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All Saints

Thank you Affirm Films for sending us this DVD to review!

All Saints tells the true story about the recently ordained pastor, Michael Spurlock, who takes over a church slated for closing in a few weeks. Michael used to be a corporate salesperson and he has a history of clashing with his bosses. After getting to know the twelve church members, he realizes that the All Saints church is a big part of their lives and closing it down may hurt them spiritually. On top of that, some Karen refugee farmers have started attending and their growing numbers quickly fill up the pews in the chapel.

Michael must again clash heads with those in authority over him as he refuses to cooperate with the building appraisers. To keep the church afloat, Michael proposes that they use the land for farming and the expertise of the refugees for maintaining it. The diocese reluctantly agrees to keep the church off of the market until after the first harvest.

The church members work together to plant and tend the fields. Farming is hard work and requires a lot of time and water and both of them are in short supply. Friendships, marriages, and people’s faith are tested and strained throughout this journey. I’ll leave the rest of the details for you to watch in this 108 minute film.

The credits show some neat pictures and stories of actual All Saints church members. It’s also great to see that some of them are in the film. This movie is rated PG and shows a bit of blood and violence. Most of the movie is family friendly and I recommend checking it out. The Blu-ray is available for less than $20 and the DVD is $16.99 on Amazon.

 

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Happy Holidays Garfield

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Growing up I enjoyed reading Garfield comics and watching the cartoons. This fifty-minute DVD comes with the Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes; the picture quality and 4:3 resolution tells me that not much has changed since they first aired. My kids enjoyed watching Happy Holidays, Garfield as they too love his comics.

Here’s a quick synopsis of each episode:

According to Garfield, Thanksgiving is about celebrating food and the more you eat the more grateful you’ll feel. Unfortunately, the vet put Garfield on a diet and Jon assigned Odie to keep him on task. While at Garfield’s check-up, Jon manages to get the vet to come over for a Thanksgiving dinner date. The problem is that Jon can’t cook and has a knack for talking his date to sleep. Fortunately, Jon’s grandmother saves the meal and Jon’s date. I was happy to see them take a moment of silence before the meal.

In the next cartoon Garfield is dreaming about Christmas and imagines Jon dressed as an elf and receives lots and lots of presents because that’s what Christmas is all about. When Garfield wakes up he finds out that instead of eating all the lasagna he wants, he has to go to Jon’s family farm. The family gets to enjoy a nice meal and Jon’s brother says grace before they eat. Jon’s grandmother gives Odie and Garfield some table scraps. After dinner, the family decorates the Christmas tree and enlists Garfield to put the star on top of it. While Jesus isn’t mentioned as the reason for Christmas, in the end Garfield acknowledges that Christmas is about loving more than giving or getting.

Both episodes are funny and enjoyable. This DVD is available on Amazon for less than $5 and I recommend it for any fan of the classic Garfield cartoons and comics.

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New Life

Thank you MPRM Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

New Life is a touching movie that begins with a seven-year-old Benjamin as he moves to the U.S. and meets Ava, the girl next door.  Their childhood friendship develops into an adolescent romance and things get rocky in the college years as they attempt a semi-distant relationship.   While they’re only a couple of hours apart, they barely get to see each other with Benjamin juggling two jobs.   

Ava begins her teaching career and gets a sweet marriage proposal from Ben and accepts it.  It doesn’t take long for Ben to get lost in his work again and this puts a strain on their marriage.  Things also get more difficult for this couple, but I don’t want to spoil it.  All that I will say is that this is an inspiring movie about love, family, faith, and perseverance.  Even though life gives us challenges, God provides family and friends to help us cope through our struggles.  

Although this movie isn’t overtly Christian, there are some references to prayer.  Also, while pregnancy is a topic, this film leaves the conception part to your imagination.   There isn’t any language, but before showing this to younger children, be warned that there are scenes involving sickness and death.

Story wise this film is good and the acting is well done.  I was nearly brought to tears in some scenes.  If  you’re looking for a cheerful movie, then you may want to look elsewhere.  However, if you want to see love story that brings hope in the midst of despair, thenn I recommend watching this film.   You can own the DVD for less than $13.  Unfortunately, I don’t see a Blu-ray version available.   Even in the inferior DVD format, it’s worth picking up!


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The Gruffalo’s Child

Thank you JGPR for sending us this DVD to review!

After the resounding success of The Gruffalo, the author, Julia Donaldson released The Gruffalo’s Child in 2004. The Gruffalo’s Child was one of the biggest best-sellers of 2004 and won WHS Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Like the prequel, this children’s storybook has a 5-star rating on Amazon and a DVD based on it.

