Eight New Movies You Can Watch in June That Have Been Fast-Tracked From Cinemas to Streaming
Get comfy on the couch with the 'John Wick' franchise's latest balletic battles, Ari Aster's new nightmare and a sublime South Korean drama.
June 16, 2023
Before the pandemic, when a new-release movie started playing in cinemas, audiences couldn't watch it on streaming, video on demand, DVD or blu-ray for a few months. But with the past few years forcing film industry to make quite a few changes — widespread movie theatre closures and plenty of people staying home in iso will do that — that's no longer always the case.
Maybe you've been under the weather. Perhaps you haven't had time to make it to your local cinema lately. Given the hefty amount of films now releasing each week, maybe you simply missed something. Film distributors have been fast-tracking some of their new releases from cinemas to streaming recently — movies that might still be playing in theatres in some parts of the country, too. In preparation for your next couch session, here are eight that you can watch right now at home.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4
Almost a quarter-century has passed since Keanu Reeves uttered four iconic words: "I know kung fu". The Matrix's famous phrase was also the entire movie-going world's gain, because watching Reeves unleash martial-arts mayhem is one of cinema's purest pleasures. Notching up their fourth instalment with the obviously titled John Wick: Chapter 4, the John Wick flicks understand this. They couldn't do so better, harder, or in a bloodier fashion, in fact. Directed by Keanu's former stunt double Chad Stahelski, who helped him look like he did indeed know wushu back in the 90s, this assassin saga is built around the thrill of its star doing his violent but stylish best. Of course, The Matrix's Neo didn't just know kung fu, but gun fu — and Jonathan, as The Continental proprietor Winston (Ian McShane, Deadwood: The Movie) still likes to call him, helps turn bullet ballet into one helluva delight again and again (and again and again).
Picking up where 2019's John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum left off, and once again so expertly and inventively executed that it's mesmerising, John Wick: Chapter 4 saddles its namesake with a new adversary: the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård, Barbarian), emissary of the death-for-hire business' powers-that-be, aka the High Table. After Wick puts the assassin realm's head honchos on notice during an early trip to the Middle East, the series' latest nefarious figure wants rid of him forever, wasting no time laying waste to the few things left that John loves. The Marquis has company, too — seeking a big payday in the case of the mercenary known as Tracker (Shamier Anderson, Son of the South), who has his own devoted dog; and due to a familiar deal with Caine (Donnie Yen, Mulan), a martial-arts whiz who is blind, and an old friend of John. That said, Wick has pals in this clash between the hitman establishment and its workers, which doubles as an eat-the-rich skirmish, including Winston, the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne, All the Old Knives), and the Osaka Continental's Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada, Bullet Train) and Akira (Rina Sawayama, Turn Up Charlie).
BEAU IS AFRAID
Beau is afraid. Beau is anxious. Beau is alone. Beau is alive. Any of these three-word sentences would make a fitting name for Ari Aster's third feature, which sees its titular middle-aged figure not just worry about anything and everything, but watch his fears come true, concerns amplify and alienation grow — and then some. And, in the Hereditary and Midsommar filmmaker's reliably dread-inducing hands, no matter whether Beau (Joaquin Phoenix, C'mon C'mon) is wallowing in his apartment solo, being welcomed into someone else's family or stumbling upon a travelling theatre troupe in the woods, he knows that he's truly on his own in this strange, sad, surreal and savage world, too. More than that, he's well-aware that this is what life is inescapably like for all of us, regardless of how routine, chaotic or grand our individual journeys from emerging out of our mother's womb to sinking into death's eternal waters happen to prove.
Aster has opted for Beau Is Afraid as a moniker, with this horror-meets-tragicomedy mind-bender a filmic ode to existential alarm — and, more than that, a picture that turns catastrophising into a feature. Psychiatrists will have a field day; however, experiencing the latest in the writer/director's growing line of guilt-dripping celluloid nightmares, so should viewers in general. Even with Chilean The Wolf House helmers Cristóbal León and Joaquin Cosiña lending their help to the three-hour movie's midsection, where animation adds another dreamlike dimension to a picture book-style play within an already fantastical-leaning flick frequently running on dream logic, Aster embraces his favourite deranged terrain again. He makes bold choices, doesn't think twice about challenging himself and his audience, elicits a stunning lead performance and dances with retina-searing imagery, all while pondering inherited trauma, the emotional ties that bind and the malevolence that comes with dependence.
No matter how Hirokazu Kore-eda's on-screen families come to be, if there's any actual blood between them, whether they're grifting in some way or where in the world they're located, the Japanese writer/director and Shoplifters Palme d'Or winner's work has become so beloved — so magnificent, too — due to his care and sincerity. A Kore-eda film is a film of immense empathy and, like Like Father, Like Son, Our Little Sister, After the Storm and The Third Murder also in the prolific talent's past decade, Broker is no different. The setup here is one of the filmmaker's murkiest, with the feature's name referring to the baby trade. But showing compassion and humanity isn't up for debate in Kore-eda's approach. He judges the reality of modern-day life that leads his characters to their actions, but doesn't judge his central figures. In the process, he makes poignant melodramas that are also deep and thoughtful character studies, and that get to the heart of the globe's ills like the most cutting slices of social realism.
