The Best and Worst of What to Watch in June 2021
Tune In or Turn Off featuring 'Sweet Tooth,' 'Bo Burnham: Inside,' 'Loki' and more
Published Jun 17, 2021Summer would normally bring big popcorn blockbusters — but in this very different year for movie-goers, we have to satisfy our cinematic cravings at home. Luckily, there's a new Marvel series and a big zombie action movie to fill the void.
But there's also some smaller pleasures, from brooding crime dramas to a quintessential piece of a pandemic comedy. We've got all the recommendations for what to stream — and what to skip — in this edition of Tune In or Turn Off.
Tune In: Army of the Dead
Action super-director Zack Snyder returns to the zombie genre with a movie that's silly, overstuffed, but actually a lot of fun. Combining good ol' fashioned zombie mayhem with elements of heist movies and disaster blockbusters, Army of the Dead feels a bit like Independence Day, Oceans Eleven and World War Z all rolled into one.
Tune In: Bo Burnham: Inside
Stuck inside a small apartment studio, comedian Bo Burnham's mind becomes as disheveled as his facial hair while he stews about white privilege, class inequality, social media and sexting. It's basically the exact same thing everyone has been doing for the past year-plus, only Burnham has a virtuosic talent for turning his angst into comedy songs.
Tune In: Feel Good
The final chapter of Mae Martin's semi-autobiographical series expands on the trauma and romance hinted at in the first season, giving a new dimension to Mae's origin story and explaining the events that led to her fraught attempts at addiction recovery. In six short episodes, Martin explores topics including sexual assault, gender identity, PTSD and survival in the post-#MeToo era at a rapid-fire pace without ever feeling too brief — and somehow manages to keep things pretty darn funny.
Tune In: Loki
Marvel's mischievous antihero gets caught up in a Brazil-style nightmarish bureaucracy after violating the sacred timeline — but things really get going once Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is recruited to hunt down an alternative universe version of himself. The show's wacky sense of humour comes spiked with grim visions of humanity's future.
Tune In: Mare of Easttown
HBO's latest prestige whodunnit — with a very specific regional accent — finds Kate Winslet dressing way, way down as grief-stricken detective trying to move past her son's death while solving a series of murders and disappearances in small-town Pennsylvania. It's all hoagies, cheesesteaks, self-destruction and secrets.
Turn Off: P!nk: All I Know So Far
It's not bad exactly, since P!nk and her family come off as extremely likeable in this behind-the-scenes tour doc. But with a few too many lengthy scenes showing the pop star born Alecia Moore hanging out with her kids, All I Know So Far is a reminder that celebrities really are just like us — that is to say, a little boring.
Turn Off: Solos
As a near-future anthology series that probes at humanity's relationship to technology, Solos probably ought to be the successor to Black Mirror. Instead, it doesn't have the substance to match it's star-studded cast (which includes Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Anthony Mackie, Constance Wu and more).
Tune In: Sweet Tooth
The fairytale fantasy elements are a little corny, but Sweet Tooth finds its footing a couple episodes into this story of surviving a post-apocalyptic pandemic. The side-plots have enough dystopian grit to make it easy to overlook the fact that lead human/animal hybrid Gus (Christian Convery) looks a little like Mr. Tumnus from the Narnia movies.
Tune In: The Underground Railroad
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins blends fantasy and history in his adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 2016 novel The Underground Railroad. With his adept visual vocabulary at the draw, Jenkins offers striking — and often horrifying — images of intimacy and violence in equal measure. It's not an easy watch by any means — it's not supposed to be. But it is an essential watch, and an American masterpiece on the topic of slavery.