Science fiction dystopias, another Liam Neeson actioner, and sinister and tender takes on parenthood are all on the docket this month. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered if we’re all living in a giant simulation, Hulu has the documentary for you.
Starts June 9
When I was in college, and I suspect this is still true, there was a certain renegade romance about the all-nighter: Eschewing sleep to cram for a final, to watch a movie marathon, to experiment with, um, substances. That’s not what “Awake” is about. In this science fiction dystopia, the entire world has lost its ability, thanks to a mysterious flip of a cosmic switch, to sleep—not for one night but permanently. Things pretty much turn into the Purge within 72 hours, as disorientation and hallucination take hold. The hope of humanity, it seems, rests within a single girl who rediscovers the ability to sleep. Gina Rodriguez and Barry Pepper star; Jennifer Jason Leigh and Frances Fisher costar.
Starts June 18
My heart chakra must be too open today, because I must admit, I got a little misty-eyed just watching the trailer. For a Kevin Hart movie. Seriously. In a change of pace for an actor more known for disposable action-comedies than grown-up fare, Hart plays a newly widowed father struggling with the challenges of raising his daughter alone. I couldn’t gather many more story elements from the trailer, but as someone who values character studies more than plotty films, that’s perfectly fine with me. Lil Rel Howery, Alfre Woodard and Paul Reiser are among the excellent supporting cast.
Starts June 25
The Ice Road
Liam Neeson, an actor who is never, ever allowed to relax, plays an ice road trucker joining Laurence Fishburne on a deadly mission to save trapped miners. The trek will take them and their colleagues across 300 miles of ice, a frozen underworld awaiting them with every pinprick-sized crack on the fragile surface. Boomers to the rescue!
A Glitch in the Matrix
Are we living in a simulated reality, a la the influential sci-fi benchmark “The Matrix?” Though impossible for most of us to conceive, the idea has intellectual backing outside of bong-laden dorm rooms, as this speculative documentary by the ever-curious Rodney Ascher (the filmmaker behind “The Nightmare,” about the paranormal happenings around sleep paralysis) explores. Philip K. Dick, who is included in archive footage, seriously considered the idea, as have decades of philosophers and futurists who see evidence in such concepts as synchronicity and the Mandela Effect. Ascher gives the theories hefty consideration, packaging his talking-head experts in a whimsical, tech-forward presentation.
Starts June 25
“This pregnancy shit is scary,” says a friend to the protagonist, Lucy, played by Ilana Glazer in this imaginative horror-comedy directed by John Lee, and co-written by Glazer. Lucy thinks she’s found the perfect fertility physician in Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan), a charming and illustrious OB/GYN. The health of the child she is carrying appears flawless, and Lucy is set to begin a perfect picket-fence parenthood with husband Adrian (Justin Theroux). Alas, nothing is at seems; Dr. Hindle is hiding a sinister secret, and Lucy may just end up birthing Rosemary’s baby.
ON HBO MAX
Starts June 11
In the Heights
Before he penned the paradigm-shattering sensation “Hamilton,” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda established his genre-melding bona fides on “In the Heights,” a kaleidoscopic, dramatic and joyous celebration of life in New York City’s largely Dominican Washington Heights community. Charting the hopes and dreams of a bodega owner and his neighbors over three monumental days, “In the Heights” melds Broadway polish with rap, hip-hop and Latin idioms, paving the way for the multicultural inclusiveness of “Hamilton.” I expected it would become a movie after I saw a theatrical production of “In the Heights” at Actors’ Playhouse in 2013, and director John Chu’s version, originally slated for a theatrical release last summer, appears to live up to the hype, currently boasting a 99-percent Fresh ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. It is free for HBO Max subscribers, but you might want to catch this one in the theater.