Okay, we’re very, very pumped about the upcoming Barbie movie, but there are other amazing film choices this summer. From festivals to first run, superheroes and super-cool rep house series, check out our summer movie preview.
What: Film Festival Where: Various locations When: June 1–4 Genre: Various Why you should watch: The first weekend of June, catch the fourth edition of the Toronto Arab Film Festival, screening nearly 30 films, including the French-language animated film, Dounia and the Princess of Aleppo and The Desert Rocker, a documentary about the pioneering musician, Hasna El Becharia.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: June 2 Genre: Family Why you should watch: Five years after the surprising critical hit, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — which felt like a breath of fresh air for those who were feeling some superhero fatigue — we get the highly anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. As the nearly indistinguishable title suggests, this follow-up will see Miles Morales hopping throughout the multiverse to save, well, the Multiverse from destructive supervillain The Spot.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: June 16 Genre: Superhero
Why you should watch: DC’s The Flash comes at the tail end of an unsteady era for Batman, Superman and the rest of the Justice League, which never quite found its footing. The fact that The Flash is reaching theatres is itself a surprise since DC films have been plagued by cancellations and personnel shakeups. Plus, the lm’s star, Ezra Miller, has been making headlines for their erratic (to say the least) behaviour. Will curiosity bring the crowds? Are there enough die-hard Flash fans to save the franchise?
What: Film festival Where: Various locations When: Now–June 4 Genre: Various Why you should watch: Catch the last weekend of the Inside Out Film Festival, showcasing queer films from around the world. The festival has already screened buzzy titles like Passages and I Used to Be Funny, but you still have the chance to see Georgia Oakley’s debut feature, Blue Jean, about a teacher living in a repressive, Thatcher-era England. Don’t miss the closing gala film, Glitter and Doom, an Indigo Girls jukebox musical about a musician and a runaway who fall in love. And if you still want more from the seminal folk-rock duo, check out Alexandria Bombach’s documentary about the Indigo Girls, It’s Only Life After All.
What: Movies Where: Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave. When: June 3 & 4 Genre: Horror Why you should watch: In honour of the full moon, the Revue Cinema has planned a slate of werewolf movies, from rarities like Wolf Guy, a Japanese ’70s exploitation film, to classics like Joe Dante’s The Howling and the mid-aughts’ Wes Craven film Cursed. It’s presented by Drunken Cinema, so expect games and audience participation.
What: Limited series Where: HBO Max, episodes released weekly When: June 4 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Controversy abounds with Sam Levinson’s new HBO Max (now simply: Max) series The Idol. Spearheaded by Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and co-starring nepo-baby-denier Lily Rose Depp, the limited series has been plagued by a director switch that required the show to be almost entirely re-shot, rumours of a dysfunctional set and some pearl-clutching over the series’s supposed sexual content. We will have to see if The Idol will be well-received by audiences, but it will certainly be talked about.
What: Movie Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W. When: June 8 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: A24’s understated new drama, Past Lives, begins a run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Directed by Korean-Canadian playwright Celine Song, the film is about two childhood friends reuniting after years apart; one is married and has a life in New York but has always wondered if they were destined to be together.
What: Miniseries Where: Peacock, 8 episodes When: June 8 Genre: Comedy thriller Why you should watch:Based on a True Story, Peacock’s new streaming series, starring Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina, is about a stereotypical true crime fan who stumbles on a real serial killer and decides to exploit her proximity for financial gain. The series turns the true crime genre on its head (well, maybe turns it a few degrees past the similar 2021 series, Only Murders in the Building).
What: Miniseries Where: Apple+, 10 episodes When: June 9 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: A Fincher-esque procedural set in New York City in 1979 about a man accused of a murder he may not have committed. Partly inspired by a real criminal case (if you don’t want the ending spoiled, don’t look up the source material), the series stars Tom Holland as Danny Sullivan and Amanda Seyfried as the investigator charged with unravelling the story.
What: Movie Where: Disney+ When: June 9 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: The new Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie is not, as I pictured, a children’s movie in the vein of The Emoji Movie in which talking Frito-Lay snacks go on adventures. Instead, it’s another entry into the current trend of films about products (from Air to Blackberry to Barbie). Eva Longoria’s debut film is about the janitor at Frito-Lays who invented the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto.
