Streaming Roundup: June 2019

With July just beginning and the summer movie season already halfway over, there have been a ton of films released between both the big and small screens.  Here’s the rundown of a few new films released on streaming platforms in June.

AMAZON

Chasing Happiness

This documentary chronicles the Jonas Brothers’ rise to fame as one of the most popular pop groups in the country, their eventual break-up, and their recent reunion as they prepare to release their first album in six years.  A lot of the newly filmed conversations between the brothers come off as rather staged, but the interviews, home videos, and behind the scenes footage from their early days is both candid and interesting, and Nick, Joe, Kevin, and those close to them discuss how the band came to be, and how its success affected them personally.  It’s a movie that will delight longtime fans of the band, but that also details a rags to riches story that anyone can appreciate. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

NETFLIX

Murder Mystery

This comedy directed by Kyle Newacheck reunited Adam Sandler with Jennifer Aniston.  They play Nick and Audrey Spitz, a New York City cop and a hairdresser who, after fifteen years of marriage, go on a long-awaited honeymoon to Europe.  On the plane they meet Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans), a wealthy man who invites the couple to travel with him and his family on their yacht.  They accept, but when a member of the party is murdered, Nick and Audrey get caught up in an Agatha Christie-esque whodunit.  “Murder Mystery” combines comedy with a traditional yet twisty murder mystery that’s pretty fun, but starts to wear out toward the end.  Some of the jokes go on for too long, but Sandler and Aniston play off each other well enough to carry the film to its conclusion. 3 out of 5 stars.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story

This documentary that’s part real, part fantasy details Bob Dylan’s 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour, in which Dylan played in small, intimate spaces during what was a turbulent time in America.  Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film features beautifully restored footage from the tour, as well as interviews with Dylan and other participants (and some actors playing a role), but the movie blends fact and fiction in a way that forces the audience to question what is and isn’t real.  In this way, Scorsese is able to use reality as a basis to form his own narrative about Dylan, presenting him in a way that allows the viewer to learn more about him while also letting him remain an enigma.  The lack of distinction between fantasy and reality may rub some viewers the wrong way, and it definitely doesn’t work for all subjects—but there’s a playful spirit about Dylan himself that somehow makes this work. 4 out of 5 stars.

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