Steamy Streaming: June

Sense8, Glow, Star Wars, and More!

BY: Zak Wojnar

Every month, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime refresh their content offerings, adding new programs in the form of recent blockbusters, original content, and timeless classics. June 2018 is no different; here are Provokr’s Picks for the best new additions to the major streaming sites. Whether you’re watching alone or with someone special, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices!

Lust Stories – Netflix, June 15

In 2013, Bombay Talkies earned significant acclaim for its offering of four short films from four directors, combined into one anthology about the sometimes strained relationships between fathers and their sons. Now, five years later, the spiritual sequel is debuting on Netflix, with four new segments from returning directors Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar, and Dibakar Banerjee. While the original Bombay Talkies had its fair share of provocative content, Lust Stories, as indicated by its title, explores sexuality and lust, though not necessarily love, from the perspective of female characters.

Saturday Night Fever – Amazon Prime, June 1

John Travolta‘s career has seen its ups and downs, but he’s currently riding high on his Emmy nomination as Robert Shapiro in American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson. His career is long and storied, with hits like Grease, Face/Off, Pulp Fiction, and countless more. Still, his most legendary performance was in 1977’s cultural milestone, Saturday Night Fever. As loser-by-day, disco king -by-night Tony Manero, Travolta exuded a palpable mix of youthful desperation and unadulterated sex appeal. Combined with one of the most iconic soundtracks of all time, courtesy of The Bee Gees, and you have one of the greatest movies of the 1970s.

Sense8 Finale – Netflix, June 8

Sense8, from visionary writer/directors The Wachowskis, was cancelled after two ambitious and boundary-pushing seasons, but Netflix was courteous enough to grant the series a proper finale in the form of a feature-length special episode. Sense8 was notable for its high-concept premise, a strong cast which featured multiple LGBTQ actors, as well as its high-octane action scenes… And REALLY high octane sex scenes.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Netflix, June 26

When Star Wars first returned with 2015’s The Force Awakens, the movie was praised for reminding audiences why we love the space opera in the first place, but it was also criticized for its relatively safe storytelling decisions. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is a great many things, but it is most certainly not safe.

We’re not going to spoil any of the film’s bold storytelling decisions, but just know that this is a movie which takes your expectations and subverts them at every single turn, deconstructing the core tenets of Star Wars before reconstructing them with unprecedented aplomb. As Luke himself says, “This is not going to go the way you think.” From start to finish, Episode VIII is an deeply personal work from writer/director Rian Johnson, who captures the original spirit of George Lucas‘s first movies while also putting his own stamp on the franchise. The Last Jedi proves that even mega budget blockbusters are perfectly capable of being high art.

Runaway Bride – Hulu, June 1

Romantic comedies, like any genre, are full of both stinkers and classics, and the success of any given rom-com is usually dependent on the chemistry between its leading actors. In 1999’s Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere were nothing less than a match made in heaven. Their chemistry had already been proven in her breakthrough role, 1990’s Pretty Woman. Both films are directed by the late, great Garry Marshall, making Runaway Bride something of a spiritual successor to Pretty Woman, but much lighter in tone. Runaway Bride aims to be nothing more than a lovely, charming, adorable romance armed with light-footed comedy and jolly vibes. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a tall glass of red wine, and we love it.

Luke Cage: Season 2 – Netflix, June 22

In addition to blockbuster movies like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel also produces television series for various networks. On Netflix, they made Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, and they all converged in the much-hyped miniseries event, The Defenders. With that experiment completed, the street-level, New York City heroes are back to their own disparate corners of the city, kicking butt on their home turf. For Luke Cage, that means returning to Harlem and keeping the streets safe from gangs and corruption. Mike Colter is arguably the hunkiest man on Netflix, and the new season is getting an extra boost of sex appeal thanks to a crossover with Iron Fist, played by Finn Jones. We don’t deserve this much hotness.

Doctor Zhivago – Amazon Prime, June 1

The most epic movie of all time isn’t Titanic, and it’s not Ben-Hur. It’s easily Doctor Zhivago, a sprawling tapestry of historical drama, whirlwind romance, and wistful, lamenting reminiscence. The film boasts an all-star cast consisting of cinematic legends like Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, and Alec Guinness. Set amidst the backdrop of the Russian Revolution, the movie was actually met with a modest critical reception back in 1965, but has since developed a reputation as one of the most sweeping romantic stories ever put to screen… Even though Yuri and Lara are both already married when they fall in love, but that’s neither here nor there in this case.

GLOW: Season 2 – Netflix, June 29

GLOW stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and with a cast consisting of Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Kate Nash – among many others – this Netflix series certainly lives up to its namesake. GLOW was a real wrestling league back in the 1980s, and the TV series is a hilarious and heartfelt tribute to the sport of wrestling, the trailblazing women who engaged in decidedly un-ladylike behavior, and the neon-lit 1980s setting. Simultaneously exploitative and uplifting, GLOW is sincere, over-the-top, and a celebration of its subject matter. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for season 2.

Rescue Me: The Complete Series – Amazon Prime, June 1

There aren’t many shows like Rescue Me. This tragicomic drama from creator/star Denis Leary focused on the lives of a team of firefighters in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks on New York City. Tommy Gavin is one of the most three dimensional, conflicted, and entertaining characters ever to appear on television, and his story can shift on a dime from zany screwball comedy to melodramatic tragedy, and back again, without warning, and without mercy. The tonal dissonance never comes across as cheap; just real. The whole cast is great, from Steven Pasquale and John Scurti to the great James McCaffrey and the beautiful Andrea Roth.

Rescue Me is perhaps the definitive New York City television show of all time, which is crazy, since Leary is from Massachusetts.

The Rules of Attraction – Hulu, June 1

Bret Easton Ellis is best known for writing the novels American Psycho and Less Than Zero, which would each become critically-acclaimed films. His novel, The Rules of Attraction, was also adapted into a comparatively lesser-known film, which is a shame, since it’s just as good as its peers, if not better. Directed by Roger Avary (Killing Zoe), the film boasts a killer cast: James van der Beek, Kate Bosworth, Jay Baruchel, Jessica Biel (remember her?), and Faye Dunaway, who was far sexier than any 61-year-old is supposed to be. A nihilistic, pitch-black comedy with moments of depressing drama and surreal sensibilities, there’s nothing else out there like The Rules of Attraction.

Fun fact; Van Der Beek‘s character, Sean Bateman, is the younger brother of Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale‘s character from American Psycho.