guardian film review peter bradshaw

What's New on Disney+ in June 2023

Marvel's secret invasion; avatar: the way of water; and a movie about flamin' hot cheetoes..

An image of Nick Fury wearing an eye patch and glaring into the camera, from Marvel's Secret Invasion

It’s been a rough 2023 for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania disappointing financially, critically, and in pretty much every other way , and even the long-delayed Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 opening to lower box office than its predecessor. But the franchise machine can hardly pause to reassess: The next MCU-adjacent TV series, Marvel Studios’   Secret Invasion , premieres June 21 on Disney+.

I have no idea what’s going on in this series, which seems to connect to a bunch of movies I haven’t seen and shows I haven’t watched; all I got from the trailer is that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is back and looking a bit worse for the wear, and that the MCU has ensnared another Oscar winner ( The Favourite ’s Olivia Coleman). If you’ve actually seen any of the stuff that came out after Avengers: Endgame , you probably understand the context a lot better than I do. Enjoy, hopefully.

If, like me, you’ve fallen woefully behind on the MCU, you can at least look forward to the streaming premiere of Avatar: The Way of Water (June 7). Say what you will about James Cameron’s perfectionism, but with more than a decade between the first film and its sequel, I had no problem keeping up.

Also coming this month for some reason: Flamin’ Hot (June 9), a movie about the inventor who came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetoes ( except maybe he actually didn’t ), directed by Eva Longoria.

Corporate biopics are so hot right now .

Here’s everything else coming to Disney+ in June.

Disney Plus series with new episodes premiering weekly in June 2023

  • Marvel: Secret Invasion (series premiere June 21)

Movies and complete series/seasons coming to Disney Plus in June 2023

Arriving June 2

  • Pride From Above

Arriving June 7

  • America’s National Parks (S2)
  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • First Alaskans (S2)

Arriving June 9

  • Flamin’ Hot — Disney+ Originals film premiere
  • Hailey’s on It! (S1, 6 episodes)

Arriving June 14

  • Assembled: The Making of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — Disney+ Originals documentary premiere
  • Last of the Giants: Wild Fish (S2)
  • Miraculous Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (S5, 5 episodes)
  • Pupstruction (S1, 8 episodes)
  • Raven’s Home (S6, 4 episodes)

Arriving June 16

  • Pretty Freekin Scary (S1, 7 episodes)
  • The Villains of Valley View (S2, 5 episodes)
  • Stan Lee — Disney+ Originals documentary premiere

Arriving June 21

  • Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper (S1)
  • Minnie’s Bow-Toons: Camp Minnie (S1, 9 episodes)

Arriving June 23

  • World’s Best — Disney+ Originals film premiere

Arriving June 28

  • Alice’s Wonderland Bakery (S2, 7 episodes)
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee (S2, 5 episodes)
  • Home Improvement (S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8)
  • Home in the Wild (S1)
  • Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian – The Making of Season 3 — Disney+ Originals documentary premiere
  • Week-End Family — Disney+ Originals season 2 premiere
  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

The Past review – 'Its severity and cerebral force are beyond question'

Asghar Farhadi's complex, intricate drama is a tragedy of good intentions and bad beginnings and wrong decisions that seemed right at the time. Farhadi shows the desperation and anger involved in trying to annul incorrect life choices and defy the past. A brilliant opening vignette shows two people pranging their car while reversing. They are looking back, but failing to see the danger.

The Past is a film that announces this director's arrival in the rank of those film-makers like Kiarostami, Haneke and PT Anderson, directors who are intent on the unfashionable business of making morally serious films for adults. Very often, a certain type of movie is praised for being "immersive", for providing the longed-for sensual pleasure of pure cinema. Farhadi's kind of film is quite different, but just as valuable. You are not immersed; on the contrary, you are challenged, alienated, compelled to pay fierce attention to every line, every cutaway, every scene change, and then to question what you think you have learned. Having watched and rewatched The Past , I wonder if it is a little contrived, but its severity and cerebral force are beyond question, a pressure cooker of passion and anguish. Just as in his film A Separation, it is the agony of splitting that reveals the truth of a relationship most clearly; literally an analysis, a taking-apart.

This is a loss-of-love triangle. Bérénice Bejo plays Marie, a woman who works in a Paris pharmacy; Tahar Rahim plays Samir, who owns the dry cleaner just a few doors away. They have fallen in love, and Samir is now moving in to Marie's place, but such is the difficulty and pain of their situation that these characters never so much as smile at each other throughout the film.

Both are encumbered. Marie has been married twice, with two daughters from her first marriage; her current husband is Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) who deserted her and fled to his native Iran following a breakdown four years ago. Now he is returning to sign the divorce papers, to get closure, and simply to bid their shared past a civilised farewell.

Samir is married, too, with a little boy, but his situation is even more difficult: his wife is in hospital, in a coma. And Marie is saving up some news for Ahmad that he is not going to like.

Everywhere in this film there are crosscurrents of unspoken reproach, guilt and fear. From the very first, Ahmad resents the fact that Marie has not booked him a hotel, forcing him to stay at her messy and overcrowded place, and she has moreover chosen this moment to redecorate. (As in Farhadi's 2006 film Fireworks Wednesday, redecoration is a symptom of dysfunction.) Is it hate or love? Does she want him there to rub his nose in her new relationship and his desertion, or does she subconsciously wish to see him as the paterfamilias just once more, to measure Samir up against Ahmad? There is a brilliant moment when Ahmad is on the kitchen floor fixing a mucky, blocked sink just as Samir arrives to meet him. Excruciatingly, Ahmad smilingly declines to shake his hand, because his is too dirty – doing real man's work.

Marie gives Ahmad a more important job, a domestic task that instantly fills him with resentment and yet self-satisfaction that it is something important for which only he is competent. He must speak to Marie's elder daughter, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), and talk her out of her new, stroppy attitude and late nights. In discharging this new quasi-paternal responsibility, Ahmad stirs up even more of the destructive past and uncovers baffling layers of guilt and resentment.

Adroitly, incrementally, Farhadi's drama discloses the various solutions to the question of Samir's wife, and with each possibility, we bark our shins on the sheer frustration of not really knowing. Samir himself is worried by scratch-marks on his wife's stomach: could she have made them herself, and therefore be capable of entering into a semi-conscious state? The doctors are not sure, telling him only that new tests expose more "room for doubt". Farhadi's whole dramatic procedure is founded on exploring this room for doubt. The only alternative to doubt is to cut your losses and move on: a number of characters here advise each other to forget, to break the past's terrible grip. But it is not so easy. Forgetting the past means losing much of the present and much of oneself.

Sombre and difficult this movie may be, but it is exhilarating to watch something that makes you come out of the cinema not sated or torpid, but wanting to talk – to talk about what the film meant, and meant to you personally. It's a rare pleasure.

  • Peter Bradshaw's film of the week
  • Drama films
  • World cinema
  • Asghar Farhadi

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