Violent thriller has great performances, lackluster plot.
“Don’t Let Go” is a thriller with sci-fi elements about a teenage girl named Ashley (Storm Reid) and her uncle Jack (David Oyelowo), who somehow gain the ability to talk to each other during different moments in time after she and her parents are mysteriously murdered. Expect violence and death, with multiple views of the same awful incident unfolding in real time, as well as a gory crime scene and graphic photos. Blood spatters and pools, and there’s gore on the back of one character’s head after he’s been shot. Characters are also shot on-screen (the camera usually but doesn’t always cut away at the moment of impact), including a teen girl who cowers, terrified, in her bedroom before being killed. Viewers see her dead body, but her face is usually obscured, and there’s no gore. Drugs are an element of the plot, though no one is shown using them; characters do drink in times of stress, and one is said to have a drinking/drug problem. Language isn’t frequent but includes “f---,” “s---,” “a--hole” and more. A black family anchors this drama, and a black teen girl is the heroine, which is relatively rare for thrillers. Ashley is a strong, brave character, as is Jack, and they demonstrate great teamwork, but we don’t get to know much about their lives before or after the movie’s events, nor are other characters fleshed out. (103 minutes)
Basketball or Nothing (TV-PG)
Captivating docuseries inspires, challenges stereotypes.
“Basketball or Nothing” is a captivating docuseries about a Navajo Nation high school basketball team whose players, coaching staff and fans have their sights set on the Arizona state title. The show follows the team through the ups and downs of regular season games and the adjustment to a new coach’s more traditional style of play. Some exchanges get heated when stakes are high, but there’s no strong language in the coach’s stern and honest criticisms of his players. In addition to the drama on the hardwood, the series offers a revealing look at life on the Navajo Nation reservation, where depressed socioeconomics, suicide rates, substance abuse and other harsh realities challenge the players to remain focused on the team’s goals and their means of future success. That said, in many cases the teens inspire with their determination, perseverance and openness to the influence of strong role models in the form of their coaches and family members. (Six half-hour episodes)
Available via streaming on Netflix.
Wayans plays many roles in raunchy slapstick comedy.
“Sextuplets” is a bawdy comedy that stars Marlon Wayans as seven characters: six sextuplets (male and female), as well as a “surprise” character at the end. It’s a noisy, fast-paced movie with lots of slapstick action — falls, chases, an abduction, fights, tasers, a gun threat — ridiculous situations and all-out, over-the-top performances. Many of the characters will probably strike viewers as stereotypical and/or offensive, and they’re purposefully crude: a blubbery dolt with a cereal obsession; a tough-talking, take-no-prisoners exotic dancer; a tiny invalid in desperate need of a kidney; and a gold-toothed con artist, among others. Expect jokes about sex, drugs, farting and race, along with tons of profanity: “f---,” “slut,” “hos,” “s---,” “testicles” and more. A sexually aggressive employer harasses an employee. Characters drink, sometimes to excess and there are drug references and fat-shaming. (99 minutes)
Available via streaming on Netflix.
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