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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Fire and Dew is the third installment from the Anne of Green Gables PBS movie series. It picks up a year after the previous movie where Gilbert vowed not to speak to Anne again after she chose her friends over him. Anne is not pleased with his behavior and finds it difficult to ignore him as they are academically equal and both selected to attend an advanced class to prepare for and apply to Queen’s Academy.

Anne is quite studious and applies for the Avery scholarship along with Gilbert and her friends hoping to earn it as well. Though Matthew and Marilla have budgeted for Anne’s education, they did not plan on their bank with all of their funds to be investigated and in danger of closing.

At Queen’s Academy, Josie is flirting with all of the boys and especially with Gilbert. Other emotions come into play as a character dear to Anne dies in this movie. All of us watching the movie got misty-eyed during that part.

As a result of the loss of a loved one, Anne has to make some difficult choices regarding her future education and employment. Anne is growing up fast and has many accomplishments to be proud of at the tender age of fourteen. I like the theme of forgiveness and sacrifice and hope to see more installments from these classic books. If not, I’ll have no choice but to read all nineteen of them to see how it ends.

Like the other movies, Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew is available to stream for free for Amazon Prime members. The DVD is also available to purchase from the PBS website for $14.99.


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Anne of Green Gables - The Good Stars

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Anne is settling into her new life and is acclimating to school and her household chores, though she’s not too fond of geometry or chickens. Out of all of the girls in school that Gilbert tends to tease, he seems to fancy Anne the most. She’s not too keen of his antics, but eventually she warms up to him. As she spends more time with Gilbert, her friends are a little upset and feel neglected.

Upon turning thirteen, Anne feels that she has some difficult choices to make and seeks the council of the adults in her life. Marilla urges Anne to be sensible while Matthew wants her to pursue romance. Anne also learns that loyalty is more important than honor and makes a difficult decision as a result. Unfortunately, the movie ended before we could see the impact that it made. Thankfully, there’s still one more movie left in the series for us to watch.

It’s pretty safe to say that my kids and I are hooked on this series. So much so that we’ve decided to do like Anne did and bake an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving this year. However, we’ll be mindful of the time and not let it burn. Like the previous movies, there are several funny mishaps that Anne must learn from. As usual, most of her mistakes are innocent ones and she tries to right any and all wrongs that she has done.

This film is family friendly and even has some Bible stories told by the newly married pastor’s wife. Forgiveness is a strong theme in this ninety-minute film. Like the rest of the entries, it’s only available in DVD format. It’s a shame since this island is so beautiful and can really benefit from Blu-ray visual enhancements. Either way, it’s still worth checking out for free on Amazon Prime or buying for $15 on PBS’ website.



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Puppy Star Christmas

Thank you Air Bud Entertainment for sending us a screener to review along with a stuffed bear, an apron and hat, candy for a ginger bread house, dog treats and toys!

Puppy Star Christmas begins with the wedding of Tiny and P.U.P. and puppies arrive several months after that. In total, there are four puppies who could not have fit inside the mother without being born premature or delivered via C-section. The three female puppies take after their mother in appearance and the boy pup, Brody, looks just like his dad. Brody and his sisters, Charlie and Rosie, tend to get in trouble while Cindy tries her best to stop them to no avail.

With some of the trouble the puppies are getting into, Tiny and P.U.P. are wondering if they are being neglectful parents. In an attempt to spend more time with them, they put together a Puppy Star Christmas show and have managed to book Santa Claus as a special guest. News of this spreads like wildfire and catches the attention of the mischievous Bark and his co-conspirator, Kano. Roland assists them in their plan to take over Christmas as long as he gets to fly Santa’s sleigh.

Bark’s objective is to monetize Christmas further and make every family pay for the privilege to receive gifts and not coal. Not only does this provide a lot of income, it nullifies the penalty for being on the naughty list. As long as you have money, presents are guaranteed.

With Christmas in danger, everyone wants to re-kindle the Christmas spirit of love, forgiveness, and selflessness. Christ’s birth is not mentioned whatsoever in this film. I do like the aspect of forgiveness and not carrying a grudge against those who have wronged you.

