I’ve never wanted a school year to end so badly.
As a longtime single mom, that’s not something I ever thought I’d say: to pine for summer vacation, that time of inconsistent childcare and expensive camps that fill up in January, those days of working in too-warm offices while kids get to sleep late, watch TV and hint about journeying to a pool. But that was before this school year, where the shadow of mass school shootings has loomed large. My child couldn’t come home from school fast enough.
But now what? Kids are around all the time or about to be. The long, hot days have to be filled by something. The family can stay up later, even on weeknights. After the pandemic’s lull, moviegoers are starting to return to theaters once more, but the summer blockbuster season has not yet officially started (looking forward to you, “Jurassic World: Dominion“).
Fortunately, there’s a slew of new movies in the coming weeks, both streaming premieres and big ticket movies from theaters that are making their way to your living room at last.
Make some popcorn, turn down the lights and stay up late. You’ve got things to watch.
Friday, June 3
1 “The Northman” (Peacock)
A reimagining of the Viking story that inspired “Hamlet,” this film features a prince (Alexander Skarsgård) whose uncle violently murders his father, then kidnaps his mother. The prince grows up to become a Viking raider, then a seeress reminds him of his pledge of vengeance. A friend of mine theorizes that this could be the origin story of Eric, Skarsgård’s character in “True Blood“; Eric’s last name is Northman, after all. Regardless, it’s bloody, fierce and finally available to stream. Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Björk and Willem Dafoe also star.
2 “Hollywood Stargirl” (Disney+)
A teen romance confection, “Hollywood Stargirl” is the sequel to the story of “Stargirl,” who moves yet again with her mother, but this time ends up in a sunny place of music, friendship and love, where her dreams may yet come true. Based on the bestselling YA novel of the same name, this is a kind-hearted flick to watch with your kids.
3 “Fire Island” (Hulu)
Kick off your Pride with “Fire Island,” which takes Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” to . . . Fire Island Pines, naturally. This big-hearted and bare-chested romantic comedy centers two best friends determined to have a summer vacation for the record books on the legendary queer haven hamlet in New York. Joel Kim Booster stars in the story he wrote and executive-produced, alongside “SNL” alum Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho and Conrad Ricamora. Andrew Ahn of “Spa Night” directs.
4 “Interceptor” (Netflix)
Assigned to a remote missile interceptor station where nothing ever happens, you can imagine that something finally happens to one Army captain. Russian terrorists attack the Pacific station, and unlucky for them, the steely Captain Collins (Elsa Pataky) is there. Everything nuclear is new again.
Monday, June 6
5 “A Sexplanation” (VOD)
A documentary about sex education, “A Sexplanation” is funny, smart and needed. The goal of filmmaker and health reporter Alex Liu was “to talk honestly and even vulnerably, about sex.” As Salon wrote, the documentary “is certainly a conversation starter,” and rousing call for better and more comprehensive sex education for all.
Tuesday, June 7
6 “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (VOD)
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” has the singular distinction of being the only movie loved by everyone I know who has seen it — not a single grumpy critic in the bunch. Michelle Yeoh stars as the woman who is fated to save the multiverse, even if she’s failing at running her laundromat with her husband (played by “Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” star Ke Huy Quan) and estranged daughter (Stephanie Hsu). Find out what everybody is talking about when the multiverse film is available to rent.
Wednesday, June 8
7 “Hustle” (Netflix)
Adam Sadler plays a bedraggled, down on his luck basketball scout who, while abroad, finds a dynamite player with a difficult story and works to bring the player back to the U.S. and to the NBA.
8 “The Janes” (HBO/Max)
“The Janes” is a documentary about an underground network of women who risked their freedom, futures and lives to work tirelessly to connect people with abortions in the years before Roe V. Wade. An urgent film about the past, this documentary could also be our frightening future, thanks to revelations from the Supreme Court about ending safe and legal abortion.
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Friday, June 10
9 “Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness” (Netflix)
This animated, kid-friendly film is an adventure comedy starring an adopted half chicken, half hare who goes on an Indiana Jones-like quest with his friends to find the Hamster of Darkness, and learns self-acceptance along the way. Let summer begin!
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