrophe feature from director Alexandre Aja, a master of one oxymoronic genre—the expensive B-movie (he also directed the “Hills Have Eyes” remake and “Piranha 3D”). When a Category 5 hurricane unleashes its wrath on a small Florida town, our protagonist, played by Kaya Scodelario, ignores an evacuation order so she can search for her missing father. Trapped in the crawlspace of their family home, they encounter horrors worse than Cat 5 destruction, in the form of very hungry alligators.
Available June 19
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an American co-pilot in this mostly English-language debut feature from German writer-director Patrick Vollrath. Real-time movies set on airplanes rarely end well for everyone involved, and this claustrophobic thriller is no exception: Knife-wielding terrorists have made it into Gordon-Levitt’s flight, as an ordinary itinerary from Berlin to Paris becomes a breathless exercise in tension. Vollrath distinguishes his thriller by setting it entirely in the cockpit, filtering the terrifying goings-on solely through the lead actor’s panicked lens.
For more of Boca magazine’s arts and entertainment coverage, click here.