What: Film festival Where: Various locations When: June 11 & 12 Genre: Various Why you should watch: The Toronto Jewish Film Festival returns with a slate of documentaries, comedies and dramas. Some highlights include: The Accusation by Yvan Attal, a tense French courtroom drama about a young man who is accused of sexual assault; the TIFF 2022 film Valeria Is Getting Married, which follows a Ukrainian woman who has travelled to Israel as a “mail order bride”; Other People’s Children, a dramedy about a woman who finds family in an unexpected way; and 1341 Frames of Love and War, a documentary of the acclaimed photojournalist Micah Bar-Am.
What: Movie series Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox When: June 11 Genre: Various Why you should watch: TIFF Cinematheque’s spring series Pop Japan: World of Anime, includes classics of the genre like Paprika, Perfect Blue and My Neighbour Totoro. Don’t miss the trippy Mind Game (2004) on June 11, accompanied by a virtual Q&A with director Masaaki Yuasa.
What: Movie series Where: Fox Theatre When: June 13 Genre: Various Why you should watch: Another in the ongoing screening series brought to you by The Important Cinema Club Podcast. Hosted by the East End’s Fox Theatre, the series highlights “Masterpiece Classics” (a term used liberally, but not insincerely). On June 13, catch the chaotic 1941 comedy, Hellzapoppin’, which claims that “Any resemblance between “Hellzapoppin’ and a motion picture is purely coincidental.”
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: June 16 Genre: Family Why you should watch: The lustre has perhaps come off the once unassailable Pixar studios. Excitement for its outings seems to have dimmed from Onward through to Soul. Can the new entry, Elemental, in which the elements are living creatures coexisting in a city — a plot that feels a little too reminiscent of Inside Out (2015) — reignite the spark?
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: June 16 Genre: Horror Why you should watch: If you’re looking for something completely different, check out Blackening, a self-aware horror-comedy from director Tim Story about a group of friends who travel to a cabin in the woods for a Juneteenth celebration and discover a deadly board game called The Blackening.
What: Film festival Where: The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Crt. When: June 17 & 18 Genre: Various Why you should watch: The Toronto Japanese Film Festival celebrates its 12th year at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in North York. Highlights of the festival include: Three Sisters of Tenmasou Inn, a thoughtful drama by action director Ryûhei Kitamura, about three siblings that run an inn in between worlds where visitors must decide to return to their previous lives or move on and be reborn; Roleless, a quiet, existential drama, by Masahiko Sato, Yutaro Seki, Kentaro Hirase, about an ordinary man who encounters a parallel version of his own life; the anime film Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Ramaa, a Japanese-Indian co-production based on the epic Sanskrit tale; and the drama Small, Slow, but Steady from director Sho Miyake, about a young woman with a hearing impairment who trains to be a professional boxer.
What: Movie series Where: Paradise Theatre, 1006c Bloor St. W. When: June 12–23 Genre: Various Why you should watch: Paradise Theatre hosts a series of disco-inspired films, including The Last Days of Disco, The Wiz and Disco Godfather. Don’t miss the stylish and gripping Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), starring Faye Dunaway as a fashion photographer who witnesses a series of murders through the eyes of the killer. It features a young Tommy Lee Jones, impeccable fashion and great scenes of ’70s New York City.
What: Movie series When: June 22–26 Where: Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd. Genre: Various Why you should watch: Toronto’s summer-long series of outdoor screenings, Toronto Outdoor Picture Show, is back with a sci-fi slate titled “Another World.” Only the first weekend of films at Fort York has been announced. Catch screenings of Jurassic Park (1993), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and the opening night film, Night Raiders by Canadian director, Dani Goulet.
What: Season 2 When: June 22 Where: HBO Max, 11 episodes, released weekly Genre: Comedy/Drama Why you should watch: The second season of And Just Like That, is the hotly anticipated (or dreaded) follow-up to the over-the-top, tonally uneven but surprisingly addictive Sex and the City reboot. After a dramatic first season that saw Carrie Bradshaw grappling with a great loss, the second season promises to be much lighter fare.
