Available via DirecTV Cinema; additional streaming and on-demand platforms on June 19.
Military Wives (PG-13)
Charming dramedy has strong female leads, positive themes.
“Military Wives” is a British dramedy inspired by a true story about a group of women with spouses serving in Afghanistan who set up a choir to distract themselves from the stress of reality. It has strong female characters and positive themes about friendship, teamwork and camaraderie. And the main characters’ determination to become successful as a community choir shows a sense of self-fulfillment. But there’s also a sense of peril, and the theme of death is prominent throughout — each spouse can’t help anticipating that dreaded knock on the door to inform them of their partner’s passing. The characters discuss violence and sex, though the references are mild. Language isn’t frequent but can be strong, including use of “f---.” Alcohol is presented as a means of connecting strangers with one another. But it’s also used when the characters are feeling distressed, which could be perceived as a negative representation. On the one occasion viewers do see a character drunk — a teenage girl — she regrets her actions and feels quite sick when she gets back home. Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan co-star.
Available on various streaming platforms, including Hulu,
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend (TV-14)
Language, rude jokes in brilliant choose your own adventure.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend” is a feature-length interactive adventure that continues the story lines and characters from the comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (“30 Rock”). The interactivity comes in the form of pauses in the narrative when viewers are prompted to take a situation in one direction or another by making a selection with their mouse or trackpad. They can also make no choice and let the narrative proceed without digressions. As in the original “Kimmy,” Kimmy’s life has a dark backstory — she was kidnapped as a teen and held for 15 years by a cult leader, and this story continues. We don’t see any flashbacks to her imprisonment, but we do see a group of women screaming and banging on the windows of a van as they’re driven away (a story line which ultimately has a positive resolution). Despite this background, this feature is unfailingly positive and funny, with Kimmy and others demonstrating gratitude, perseverance and integrity in recovering from trauma and attempting to rescue others from their own traumatic experiences. Violence is infrequent, but there’s a scene in which one character holds another at gunpoint (viewers can choose to “splode” the character and have Kimmy shoot him with a flamethrower), and when another robs a bank at gunpoint. Both are played for laughs and aren’t tense or scary. There are plenty of sexual jokes, including one about Mary Poppins “shagging” the children she cared for, and someone is mockingly compared to a “glory hole.” Sexy visuals are confined to a silly kissing scene between Kimmy and her fiance, and a dream Titus has in which he’s horrified by a come-on from a beautiful (female) model. Adults drink socially, and Kimmy and Titus are unwittingly dosed with hallucinogenics, resulting in visions of laden buffet tables. Language is infrequent, but
“b----,” “s---,” “a--,” “dammit,” and four-letter-sound-alike words like “fudgin’ ” all make an appearance. Strong women anchor the cast, which is diverse in age, race, socioeconomic status, sexual identity, ethnicity and body type. (80 minutes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
Decent sci-fi action series explores class, has violence.
“Snowpiercer” is a sci-fi action series about the challenges of a group of people living on a futuristic high-speed train. Following the same premise as Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film but with new characters, the show focuses on the disparity between the privileged class living large at the train’s front and those struggling for life in the back. Expect frequent violence: One of the major story lines involves a group of people who attempt to violently overthrow the train’s hierarchy. Violent acts range from someone getting beat up to a riot with guns and knives. Deaths are shown, and there’s lots of blood. Profanity includes “f---,” “s---” and “damn,” and characters drink and use (fictional) recreational drugs. Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs co-star.
Available on TNT.
Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsensemedia.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.