And just like that, it is June already. HBO/HBO Max is starting the summer right with a fresh slate of returning favorites and new content featuring vibrant storylines from original voices. Hopefully, series and film fans alike will be intrigued by the new content coming. But, as you’ll see this month, the majority of new titles are not big series.
A few quick points:
Interesting characters like Dumbledore and Irma Vep arrive
A current hot topic is broached in an HBO Documentary Film
FATHER OF THE BRIDE gets the Latino spin
June 26th is the perfect day for WESTWORLD
and for the kids, a naked mole rat!
HBO Original Series: Now surely you know that the service is going to be pretty tight-lipped about any major details for WESTWORLD, which is our biggest title in June? At this date, there is no trailer just a Teaser, no episode breakdown, poster, or key art. Some of those details will appear in time. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the show debuts late in the month. But in any case, they could have given us a bit more here. All we can say is that it returns for its eight-episode fourth season SUNDAY, JUNE 26 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max. The season is listed as a “dark odyssey about the fate of sentient life on earth.” and stars Evan Rachel Wood, Emmy winner Thandiwe Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Aaron Paul and Angela Sarafyan with Oscar winner Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) joining the cast as a recurring guest star. We can give you that teaser clip one more time as well.
The other dramatic title, a limited series, precedes or epic saga. Debuting MONDAY, JUNE 06 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT) for eight (8) episodes is IRMA VEP. Written and directed by Emmy nominee Olivier Assayas (Carlos), starring Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) unique remake is a thriller like no other. Mira (Alicia Vikander) is an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who comes to France to star as “Irma Vep” in a remake of the French silent film classic, “Les Vampires.” Set against the backdrop of a lurid crime thriller, Mira struggles as the distinctions between herself and the character she plays begin to blur and merge. The work reveals to us the uncertain ground that lies at the border of fiction and reality, artifice and authenticity, art and life. Okay, maybe instead of ‘unique’ the better choice of word would be ‘odd’ for this psychological thriller. Here is our first look at the trailer:
Finishing out its run is the show getting some good/bad buzz, THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. It picks up for three (3) more episodes beginning SUNDAY, JUNE 05 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT). The lead couple, as adults, are Rose Leslie (GAME OF THRONES) as Clare Abshire and Theo James (The Divergent film franchise) as Henry DeTamble. Some say the couple doesn’t have good chemistry and others are shocked by the oral sex scene! Starting that same night, SUNDAY, JUNE 05, from 10:00-10:30pm ET/PT is BARRY and from 10:30-11:00pm ET/PT is THE BABY, each with two episodes remaining in their respective seasons. Does the timeline you’re on get you in front of HBO Sunday nights?
Switching over to Monday nights, the sophomore season of GENTLEMAN JACK also concludes. It has only two episodes to air in June beginning MONDAY, JUNE 06, (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT).
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER continues his 20th season beginning FRIDAY, JUNE 03 (10:00-11:00pm ET) after sitting out MAY 27. He has an installment every week ending with the 605th show on JUNE 24. LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER gives us a full month of installments as well starting SUNDAY, JUNE 05 (11:00-11:30pm ET). Recent topics have included the latest abortion rulings, the power utilities companies wield over citizens and even the troubles with Subway sandwich shops. PAUSE WITH SAM JAY is also running new episodes in June. Her show, which starts the month on FRIDAY, JUNE 03 (11:00-11:30pm ET/PT), has already journeyed to make homosexuality more intersectional and to get Blacks to recalibrate when it comes to racism. And that is just is the first two installments of the season.
Original Series Exclusive to HBO Max: I’m shocked that the service has no new premieres here but a number of shows continue or wrap up their commitments in June. The new titles that are offered can be found in other entries below. It seems like she just returned, but with HACKSuploading two episodes at a time, the Jean Smart show will offer up its last episodes of the season THURSDAY, JUNE 02. THE STAIRCASE offers what will surely be a dramatic ending when its last episode uploads THURSDAY, JUNE 09. The ballroom competition LEGENDARY also concludes its season on THURSDAY, JUNE 09.
