What We Watched in June 2022

Spiderhead – Netflix


Genre: Sci-Fi
Type: Feature Film
Notable Cast: Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth, Jurnee Smollett

Synopsis: In the near future, convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects to shorten their sentences. One such subject for a new drug capable of generating feelings of love begins questioning the reality of his emotions.

Spiderhead is an entertaining watch but overall leaves a lot to be desired. The premise is interesting and the way it’s conceptualized on screen is very cool and futuristic, but it lacks the substance and context that would make it a satisfying story. While many loose ends are tied up eventually but the beginning feels slow and the end feels a bit rushed. The adaptation of “Escape from Spiderhead” would have been better suited for a limited series so we can get all the meat and potatoes of this interesting concept. Regardless, Chris Hemsworth’s character is clearly the star of the show and an interesting role for him so it was fun to watch.

Rating: 3/5

Where to watch: Netflix

Under the Banner of Heaven – Hulu

Under the Banner of Heaven

Genre: Crime Drama
Type: Limited Series
Notable Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Denise Gough, Wyatt Russell

Synopsis: A devout detective’s faith is tested as he investigates a brutal murder seemingly connected to an esteemed Utah family’s spiral into LDS fundamentalism and their distrust in the government.

As the details of the murders become clear, Pyre embarks on an interstate manhunt, hoping to catch the killers before they complete their list of those to be “blood atoned”.

Under the Banner of Heaven is incredible. It was gripping and emotional from start to finish with just the right balance of true crime drama and religious extremism. Andrew Garfield plays the role so convincingly, that you won’t even connect Pyre w/ Peter Parker past the first episode. It’s a harrowing tale of the human experience and the hold religion has on people and communities. Definitely give this one a go.

Rating: 5/5

Where to watch: Hulu

The Staircase – HBO Max

The Staircase

Genre: Crime Drama / True Crime
Type: Limited Series
Notable Cast: Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sophie Turner

Synopsis: The Staircase tells the story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist accused of killing his wife Kathleen after she is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home, and the 16-year judicial battle that followed.

If you enjoy a true-crime limited series based on a true story this is the one for you. The Staircase tell the story in a nonlinear way – jumping between when Kathleen was alive and after her death, exploring her life, her family, and any possible motive. All we know about that night is that Kathleen didn’t survive it, and while what actually happened that night remains a mystery we experience this story from all angles. It explores family dynamics, secrets, and what happens when those are all brought to light after a tragedy.

The cast is impeccable and the storytelling is incredibly engaging and compelling. It feels so real, there was even an episode I had to turn off because it made me nearly physically sick.

Rating: 4/5

Where to watch: HBO Max

Encanto – Disney Plus


Genre: Family, Musical
Type: Animated Feature
Notable Cast: Stephanie Beatriz, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama, John Leguizamo

Synopsis: The magical family of the Madrigals are all blessed with a unique gift except for one child – Mirabel. The magic surrounding the family may be in danger and Mirabel may be the last hope.

Definitely mad at myself for not seeing this lovely film sooner. I adored the characters and their love for each other and passion for their community. I also loved how this movie taught audiences the importance of being yourself and that you are special and unique no matter what, you don’t need magical powers to save the day, and no matter the pressure that is put on you, you need to listen to your own wants and needs. Animation movies are such a wonderful outlet to portray important life messages for people of any age to watch and I love seeing all the fantastic places this medium can go!

Rating: 4/5

Where to watch: Disney+

The Summer I Turned Pretty – Amazon Prime

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Genre: Coming of Age, Romance
Type: Series
Notable Cast: Lola Tung, Gavin Casalegno, Christopher Briney

Synopsis: Based on a book series from 2010 by Jenny Haan, this series follows Belly and her brother and mom who every summer stay at her mom’s best friend’s beach house with her two sons. She starts to find herself caught in a love triangle between these two brothers and trying to listen and learn about herself in the process.

For anyone looking for a summer-y and fun coming of age story with lots of drama and romance, this is the show for you! I had never read the books but remember when all my friends were reading them and loving them so I decided to give the series a try and ended up binging it very quickly. The setting was so beautiful and nostalgic for a beach vacation and the characters were all flawed but enjoyable to see them grow and learn from difficult decisions. Throughout the show you follow the teens navigating their relationships but you also see their mothers dealing with relationships, whether that be with friends, partners or themselves. I think this is a special show that I am very happy to have watched and can’t wait for more seasons!

Rating: 4/5

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The Northman – Peacock

The Northman

Genre: Action, Adventure, Historic Drama
Type: Feature Film
Notable Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Björk, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe

Synopsis: Follows Prince Amleth who as a young boy sees his father get murdered and his mother get kidnapped by his uncle. He flees unseen and prepares for his revenge.

This was director Robert Eggers third feature film (director of The Witch and The Lighthouse) and I am officially a huge fan of his. I was anticipating this film for all the notable names attached but knew that historic action epics/Viking movies are not always my jam but even with that I still thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I felt it was fun to follow and visually so stunning. The actors were all incredible and I can not wait to see what Robert Eggers does next.

Rating: 4/5

Where to watch: Peacock

Fire Island – Hulu

Fire Island

Genre: Rom-Com
Type: Feature Film
Notable Cast: Joel Kim Booster, Conrad Ricamora, Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho

Synopsis: A group of queer best friends get together for their annual trip to Fire Island but when a sudden change of events occurs their summer of love turns out not how they expected.

This was such a wonderful time! I absolutely adored the found family aspect of this film and the tight and unbreakable bond these characters had with each other. This film has so much heart and will leave you smiling for days. The comedy was spot on and the romance was genuine and beautiful to watch. I recommend this fun and lovely queer rom-com very highly.

Rating: 4.5/5

Where to watch: Hulu