As spontaneous as the gruffalo came into existence, his daughter followed suit. Still being convinced that all the animals in the forest fear the mouse, he instructs his daughter to not go into the “deep dark wood” to avoid running into “the big bad mouse”. Because children are known to be curious, the young gruffalo defies her father’s orders and sneaks out in the middle of the night to see the mouse with her own eyes.

Along the way, she runs into the same snake, fox, and owl who have been out-witted by the mouse before. They gladly tell her the way to the mouse’s home since they believe that it enjoys feasting on gruffalos. The young gruffalo does indeed meet the mouse and joins the other creatures in being out-witted by him.

I’ll leave out the specifics since this thirty minute movie is worth experiencing first hand. While deception and lying is encouraged in this tale, there is a lesson taught about trusting and obeying your parents since they know what’s best for you.

The Gruffalo’s Child can be rented on Amazon for $3.99 or owned for a dollar more. It’s well worth picking up if you enjoyed the prequel. The best bargain is a double feature DVD that includes both movies and typically sells for less than $6.50.

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Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season DVD Set

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this DVD set to review!

Following the cliffhanger ending from the Power Rangers Megaforce DVD Collection, the Super Megaforce season resumes with the Earth in peril from an enormous alien fleet invading it.  The Power Rangers have exhausted all of their options and need a way to drive back the invaders.  In this series they learn to harness the powers of the legendary Power Rangers from the past. 

Fans of previous seasons will recognize the costumes and abilities used in this season.  I feel old knowing that this series has been running for twenty years now.  Some of the abilities used are from the following shows:

  • Mighty Morphin
  • Zeo
  • Turbo
  • Lost Galaxy
  • Lightspeed
  • Time Force
  • Jungle Fury
  • Ninja Storm
  • Dino Thunder
  • Mystic Force

Some of the cast members of the older series reprise their roles in the movie, The Legendary Battle, which is on the fifth DVD in this set.  The interviews of the cast in the extras are worth watching too.  My son enjoyed all of the discs and is looking forward to the feature film coming out this spring.  Unlike the show, the upcoming movie looks to have some decent special effects!

The characters and actors remain the same from the previous season and their friendships continue to grow and get tested as they face challenge after challenge.  Even on their day off, the Power Rangers get summoned to save the world yet again.  There are some good lessons including valuing and trusting your friends even when they are not in agreement with you.  There are some losses that the Power Rangers have to endure and even though some of their team may disappear, they are not completely gone or forgotten.  

Aside from the fighting, the only other moral concern is that the Power Rangers get “in tune” with their spirit animal to harness the power of the Jungle Fury rangers.  The good outweighs the negative in this series and I can see why this show has kept on going over the years.  For less than $10 you can own and enjoy this series which is mostly complete with the exception of a couple of holiday episodes.

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Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season

 

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this DVD set to review!

This is the first time my kids have watched Power Rangers and they enjoyed this series.  My son more so than my daughters, though they related with the female rangers.   This collection ends in a cliff-hanger and is missing the holiday episodes so I wouldn’t really consider it complete.  However, the less than $10 asking price is still pretty reasonable for twenty episodes and seven hours of entertainment. 

The first episode introduces the high school students soon to be the next generation of Power Rangers.  Troy, who becomes the red ranger, is good at handling adversity and is a martial arts expert.  Gia, with her calm demeanor, morphs into the yellow ranger.  Emma is Gia’s best friend and appreciates nature; she transforms into the pink ranger.  The nerdy, but likable Noah becomes the blue ranger.   Last but not least is Jake, who is strong, has a crush on Gia, and turns into the black ranger.

The character development is decent and held the interest of my daughters while my son likes the battle scenes with the insect-like alien invaders.  The special effects are cheesy and make Sharknado look like Avatar.   Each episode features a new insect-like invader with a different method to thwart the Power Rangers and to take over the world.  Thankfully, their plans get squashed every time until the final episode.  I won’t know the result of the epic battle until the next season of the Super Megaforce Power Rangers.

One thing I can count on is that the battle formula doesn’t change much.  At first the Power Rangers try to subdue the invader with hand to hand combat.  If that doesn’t work they start to use their weapons and then switch to their mega weapons.  If more force is necessary then the Zords come out and ultimately combine into the Mega Zord to finish off the attacker.

