We’re not even two weeks into June but it’s already proving to be a stellar month as far as new Netflix releases are concerned.
We’ve got some great stuff to look forward to coming later this month, including Netflix Original series Glow and Gypsy (released 23rd and 30th of June respectively) as well as the intriguing new film from Snowpiercer director Boon Joon Ho, Okja, which made its debut last May at the Cannes film festival. We’ll have to wait 28th to watch that one, but in the meantime below we’ve listed some of our favourite June releases so far.
Hot New Arrivals: The fifth seasons of Orange is the New Black and Orphan Black
Orange in the New Black: Season 5
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be settling in for a good old fashioned full-series binge this evening when I get home for the hotly anticipated return of OITNB which dropped today. Season 4 closed on one hell of a cliffhanger; following the untimely and wholly unjust death of beloved character Poussey Washington, tensions in Litchfield reached fever pitch levels and the final scene closed on Daya holding a gun to a prison guard’s head with a riot set to erupt.
Initial reviews have been favourable and this new season currently holds a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic wrote: “There's an even darker and more tragic tint to the ongoing stories of the women of Litchfield in season 5 of Orange is the New Black, but the mix of humour and ample heart is as masterful and empowering as it's ever been.”
Orphan Black: Season 5
Orphan Black fans were delighted last year when star of the show Tatiana Maslany, finally won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. It felt like a long time coming, as the actress single handedly plays upwards of ten characters. Playing a cohort of clones, Maslany’s characters might look the same but they couldn’t be more different in terms of personality. Season 5, which will hit Netflix this Sunday will be its last, concluding the suspenseful mystery and will see the sister clones band together to take on their creators.
As the show has yet to drop, initial critic reviews are scant but Maslany has already been lauded for her performances, as one critic put it: “The fifth and final season of finds Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany turning in some of her most subtle, authentic work -- and that's saying something for the sci-fi conspiracy thriller that requires her to play multiple roles.”
Girls Night In: Two Night Stand
Looking for an undemanding, predictable but nonetheless enjoyable rom-com for a Friday night? Give Two Night Stand a go. The setup might be painfully contrived (a would be one-night-stand is forcibly extended into a two-nighter due to a freak snowstorm) but the undeniable chemistry and endless charm from the cast’s two leads Miles Teller (Whiplash, The Spectacular Now) and Analeigh Tipton (Crazy Stupid Love, Warm Bodies) more than compensates for what amounts to a paper thin plot. As a modern day screwball comedy, Two Night Stand satisfies as a light piece of diversion.
Twisty psychological thrills: Side Effects
Safe rom-coms not your scene? Want something that has more twists than an Agatha Christie plot? Side Effects is a smart, assured and refreshingly unpredictable psychological thriller from director Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Contagion). The story follows Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) a woman whose life becomes unravelled after she attempts suicide when her white collar criminal husband returns home from prison. She begins to see a psychiatrist who prescribes her medication that starts to have adverse side effects. To give away any more plot detail would do a disservice to the film. It’s probably best that you go in knowing nothing!
Side Effects holds a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and is headed up by a talented all-star cast including the aforementioned Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Film 4 critic Michael Leader summed it up as follows: “A masterful double-bluff. What starts as a taut, topical drama about medicated America becomes a classic, twisted neo-noir that sees Soderbergh pushing aside on-the-nose themes in favour of sheer entertainment.”
Intergenerational comedy: While We’re Young
From indie director Noah Baumbach (Mistress America, Frances Ha) While We’re Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a married couple in their mid-forties living in New York. Childless among their peers, the couple begin to gravitate towards a young artsy couple in their twenties (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried). Becoming fast friends, the older couple feel vitalised hanging with their younger counterparts but as time goes on Stiller’s character begins to suspect that his new friends might not be as genuine as they seem…
While We’re Young holds a score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and was lauded by critics for its sly and subtle approach toward the attrition between generations. A few critics even compared it to classic Woody Allen cinema, as one critic put it: “If you've been wishing you could see a good Woody Allen comedy again, you should check out Noah Baumbach's While We're Young, which sees the 45-year-old director moving in on Allen's territory - the Manhattan comedy of manners.”
Looking for more?
Check out last week's recommendations.