Puppy Star Christmas is ninety minutes long, rated PG, and has some comedic violence. There is also some gross humor as a character discovers that reindeer poop tastes like toothpaste. Many of the same characters and actors are back in this film, including the effeminate Shep, though he does manage to find love in this movie.

If you enjoyed the silliness of the previous films, then you’ll probably like this one as well. My kids and I enjoyed watching it and it’s now available on Netflix.  Though it's listed on Amazon, it's not yet available for purchase.

 


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Anne of Green Gables

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

Anne of Green Gables was written by L.M. Montgomery and published in 1908. The book has sold over fifty million copies and has been adapted into several films. PBS first aired Anne of Green Gables on November 24th, 2016. This 90-minute movie stars Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert who lives with his sister Marilla on a beautiful farm called Green Gables. They’re not getting any younger and can use some help with their chores and seek to adopt a boy to live with them.

Instead of a boy, Matthew and Marilla are greeted by a chatty redheaded girl named Anne Shirley. Matthew is more welcoming than most others that Anne meets, but even the meanest people are nicer than those that Anne dealt with growing up. She was physically punished in orphanages and lived with a family that had a drunk and often violent husband.

As rough as her past was, her future is looking bright at Green Gables and Anne gets to experience many firsts while living there. Her first friend, prayer, church service, school, and even ice cream! There are many humorous moments that my family enjoyed while watching this film together.

This movie is the first in a three-part series and I look forward to watching the rest with my children. The visuals are stunning, but are limited to the DVD format. I wish it was available on Blu-ray for even more vibrant colors. The acting is superb and there are many likable (and unlikable) characters that I look forward to being further developed in this series.

If you’re a fan of the book or for some wholesome family friendly entertainment, you should check out this film. Amazon Prime members can watch it for free as part of their subscription. PBS also sells the DVD on their website for $14.99.



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Pixar Animated Shorts: Volume 3

Thank you Disney for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Pixar movies are great and they always have the added bonus of a wonderfully made short to precede them. Sometimes they’re funny and other times they’re insightful. Volume 3 contains eleven shorts, two mini-movies, and some bonus features that are exceptionally made. While I have seen some of them, many of these shorts were new and thoroughly enjoyed by my family.

Here’s a breakdown of each one:

Bao – An eye-opening tale about a mother’s love for a rebellious son.

Lou – Lost toys come together to teach a bully a lesson and the benefits of forgiveness.

Piper – Teaching a baby seagull to feed himself, and overcoming the fear of the ocean waves.

Sanjay’s Super Team – Mostly based on a true story. Sanjay is trying to watch his superhero TV show and his dad is trying to meditate by their family shrine. After Sanjay loses the battle over the television volume, he joins his father in worship physically while mentally he daydreams fighting bad guys alongside some of his gods.

Riley’s First Date? – Inside Out characters in the minds of the boy, parents, and Riley. The mother tries to pry information from Riley with “hip talk” while the father attempts to intimidate Jordan.

Lava – A Hawaiian-themed musical short about a lonely volcano looking for love. Will he meet the “lava” of his life?

The Radiator Springs 500 ½ - Stanley Days is interrupted by some young punks looking to challenge Lightning McQueen to a race. Unfortunately, they’re given some bad directions and have quite the adventure.

Party Central – Mike and Sullivan save a lackluster frat party at Monsters University by stealing food and students from another one.

The Blue Umbrella – In a city full of black umbrellas, a bright blue one stands out from the crowd and takes a liking to a vibrant red one. Eventually, they go their separate ways, but will they meet again?

The Legend of Mor’du – A witch shares the tale about a king and his four sons with different skills. When the king passed, the eldest son wanted to rule the kingdom by himself and not share it as his father had decreed. War ensued and resulted in a stalemate. The oldest son enlisted the help of a witch who gave him a spell of choice: great strength or to restore his bond with his brothers.

Partysaurus Rex – The characters of Toy Story gang up against Rex who ruins their fun. They call him Party Pooper Rex. Rex meets some new bath toy friends and introduces himself as Partysaurus Rex. Since he has arms he can draw the bath water to keep the party going after bath time.

There are also two mini-movies:

Marine Life Interviews – A bunch of fish and a couple of seals recall their time with Dory. This one is shorter than most of the shorts.

Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool – The bus from Cars 3 has an infomercial that is pretty intense. Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez are her most recent graduates.

