Happy June, Polygon readers! It’s officially summer, which means we’re officially in the season of blockbusters.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny are among this month’s most anticipated releases, not to mention the plethora of other exciting releases just around the corner. If you’re not feeling up to venturing out into the summer heat, don’t worry — there’s a fresh selection of great movies to choose from on Netflix, Max (formerly HBO Max), Prime Video, and Hulu this month.
Our roundup of the best movies to hit streaming this June includes James Cameron’s classic 1991 follow-up Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike starring Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, Gore Verbinski’s 2002 American remake of The Ring, and Creed starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, among other options.
Let’s get to it!
New on Netflix
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Genre: Sci-fi action
Run time: 2h 17m
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick
James Cameron’s not just the “king of the world,” he’s the undisputed king of movie sequels. Mind you, he’s only directed three sequels to date in his illustrious film career, but when one of those is a modern cinematic masterpiece (Avatar: The Way of Water) and the other casts an indomitable shadow over the landscape of sci-fi horror video games (Aliens), it’s fair to say he’s more than earned the title. Cameron’s greatest sequel, however, is the follow-up to his 1984 sci-fi action film The Terminator.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the platonic ideal of sci-fi tentpole sequels. At once deepening the audience’s existing knowledge of the prior film’s universe and stakes and throwing a few iconic surprises in the mix, Judgment Day ratchets up the action while building a strong emotional storyline around its trio of protagonists as they race to prevent a deadly threat from the future from completing its terrifying mission of human extinction. From its chase sequences and action set-pieces to its cutting-edge computer-animated special effects that still astound audiences to this day, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the undisputed peak of the franchise and requisite viewing for any lover of action cinema, sci-fi or otherwise. —Toussaint Egan
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is streaming on Netflix.
Run time: 1h 50m
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey
While many (understandably) prefer the road-trip pleasures of the sequel, Magic Mike XXL, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the original. Magic Mike is an excellent subversive rom-com, inverting many standard gender tropes in the genre, while also being a moving story about the gaps in the American Dream.
Channing Tatum is absolutely terrific as Mike, bringing layers of pathos to his confident performance, while the rest of the cast excels: Matthew McConaughey understandably drew a lot of attention when the movie was first released for his over-the-top performance as Dallas, but Joe Manganiello and former wrestler Kevin Nash both deliver unforgettable performances in their own right.
With the third and final entry, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, coming to Max in June, there’s no better time than now to catch back up with where it all started. —PV
Magic Mike is streaming on Netflix.
Genre: Supernatural horror
Run time: 1h 55m
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox
Gore Verbinski’s American remake of Hideo Nakata’s 1998 supernatural horror classic The Ring was a runaway pop culture phenomenon when it was first released in 2002, introducing Western audiences to the wonderful world of J-horror cinema and going on to be parodied in everything from Scary Movie 3 to Family Guy. Naomi Watts stars as Rachel Keller, a journalist who goes undercover to find the truth behind the unexplainable deaths of her niece and three friends and a mysterious videotape they watched one week prior. But when Rachel views the tape herself, she’s caught in a race against time to solve the mystery and put to rest the vengeful spirit now fixated on claiming the lives of her and all else who watch it. —TE
The Ring is streaming on Netflix.
New on Max
Genre: Sci-fi action
Run time: 1h 55m
Director: Marco Brambilla
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock
Sylvester Stallone stars in this 1993 sci-fi thriller as John Spartan, a LAPD sergeant nicknamed “The Demolition Man” for his reputation for collateral damage. After apprehending a psychopathic killer named Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), John is held responsible for the deaths of several hostages and sentenced to a lengthy term in an experimental “cryo-penitentiary.” Awakened in the year 2032 by an idealistic officer named Lenina Huxley (Sandra Bullock), John must acquaint himself with a familiar yet strange new world as he once again works to apprehend his old nemesis. A cult classic among sci-fi action aficionados with several hilarious jokes at an alternate future (Taco Bell winning Franchise Wars, the Schwarzenegger presidential library, etc.), Demolition Man is a quirky and over-the-top action thriller powered by a trio of memorable lead performances. —TE
Demolition Man is streaming on Max.
Genre: Sports drama
Run time: 2h 13m
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
There’s no reason Moneyball should work as well as it does. I say this as someone who loved the book — there is nothing cinematic about the source material. It’s a story primarily told through numbers and spreadsheets, with little focus on the kinds of characters that typically get featured in sports stories (namely, star athletes or successful underdogs).
But with a sharp script by a more restrained Aaron Sorkin, a great cast anchored by Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the wise decision to go deeper into the backstory of A’s general manager Billy Beane to inform his point of view, Moneyball is one of the better baseball movies that’s ever been made. For baseball fans, what’s happened to Major League Baseball in the years since (and particularly the way owners treat their budgets) will likely color some of the movie in different ways. But I’d argue time has only made Moneyball stronger. —PV
Moneyball is streaming on Max.
New on Hulu
Attack the Block
Genre: Sci-fi comedy horror
Run time: 1h 28m
Director: Joe Cornish
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail
One of the best movies of the 2010s, Attack the Block was a breakout hit for pre-Star Wars John Boyega (in his film debut) and pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker, as well as an incredible feature debut for director Joe Cornish, a frequent collaborator with Edgar Wright who recently adapted Lockwood & Co. as a Netflix series.
In Attack the Block, aliens attack South London on Guy Fawkes Night. A lovable gang of teenagers are the only ones who recognize the attack is happening, and they can’t get anyone else to believe them, despite their best efforts. So they have to take matters into their own hands, defending their neighborhood from the outer space invaders.
In addition to Boyega’s incredible debut performance as gang leader Moses, Attack the Block excels through its evocative creature design, exciting set-pieces, and Cornish’s eye for action. —PV
Attack the Block is streaming on Hulu.
New on Prime Video
Genre: Sports drama
Run time: 2h 13m
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Ryan Coogler’s 2015 spinoff of the venerable Rocky film series ranks among the very best sports dramas of the 2010s. Michael B. Jordan stars in the career-defining role of Adonis Johnson, the long-lost scion of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, as he fights to prove himself worthy of his late father’s name and title. Relying on the help of his trainer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and the support of his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson), Adonis must look inward and find the strength to meet the current heavyweight boxing champion (Tony Bellew) in the ring for his shot at greatness. With impeccable performances, brilliant cinematography, a thunderous score, and a moving story of a surrogate father relationship and finding peace in one’s calling, Creed is a sports drama for the ages. —TE
Creed is streaming on Prime Video.