Based on “Brazen Virtue,” a 1988 book by best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts, “Brazen” tells the story of Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano), a successful mystery novelist who becomes involved in the investigation of her sister Kathleen’s murder — and romantically entangled with the hunky D.C. police detective assigned to the case (Sam Page, who comes across as a low-rent version of Dan Stevens). The story, which boasts a bunch of juicy suspects (a couple of whom are students of Kathleen, a high school teacher) and a scandalous secret about the victim’s hidden life as a Web-video dominatrix, is as pulpy as a tall glass of Tropicana. But Milano — whose casting created a tempest in a teapot after some “Brazen Virtue” fans objected to the actress’s prominent liberal activism — makes for an appealing and strong heroine, one whose expertise as a crime writer makes her a pretty good detective, even if the film feels, at times, like something you might find on the Lifetime channel. TV-14. Available on Netflix. Contains violence and some sensuality. 96 minutes.

— Michael O'Sullivan

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Sex Appeal” is a teen sex comedy about a sexually naive, MIT-bound high-schooler (Mika Abdalla) whose long-distance boyfriend (Mason Versaw) wants to take their relationship to the next level. According to Paste magazine, the film’s setup may be reminiscent of such earlier films as “American Pie,” “Superbad” and “Easy A,” but it’s redeemed by an appealing protagonist “who approaches losing her virginity like coding Java.” By the film’s third act, however, “it is so uncomfortably contorted in an effort to neatly package itself into a preestablished framework that it squanders that potential.”
TV-MA. Available on Hulu.
90 minutes.

The erotic thriller “Shattered” stars Cameron Monaghan as a recently divorced tech millionaire who falls for a sexy former model (Lilly Krug), whom he meets in a grocery store — and who quickly becomes his nurse after he is injured. Flickering Myth calls the film, which also features appearances by John Malkovich and Frank Grillo, sometimes entertaining “schlock.” R. Available on demand. Contains violence, bloody images, sexuality, nudity and strong language throughout.
92 minutes.

Base on a true story, the Virginia-set thriller “The Surprise Visit” centers on Juliette (Serah Henesey), a woman who shows up unannounced on her wealthy mother’s doorstep, only to learn from the gardener, Hugh (Eric Roberts), that Mom has left town — a fact that Hugh’s sketchy son (Rob Riordan) and daughter-in-law (Jacqi Vene), both junkies, decide to take advantage of by robbing the place. Film Threat cites the “spectacular” location cinematography, and straightforward plot, which culminates in a “climactic and deadly game of hide-and-seek.” Unrated. Available on demand. 86 minutes.