Available at afisilver.afi.com.
Feel the Beat (TV-G)
Dancer learns kindness from her students; mild language.
“Feel the Beat” will appeal largely to young dancers. Sofia Carson from the “Descendants” movies stars as April, a selfish dance instructor who learns kindness and patience from her misfit students as she prepares them for a competition. Language is infrequent but includes “a--,” “butt,” “suck,” “wiener” and “crap.” “S---” appears in a song lyric (easily missed unless you’re using captions). Dance teams cheat by putting a 10-year-old in an 8-year-old-only category. A woman falls off a stage, and viewers later learn she broke her leg and wrist. Dance routines performed by young girls are sexualized; they twerk while wearing Vegas-inspired outfits. (109 minutes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
A Whisker Away (TV-PG)
Lovely coming-of-age anime explores identity, first crushes.
“A Whisker Away” is an anime fantasy in which a free-spirited girl nicknamed Muge (voiced by Mirai Shida) finds a way to transform into a cat to get to know her crush, Hinode (Natsuki Hanae), better. Muge’s transformation is accomplished by putting on an enchanted/cursed cat mask: It’s an obvious symbol for the “masks” Muge and Hinode wear in public as they try to hide inner depression and anxiety. While overhearing two boys saying mean things about Hinode, Muge jumps from a second-story walkway to confront them and falls through a tree, resulting in scratches and injuries. Muge and her stepmother get into a physical altercation that includes slaps and hair-pulling. Two bullies steal the love letter Muge has written for Hinode and read it aloud in class, resulting in deep humiliation for her. Others in class stand up to the bullies by knocking them over with a desk. When Muge’s body is taken over by her stepmother’s cat, Muge suggests to Hinode that they go back to her house where he can spend the night with her. Some drinking in a “cat bar,” where cats drink alcohol and lament their life decisions. A villain cat smokes a pipe. (104 minutes)
Available via Netflix streaming
Miss Juneteenth (Unrated)
Courage, humility, empathy in mother-daughter drama.
“Miss Juneteenth” is a drama about a former beauty queen named Turquoise (Nicole Beharie) who hopes that by enrolling her daughter (Alexis Chikaeze) in a local pageant, she can ensure her an easier life. Though pageants are a somewhat old-fashioned way for young women to seek approval and attention, “Miss Juneteenth” understands and celebrates both the symbolic importance of the Juneteenth holiday and the hopes and dreams of pageant participants. Turquoise’s looks are mentioned frequently, but it’s made clear that her most valuable asset is actually her genuine, supportive relationship with her daughter. Several characters smoke cigarettes, and Turquoise manages a bar; many adult characters drink to the point of sloppiness. In one scene, characters kiss passionately in bed before the camera cuts away, next showing them in the morning as they lie in bed in their underwear. A character works in a funeral home; two dead bodies are shown, looking as if asleep. A parent violently slaps an adult child; two men almost get in a fistfight over a woman. Language includes “f---,” “motherf---ing,” “s---,” “hell,” “damn” and the n-word (said affectionately by a black character). The meaning of Juneteenth is explained, and viewers will get a greater understanding of the holiday’s history and significance. Characters demonstrate courage, humility and empathy. (103 minutes)
Available via various streaming platforms, including themiracletheatre.com.
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