What: Movies Where: Various locations When: June 22–Aug. 27 Genre: Various Why you should watch: In Corktown Commons (155 Bayview Ave.), catch legendary documentary Paris Is Burning (July 6); the era-defining hit The Matrix (July 20); and blockbuster Black Panther (Aug. 10). Christie Pits Park will be screening a number of Canadian films this summer, including 2022’s Viking (July 16), this year’s Riceboy Sleep (Aug. 13) and family classics like Fantastic Mr. Fox (July 9) and The Wizard of Oz (Aug. 20). If you’re in the Humber area, check out a weekend of family-friendly screenings at Bell Manor Park, including E.T. (Aug. 17), Jumanji (Aug. 18) and Coco (Aug. 19). And don’t miss the surprise film on closing night, Aug. 27, in Christie Pits.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: June 23 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: If you’re a fan of precise framing, colour-blocking and deadpan performances, check out Wes Anderson’s latest film, Asteroid City. Set in the American desert in 1955, the film stars Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks and seemingly every other working actor in Hollywood. The film was well-received at Cannes and seems to be a return to form for the auteur after a slight slump with 2021’s The French Dispatch.
What: Movies Where: In theatres When: June 23 Genre: Comedy Why you should watch: This Jennifer Lawrence vehicle is the first strictly comedic film role for the notoriously picky Oscar winner. Written for her by Gene Stupnitsky (screenwriter of The Good Boys and Year One) in his directorial debut, Lawrence plays a hard-up young woman who answers an ad placed by concerned parents to help get their teenage son out of his shell. Will Lawrence’s foray into broad sex comedies be as well-received as her dramatic work?
What: Series Where: Prime Video, 11 episodes, released weekly When: June 23 Genre: Comedy Why you should watch: Boots Riley follows up his 2018 surreal indie film, Sorry to Bother You with I’m a Virgo, an absurdist streaming series that follows a 13-foot young man as he leaves home, revealing himself to the world for the first time.
What: Miniseries Where: Apple+, episodes released weekly When: June 28 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Idris Elba stars in this seven-part series that follows the events on a hijacked plane hour by hour as Elba’s character tries to negotiate with the hijackers and the passengers prepare to fight back. It looks like there is some political intrigue and character development — hopefully enough to maintain momentum throughout the series.
What: Movie Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox When: June 29 Genre: Fantasy/Drama Why you should watch: For adventurous filmgoers, longstanding Toronto-based screening series (and now production company) MDFF will screen COMA, the new film from French director Bertrand Bonello (House of Tolerance, Nocturama). Shot during the COVID lockdown and dedicated to his teenage daughter, the film feels unlike any other from pandemic era while perfectly capturing the absurdity, unreality and horror of the time.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: June 30 Genre: Adventure Why you should watch: The first film foray for the adventure film franchise since 2008’s disappointing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (and the first Indiana Jones film to not be directed by Steven Spielberg). We will see if the recognizable name and some star power (from the returning Harrison Ford, reliable baddie Mads Mikkelsen and a somewhat inscrutable career move from Phoebe Waller-Bridge) can clear out some of the cobwebs on the franchise.
Ryan Gosling as Ken in BARBIE. Photo courtesy of Jaap Buitendijk
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: July 21 Genre: Comedy Why you should watch: Perhaps the most anticipated film of the year is Greta Gerwig’s candy-coloured Barbie. The plot follows the famous doll as she starts to suspect there is something wrong with her perfect world. Inspired by the musicals of Jacques Demy and boasting one of the most elaborate promotional rollouts in recent memory, this tongue-in-cheek feminist fantasy is the film to see this summer.
Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: July 21
Why you should watch: If you’re into large-scale, dead-serious historical dramas, don’t miss Christopher Nolan’s new film about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man credited with creating the nuclear bomb. The film is based on American Prometheus, the sprawling biography of Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Don’t skip seeing this in theatres.
What: Movie Where: Revue Theatre, 400 Roncesvalles Ave. When: July 6 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: If you’re in the mood for a summer movie, the Revue Theatre screens the 2002 teen surfer film Blue Crush. This unassuming early-aughts title has become a favourite for millennials who may be nostalgic for days spent watching The O.C. in their parents’ living room.
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: July 12 Genre: Action Why you should watch: After saving the movies last summer with his mega-hit Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise returns to the big screen with the new Mission: Impossible film, Dead Reckoning Part One. After multiple COVID-related production delays, and one embarrassing leaked audio clip, Dead Reckoning is hotly anticipated and could breathe life into the cinematic experience for at least another year.