Lastly, there are two bonus features:

Making Bao - Bao means steamed bun or precious. It’s neat that the whole crew learned how to make dumplings from the director’s mother. I didn’t realize it until this behind the scenes that the short takes place in Toronto.

Caricature: A Horrible Way of Saying 'I Love You' – A look into mean caricature night at Pixar. I’m glad I don’t work there…

Despite that a couple of the shorts don’t align with Biblical teachings, but they’re all family friendly. I do like the theme of forgiveness and making things right in Lou. This seventy-six minute collection can be yours for less than $25 on Amazon.

 


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Incredibles 2

Thank you Disney for sending us this Blu-Ray to review!

It’s been fourteen years since the original Incredibles move was released. Incredibles 2 takes place shortly after the first film where performing heroics is still illegal and has been for fifteen years. It was just a regular day for the Parr family when a villain rose up and robbed a bank in broad daylight. The Incredibles took it upon themselves to stop this criminal and to save the city from his out-of-control drilling vehicle heading towards City Hall. Even though that crisis was averted, much damage was done to other buildings and all superheroes were further chastised and told to stay out of the crime fighting business. In fact, the agency that has been helping the Incredibles is shutting down due to this incident.

Though most of the public are against superheroes, not everyone is. A very rich entrepreneur wishes to reverse this law and uses Elastigirl as his ideal example. She was chosen for her performance and lack of damage caused to personal property. Her husband’s ego is shattered, but he wants his wife to succeed as it will benefit all superheroes in the future.

While Helen is fighting crime and making televised appearances, Bob is taking care of the kids at home. He has to learn “new” math, cope with his daughter’s dating drama, and discover Jack-Jack's multiple new powers. I won’t spoil any of the story, but I will say that the whole family must work together to untarnish the reputation of superheroes.

For a film geared towards families, I was surprised at the language in it. Hell, d*mn, and the Lord’s name taken in vain can be heard in this two hour and five minute film. Cartoon violence is a given. If you don’t mind that you’ll probably enjoy this film despite its predictable ending.



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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Thank you Lucasfilm for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Solo takes place before Star Wars IV: A New Hope. As the title suggests, it’s about the reluctant hero, Han Solo, and even shows how he gets his surname when he enlists in the Empire. Han and his girlfriend Qi’ra grew up on the streets in Corellia. Like many street kids, they are forced to steal and bring their loot to Lady Proxima in exchange for food, shelter, and their lives. In attempt to escape Corellia, Han makes it out and promises to come back for Qi’ra.

In order to fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot and reuniting with Qi’ra, Han enlists with the Empire. Instead of flying, he’s put on the front lines where he meets some thieves who have infiltrated the Empire's army. Han has a nose for sniffing out trouble and likes to hang around fellow troublemakers. He also meets Chewbacca and the two become inseparable.

The Millennium Falcon's original owner, Lando Calrissian, is also introduced. Lando’s co-pilot is an independent and sassy droid named L3-37. She’s hilarious. Both Han and Lando are fond of gambling and one of them is a cheater. Like other Star Wars films, you can expect to find spaceship violence, blood, and death. There is some language (d*mn) and it’s implied that Han and Qi’ra have been intimate. Kissing is shown, but nothing else.

The Rebellion is in its infancy as the Empire is getting stronger and more hostile by the day. Something needs to be done about them and Han must choose his alliances carefully. I enjoyed this 135-minute film and recommend it for any Star Wars fan. It’s rated PG-13 and I agree with that rating.



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We Are Alright

alright

Thank you Borys Nieśpielak for sending us this digital film to review!

Making a video game that’s fun and stands out from the crowd takes a lot of time and effort. Many indie games remain obscure and don’t get insanely popular like Mojang’s Minecraft. In fact, many game developers get discouraged and quit once their game releases and fizzles shortly afterward.

We Are Alright is a sixty-four minute documentary about Lichthund’s founders Bartek and Rafel and the preparations/launch of their first title, Lichtspeer. The audio is in Polish, but thankfully, it’s subtitled. The film begins five months from release day and continues on though the game’s launch on Steam and PS4.

