Violent, effects-driven action misfire is sluggish, dull.
“Gemini Man” is director Ang Lee’s sci-fi/action movie starring Will Smith as an assassin who comes face-to-face with a younger clone of himself. Violence is the biggest issue: There are guns and shooting, car chases and explosions, martial arts-type fighting, a character being slammed with a motorcycle, and secondary characters dying. One character asks another to strip so that he can search her for listening devices, but nothing graphic is shown. Language isn’t frequent but includes a use of “f---” and uses of “s---.” There’s some social drinking. Unfortunately, the half-baked screenplay and flat characters render the movie something of a sad misfire. (116 minutes)
So-so but diverse series about a fallen social media star.
“Team Kaylie” is a sitcom about Kaylie (Bryana Salaz), a social media influencer who begins leading a school wilderness group after she’s assigned to do community service. With its wish-fulfillment plot about tweens who get to know an online celebrity, the setup will appeal to young viewers, but this series does contain some iffy content. Characters are frequently rude to each other, particularly a group of wealthy kids from a rival school who call Kaylie’s Porcupines club things like “Porcupoops.” One character has a crush on a schoolmate and frequently makes romantic advances, which are rebuffed. However, characters are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, body type, class and gender presentation, and each show has a lesson like “don’t give up,” even if the lessons are muddied. Kaylie herself is painted as super-rich; we hear a lot about the luxury brands she likes: Mercedes, Manolo Blahnik. Some jokes are surprisingly mature: Kaylie says when she dies her mom plans to sell her cremains in necklaces; a principal says she sympathizes with students “as much as my pain medication will let me.” Scary scenes like one in which a character slips and almost falls down a mountain are played for laughs and given a light tone. (Five approximately half-hour episodes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
“Black-ish” spinoff has a uniquely wonderful take on race.
“Mixed-ish” is a spinoff from the “Black-ish” universe that looks back at Bow’s unusual adolescence. Mature content is at about the same level as in “Black-ish.” Expect jokes about substance abuse (one character says openly “I use cocaine”) and some insulting language: Two characters are frequently called “hippies,” while Bow and her siblings are called “weird” for being “mixed” (race). The show’s take on race is unique and sympathetic, with biracial kids adrift in a place in time where few kids were mixed race, and confused about what friends to make, how to dress, how to talk, etc. The family is supportive of each other, however, and there are sweet bonds between siblings and parents. One character is painted as an unapologetic racist and classist (“Yacht clubs are for people who arrived on top of ships,” he says at one point); another is critical of Bow’s parents’ biracial marriage and champions black culture at every opportunity. Bow is a thoughtful and brave adolescent girl, a terrific role model for kids, while her parents are caring, thoughtful and principled. Themes of integrity, empathy and compassion are illustrated by the show’s look at race and by the way characters provide one another with support and understanding. (30-minute episodes)
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC; also available via abc.com streaming.
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