Summer continues to heat up, and so do the movies leaving streaming at the end of each month. There are plenty of great films leaving Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and others at the end of June or start of July, and we’ve picked out a few standouts for you to enjoy at home.
David Lynch’s psychological neo-noir thriller ranks among the director’s very best films, featuring iconic performances courtesy of frequent Lynch collaborators Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern, a terrifying turn for Dennis Hopper as the villainous Frank Booth, and a heart-wrenchingly memorable performance by Isabella Rossellini as the troubled lounge singer Dorothy Vallens. Surreal, sensuous, thoroughly captivating, and frequently disturbing, Blue Velvet is Lynch in his prime. —Toussaint Egan
Blue Velvet leaves the Criterion Channel June 30.
Todd Haynes’ (Carol, Safe) legal thriller was one of the best movies of 2019, dramatizing an incredible story of an attorney who uncovers corruption from a chemical company and fights for the citizens of the town the company contaminated.
Mark Ruffalo, who also produced the movie, stars as the lawyer Robert Bilott and gives a passionate performance as a man up against the system. Haynes brings life to the story through his attention to detail, especially the tactile way in which he depicts Bilott’s work — in a storage room surrounded by boxes and papers on all sides, digging through hoping to find anything helpful among the seemingly miles of data. The cast also includes some of the real people who were impacted by the events depicted in the film. —Pete Volk
Dark Waters leaves Peacock June 30.
An all-time classic for a reason, The Exorcist is just as terrifying now as when it caused a mild national panic on release in 1973. When a young girl (Linda Blair) starts behaving very strangely, her mother tries anything and everything to get her help, leading to… well, you know the title of the film. The realism of a mother’s desire to keep her daughter safe in an uncontrollable world set against a supernatural conflict pulls you right in from the very beginning, and keeps its hold on you far beyond the end of its two-hour run time. —PV
The Exorcist leaves Netflix July 1.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
The best Halloween movie since the original, Season of the Witch is a delightfully demented entry that has almost nothing to do with the original series. There’s no Michael Myers (the only entry in the franchise not to feature him), and the slasher elements from the rest of the series are discarded for a more supernatural, witchcraft-based approach.
It absolutely rules, and it’s been delightful to see this movie get some critical reappraisal decades later. Tom Atkins (The Fog) stars as a troubled doctor who investigates a series of mysterious deaths that seem to be tied to a company that makes Halloween masks. Placing this particular company in the position of antagonist allows Season of the Witch to interrogate how products are marketed to children, culminating in a mind-melting conclusion. —PV
Halloween III: Season of the Witch leaves Peacock June 30.
The sci-fi romantic drama Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, an introvert who falls in love with an artificial intelligence operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Set in an uncanny future only partially removed from our present, Spike Jonze’s cinematic ode to the intersecting forces of love and technology is a humorous and affecting experience whose poignant clarity will stick with you long after it’s over. —TE
Her leaves Netflix July 1.
How Green Was My Valley
I recently mentioned this in our list of some of our favorite labor movies, so I’ll keep it brief. How Green Was My Valley may be the finest film of one of our finest filmmakers, John Ford, who delivered a moving depiction of humanity in struggle and triumph for the ages. This movie is also the answer to the trivia question “What beat Citizen Kane for Best Picture?” And let me tell you, dear reader: No mistakes were made that day. —PV
How Green Was My Valley leaves the Criterion Channel June 30.
How to Train Your Dragon
The entire How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is rock solid from front to back, but there is something particularly special about the first one. The epic fantasy series follows a group of Vikings, who, in the first movie, are locked in constant battle with dragons. Misfit Hiccup finds a wounded dragon and, instead of killing it, begins to train the spunky creature and bonds deeply with it. It’s a story of outcasts finding each other and proving generational prejudices wrong against all odds. The soundtrack is phenomenal, the story a perfect blend of funny and heartwarming, and the character designs are amazing — especially the dragons. Dreamworks could have made these creatures look the same as every other dragon out there, but they’re all so distinct and fun to see in action. Of course, Toothless is still the best boy of them all. —Petrana Radulovic
How to Train Your Dragon leaves Netflix July 1.