Until the launch, there are several bugs and issues that need to get sorted in order to get Sony’s approval. Time and money are tight, as the composer is seen asking for his money and in order to break even the developers are hoping to sell 10,000 copies or 300 a month to make ends meet.

Lichtspeer has a lot going for it with some great looking merchandise and highly praised gameplay feedback at the PGA conference. Both of the developers quit their jobs to finish working on Lichtspeer, which has been in development for two-and-a-half years.

After many trials and tribulations, the launch date drew near and it was time to get influencers to check it out and spread the word. Sadly, many of them did not respond. Our site was too niche to be contacted but I can see the importance of launch day coverage after watching this film.

I won’t spoil the ending or divulge the sales numbers as I recommend checking out this film if you have any interest in developing games. It will give you some valuable insight into the struggles of game development and getting coverage for your title. If you don’t mind drinking and strong language, you can rent this film for $2.99 or own it digitally for $9.99 on Steam.

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Big Hero 6: The Series: Back in Action!

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

Judging by how many times it's been watched, Big Hero 6 is hands down my kids’ favorite Disney movie to date. Although Big Hero 6: The Series: Back in Action! has a little bit of a recap in the first episode, I still strongly recommend watching the movie before embarking on this series. The main characters are still present including Hiro Hamada, the younger brother of the deceased renowned science student, Tadashi Hamada. Hiro is a newly registered student at his brother’s school, San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. Although younger than them, Hiro quickly becomes buddies with his brother’s friends who happen to do super hero work on the side.

Fred is the founder of Big Hero 6 and lives in a huge mansion. Fred’s father was also a superhero and is played by none other than comic book legend Stan Lee. Honey Lemon has a unique purse that can produce helpful beads with different abilities. In one episode her purse gets stolen by a villain and becomes quite a formidable threat. GoGo is pretty fast and good with razer blades. Wasabi is a big guy who uses some powerful laser slicers when he’s going through an adrenaline rush.

Baymax is Tadashi’s unfinished loveable medical robot who will assist anyone in need, friend or foe, if they simply say “ouch!” Baymax’s helpfulness and honesty often leads to some funny moments in this 175 minute DVD. There are seven episodes and some shorts that are bound to bring out some laughter.

I like how the episodes deal with the problems and consequences of lying, stealing, and procrastinating. There is also a message of hope and not giving up on people. If you don’t mind some cartoon violence and poor decisions that teach good life lessons, this DVD is a wonderful addition to any Big Hero 6 fan’s library. My only complaint is that it’s not available in Blu-Ray format. The 2D art style wouldn’t look much different though. This collection can be yours for less than $10 on Amazon.


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Little Women

Thank you PBS for sending us this Blu-ray collection to review!

The book Little Women was originally published as two volumes in 1868-1869. It was written by Louisa May Alcott and is loosely based on her and her three sisters. As popular as this book is, I still have yet to read it. I am, however, glad to have seen it in the recently released television series.

There are three episodes that are roughly an hour long each. My family was hooked after the first one and we watched an episode a night until it was finished. Even though the main characters are girls/women, my husband and son enjoyed their stories and felt for Laurie who had his love advances thwarted on several occasions.

Each of the sisters has a different personality yet they generally get along pretty well with the occasional spat here and there. Meg is the oldest sister and is quite social and beautiful as she attends various balls and festivities in town. Jo (Josephine) is rather tomboyish and wishes that she was born male. She’s strong willed and an excellent writer. Beth is gentle, sweet, and great at playing the piano. Amy is the youngest sister and is a good artist.

The March family is blessed but they still have their struggles. In the beginning of the series, the father is away at war and later becomes quite sick. The mother is good at keeping peace in the house and instills charity and other valuable lessons to the girls. I like how they tend to a family in need by offering their Christmas meal to them. When the mother gets word of her husband’s illness she leaves to tend to him. The girls fare pretty well but have some serious health hurdles of their own to contend with.

I won’t spoil any more of the story in hopes that you check it out on your own. The acting is well done and Angela Lansbury does well at contrasting her Ms. Potts role in Beauty and the Beast for a cranky old aunt in this series. The characters are likable and relatable in this film. I could relate with some of the sisters more than others though. I highly recommend this series for those like me, who have been meaning to read the book. The DVD sells for $15 and the Blu-ray can be yours for a little over $22.