HBO International Titles:LA UNIDAD (The Unit) from Spain is the big title here. It returns for its sophomore season on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15. If you are not familiar, the first season from 2020 sits on the streamer. The plot – The capture in Spain of the most wanted terrorist leader in the world turns the country into the main target for terrorism. A countdown has started without the population knowing and the members of the Special Unit against jihadist terrorism, led by commissioner Carla Torres (Nathalie Poza), face the secret mission of stopping it in a race against time, while they try to resolve the conflicts of their personal lives that their job has, in part, stolen from them. Though Season One ends with the thwarting of a chemical warfare attack the threat obviously still looms for another season of this entry, a Spanish Best Drama series. Another Latino series is AMSTERDAM (not to be confused with New Amsterdam) uploads beginning THURSDAY, JUNE 09. It was slated for March 2022 and got bumped. The series follows the story of Nadia y Martín, who are trying to make it in the art scene in La Condesa, one of Mexico City’s trendy neighborhoods. They love each other, but things aren’t working out, so they decide to separate amicably and divide their belongings in a civilized way. The only thing they are unable to reach an agreement about is Amsterdam, the dog they rescued from the streets long ago. The solution is joint custody. Actors Naian González Norvind and Sebastián Buitrón bring the couple to life. Added to the HBO Latino Friday night movie schedule is NUDO MIXTECO. The trace of the past is present when three migrants return to a community in the highlands of Mixtec Oaxaca in Mexico. Starring Sonia Couoh, Noe Hernandez, Myriam Bravo, Eileen Yanez, Aida Lopez, and Jorge Doal. Written and directed by Angeles Cruz. It debuts FRIDAY, JUNE 03 (7:15-8:45pm ET/PT). On FRIDAY, JUNE 17 (8:00-9:40pm ET/PT) is the debut of the movie LAS MEJORES FAMILIAS(The Best Families). Two housekeepers working for upper-class families find themselves in the middle of a family drama when a long-held secret is revealed at a birthday celebration. Starring Tatiana Astengo, Gabriela Velasquez, Gracia Olayo, and Grapa Paola. Written and directed by Javier Fuentes-Leon.
HBO Saturday Night Movies: The two movies on the horizon look like some really good ones. Of course, they upload to HBO Max a bit earlier than the Saturday night air date. They are FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE and THE CARD COUNTER.
The world of wizardry and the realm of Harry Potter are not dead. They live on as Eddie Redmayne takes on Newt Scamander on a third outing in FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE. Of course, as the title implies, the focus is on one master wizard Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law. Set several years after the events of its predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald, the film sees Dumbledore tasking Scamander and his allies with a mission that takes them into the heart of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald’s army. It also stars Mads Mikkelsen, and Ezra Miller. Directed by David Yates; screenplay by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves. The Warner Bros film hit theaters in April of this year and now makes it way to HBO. It starts streaming leading into the Memorial Day weekend and debuts on HBO SATURDAY, JUNE 04 (8:00-10:25pm ET/PT). My movie of preference is the other title of the month. I’ll admit I’ve never read or saw anything Harry Potter so it’s lost on me but the trailer for THE CARD COUNTER drew me right in. It is by director/writer Paul Schrader (who directed Auto Focus and wrote Raging Bull). Martin Scorsese served as executive producer on this two-hour tale. Redemption is the long game in this revenge thriller that tells the story of an ex-military interrogator turned gambler haunted by the ghosts of his past decisions. Starring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe. It debuts on HBO SATURDAY, JUNE 11, (8:00-9:55pm ET/PT).
Movies Exclusive to HBO Max: The streamer has a remake that has already gotten the cinematic treatment a few times over. It is THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE. It started as a novel and quickly became a movie in 1950 with a sequel. A remake happened in 1991 with two sequels and now Warner has a new take on the story. In September 2020, it was announced that a Latin adaptation centered around Cuban-Americans would be the angle. Andy García stars as Billy, the titular character. It uploads THURSDAY, JUNE 16.