Knight and Day
A rollicking fun time with two irrepressible movie stars, Knight and Day is an “odd couple” comedy about a woman (Cameron Diaz) who makes a friend on a flight (Tom Cruise), only to discover he is a secret agent (and, of course, get mixed up in his adventures). Directed by James Mangold (Logan, Ford v Ferrari), Knight and Day is a fun action-comedy that leans heavily on its stars’ copious charisma. It has since been remade in India as the Hindi-language Bang Bang!, starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif. —PV
Knight and Day leaves Peacock June 30.
Paths of Glory
This early Stanley Kubrick picture is one of the most moving anti-war films ever made, anchored by Kubrick’s evocative camerawork and unforgettable performances by Kirk Douglas and the rest of the cast. Douglas plays Colonel Dax, a French commanding officer in World War I who refuses orders from his superiors to launch an attack that would surely lead to the decimation of his entire unit. After his refusal, Dax and a select few soldiers are put on trial for treason. Dax, who was a criminal defense lawyer before the war, must defend their lives in front of a panel of his seemingly apathetic superiors. —PV
Paths of Glory leaves Prime Video June 30.
Maureen (Kristen Stewart) works as the personal shopper for a supermodel, trying on (and occasionally buying) clothes, shoes, and jewelry for someone who is not herself. Maureen is also desperately hoping to hear from her late twin brother, Lewis. The two siblings, both spiritual mediums, made a pact that whoever died first would send a signal to the other from the afterlife. After Maureen receives a mysterious series of text messages that she believes (or hopes?) are from Lewis, her twin lives intersect into a beautiful, haunting ghost story. The second collaboration between Stewart and director Olivier Assayas after Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper won Assayas the award for Best Director at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and for good reason. —PV
Personal Shopper leaves Hulu June 30.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy
The original Spider-Man trilogy is held together by a terrific cast, its strong moral arc, Raimi’s horror sensibilities, and sure, a dash of nostalgia. For my money, it remains the pinnacle of live-action superhero cinema, and you should grasp the opportunity to revisit them before they leave streaming.
And yes, I am including the third movie in here. I know; it’s not nearly as strong as the first two, but I encourage you to give it another shot! Spider-Man 3 is actually a pretty interesting character study of Peter Parker as a shitty boyfriend who has let the events of the first two movies go to his head (and that oft-memed sequence of Emo Peter is Hilarious, Actually). Just, uh, don’t worry about all the Venom stuff in the third act (or better yet, the entire third act). —PV
Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy leaves Peacock June 30.
The Social Network
One of the finest movies of the 21st century leaves Netflix at the start of July, so if you’ve never seen David Fincher’s masterful story of the dawn of Facebook, there’s no better time than the present. Aided by a strong script from Aaron Sorkin, Fincher pulls this whole thing together into a delicate portrait of people who think they’re smarter than you (and know they’re richer). —PV
The Social Network leaves Netflix July 2.
Filmed entirely with iPhone cameras, Sean Baker’s 2015 comedy-drama Tangerine follows Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor), two trans sex workers who set out to find Chester (James Ransone), Sin-Dee’s boyfriend/pimp, and get to the bottom of a salacious rumor that he cheated on her while she was serving a 28-day stint in prison. Set during Christmas Eve and filmed entirely on the streets of Los Angeles, Tangerine is a raw, uproariously surprising, touching, heartbreaking, and thoroughly engrossing experience that offers an affecting glimpse into the emotional trials and tribulations of sex work while constructing a portrait of Los Angeles in all its many-splendored chaos. —TE
Tangerine leaves Netflix July 1.
James Caan (The Godfather) stars in Michael Mann’s 1981 neo-noir crime thriller Thief as Frank, an ace safe cracker and ex-convict who wants to leave his life as a career criminal behind and start a family. Unfortunately, that all goes out the window when Frank is swindled out of his share of a major diamond heist by a rival criminal organization, forcing him to take on one last job. As Frank inches ever closer to realizing his lofty vision of the American Dream, he’ll have to contend with shady partners and opportunistic mobsters in order to make it out alive. Thief would be the solitary crown jewel in any other director’s career. In Mann’s, the film is a masterful debut and precursor to an exceptional career of genre-defining crime thrillers. With an inimitably cool lead performance by Caan, dazzling nighttime cinematography of 1980s Chicago by Donald Thorin, and a stunning score courtesy of Tangerine Dream, Thief is electrifying film and an absolute must-see. —TE
Thief leaves Prime Video June 29.
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