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GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon

Thank you FilmRise for sending us this DVD to review!

Before watching this documentary by John Keating I was aware that eSports were big and getting more popular every year. I also knew that Koreans dominated it. I just didn’t realize how huge eSports are or what it takes to make a living as a professional gamer. I’m also now aware of the dedication and commitment required to pursue dreams of competing in BlizzCon someday.

This documentary follows two professional gamers, MC and MMA, as they rise up the ranks to compete in Blizzcon 2014. MMA is twenty-six years old and nearing retirement. He’s considered ancient in terms of professional gaming as many of the rising stars are teens and older gamers cannot match their reflexes. Seeing these guys play StarCraft 2 for hours on end and clicking away at their keyboards and not even looking at their fingers is super impressive. I have no doubt that they would kick my butt in a matter of seconds as I use my mouse to issue orders instead of keyboard macros.

I like how the documentary goes into the family backgrounds of MMA and MC. MMA’s father is a preacher and wishes for his son to follow in his footsteps. MMA takes care of his family by providing them with fresh fruit that his mother loves and by donating his paychecks to their church/ministry. MC’s father died when he was very young and he was raised by his mother. To make ends meet his mom had to work a lot and suffered from depression as a result. MC is one of the highest paid professional gamers and his paychecks go towards caring for his mom.

I won’t reveal any spoilers as to which of these pro gamers made it to BlizzCon, but I highly recommend watching this 89 minute documentary for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the dedication and sacrifices required to succeed in the pro gaming world. With eSports having more viewership than the NHL and the US Golf Open, it’ll probably be around for a while.  If you're interested in seeing what eSports is all about, GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon will be available for purchase and rental on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu on June 12th.

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Samson

Thank you Pure Flix for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Samson’s story in the Bible is an incredible one about a man who had God-given strength as long as he kept the Nazarite vows. Since his birth, he was forbidden to cut his hair and abstain from grapes, raisins, and wine. Samson was a judge and was supposed to lead the tribe of Dan, but he was too busy womanizing. Instead of settling down with a nice Hebrew girl, he preferred Philistine women. The Philistines were oppressing the Hebrews so it was difficult for Samson to get his parents' blessing on marrying the girl he fell in love with. In the movie, the Philistine slave he proposes to is named Taren though her name is not revealed in the book of Judges.

While this one hundred and ten minute movie is rated PG-13, it’s for the violence rather than sex scenes. Intimacy is only alluded to and not seen. Samson is shown taking down a lion with his bare hands, killing thirty Philistines for their tunics, and using the jawbone of a donkey to slaughter one thousand Philistine warriors. Tying ignited twigs on three hundred fox tails is also seen though I doubt that any animals were harmed while filming. The special effects are pretty good though not as high tech as many big budget films out there.

Though this film portrays Samson in a positive light, it does deviate from the scriptures a bit. The Philistine woman Samson married is given to Prince Rallah instead of the best man. Rather than being a harlot, Delilah is Rallah’s wife. True to the scriptures, she does entice Samson to reveal his weakness, but the movie only shows two out of four attempts.

If you’re familiar with the book of Judges, you’ll know how this film ends. I won’t spoil it here, but I will say that Samson was definitely used by God to reveal his power to the Philistines. My husband and I enjoyed watching this film and its fresh take on one the Bible’s strongest men. On Amazon the Blu-ray sells for less than $18 and the DVD edition is under $15.

 


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Nature: Sex, Lies and Butterflies

Thank you PBS for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

I didn’t think I’d be showing my children a movie with sex in the title anytime soon, but I did. This film is aptly titled as it goes into detail about the mysteries and impressive feats of caterpillars morphing into beautiful butterflies. A caterpillar spends its time eating and once it becomes a butterfly, its primary purpose is to mate. Butterflies are shown reproducing as well as aiding flowers in pollination. Since these events are part of nature and can be seen out in the open, I consider this film safe for all audiences despite its PG rating.

Christians should be cautioned, as there are references to evolution throughout this movie. The scientists discuss the butterflies originating from moths and adapting over millions of years. Scientists also marvel at how the butterflies and flowers are designed to complement each other, but if you believe in an intelligent Creator, the answer is simple.