HBO Documentary Films: Abortion has always been a hot topic of debate in the modern era and still to this day divides the country. The first documentary of the month takes us back to pre-Roe Vs. Wade times to remind us of THE JANESat the forefront of reproductive rights. In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago where seven women who were part of a clandestine network were arrested. Using code names, fronts, and safe houses to protect themselves and their work, the accused had built an underground network for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves “Jane.” Offering first-hand accounts from the women at the center of the group, many speaking on the record for the first time, the documentary, which debuts WEDNESDAY, JUNE 08 (9:00-10:45pm ET/PT) tells the revelatory story of a group of unlikely outlaws. Defying the state legislature that outlawed abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it, the members of “Jane” risked their personal and professional lives to support women with unwanted pregnancies. On WEDNESDAY JUNE 22 (9:00-10:30pm ET/PT)CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES premieres. The story of Chernobyl is told through a newly discovered hoard of dramatic footage filmed at the nuclear plant during the disaster and newly recorded, deeply personal interviews of those who were there, directed by Emmy Award-winner James Jones. This gripping film tells the story of the disaster and its consequences entirely through extraordinary and immersive archive shot at great risk in the hours, days, weeks and months after the accident by a handful of cameramen given access to the plant. HBO’s CHERNOBYL, at the time, seemed to be definitive on the topic, but we just can’t get enough. This documentary found and offers even more on the meltdown. The third documentary hasn’t locked in a date, and I’ still can’t fathom how hard that seems to be with all the repeated fare on the channel, but keep your eyes peeled for ENDANGERED. You think of that word and the term ‘endangered species’ comes to mind. Yes, this 1h 30min documentary is about one such species – the journalist. It is an investigation of threats against journalists in the United States and internationally, from intimidation to physical violence. Four intertwining stories make up a sobering exploration of reporters on the front lines against unrelenting campaigns of lies, misinformation and intimidation tactics. Executive Produced by Ronan Farrow it a deeply important film – a troubling look at the current state of press freedom on a global scale. Look for it.
HBO MAX Original Documentary Films:To be flat out honest the above trio of documentaries look far, far more interesting than the trio the streamer service offers. Menudo, really? I’m sure someone will find them enjoyable, and I won’t dismiss them here. Uploading FRIDAY, JUNE 03 is the first one. HBO Max offers a docuseries about the Romanian artist Irina Rimes, a real international up & comer I guess. ON MY WAY WITH IRINA RIMESwill follow the artist as she sets off in her mobile studio for two weeks, traveling across six cities to finish her album, Home. Throughout the series, she recalls the most important moments of her life and career, as well as the people who helped her get to where she is. Rimes will be joined by music industry professionals, artists and public figures who have been part of her journey. Next is a film about another international star, yet one more familiar to U. S. audiences. Uploading FRIDAY, JUNE 09 will be ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN. Directed by Academy-Award-winner Morgan Neville this film follows the life and journey of the cultural explorer, writer, and chef Anthony Bourdain. This documentary highlights his transformation from line cook to celebrated global-trotting explorer and renowned television host. The last in the set is MENUDO: FOREVER YOUNG. The four-part Max Original documentary debuts with all episodes on THURSDAY, JUNE 23. It chronicles the rise and fall of the most iconic Latin American boy band in history, bringing viewers into the world of the popular teen idols’ global tours, magazine covers, ‘80s outfits, and screaming fangirls. But the film reveals that behind the glitz and glamour was a web of abuse and exploitation at the hands of the band’s manager, Edgardo Diaz. Through revealing interviews with former Menudo members, the film examines how this extravagant facade was disguising serious wrongdoings by Diaz.