While this show has a lot of tacky special effects and violence, it does teach some good moral lessons as well.  The value of friendship and team work is shown as crucial to a successful outcome.  Believing in yourself is also expounded upon along with the value of honesty.  

There is much to like in this DVD set for current and future Power Ranger fans. I know my kids enjoy the show and that the epic theme song gets stuck in my head shorty after hearing it.   My children are looking forward watching the next season.

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My Many Sons

Thank you Well Go USA Entertainment for sending us this DVD to review!

My Many Sons tells the true story of Don Meyer (played by Judge Reinhold), the “winningest coach that nobody knew.”  In 2009 Don Meyer passed Bobby Knight’s NCAA winning record and held it until 2012.  Coach Meyer’s dedication and work ethic helped put Lipscomb University on the map and because of him, they were able to move up to division one basketball.  Despite the university offering to double his salary, coach Meyer refused to coach division one basketball since he was investing more into the students than basketball skills.  

Besides teaching the students valuable basketball maneuvers, he taught them to be accountable, respectable and to clean up after themselves and to pick up litter.  Like many coaches, Don threw verbal taunts like calling them numb nuts. No other foul language was used in this film though.  On a few occasions he got physical with them and had to apologize for his actions.  He was not an easy man to get along with and was known for culling the weak links from his team relatively quickly.  After his first month at Northern University in South Dakota, Don only had seven players left on his team!  

Though his team didn’t lose very often, they found out that coach Meyer took to their losses pretty well. He didn’t rub it in any further since they did a pretty good enough of a job to themselves.  Don promised to be there for his students when things got rough and he kept his promise.  During his near fatal car accident, his students return the favor and visited while he was recuperating in the hospital for nearly two months.  When he was released, he showed up at work the next morning! 

While not perfect by any means, Don Meyer was a faithful and self-less man that wasn’t shy about his faith and work ethic.  He has touched the lives of many and his story is a good one that’s worth seeing.  Even though I’m not into basketball, I enjoyed this sports-themed movie that tells a great story of perseverance.  This ninety-eight minute film can be yours for less than $12 on Amazon.

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In-Lawfully Yours

Thank you Cinedigm for sending us a DVD to review!

In-Lawfully Yours is a Christian themed romantic comedy that stars and is produced by Corbin Bernsen.  Not only does it have a unique love story, there’s a positive message about God’s love and redemption.  This is another Christian movie that pleasantly surprised us with some funny moments and a good story.

Upon receiving the news of her father-in-law’s illness, Jesse went to inform her husband, Charlie.   Once she tracked him down, she caught him in the arms of another woman.  Divorce paperwork and the death of his father soon followed.  Charlie’s mother, Naomi, takes the loss pretty hard as she lost her daughter six years prior.  Packing up and moving out of her mostly empty house is not something she’s looking forward to, but her son is pushing her so she can move in with him.  Prepping to leave this small town behind she starts packing her things with Jesse’s help.

Jesse is from New York and is not familiar with how quickly rumors spread around small towns.   Besides the humorous and unwelcome treatment she gets at the only restaurant in town, Jesse is also treated rudely when visiting the local church for the first time in her life.  She has many faith questions and learns the hard way that it’s not proper to interrupt the pastor during his sermon to ask them.  The pastor, Ben, is her widowed ex-brother in-law who still wears his wedding ring. 

At first the relationship between Ben and Jesse is awkward, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize that it has some potential.  However, before things get too serious Charlie comes back into town stating that he wants to fix his marriage.  Is Charlie truly changed, jealous, or is he up to no good?  To find out Charlie’s true intentions and the future of Ben and Jesse’s relationship, I recommend watching In-Lawfully Yours which can be yours for less than $15 on Amazon.


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Peter: The Redemption

Thank you Cinedigm for sending us this DVD to review!

Many of us have lied or made mistakes before.  Fortunately for us, our misdeeds are not recorded in the Bible.  Luke 22:54-62 recounts Peter denying that he knew Jesus three times, just as Jesus predicted.  After Jesus’ resurrection He restores Peter by having Him affirm him three times in John 21:15-19.  The movie Peter: The Redemption depicts Peter living his final months in a Roman jail and refusing to confess to burning down the city under Nero’s rule.  Despite being given several opportunities to recant his faith, Peter holds firm and refuses to deny Jesus any more in his lifetime.  Unfortunately, several other Christians are persecuted and tortured as a result.

There are many bloody and uncomfortable scenes as Christians are seen getting beaten and bloodied.  For this reason, younger children should probably refrain from seeing this film.  Fortunately, the scenes with them being set on fire are not shown, but the screams of torture still hit home.  Many popular actors are in this ninety-minute film including John Rhys-Davies as Peter and Stephen Baldwin as Nero.  

