What’s new to VOD and streaming this weekend: June 11-13

Everything new to VOD and streaming for the weekend of June 11, including In The Heights, Marvel's Loki and a lost George A. Romero nightmare


Here’s everything new to VOD and streaming for the weekend of June 11, plus our critics’ reviews of the buzziest new movies and TV shows.

In The Heights

(Jon M. Chu)

In The Heights is so joyous, vibrant and visually wondrous that it mostly gets away with having next to no plot. The adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout musical is a loving bachata and hip-hop swan song to the Latinx community in Washington Heights, who are largely Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans. The movie is overloaded with a winning cast and knockout musical numbers, all celebrating the culture in a community feeling the strain of gentrification. A win for some of these characters is their ability to find themselves in the exact same place, from beginning to end, which is also what makes the movie so dramatically inert. The main conflicts involve characters watching clocks or calendars, wondering how much longer they’ll continue living or working in the neighbourhood, which can be rather trying when the movie itself is two-and-a-half hours long. But we’ll be cherry-picking our fave numbers, all amplified by Chu’s visual bravado, and playing them on a loop all summer. The standout set pieces include a pool party eruption of 96,000, the rousing, comic and melancholic celebration in Carnaval Del Barrio and the jaw-dropping table-setter, In The Heights. Full review here. 143 min. Available Friday (June 11) as a premium VOD rental on all digital platforms. NNN (Radheyan Simonpillai)

People skateboarding through New York City in Betty season 2
Courtesy of Bell Media

Betty (season 2)

Of all the “edgy” Gen Z dramas on HBO, Crystal Moselle’s reboot of her dreamy feature film Skate Kitchen is the furthest from pretentious. Season 2 finds the crew of skateboarders played by Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell and Rachelle Vinberg attempting to square more adult financial and relationship pressures with the never-ending quest for good times during what appears to be a break in New York City’s more restrictive pandemic rules. (The chin mask is ubiquitous.) This time around, the drama is even more character-driven and refreshingly digressive than in season 1. Betty plugs into zeitgeisty relationship conversations – such as polyamory or the idea that men are afraid to aggressively pursue women post-MeToo – in ways that are funny and finely observed. This time around, Moselle finds an even better balance between her signature moments of observational beauty, sly social commentary and the demands of TV storytelling. Six episodes, begins airing Friday (June 11) on Crave. NNNN (Kevin Ritchie)

An image of the cast of We Are Lady Parts
Photo by Laura Radford for Channel 4/Peacock

We Are Lady Parts

(Nida Manzoor)

Showcase’s newest import is a lot of things: exhilarating, witty, funny, scabrous, pointed, sadly relevant and absolutely necessary. It’s entertaining as hell, with a lively cast and a vivid, cinematic style. It’s also a show about Muslim women in London, England – specifically, a quintet of 20somethings  (Anjana Vasan, Sarah Kameela Impey, Faith Omole, Juliette Motamed, Lucie Shorthouse) trying to launch a punk band – which means that any coverage of it this week has to acknowledge the climate into which it arrives, just days after a horrific truck attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario. But maybe it’s exactly the right time for a comedy that sees these characters as individuals who exist within a larger culture, and represent no one but themselves. The genius of writer/producer/director Manzoor’s show is that it doesn’t attempt to speak for all Muslims any more than it wants to speak for all women, or all Londoners. It’s a comedy about talented people trying to get on the same page, and if you can’t connect to that, I don’t know why you’re watching television. Read NOW’s full review. New episodes Wednesdays at 9 pm and 9:35 pm on Showcase, and streaming on the Global TV app. NNNNN (NW)

The Amusement Park

(George A. Romero)

Commissioned in 1973 as an advocacy project by the Lutheran Services Society of Western Pennsylvania – with the expectation that it would air on television – The Amusement Park was instead shelved by its producers and lost for almost half a century, only to be rediscovered after Romero’s death. Newly restored and remastered, it premieres on Shudder this week – and it’s going to confound a lot of people. While it’s certainly disturbing, The Amusement Park isn’t a horror movie in any conventional sense: it’s a heavy-handed allegory about a senior citizen (Lincoln Maazel) whose trip to a bustling fun fair becomes a nightmare of alienation, confusion and abuse. Its pace is measured rather than frantic, drawing on the same quasi-documentary approach that makes Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead so subtly unsettling. If you’re looking for shocks, you won’t find them here, though the director’s fans will certainly recognize the fascination with institutional failure and human frailty that runs through his best work. And as such, The Amusement Park is as essential to understanding Romero’s evolution as Martin or Dawn Of The Dead. 52 min. Now streaming on Shudder Canada. NNNN (Norman Wilner)

Loki

(Michael Waldron)

On its face, the premise of Marvel’s latest limited series is awfully complicated, relying on branching timelines, alternate versions of beloved characters and introducing a whole new layer of reality to the cinematic universe. But the only thing that really matters is that Tom Hiddleston’s trickster god Loki, who was killed in the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War, is alive and well and at the centre of his own show, working with the Time Variance Authority (never mind) to protect the “sacred timeline” (never mind) from an even worse threat. Writer/producer Waldron and director Kate Herron have created the sci-fi version of The Blacklist or Hannibal, with (time) cops recruiting a master criminal. And once that simple trajectory is established, everything else snaps into place and we can just sit back and enjoy the ride, appreciate the amazingly on-point 70s production design and a supporting cast that includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Eugene Cordero, Sasha Lane and the voice of Pretty Hard Cases’ Tara Strong. If nothing else, it’s a pleasure to see Hiddleston annoying each and every one of them. New episodes every Wednesday on Disney+. NNNN (NW)

Available on VOD

Akilla’s Escape

Saul Williams, Thamela Mpumlwana, Ronnie Rowe Jr.; directed by Charles Officer

Read NOW’s TIFF review

digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Dare

Bart Edwards, Richard Blake, Richard Short; directed by Giles Anderson

Apple TV, Cineplex, Google Play

Holler

Pamela Adlon, Jessica Bardem, Austin Amelio; directed by Nicole Riegel

IFC Films Unlimited on Amazon Prime Video Canada, Apple TV 

In The Heights

Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Lin-Manuel Miranda; directed by Jon M. Chu

Apple TV, Cineplex, Google Play

Kate Nash: Underestimate The Girl

Documentary directed by Amy Goldstein

Apple TV, Google Play

The Lovebirds: Unrated Cut

Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Paul Sparksbursui; directed by Michael Showalter

Read NOW’s review of the original version

Apple TV, Cineplex, Google Play

New Order

Nalan González Norvind, Fernando Cuautle, Diego Boneta; directed by Michel Franco

Read NOW’s TIFF review

Apple TV, Google Play

Nomadland

Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Swankie; directed by Chloe Zhao

Read NOW’s TIFF review

Apple TV, Cineplex, Google Play

A Perfect Enemy

Tomasz Kot, Marta Nieto, Dominique Pinon; directed by Kike Maíllo

Apple TV, Google Play

To The Ends Of The Earth

Atsuko Maeda, Shota Sometani, Tokio Emoto; directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Apple TV, Google Play

Streaming guides

Everything coming to streaming platforms this month:

Netflix Canada

Crave

Amazon Prime Video Canada

Disney+

CBC Gem

@nowtoronto

Brand Voices

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