HBO Max Kids & Family: Plenty to talk about here as HBO Max has taken a big initiative with more children programming. HBO Max has picked up to series family comedy pilot GORDITA CHRONICLES from Claudia Forestieri (Selena The Series, Good Trouble). inspired by Forestieri’s life, centers on Carlota “Cucu” Castelli (Goncalves), a willful 12-year-old Dominican immigrant with a heart of gold. Cucu leaves her home and her parochial school in Santo Domingo to live in Miami and pursue the American Dream during the hedonistic 1980s after her father, a marketing executive with a large airline, gets transferred there. Cucu meets head-on the challenges of being an immigrant in a strange new world with humor, bravado and some really bad choices. It uploads sometime in June. Get ready for the family musical event of the summer with Mo Willems’ NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED: THE UNDERGROUND ROCK EXPERIENCE, uploading THURSDAY, JUNE 30, is rock n’ rolling onto Cartoonito on HBO Max. Based on the acclaimed author’s New York Times best-selling picture book and sold-out theatrical rock experience, the CGI-animated rock opera special strikes a power chord about accepting others, accessorized by a fun and funny tale about a sensitive, curious and rockin’ Naked Mole Rat named Wilbur (voiced by Jordan Fisher) who “scandalously” decides to (gasp!) get dressed! Find out what happens when Wilbur’s newfound love of rocking outfits rocks Naked Mole Rat society to its core. You thought I was kidding about the whole naked mole rat thing, didn’t you?
This month on SESAME STREET a Numbers Convention is in the neighborhood. Elmo helps solve problems using math and in one episode The Count and celebrity guest Billie Eilish sing about the joys of counting. Not only does that series continue but quite a number of shows return with new installments in June. Looking at them chronologically there is TOTAL DRAMARAMA with the first half of Season Three uploading MONDAY, JUNE 06; SUMMER CAMP ISLAND Season Six uploading THURSDAY, JUNE 09;ODO, Season 3 and VICTOR AND VALENTINO uploading FRIDAY, JUNE 10 and LUCAS THE SPIDER with the second half of Season One uploading FRIDAY, JUNE 17. Arriving SUNDAY, JUNE 19 is a movie featuring a classic twosome when TOM AND JERRY COWBOY UP. The film finds the duo in the Wild West where they help save a ranch from the hands of a villain. The rivals team up to help a cowgirl and her brother save their homestead from a greedy land-grabber. To finish out the month and this category are LITTLE ELLEN Season Three uploading THURSDAY, JUNE 23 and BINGwith the second half of Season One & TUCA AND BERTIE Season Two uploading FRIDAY, JUNE 24.
HBO Sports: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is the only sports program listed. You can always count on this team. The latest edition debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 21 (10:00-11:00pm).
Other Movies & Shows: NAOMIis an American superhero drama television series created by Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship which is based on the comic book series of the same name that hits the streamer from The CW. Completely different from that is the return of BIRDGIRL Season Two beginning MONDAY, JUNE 20. RICH & SHAMELESS from TNT brings over its first season as well. It tells stories of fame, fortune and the problems that follow. Also with new seasons are the BBC’s DOCTOR WHO Season 13 with Jodie Whitaker and WELLINGTON PARANORMAL Season Three from The CW. In movies we can go back to 1944’s The Adventures of Mark Twain up to 2021’s Blue Bayou with a good number of movies in between like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2006), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006), First Blood (1982), Highlander (1986), The Harvey Girls (1946) and Klute (1971).
Next Month’s Tease: Winner of 29 Sports Emmys, Robert Quinlan C. should return in July with his latest.
Last month’s answer – “Les Vampires” is a French silent film whose lead character is named Irma Vep. As noted above, Alicia Vikander plays American actress Mira who takes on that role in a remake of that French film. “Les Vampires” is not about bloodsuckers but of a dissident gang of terrorists in France and Irma Vep is the leader’s mistress and key member of the gang. Seek out IRMA VEP on HBO.
Final Clip: Here is why I got drawn to THE CARD COUNTER.
Enjoy HBO and HBO Watch!
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