Besides the story of Peter’s strong faith, there is a budding romance between a dedicated Roman soldier named Martinian and a palace servant, Suzanna, who is tending to Peter’s many wounds.  Suzanna is a Christian and is treading on thin ice as Nero detests Christians and enjoys using them as torches to illuminate his garden.  To make matters worse Nero takes a liking to her and his wife is extremely jealous.

I won’t spoil this movie, but unlike many Christian films out there, Peter The Redemption tells a good story about faith, love, forgiveness, and perseverance.   Not all of the believers keep their faith as some of the prisoners recant to regain their freedom.  However, others die for their faith and those strong Christians inspire unlikely individuals to become saved and get baptized in Jesus’ name.   

For less than $10 for the DVD, Peter: The Redemption is worth picking up.  Though there doesn’t seem to be a Blu-ray version available, the visual quality is surprisingly good for a DVD.  My husband and I were pleasantly surprised with the overall quality of this film and highly recommend it to believers and non-believers alike.

 


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Last Days In The Desert

Thank you Broadgreen for sending us this DVD to review!

The fourth chapter in the book of Matthew mentions Jesus going into the wilderness to be tempted and fasting for forty days and nights.  The Bible tells about three of the temptations, but the movie Last Days In The Desert uses some artistic license to add many more.    The beginning of this hour and thirty-eight minute movie is a bit slow starting as it shows the “Holy man” as He’s referred to wandering aimlessly in the desert.  You’ll see Him sleeping and hear Him praying for guidance to His Heavenly Father and even laughing at the wind blowing sticks around.  Later on in the film He laughs at a fart too.

While He’s never called Jesus, Satan who is also played by Ewan McGregor (He's Jesus too) refers to Him as Yeshua.   Satan takes on many forms, but is most often identical in appearance to Jesus.  One of the forms Satan takes on is that of a topless woman whose hair covers the otherwise  would be seen nipples.  

During Jesus’ fasting in the desert He happens upon a nomad family that is struggling emotionally.  Their mother is deathly ill while the adolescent son and father barely communicate and cannot relate to one another.  The father is a skilled carpenter and wishes for his son to live in the desert with him, but the son longs to set his own destiny in Jerusalem.  The mother wishes for him to fulfill his dreams as well, but the family cannot afford an apprenticeship for him.  

Satan offers a wager to Jesus to fix this family and even tells Him of their future had Jesus not crossed paths with them.  I found it odd that Satan could see the future, but Jesus couldn’t in this film.  Jesus was able to foresee many events including His own death (Matt 26:2), betrayal (Matt 26:21), resurrection (Matt 16:21), coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), and even the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:43-44).  Even though Jesus is perceived as weak (despite eating) and doubting of His abilities, there is a decent story about humanity, family, and relationships in this film.  Just don’t expect much Biblical content because much of it goes against God’s word.   

 


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Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales first aired on Disney XD in the summer of 2015.  With its recent DVD release, everyone can now enjoy the retelling of the Star Wars saga from C-3PO and R2-D2’s perspective.  The overarching story is that R2-D2 has been kidnapped and while chasing after his captor C-3PO recalls and shares his adventures with different audience groups during some downtime.  This 115-minute DVD is broken down into five episodes and here’s a quick summary of each one:

Exit from Endor – The victorious rebels are celebrating and Luke Skywalker sees the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Mace Windu.  At the campfire,C-3PO recalls the story of Anakin’s childhood and run in with Qui-Gon Jinn and Queen Amidala.  Extra comedy is added into the retelling of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones including several severe injuries of Jar-Jar Binks and Darth Maul’s overuse of the word awesome.

Crisis on Coruscant – While still tracking down R2-D2’s whereabouts, C-3PO shares his version of what happened in Revenge of the Sith.  General Grievous and Count Dooku “kidnap” the emperor in order to lure Anakin to join the dark side.  Darth Vader makes his appearance in this episode.  On a lighter note, Yoda’s line, “Oh heck what the” cracked us all up.

Mission to Mos Eisley – C-3PO heads to Tatooine to track down R2-D2.  He reminisces about A New Hope where he and R2-D2 are sold to Luke Skywalker after all of the other robots scavenged by the Jawas mysteriously break during their inspection.  Luke Skywalker begins his Jedi training with Obi-Wan and Yoda and later destroys the Death Star.  At the end of this episode, C-3PO reunites with Chewbacca and continues his quest of rescuing R2-D2 from his mysterious captor.

