11 Movies to Watch in June: ‘Zola,’ ‘Sparks Brothers,’ ‘Luca’ & More

After a year that changed our relationship with movie-going, it would seem that things are trying to inch back into a semblance of “normalcy.” Theaters are reopening, and as people continue to receive their vaccinations, more and more will be looking to enjoy films on the big screen – especially those like the musical “In The Heights” or broad comedies and terrifying horror films which thrive on audiences feeding off of each other’s energy.

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With that said, it would make sense to see fewer streaming options available this month, though there are still plenty, as studios aim at getting viewers back in theater seats. Regardless of how and when you see the films, though, there’s certainly plenty to choose from, which include 2020 festival favorites, ongoing installments of long-running franchises such as “F9” and the latest film from director Edgar Wright

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
What You Need to Know: Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return for the third installment of “The Conjuring.” Directed by Michael Chaves (“The Curse of La Llorona”), the story once again follows real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorrain Warren – played by Farmiga and Wilson – on one of their most sensational cases, which involves saving the soul of a young boy. Despite the first two films in the series having a dedicated fanbase, our critic was left underwhelmed by the third, writing “Michael Chaves’ new horror, however, isn’t nearly as frightening nor as narratively exciting as its ingredients would have you believe. In fact, it’s a flat overcooked dish.”
Release Date: June 4 via Warner Bros. and HBO Max.

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In the Heights
What You Need to Know: For many people, the adaptation of the musical “In the Heights” is going to be their first foray back to the theaters after an extended absence. That both puts the pressure on the film to deliver in its escapism and means that people are more poised to be fully engaged in the music and wonder happening on screen, written by “Hamilton ” scribe Lin Manuel-Miranda. The musical stars Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, and Corey Hawkins and follows a bodega owner dealing with conflicting feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after he inherits his grandmother’s fortune. Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) directs. Our critic called it a “joyous celebration,” writing, “The choreographies that work the most are the ones that center on celebration instead of moving the story, like when the whole community sings about proudly raising your flag, which for Latinxs is more about never losing your identity than it is about excessive patriotism.”
Release Date: June 11 via Warner Bros. and HBO Max.

What You Need to Know: Written and directed by Nicole Riegel in her debut feature film, “Holler,” which made its festival rounds last year, is one of those intimate character dramas worth keeping an eye out for even as the larger films take up conversation space. Starring Jessica Barden, Pamela Adlon, and Becky Ann Baker, the story follows Barden’s Ruth as she accepts a dangerous job working in a scrap metal yard to pay for college and the repercussions that come with it her and her family. Paul Feig executively produced. Our critic wrote, “‘Holler’ succeeds at putting a human face on large-scale economic trends, telling a suspenseful coming of age story that shows the true cost of lost opportunity.”
Release Date: June 11 via IFC Films.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
What You Need to Know: A sequel to the 2017 film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (which, full disclosure, I forgot existed), “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” takes place four years following the events of the first film. Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek star along with Frank Grillo and Richard E. Grant. In this follow-up, Reynolds’s Bryce is forced to team up with Sonio Kincaid (Hayek,) Darius’s (Jackson) con artist wife, as they find themselves in over their heads in a global plot that involves a vengeful and powerful madman played by Antonio Banderas. Directed by Patrick Hughes and written by Tom O’Conner, while it’s doubtful to be the greatest film of the summer, hopefully, at least it will be harmless fun. 
Release Date: June 16 via Lionsgate.

What You Need to Know: After a string of subpar sequels, it would seem that Pixar is finally committed to making some original content. From the okay “Onward” to the visually stunning “Soul” now comes their latest, “Luca,” which sets itself on coastal Italy, the studio seems determined to go forth with new ideas – even if some resemble stories that have come before. The summer set “Luca,” directed by Enrico Casarosa and starring Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Maya Rudolph, is a coming-of-age story with a twist. While the film won’t be shown in theaters, the animation looks gorgeous, with the studio continuing to outdo themselves in how they bring the scenery of their films to life. 
Release Date: June 18 on Disney+.