Another marvel is the distance that some species of butterflies travel. The Painted Lady butterflies travel from Africa to the Arctic Circle. Despite their wings taking a beating, they still continue their impressive 9,000 mile journey. Monarch butterflies are known for travelling long distances too, but Painted Ladies go twice as far.

While the Monarch and Pained Lady butterflies are eye catching, there are lots of beautiful butterfly species out there. In fact, there are approximately 20,000 different species fluttering around in the wild. Not surprisingly, many of them have similar coloring. This can be exploited as a survival technique as non-poisonous butterflies mimic the appearance of poisonous ones.

With the vibrant colors and zoomed in details, the Blu-ray format is highly recommended. This fifty-three minute educational film can be yours for less than $18 on Amazon. I highly recommend it for any caterpillar and butterfly lover out there!

 

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Pup Star: World Tour

pup star world tour

Thank you Airbud Entertainment for sending us a digital screener along with a box of aprons, cooking utensils, a stuffed bear, dog treats and a squeaky ball toy.  

Pup Star, the ultimate dog singing contest, is about to go international. This time, Tiny won’t be singing but judging in the competition. Her equally talented lookalike, Scrappy, will be defending her title against many hopefuls from around the world. The four-month Pup Star tour will be voting on talent from India, Africa, China, and Mexico. Each of the judges, who carry over form the previous films, will pick a hopeful to mentor and compete with them in the final episode. The problem is that one of the hopefuls is a fake who is being manipulated by Bark who wants to reclaim Pup Star by whatever means necessary.

Although Bark is imprisoned at a Canine Correctional Facility, he still runs the show. Roland, the bumbling human correctional officer does Bark's bidding. Tiny’s family is being manipulated as well by a dog named Julio. Their housekeeper, Ida, is smitten by Tiny’s pupil and literally caters to his every need. Julio has made himself home there and doesn’t hesitate to tug on the heartstrings of people by retelling the sob story of how he lost his family and that they are all he has left now.

Much of the same slapstick humor is to be expected in this film. Silly violence takes place and is all in good fun. There is one use of the acronym OMG. Tiny’s flamboyant manager is still around though his job is put in jeopardy as the story of deception unfolds. There is some blackmailing and a stolen kiss takes place where Tiny is the victim. Her significant other P.U.P. is hurt by all of the tabloid articles surrounding this event. To find out what happens to P.U.P. and Tiny’s relationship and the future of Pup Star you’ll have to watch this film!

If you enjoyed previous Pup Star entries then you’ll find the same quality of characters, stories, and jokes in this hour and twenty-seven minute movie. It’s available now on Netflix and will be arriving in physical format soon.


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Bill Nye: Science Guy

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

When I was growing up, I used to enjoy watching Mr. Wizard’s World and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The way they taught science was both informative and entertaining. Aside from Bill Nye’s evolution DVD (we figured our children would hear about this in school soon enough), we let our kids watch the others. Our kids have enjoyed the DVDs and checked them out multiple times apiece.

Many schools still show Bill Nye’s timeless TV show. Mr. Wizard’s world ran in the '80s and Bill Nye: the Science Guy came out in the '90s; nobody else has carried on the torch and reached children as these shows have. Granted there are some popular YouTubers out there, but TV/DVD format is ideal as YouTube can be a dangerous place for a youngster to browse by themselves.

Bill Nye is concerned about children being indoctrinated by religion and not science during their formative years. This concern and climate change are the focus of this documentary. Like many documentaries, you’ll see Bill Nye’s humble beginnings and rise to fame as Bill Nye The Science Guy. Clips from the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham is shown too. Now knowing that the income that flowed from that debate funded Mr. Ham’s Ark Encounter, Mr. Nye probably regrets accepting the invitation. News footage of prominent Christian politicians like Mike Pence and Sarah Palin are seen as negative media influences. Bill Nye makes it clear that he’s not anti-religion. He’s okay with religion being taught in religion classes. However, he’s not okay with Intelligent Design of any form being taught in science class.

Ice cores are mentioned in both the debate and climate change segments. By drilling and examining ice cores scientists are able to measure the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from hundreds of thousands of years ago. This process goes against the beliefs of young earth creationists. Scientifically minded Christians are shown in the documentary in a positive light.