Flight of the Falcon – C-3PO retells the events from The Empire Strikes Back to Chewbacca and Nien Nunb as they head to the old Battle Droid Factory.   The rebels faced the wrath of Darth Vader after destroying the Death Star.  Luke trains with Yoda in Dagobah and hilarity ensues.  Han Solo got a little terse with C-3PO by telling him to shut his protocol hole.  By the end of this episode, R2-D2’s captor is revealed and both robots are in danger of being recycled into battle droids.

Gambit on Geonosis – While C-3PO and R2-D2 are stalling for time, C-3PO shares the events in Return of the Jedi with the interested Stormtroopers.  Han Solo is freed from his carbonite prison and the rebels have to deal with Jabba the Hutt.  While Luke is portrayed with two different colored hands, the details are not revealed in this series.  In the end, R2-D2, General Ackbar, and the Ewoks save the day and provide a happy ending.  

My kids enjoyed this series and I recommend it for any Lego and Star Wars fans out there.  While it’s not as funny as the other Lego Star Wars DVDs, it’s still worth checking out.  The DVD sells for less than $13 on Amazon.


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Touched by an Angel: The Complete Series

Thank you BH Impact for sending us this DVD set to review!

Touched by an Angel began in 1994 and was almost cancelled after its first season. However, it was brought back for eight more seasons after the fans of the show wrote enough letters to change CBS’ mind.  During season’s three through six, Touched by an Angel was one of CBS’ highest rated series.  While it was nominated several times for the Golden Globe Awards it never won them.  It did however win multiple Outstanding Drama Series awards, and rightfully so!

The series begins with a couple of angels named Tess and Monica.  Tess is Monica’s supervisor and Monica is a newly promoted “case worker” who lends a helping hand to people in dire situations.  The show doesn’t pull any punches with the topics it discusses.  There are shows about alcoholism, drug addiction, AIDS, cancer, teen pregnancy, racism, homosexuality, and that’s just within the first couple of seasons!  While many of the shows are kid safe, some of them have serious themes and minor language that may not be suitable for young children.   I am happy to report that intimate relationships are eluded to and not explicitly shown.

I also like how this show displays God's love and even though we may be going through tough times, God never abandons us.  It also makes it clear that tough times are not necessarily a punishment and our mistakes still have consequences despite repenting and being forgiven for them.  The angels are not depicted as being perfect either; both Tess and Monica let their pride and emotions get to them and they get set back on track and confess their sins and make amends.  Andrew (from season two on), the angel of death, often appears in the show as well.  His appearance doesn't always mean that someone is going to die, but it's usually the case.  

Throughout the nine seasons and fifty-nine DVDs in this set there are numerous guest appearances from many popular celebrities including Bill Cosby, Celine Dion, Montel Williams, Randy Travis, and Wynonna Judd.  I also like how the show’s finale has guest characters from the first season reprising their roles and bringing closure to this inspiring series.   

Despite the low picture quality of the first couple of seasons, the stories are timeless.  Widescreen format is not available until the final season!  The musical talents of Della Reese (Tess) and other guests is a pleasure to listen to and the writing is excellent.  Some of the episodes will bring tears to your eyes so keep some Kleenex handy!

The complete series retails for $145 but is available for less than $90 on Amazon.  That’s a great price for over one hundred and sixty-five hours of inspiring entertainment.


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My Little Pony Friends Across Equestria

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God’s Club

Thank you Cinedigm for sending us this movie to review!

Does a Bible Club belong in a public school?  That’s the premise of the movie God’s Club.  Christine Evans was getting pushback from launching God’s Club at the Echo Grove high school in Vermont.  This small community has a number of outspoken (and often jerkish) atheist families who are trying to stop the club from launching.   Her husband reluctantly supports her efforts, but doesn’t get too involved until she dies suddenly. 

Michael Evans (Stephen Baldwin) takes his wife’s death pretty badly and holes himself up in his house for twelve weeks (often wearing the same shirt).  His nearly angelic teenage daughter tried to get him out of the house without much success.  One of his colleagues (Corbin Bernsen) pays him a friendly visit and reminds him that he could lose his job altogether if he doesn’t return to work soon.  To inspire him, he suggests that Michael launches the Bible club in his wife’s honor. And he does so, not anticipating the uphill battles ahead.