It isn't just to make a buck that debt-ridden laundromat owner Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho, Parasite) and orphanage-raised Dong-soo (Gang Dong-won, Peninsula) take infants abandoned to the Busan Family Church's 'baby box' — a chute that's exactly what it sounds like, available to mothers who know they can't embrace that part for whatever reason — then find good families to sell them to. There's a cash component, of course, but they're convinced that their gambit is better than letting children languish in the state system. In Kore-eda's usual kindhearted manner, Broker sees them with sensitivity. Even if blue hues didn't wash through the film's frames, nothing is ever black and white in the director's movies. The same understanding and tenderness flows towards mothers like So-young (Lee Ji-eun, Hotel Del Luna, aka K-Pop star IU), whose decision to leave Woo-sung (debutant Park Ji-yong) isn't easily made but puts Broker on its course.
70s-era porn, but make it a slasher flick: when Ti West's X marked the big-screen spot in 2022, that's one of the tricks it pulled. The playful, smart and gory horror standout also arrived with an extra spurt of good news, with West debuting it as part of a trilogy. 30s- and 40s-period technicolour, plus 50s musicals and melodramas, but splatter them with kills, genre thrills and ample blood spills: that's what the filmmaker behind cult favourites The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers now serves up with X prequel Pearl. Shot back to back with its predecessor, sharing mesmerising star Mia Goth (Emma), and co-written by her and West — penned during their two-week COVID-19 quarantine period getting into New Zealand to make the initial movie, in fact — it's a gleaming companion piece. It's also a savvy deepening and recontextualising of a must-see scary-movie franchise that's as much about desire, dreams and determination as notching up deaths.
In one of her X roles, Goth was magnetic as aspiring adult-film actor Maxine Minx, a part she'll reprise in the trilogy's upcoming third instalment MaXXXine. As she proved first up and does again in Pearl, she plays nascent, yearning, shrewd and resolute with not just potency, but with a pivotal clash between fortitude and vulnerability; when one of Goth's youthful X Universe characters says that they're special or have the X factor, they do so with an astute blend of certainty, good ol' fashioned wishing and hoping, and naked self-convincing. This second effort's namesake, who Goth also brought to the screen in her elder years in X, wants to make it in the pictures, too. Looking to dance on her feet instead of horizontally, stardom is an escape (again), but Pearl's cruel mother Ruth (Tandi Wright, Creamerie), a religiously devout immigrant from Germany turned bitter from looking after her ailing husband (Mathew Sunderland, The Stranger), laughs at the idea.
Fists fly in Polite Society. Feet as well. When the latter aren't suspended in mid-air attempting to execute stunning kung-fu stunts, they just might be busting out their best Bollywood dance moves. Words are screamed and shouted, often between sisters Ria (Priya Kansara, Bridgerton) and Lena Khan (Ritu Arya, The Umbrella Academy), who are thick as thieves until they suddenly aren't. Schoolyard fights rumble like they've spilled straight out an action movie, which budding stuntperson Ria dreams of being in. Showdowns with Lena's future mother-in-law Raheela Shah (Nimra Bucha, Ms Marvel) could've burst from a Quentin Tarantino film. Espionage missions are undertaken by high schoolers, as are heists at a spectacular Muslim wedding in a lavish London mansion. Lena scoffs down a whole roast chicken on a public footpath like it's the only thing she's ever eaten. Ria and Lena free themselves from their angst by letting loose in their living room to The Chemical Brothers' dance-floor filler 'Free Yourself'. And being a dutiful member of her community is the absolute worst fate that could await an ass-kicking British Pakistani teenage girl.
In other words, a little bit of everything happens in Polite Society, the anarchic and eye-popping debut feature from We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor. That includes nods to Jackie Chan movies and The Matrix, plus Bond-style antics and Ennio Morricone-esque music drops. Add in riffs on Get Out, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-inspired wuxia, video-game flourishes, musical dance numbers, and nudges in Jane Austen and Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan's directions. Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Kill Bill leave imprints. When it examines intergenerational pressure, so do Everything Everywhere All At Once and Turning Red. Whatever this high-energy charmer throws at the screen, it always serves the narrative. It also showcases Manzoor's lively and bold filmmaking eye. But more importantly, Polite Society is the spin-kicking whirlwind it is because that's what it feels like to be a schoolgirl training in martial arts, yearning to pack a literal punch, desperate to become anything but what society demands and tired of being dictated to — and saddled with cultural expectations but determined to propel along one's own path in general, too.
OF AN AGE
You Won't Be Alone isn't just the name of Macedonian Australian writer/director Goran Stolevski's debut feature, which hit cinemas in 2022. It's also a phrase that applies now that his second film is here. Of an Age initially premiered in the same year as well, bowing in Melbourne International Film Festival's opening-night slot — and, while it tells of growing up queer in 90s Melbourne, falling in love for the first time, then sifting through the aftermath a decade later, it's a glorious companion piece to its predecessor. No one is chosen by a sorceress here. The place isn't Macedonia, the period isn't the 19th century and supernatural shapeshifting isn't part of the narrative. But even just a mere duo of movies into his helming career, Stolevski makes pictures that profoundly ruminate upon two of life's purest truths: that absolutely everything changes and, consequently, nothing completely lasts forever.