Bill Nye’s inspiration and astronomy teacher, Carl Sagan, helped found The Planetary Society. As The Planetary Society’s current CEO, Bill Nye helped achieve Carl Sagan’s dream of launching a solar sail into space. The construction and launch are both shown in this 100-minute documentary. If you want to see what Bill Nye has been up to in the past twenty years, this documentary will fill you in on his latest crusades. 

If you agree with climate change and evolution you'll enjoy it more than we did. The Blu-ray sells for $18 and the DVD retails for $13 on Amazon.

 

 
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Learning to See: The World of Insects

Thank you JGPR for sending us a screener DVD to review! 

Learning to See: The World of Insects was successfully Kickstarted in 2013 and promised to document the journey of Robert Oelman who has spent the last two decades photographing rare and never before seen exotic insects in Columbia, Peru, and Ecuador. The film is directed and produced by his son, Jake. According to Jake, his father is a mix of John Wayne and a hippie. Robert is certainly fearless when it comes to handling exotic and often poisonous insects and spiders. He wasn’t always into insects and spent his earlier years as a psychotherapist. He wasn’t happy with his career choice and his family was well aware of it.

Despite being warned of the crimes and danger in Columbia, Robert packed up and moved there in the ‘90s. After being robbed a couple of times, he had to make some adjustments, but still enjoyed living there. He purchased property near a mountain and began photographing the locals there. When hummingbirds started visiting his home, he wanted to photograph them. Because of their wings' flapping speed, he had to learn some camera techniques to capture their beauty sufficiently. These methods came in handy when he discovered the wonderful world of exotic bugs shortly after.

Photographing insects is tricky work and with the help of his assistant, Christian, they travel several hours away to capture stunning photographs of rare and newly discovered species. Many of the places they travel to are impacted by deforestation and it makes many people wonder how many species are going extinct as a result of this.

It’s a shame that the beauty and intricacy of these insects is credited to millions of years of evolution. Also, finding his calling and purpose is attributed to a “Life Force”. If you don’t mind these references, there is a lot of stunning artwork and the majesty of God’s creation is truly remarkable in this film. More information on this movie can be found at its website. The film is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu. Be sure to check out Robert’s photography on his Flickr page.

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Animals With Cameras

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Scientists have been tracking and studying animals for decades of their lives and despite all of their time and effort, they still have many unanswered questions and much to learn about various species. While meerkets can be observed when they’re above ground, what happens in their tunnels is a complete mystery until now! With the help of excellent engineering and tiny cameras and collars, scientists and viewers can now see what their tunnels look like from the inside and how they sleep in groups despite their hierarchy. Footage of newborn pups was also captured as an added bonus.

Unlike the chimps, the meerkats didn’t accept the collars right away. The chimpanzees enjoyed playing with the cameras and taking selfies with them. Capturing footage of them quickly and gracefully swinging from tree to tree is awe-inspiring. The strength in their arms is tremendous and the cameras had to get redesigned to compensate for their incredible power. One of the cameras did get lost in the jungle but the engineer thought ahead and placed tracking devices in them.

Some of the cameras were designed to fall off after several hours or days. The hook on the devil ray’s floating cameras purposely eroded away in the salt water and rose to the surface for retrieval. The radio collars on brown bears in Turkey were fitted with cameras that fell off in a few days. The footage from the bears' cameras revealed that they have been frequenting a nearby garbage dumpster as a food source.

Many of the scenarios for using the cameras are purely scientific while others are trying to find answers to avoid conflict between humans and wildlife threatening their livelihood. A group of baboons have temporarily stopped raiding a farmer’s butternut squash field and he wants to know what’s keeping them away so it can be done more often. In France, sheep were being attacked by a pack of wolves nearing extinction. Cameras placed on guard dogs proved that they were effective in driving back several wolf attacks.

My kids and I learned a lot by watching these three hour-long episodes and look forward to many more seasons of this show. The DVD can be yours for less than $16 and it’s worth considering for any animal lover in your family.

 


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Lady Bird

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a senior at a Catholic high school. Her parents are hard workers, and when money gets tight, it adds to the tension between family members. Lady Bird gets along with her soft-spoken dad, but her mother tells it like it is and shares her disagreement with her daughter’s college choices. Many of the students in the high school are well to do, and Lady Bird lies about her financial situation to fit in. Deceit plays a big role in this film.

