The Marksman (PG-13)

Age 14+

Guns and violence in well-made but cliche-ridden thriller.

The Marksman” is an action/thriller starring Liam Neeson as a White man who agrees to transport an 11-year-old Mexican immigrant from Arizona to Chicago while pursued by members of a killer cartel. It’s well-made, but cliches in the story and the oversimplified representation of characters of color (as well as the White savior elements of the plot) eventually sink it. Expect to see lots of guns and shooting, bloody wounds, stabbing, fighting and animal corpses. A woman is shot and killed, and another is strangled. A dog is shot and killed off-screen. A boy is briefly in peril, and there’s dialogue about a woman dying of cancer. Language is strong but infrequent, with one use of “f---,” plus “s---,” “a--,” “hell,” etc. The main character drinks in a few scenes and seems to get sleepy-drunk, but there are no other consequences. (107 minutes)

In theaters.

Lena & Snowball (PG)

Streaming

Age 10+

Lonely tween protects cub in cute dramedy; bullying.

Lena & Snowball” is a family dramedy in which a tween girl named Lena (Melissa Collazo) finds a baby white lion cub named Snowball and tries to protect it from poachers. Lena is the frequent target of three tween bullies, who call her names such as “dork” and “freak,” knock over the wagon full of recyclables she wants to use for her artwork, and cyberbully her with a mass text. Two bumbling bounty hunters working for a greedy poacher invade Lena’s home to steal Snowball. They grab Lena, vandalize her artwork and then tie her up and leave her before they make their escape with Snowball. One of these bounty hunters takes on one of the tween bullies, holding him by the throat while simultaneously demanding information about the cub and lecturing the boy on why he needs to stop being a bully. A bodyguard draws his gun, and police draw their guns. Brief shot of wine drinking. Reference made to how two of the characters produce moonshine in the swamps.
(90 minutes)

Available on various streaming platforms.

Bridgerton (TV-MA)

Streaming

Age 16+

Sex, nudity, smoking in sumptuous, diverse period drama.

Bridgerton” is a soapy series set in Regency-era England based on the novels by Julia Quinn. It follows a cast of upper-crust characters involved in society dramas and dilemmas. In an unusual but welcome move for period dramas, the cast is diverse in race and ethnicity, with people of color represented in every stratum of society, from nobles to servants. Expect plenty of explicit sex scenes, including partial nudity (breasts, bottoms), implied masturbation and oral sex, multiple partners, suggestive movements/noises and passionate kissing by both same-sex and male-female couples. Sexual politics is also a complicating factor in the drama: Upper-class women are shamed for being alone with men and called “loose” or “ruined” as a result. Meanwhile, men have sexual affairs and mistresses and are called nothing worse than “rake.” One story line involves an unplanned pregnancy. Several characters smoke cigarettes and one uses snuff; characters also drink, sometimes to excess. Violence includes very physical boxing matches, characters hit each other violently during disagreements and duel (with guns). The characters are very wealthy, with expensive parties/dinners, elegant clothing, precious gems, huge estates and servants (who are universally loyal and enthusiastic about their jobs) ostentatiously on display. A character with a larger body type is insulted for her appearance; women are often laced into very tight corsets that leave bloody marks on their skin. Characters talk about marrying for love, but they also automatically consider anyone who’s rich or has a noble title to be more important. Cursing includes “b------” and “f---.” (Eight roughly hour-long episodes)

Available on Netflix.

Outside the Wire (R)

Streaming

Age 16+

Extremely violent sci-fi tale tackles war consequences

While “Outside the Wire” has some philosophical messages about war, you have to wade through a lot of violence to get to them. Battle scenes include shootouts, killings at short- and long-range, explosions, beatings and stabbings (by robots and soldiers). Some of the violence feels more like a video game, but other scenes involve people writhing in pain, rivals getting in tense standoffs or the discovery of mass-murdered dead bodies. The film also has frequent swearing in various contexts and includes “f---,” “s---,” “damn,” “Jesus Christ,” “son of a b----,” “a--holes,” “hell,” “butt” and “balls.” A couple of derogatory comments about a man’s fiancee being unfaithful to him is the extent of sexual content. The main character undergoes a transformation from efficient-but-unemotional soldier to heroic-and-selfless warrior.
(115 minutes)

Available on Netflix.

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