What: Series Where: Prime Video, 8 episodes When: July 7 Genre: Drama Why you should watch:The Horror of Dolores Roach, is a limited series adapted from the podcast of the same name about the ravages of gentri cation. The story follows Dolores, who has just gotten out of prison and returned to her now-unrecognizable New York City neighbourhood with no money and nowhere to go and is faced with a sinister force lurking just below the streets.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: July 7 Genre: Horror Why you should watch: If you’re looking for horror content that isn’t an allegory for society’s ills, head to the theatres for the fifth entry into Blumhouse’s Insidious series. Insidious: The Red Door picks up 10 years after the second film left off, with Josh Dalton (Patrick Wilson) driving his son to college where he’ll inevitably be revisited by some demons from the mysterious realm, the Further.
What: Series Where: Disney+ When: July 21 Genre: Animated comedy Why you should watch: If you’re into animation for adults, catch the premiere of Praise Petey, a new animated series from Saturday Night Live alum and Girls5eva creator Anna Drezen. The show follows a New York City socialite who winds up the leader of a cult, featuring the voices of Annie Murphy, John Cho, and Christine Baranski.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: July 28 Genre: Horror Why you should watch: A24 makes another horror outing with the Australian chiller Talk to Me, about a young woman who tries to contact her deceased mother through a thoroughly freaky party game.
What: Movie Where: The Paradise Theatre, 1006c Bloor St. W. When: July 28 Genre: Crime/Drama Why you should watch: The Paradise Theatre screens William Friedkin’s controversial Cruising (1980), an intense and campy murder mystery set in a funhouse-mirror version of New York’s 1970s gay S&M scene.
What: Movie Where: Apple+ When: July 28 Genre: Comedy/Drama Why you should watch: Directed by Damian Kulash and Kristin Gore (yes, the daughter of former vice-president Al Gore), The Beanie Bubble explores the strange moment in history when Beanie Babies were worth their weight in gold. Starring Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook and Zack Galifianakis as the inventor of the stuffed animals.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: Aug. 2 Genre: Family Why you should watch: The first weekend of August will reveal if there’s some juice left in the Ninja Turtles franchise with the latest entry, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. The animated film follows the teenage turtles as they try to integrate into normal society. With voice work from Seth Rogen, Ayo Edebiri and Jackie Chan.
What: Season 3 Where: Disney+ When: Aug. 8 Genre: Mystery Why you should watch: If you’re trying to beat the heat at home, tune in for the return of the cosy series Only Murders in the Building as it returns for its third season.
What: Series Where: Netflix, 6 episodes When: Aug. 10 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: If you’re still thinking about last year’s All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, a gutting documentary about Nan Goldin and her battle against the pharmaceutical dynasty the Sackler family, you may want to catch Netflix’s new series Painkillers. It stars Matthew Broderick as Richard Sackler and Taylor Kitsch and Uzo Aduba as two victims of the opioid epidemic who are trying to take the company down.
What: Movie Where: Netflix When: Aug. 11 Genre: Thriller Why you should watch: If you’re fond of the star-studded, slightly forgettable action films that Netflix puts out every year, you’re in luck! Heart of Stone is a spy thriller starring Gal Gadot and Jami Dornan, directed by Tom Harper. There are far worse ways to spend a mid-August weekend!
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: Aug. 11 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: In the follow-up to his 2022 cannibal love story, Luca Guadagnino gives us another bad romance. In this tennis drama, Zendaya plays the coach and wife of a Grand Slam champion who has been on a losing streak and must face her ex-lover on the court.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: Aug. 18 Genre: Comedy Why you should watch: August is famously a slow month for movie-going — unless you are a big fan of foulmouthed talking dogs, in which case, run to the theatres for Strays. Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Josh Gad and Isla Fisher voice a team of dogs that have united to get revenge on a dog-hating drug dealer.
What: Movie Where: In theatres When: Aug. 25 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Finish off your summer with Bottoms, the second feature from Canadian director Emma Seligmann (Shiva Baby). The sex comedy stars Rachel Sennot (Bodies, Bodies, Bodies) and Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) as two uncool high school seniors who start a fight club to meet girls.