1999 is inching towards becoming Y2K when Of an Age begins, and 17-year-old Nikola aka Kol (Elias Anton, Australia Day) is only hours from taking to the floor at a Melbourne dance championship. That's how his day is meant to pan out, at least, and what he's preparing for when the film meets him practising his smooth ballroom moves in his suburban garage — conjuring up visions of John Travolta in a flick made famous two decades prior, in fact. Kol's ordinary morning fever breaks, however, thanks to friend and dance partner Ebony (Hattie Hook, Savage River) and her bender of an evening. She's awoken on the beach in Altona with no idea where she is, scrounging up change for the payphone call to say she thinks she'll miss the recital unless Kol can pick her up. To attempt to make his big performance, he has to convince Ebony's older brother Adam (Thom Green, Eden) to play taxi — and he's still all aflutter with anxiety, and just the inertia of being so keyed up from endeavouring to sort things out, when he slides into the twentysomething's brown car and feels sparks fly instantly.
EVIL DEAD RISE
There will be blood in Evil Dead Rise, the latest addition to the Evil Dead fold, and not just inking The Book of the Dead's pages. There's gallons of it, in fact, with assistance from an elevator overflowing with crimson liquid. Writer/director Lee Cronin is clearly happy to jump from his 2019 debut The Hole in the Ground to this beloved horror franchise while giving The Shining some love as well. And yet, nods to past Evil Dead films and scary fare in general aren't the main point of Evil Dead Rise, even though they're still there — loudly when "dead by dawn", words that are also part of Evil Dead II's title, is yelled. It shouldn't feel so rare to see a feature that isn't solely kept beating by gobbling up as many pieces of its predecessors as possible, but that's these nothing-must-die times. (When intellectual property is revived repeatedly by Hollywood's intonations, bringing back Evil Dead over and over couldn't be more appropriate.)
Familiar swooping and whooshing camerawork kicks Evil Dead Rise into gear, though, knowingly so. In a clever touch, it stems from a is doing the shooting, not due to supernatural nefariousness. There's a remote abode in the woods — an A-frame shack this time, levelled up to match 2023's travel aesthetic — and unsettling things afoot; however, the bulk of the film takes place a day earlier. That's when guitar technician Beth (Lily Sullivan, Picnic at Hanging Rock) cuts out a the worldwide tour to surprise her sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland, New Gold Mountain). The latter is a tattoo artist and mother of three who has recently been left parenting solo, and is interrupted dying her hair 'cool mum' red when her sibling arrives. There's baggage between the pair, but there'll soon be viscera as well when Ellie's teenage son Danny (Morgan Davies, Blaze) finds a certain text — and, because he's a budding DJ, some dusty vinyl sporting words that no one in an Evil Dead movie should be saying or hearing.
THE SUPER MARIO BROS MOVIE
It took 30 years, plus a warp pipe from live-action to animation, but Super Mario Bros finally gained a cinematic mushroom. While these are peak product-to-screen times — see also: The Last of Us, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, Tetris and Air, plus the upcoming Barbie, BlackBerry and latest Transformers flick — Nintendo's plumber siblings were long flushed out of movies thanks to their underperforming first outing. 1993's Bob Hoskins (Snow White and the Huntsman) and John Leguizamo (Violent Night)-starring film, the first-ever live-action video game film, isn't terrible. It followed its own dark path and hit its own wild blocks, something that stands out even more now that slavish obsession to intellectual property and franchise-building is king. If 2023's The Super Mario Bros Movie is a response to its predecessor, it's a happily dutiful one, doing its utmost to copy the video game. The strongest feeling it inspires: making viewers want to bust out their old NES or SNES or Game Boy, or emulators of any of them, or Nintendo's current Switch, and mash buttons as the red-capped, moustachioed, overalls-wearing Mario.
In images that look like they've been ported straight from consoles, Italian Americans Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt, Thor: Love and Thunder) and Luigi (Charlie Day, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) essentially find themselves in the Super Mario Bros version of The Wizard of Oz. Like the 90s flick, they're also transported to another realm where a villainous creature lusts for power— Bowser (Jack Black, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood) here, with an army of the turtle-like koopas doing his bidding. A sewer flood whisks Mario and Luigi out of their own world, after they try to fix it to drum up customers for their plumbing business. On the other side of the tunnel, Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi ends up Bowser's prisoner. Cue a quest, including along the rainbow road, to reunite the brothers, stop Bowser and keep him away from Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Menu) — who definitely isn't a damsel in distress, but the target of Bowser's obsessive affections.
Looking for more at-home viewing options? Take a look at our monthly streaming recommendations across new straight-to-digital films and TV shows — and fast-tracked highlights from January, February, March, April and May, too. You can also peruse our best new films, new TV shows, returning TV shows and straight-to-streaming movies, plus movies you might've missed and television standouts of 2022 you mightn't have gotten to.
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