Other moral concerns include smoking, drug, and alcohol consumption. There are homosexual relationships and premarital sex is shown in this film. While the actors don’t show much skin, a snapshot from a Playgirl magazine is shown in its entirety. Last but not least, is the amount of swearing and use of F-bombs.

Though there are some good lessons about friendships and family ties, the moral issues are too plentiful to recommend this film to parents struggling to connect with their teenagers. As a mother of one teenager with another soon to be, I could somewhat relate with one of my daughters being similar to me with the other having differences that drive a wedge between us a little bit. Thankfully, our relationship isn’t bad enough to cause us to cuss at and berate each other.

Despite this movie having rave reviews from The New York Times, Rolling Stones magazine, and Rotten Tomatoes, my brother and I really couldn’t get into this story of growing up and cherishing your relationships. The many moral issues also make me hesitant on recommending this film to others. However, if you do enjoy it, Amazon sells the Blu-ray for less than $20.

 


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LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Complete Season Two DVD Set

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

The Freemaker family has been known for their expertise in salvaging and repairing ships for the Rebel Alliance. Occasionally, they’ll be assigned to rescue missions when the need arises. The youngest family member, Rowan, is a Jedi in training who has caught the attention of the Empire. So far, Lord Vader’s attempts at capturing him have failed. The Emperor has commissioned a new prototype robot soldier named MOC to accomplish the task.

Lord Vader is concerned about his job security and tries to trip up the robot as much as possible in this season. In order to earn back the Emperor’s trust, Lord Vader must rebuild the Death Star. Everything is in place with the exception of some special crystals. Rowan is also looking for these crystals to complete the ship he envisioned called the Arrowhead. While searching, Rowan encounters an alien race that worships the crystals that their ancestors left in their care. Rowan befriends a girl that doesn’t believe in the Force or her family’s religion.

Who will secure the highly volatile crystals first and complete their project? You’ll have to watch this twelve episode season to find out. The DVD set consists of two discs with six episodes on each one. Since this show is geared for kids it’s pretty family friendly. There is space combat and cartoon violence. When it comes to language there is some name calling including terms like Scum Weasel and Nerf Herder.

My son and I both enjoyed watching this show. The humor and storytelling can entertain adults as well as children. We’ll have to catch up on the first season now which is available in Blu-ray or DVD formats. I’m not sure why the second season is only available on DVD. Both seasons can be purchased on Amazon.



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Leaving My Father’s Faith

Thank you Jolson Creative PR for sending us a screener to review!

Tony Campolo is a well-known author, pastor, and evangelist. He was a spiritual advisor to Bill Clinton and recently made headlines in 2015 for fully supporting gay marriage. Up until his 2011 bike accident that resulted in a concussion, Bart Campolo was following in his father’s footsteps as an evangelist. However, after the bike accident, Bart changed and abandoned his faith entirely.

The movie Leaving My Father’s Faith chronicles e-mail exchanges between Tony and Bart and shows them dialoguing over what caused Bart to abandon Christianity. Bart doesn’t completely blame the bike accident for his departure, but mentions that there were several things in his life that cast doubts and slowly corroded his faith.

The first issue that caused Bart to leave Christianity is God allowing for people to suffer. Tony responded saying that according to Philippians 2:7, God emptied His power and doesn’t reclaim it fully until the end days mentioned in Revelation. In college Bart’s faith was further challenged in a religious class that dealt with contradictions in the Bible. Bart’s teacher told him about the writing of Karl Bart that conclude that Jesus was the perfect word and that the Bible is just merely a witness to it. Karl Bart’s works were so inspiring to Tony that he named his son after him. Not surprisingly, both father and son disagree with the Bible’s stance on homosexuality.

Most of the movie talks about Bart’s upbringing and doubts. It claims to be fair and representing both sides equally, but I can’t help think that more time is spent on Bart than Tony. Because of the imbalance, I don’t really recommend this movie to believers. In the end, I’m glad that their relationship with each other is amicable. If you find this exchange interesting you can read the book Why I Left, Why I Stayed which this film is based off of.

 


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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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