At first the Bible club has a few members and a couple of them joined up just to heckle the teacher.  Other students are positively impacted by the gospel and it stirs up trouble with their non-believing parents.  One of the parents is a lawyer (Lorenzo Lamas) and is looking for any creative way to shut down the club for good.  Some of the students resort to vandalism to let God’s Club know that they are not welcome as well.

With so much stacked against them, Michael and his daughter press on with the club realizing that their lives, jobs, and reputations are on the line.  But their faith is strong and unwavering as Psalm 62 proclaims.  Other verses quoted include Mark 11:25 and Romans 8:28.

While a bit corny and stereotypical at times, there were some enjoyable moments in God’s Club.  I’m in no rush to see it again nor am I eager to loan it out to fellow believers telling them that it’s a “must see.”  Overall it’s a decent film. However, I certainly won’t be handing it out to non-believers because of how they are portrayed in it.


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Noah’s Ark (2015)

Thank you Cinedigm for sending us this DVD to review!

Our family has watched many faith-based movies and most of them show the biblical figures as upright, holy, and serious.  While those films don’t stray from the Bible and teach valuable lessons, they are often hard to relate to in modern times.  Noah’s Ark (which originally aired on BBC television) changes that formula by telling a well-known story with a modern twist and personable characters.  Although Noah was close to 600 years old (Gen 7:6), he is shown as being a fit man who joins his sons (Ham, Shem, Japeth) in diving, swimming, rough housing and some joking around.  

Besides the added dialog, there are some new characters brought into the story including an adopted son named Kenan.  Ham, Shem, and Japeth are all married though having grandkids is a little challenging for them since everyone is all living and sleeping in close proximity.  Some of the couples are discussing the lack of privacy and the need to move out to start their own families.  Kenan is nearly eighteen and falls in love with a non-believing girl in the nearby town.  He sneaks out to go partying with her almost every night.

The townspeople are shown as evil with implied pedophilia and valuing science over an all-powerful and loving God.  Some of the arguments made by the townspeople are the same as those used by modern day skeptics.  Instead of being told directly by God (Gen 6:13), an angelic messenger is sent to Noah to build an ark for the upcoming flood.

I love how this film depicts his family’s (realistic) reactions to such a bold mission.  Having not seen rainfall in over a year, the family is doubtful to say the least.  Noah keeps his faith and embarks on building the ark on his own.  His family slowly comes around, but when Noah tries to warn the townspeople, they nearly kill him.  Some do come around and join him on the ark before the storm comes. A couple of Bible discrepancies include Genesis 7:7 stating that it was only Noah’s family onboard, and God shut the ark’s door (Gen 7:16) instead of Noah.

The actual flood and gathering of the animals takes a backseat to the storytelling and portrayal of Noah’s family.  Despite some artistic license taken with this Biblical event, my family enjoyed watching this movie.   This 92 minute film has a faith friendly 12+ rating and I think that's fair given some of the bedroom discussions.  I wasn't familiar with any of the British actors, but they all did a fine job.  I highly recommend the 2015 Noah's Ark movie if you’re looking for a different spin on this great story of faith.


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Monkey Up

Thank you Airbud Entertainment for sending us this DVD, shirts, a mini barrel of monkeys game, some coupons for free rice and a monkey bag to carry it all in!  

My kids were excited to see this movie, especially after meeting its star actor, Crystal, the monkey who plays Monty in Monkey Up.  Crystal is 22 years old and has been in several movies including Dr. Dolittle 1&2, Night at the Museum, Zoo Keeper, George of the Jungle and many of the Buddies movies including Treasure Buddies, Spooky Buddies, and Super Buddies.  Monkey Up is her first movie where she takes the lead role.

Monkey Up is about an egotistical talking monkey, Monty, who is full of himself and wants to become a big time movie star instead of being the spokesperson for Monkey Up, a sugary energy soft drink.  Monty hears about an upcoming movie role, but the director would rather use a CGI monkey instead of one that’s full of himself and doesn’t know the first thing about family.  Instead of heading back to his trainer to do more commercials, he runs away and hides in a doll house.  

The doll house is delivered that night to a girl named Sophie whose family is a bit dysfunctional with her father switching jobs and her mother putting her career above her family’s needs. Her brother Ethan is nice to her, but is more interested in getting to know their new neighbor girl than spending time with her.  

Sophie can really use a good friend and she’s been asking for a pet monkey for a while. Needless to say that when she found out that her dollhouse had Monty as a tenant, she was thrilled.  Of course Monty only wanted to stay there for a little while, but as he started to get to know the family and help them out, he started to love them and learn what it’s like to put other’s needs before your own.

