Now Playing! June 2024

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It felt like the first day of summer began on the day Challengers was released. If any movie can define a summer, it’s this film. Luca Guadagnino’s latest is profound, complex, and absurdly entertaining. The movie is supercharged by a techno soundtrack (composed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Atticus Ross). The performances are kinetic, featuring the best of actors working right now including Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist. The movie follows two childhood friends, Art Donaldson and Patrick Zweig, two up and coming college tennis players. When they meet superstar tennis player Tashi Donaldson, their lives change forever. The film’s unpredictable plot is energizing and fresh. If you want a surprising and new cinematic experience, check out this film while it’s in theaters or rent on Amazon Prime or Apple TV. Read on for the latest to stream this June.

Next Goal Wins

2023, Dir. Taika Waititi – PG-13 – Comedy/Sports – Hulu  

Taika Waititi’s 2023 sports comedy is endearing and funny. When soccer coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) is on the brink of losing his job, he’s given the option to either get fired or coach for American Samoa, a team that recently suffered the worst loss in soccer history at 31-0 to Australia. He takes the job, and what follows is a surprisingly life-affirming story about community, grief, and redemption. The film is loosely based on a true story, and the people are what make the story. Kaimana delivers a vulnerable and striking performance as Jai, and her story is instrumental to the film’s success. The film may contain some sports movie clichés, but only in the best ways. A great pick for the family to enjoy together!

Road House

2024, Dir. Doug Liman, 2024 – Rated R – Action/Thriller – Amazon Prime

Doug Liman’s remake of the 1980s classic doesn’t quite hit the mark, but it’s not for lack of trying. The film follows Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal), an ex-UFC fighter who moves to the Florida Keys and gets hired as a bouncer at a local roadhouse. Like the original, Dalton’s got a past and a mysterious persona, but Jake Gyllenhaal’s imagining of the character is much darker. Rather than exhibiting an heir of mystique as Patrick Swayze did in the original, Gyllenhaal’s version seems downright traumatized by his past. Gyllenhaal delivers a great performance, but it’s this darkness that is ultimately to the film’s detriment. Sure, the 1989 film was an action movie with jaw dropping scenes of violence and mayhem. It also had heart and a sense of humor. The original also featured uproarious musical performances from the Jeff Healey Band and stellar supporting characters (Sam Elliot in particular). While the live music in the remake brings the story some life, the film is lacking in the humanity that made the original so entertaining.  

Late Night with the Devil

2023, Dir. Cameron and Colin Cairnes – Rated R – Horror – Shudder

Low-budget horror fans, rejoice! There’s a new cult classic and it’s available to stream on Shudder this month. This strange, mind-bending horror film takes place on set of a late night television program in 1977. Host Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian) is known for pushing the envelope on his show, teasing his studio audience with frightening acts of magic and supernatural wizardry. On one fateful night on live television, he takes the act too far. The film captures the bizarre humor and campy hijinks of 1970s late night television. In combining those thrills with truly terrifying moments of horror, the filmmakers make a unique and fresh film that any scary movie fan will enjoy.

Almost Famous

2000, Dir. Cameron Crowe – Rated R – Coming of Age/Music – Paramount+ 

Few movies capture what it’s like to be a fan as well as Almost Famous. From the moment the needle drops on The Who’s Tommy in the opening credits, you feel the film’s love for its source material: rock music. The movie is based upon Cameron Crowe’s actual experience as a teenage music journalist for Rolling Stone. William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a high school student who writes rock reviews for a few local papers in San Diego. After meeting one of his journalist heroes, he gets his big break following the band Stillwater on tour for Rolling Stone. The movie’s nostalgic, sepia-toned look at the seventies music feels like a dream. The film becomes something special when the veneer of stardom (and the tour bus) starts to fade. 

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