Monkey Up is a heartwarming movie that promotes family values and has a lot of silly humor that my kids enjoyed.  Adults may not be impressed with the action stunts, but this movie has a good message and it reminds me as a parent to pay attention to my kid’s needs.  It was fun watching Crystal the monkey doing her own stunts and our family looks forward to seeing her in many more movies to come!


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Lyfe’s Journey

Thank you Falco Ink for sending us this DVD to review!

David Lyfe had a good life, a nice house, a great job, a pretty wife and daughter, and a baby on the way.  He was a wonderful dad and a loving husband.  Things couldn’t get much better until he found out that his company was merging with another bank.  He detested having to fly out to California to lay off the people he personally hand-picked for that location.  To make matters worse, once that was handled, he was given the same lay-off spiel by his boss! To cope with the news David decided to drown away his sorrows at the hotel bar.

It’s there that he meets a lonely housewife named Amy and they share stories about each other’s life and spouses.  David is happy in his marriage, but Amy is not since her husband doesn’t pay much attention to her and her desire to have kids.  I’d like to say that they parted ways but instead David makes a mistake that will cost him his family, house, and job opportunities.  

When David hits rock bottom, he meets up with a pastor and starts to stay at their homeless shelter.  The pastor’s daughter took an interest in David since she sensed her deceased mother’s “presence” around him and knew that he deserved a second chance.  Can David repent of his sins and regain his wife’s trust and earn her forgiveness?  You’ll have to watch this eighty-two-minute film that has earned Dove awards for yourself.  It’s recommended for audiences that are twelve and older and I agree with that rating.    Although intimacy is not shown, it is implied and there are alcohol references.

Overall I found the movie enjoyable, but predictable.  The acting is decent and the main character is a good guy who makes one mistake and pays dearly for it.  The wife is rightfully hurt and her mother (who was cheated on numerous times) is pushing for her to divorce him.  As a Christian I like the message of redemption, but I’m not so fond of the spiritual sensing that the pastor’s daughter had with the local homeless residents. 


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Full of Grace

Thank you BH Impact for sending us this DVD to review!

Most Christians agree that Mary played a crucial role in bringing our savior into this world in His human form.  His conception was divine since Mary was not yet married and a virgin.  When she was visited by an angel, she accepted God’s will without thinking about the social stigma that would be placed on her or the emotional suffering that was to come.  She is truly a role model of humble submission. 

With that said, there are arguments in Christian circles that some denominations put too much emphasis on Mary believing that she can mediate between Jesus and mankind, that she too was sinless, and remained a virgin after marriage.  The Bible clearly states that Jesus is our mediator (1 Tim 2:5), all have sinned (Rom 3:23, Luke 2:24), and that Jesus had earthly siblings (Matt 12:47).  

The movie Full of Grace does not show any of her offspring caring for her towards the end of her life.  Instead, a (presumably fictional) woman named Zara is shown tending to her.   Sensing that her time on earth is dwindling, Mary sends word to Peter that she would like to speak with him one more time.

Meanwhile, Peter is being pressured by members of the early church seeking permission to interpret scriptures to teach the spiritually hungry new believers.  With issues like denying the trinity, not believing that Jesus was fully man as well as God, and believers picking and choosing Christ’s teachings, the early church is already harvesting seeds of discord.  Peter doesn’t want to spread false doctrine and is not sure how to proceed, so he welcomes the diversion of tending to Mary before giving the church elders a decision.  

Mary and Peter talk about their time together with Jesus and Mary implores him to go back to the beginning to understand the end.  Peter is soon accompanied by Simon and John who question him on Paul’s ministry and his rejecting the Old Testament ways.  Many good topics like law versus tradition, and limitless grace are discussed.  While this movie is slow-paced, it’s interesting to see how the early church struggled with its rapid growth and human failings.  

On her deathbed Mary shares with Jesus’ disciples and friends her earthly memories and wisdom.  She refers to the people there as her children and reminds them that she will always be with them.  Before passing, she has communion with them and has oil placed on her head. Her body is shown being carried away and buried instead of ascending to heaven like some denominations believe. 

Even though I didn’t recognize any of the actors, they played their roles well.  The background music and singing set the tone and the scenery was authentic, beautiful, and gloomy when it needed to be.  It lacks some of the triple A movie special effects, but the message of the movie is made clear without the need for unnecessary fanfare.     

I won’t spoil what Peter learned in case you wish to see this one hour and twenty-three minute film.  My mom, step-dad and I found it somewhat interesting while my husband managed to fall asleep.    If you want to see a movie portraying the possible struggles of the early church, than look no further than Full of Grace.  Just make sure you're well rested beforehand. 


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War Room

Thank you Sony Pictures for sending us this DVD to review!

The Kendrick brothers have been upping the ante with each film they have released.  I have enjoyed their previous entries including Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous.  While I have heard good things about War Room, I wasn’t familiar with the movie’s premise.  I assumed it took place in strategy room during a major war.  While I wasn’t completely off-base, this movie wasn’t what I anticipated at all and it exceeded my expectations.  I think it’s safe to say that the movies from the Kendrick brothers get better with each release.  

War Room begins with Clara Williams by her husband’s grave forty years after his passing.  He was a decorated war strategist and was very good at his position.  She realizes that war is a part of life, especially when it comes to spiritual warfare.  Clara is a devout Christian and spends much of her day in her bedroom closet praying for her family and friends.  While her closet is lacking clothes, its walls are covered in Bible verses and prayer requests.  At first glance it does look like an old fashioned war room.    

When it comes time for Clara to put her house up for sale she meets Elizabeth Jordan (played by Priscilla Shirer), a real estate agent whose marriage is falling apart. Their biggest issue is that they are putting their careers over the needs of each other and their daughter, Danielle.  Their romance is gone and Danielle is growing more distant and feels neglected each day.  

Clara pushes Elizabeth beyond her comfort zone and insists that she puts God at the throne of her heart and to start letting God fight her battles for her.  While her marriage currently seems hopeless, nothing is impossible for God!  It’s not an easy change for Elizabeth, but she perseveres even when things continue to crumble.  

Without spoiling the story, I will say that there are many emotional moments and a few humorous scenes as well.  I watched this film with my life group and kids.  It’s family friendly and the women in the room immediately recognized Beth Moore’s cameo in the film.  I recommend this movie for anyone whose prayer life can use a booster shot.


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Susie’s Hope

Thank you Greenleaf and Associates for sending us a screener to watch!

Susie’s Hope is based on a true story about the origin of North Carolina’s House Bill 1609 (dubbed Susie’s law) that authorizes up to ten months of jail time for people found guilty of cruelty to animals.  The movie begins with Donna and Roy Lawrence playfully bickering over the gender of their first unborn baby.  Since they don’t have kids yet, their gray poodle named Baby Girl is treated as one.   She is quite pampered and is dressed up in unique outfits with tiaras for various events.  

Despite it annoying her husband, Donna has a soft heart for animals that are neglected in her neighborhood.   Donna and her friend Ramona started taking care of a pit bull nearby that was malnourished and tied to a tree for several days.  After days successfully caring for it, Donna was brutally attacked by this dog and barely survived.  Thankfully she was able to break free and managed to meet Ramona who took her in the hospital in the nick of time.  The wounds were severe enough for Donna to lose her baby and any chance of getting pregnant again.

Both Donna and her husband mourned the loss of their unborn child, but Donna wished that her life was taken as well.  She wondered why God spared her and what the purpose of her life was.  Donna found her answer at a playground when she was taking a walk with Ramona.  In the grass was a mangled puppy that they thought was dead.  Surprisingly, it was still alive and was taken to the Guilford County Animal Shelter where they worked around the clock to treat the third degree burns, broken jaw, and hundreds of maggots found on the puppy.  

Putting the puppy out of its misery would have been easier and less expensive, but Donna sensed that this pit-bull mix puppy was a fighter and deserved a chance at a better life.  Without talking to her friend or husband first, she volunteered to pay for the $17,000 medical expenses to save the dog and was convinced that God would provide a way to have it funded.  

Donna named the puppy Susie and she made headlines in the papers and was on the evening news.  Generous donations were made to the animal shelter to help offset the medical costs.  The next step was to bring justice to the man who beat and burned this puppy alive.  Although he was brought to court, the North Carolina laws at the time were not strict enough to enforce jail time.

While the man responsible was put in jail, I’ll leave the details out so you can enjoy this family friendly movie for yourself.  No animals were injured in the making of this film and the budget is low enough where you can tell that the injured puppy is an animatronic.  It is cool that Susie does star in this movie as herself.  The rest of the cast is relatively unknown with the exception of Jon Provost who played Timmy in Lassie.  All of the cast did an excellent job in telling this story about faith, hope, and love.  It’s available on Amazon for $15 on blu-ray or free to watch with your Prime membership.


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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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