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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

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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Wonder

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

Wonder is based off of the 2012 book with the same name. The book is about a boy named August (Auggie) Pullman that was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome. This genetic disorder affects one in 50,000 people and makes those with it look different because they lack ear and/or facial bones. Like the book, the movie shifts from different perspectives as Auggie starts fifth grade at Beecher Prep School.

Before starting school, Auggie who loves Minecraft, Star Wars, and anything space related, often wore a space helmet out in public. On his first day at school, he didn’t wear his helmet and got stared at quite a bit. Auggie is used to the stares; however, the mean notes/drawings and bullying took a toll on him and his loving family.

Auggie’s sister, Olivia (Via), is used to Auggie getting a lot of attention from their parents. She’s a great sister and very understanding. However, she is experiencing troubles with her best friend at school, but her parents don’t notice right away because they’re focusing on Auggie’s acclimation. The different perspectives in this film are eye opening and from what my children who read the book tell me, the movie is lacking a couple of perspectives that the book has in it.

I don’t want to spoil the story, and I highly encourage you to check out the movie, book, or both! Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts did a wonderful job acting as Auggie’s parents. There are many humorous scenes between Auggie and his father. Conversely, there are some tear jerking moments and yes, I did cry at the happy ending.

This nearly two-hour film is available in DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K formats. Like many movies, the higher the visual quality the more expensive it will be. I highly recommend adding this film in any format to your movie collection.


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Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

Thank you Vertical Entertainment for sending us a screener DVD to review!

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero is inspired by the true story of Bilal ibn Rabah. Though Bilal was one of Muhammad’s most trusted companions, this movie focuses more on slavery and equality than religion. Bilal’s master, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, was a wealthy man who made his fortune by selling idols in the town of Mecca. His son, Safwan ibn Umayya, treated Bilal and his sister very poorly. Bilal protected his sister even if it meant getting beaten later on for defending her.

Though whippings, beatings, and warfare is shown in this film, there is very little blood seen. This film is rated PG-13 due to the violence and warfare in it. Religion is watered down with a few references to a singular creator God and a prayer ending in amen. There is no mention of Allah and the only hint of Islam is that you see gamepeices with crescents representing the new movement versus the idol worshipers on a strategic game board. The idol priests are depicted as powerful and able to sense people’s needs and desires. I like how they’re associated with snakes.

The quality of the film is exceptional with top notch visuals and voice acting. The overall message of equality is great and I like how they reinforce that true strength is in the mind and not weapons. Bilal’s mother taught him that a great man is not bound by internal chains of anger, vengeance, or fear. Even though Bilal seeks to be a free man physically, he realizes that even his master is a slave to greed. I won’t spoil the story, but I will say that Bilal does speak his mind and stays true to his convictions and beliefs.

Though this film was originally made in 2015, Bilal: A New Breed of Hero will be coming to theaters worldwide on February 2nd, 2018. Hopefully it will do better in the Western box offices than it did in the MENA region despite its positive reviews. It’s definitely worth checking out if you don’t mind some harsh imagery and violence.

 

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"Bilal: A New Breed of Hero" is simply one of the best animated films ever made: The plots is brilliantly developed, the animation... Read More
Friday, 30 March 2018 01:39
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Halo: The Complete Video Collection

Thank you Shout! Factory for sending us this six-disc Blu-ray set to review!

Back in 2015 we enjoyed and reviewed Halo: The Fall of Reach. Since we only had access to a low-resolution screener it’s nice to have a higher quality Blu-ray disc of it now. I have enjoyed the first two Halo games and my kids have been playing the original game, so we have a little bit of an understanding of the franchise. Thankfully, each of the discs features different characters and stories and don’t require an in-depth knowledge of the game to enjoy them. With that said these films are dark, bloody, and have some language in them so they’re not for younger children.

Aside from Fall of Reach, there are two other movies, Forward Unto Dawn and Nightfall. The first disc, Halo Legends, has all seven of the short animated films. If that’s not enough Halo lore for you to enjoy, there are also two discs worth of bonus content. This set is sure to please any Halo fan.

Each of the Halo Legends episodes is different in art style and storytelling. The history of the war with the Covenant and the Flood is retold from varying perspectives, including Cortana’s. Other side stories are told as well including some somber ones and light-hearted tales. Since the episodes are pretty short, I won’t spoil any of the details here. This disc is nearly two hours in length.

Forward Unto Dawn tells a ninety-one minute story of some fresh recruits that hope to be Spartans one day. Each of the cadets have their own viewpoints on the war and reasons for enlisting. Many of them have family members that will be hard to measure up to. Taking orders does not come naturally for the main character, Thomas Lasky. All of their sweat and training will come in handy when their academy gets attacked by the Covenant. Do they have what it takes to survive?

Nightfall stars Mike Colter who I recognized from the Luke Cage series. His character, Locke, is an ONI soldier on a mission to save the planet from a biochemical warfare attack from the Covenant. The fate of the planet relies on a handful of soldiers who must endure the harsh atmosphere of what’s left of the Halo ring. Humanity's acts of selfishness and selflessness are both shown in this ninety-eight-minute film.

While my family and I enjoyed these films and short movies, they are not for younger kids due to language and intense violence. There is plenty of blood and alien worms eating people alive. Pretty good nightmare material for young ones. Those who are old enough to enjoy the games will find a lot to like in this set though.

 


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Hey Cortana is your personal assistant for windows as this feature will help you to navigate to websites by using voice tool. Your... Read More
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My son and I have been watching, there is a reason this is the biggest longest running video game franchise in history . Refer: fr... Read More
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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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Great movie!! And since its based actual happenings- gives onegrewt hope that mans kindness and goodwill still exist- very “ clean... Read More
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All I Want For Christmas Is You

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

All I Want For Christmas Is You features Mariah Carey’s song with the same title and she is the narrator of this cute Christmas themed story. The main character is a little girl named Mariah (big surprise!) who has been asking for a puppy for many years without any success. While her father is allergic to dogs, he also struggles with saying “No” to her and would rather come up with an excuse to leave rather than give her a response. This year is a little different from before as Mariah agrees to be in a doggie fashion show without the required dog. Her friends are still okay with it since Mariah assures them that she’s getting one this Christmas.

Mariah’s grandmother is in her corner and tries to get her parents to reconsider after seeing a cute hypoallergenic poodle-bichon hybrid puppy at the local animal shelter. Mariah sets her sights on getting this female puppy that she names Princess. Her father, on the other hand, has different plans. He brings home a troublesome puppy named Jack and promises that if she can take care of this wily dog, then they’ll consider getting Princess for her.

Jack is quite the troublemaker, destroying many items in the house, and even manages to tarnish Mariah’s impeccable reputation at school. Because of some of his hijinks, she is forced to trespass into her neighbor’s yard to “borrow” Mrs. Claus’ outfit since Jack destroyed the one she needed for the fashion show. Unfortunately, her grandfather trespasses into their neighbor’s yard all of the time out of jealousy to interfere with their obnoxious Christmas decorations.

While there is justification for lying and jealousy in this film, it does have a good message about love in the end and how it does not require perfection to thrive. I won’t spoil any more of the story or the ending, but I recommend checking out this film if you’re a fan of dogs or Mariah Carey. All I Want For Christmas Is You sells for less than $15 on Amazon.



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The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

Thank you Team Click for sending us this movie to review!

Life isn’t easy for a squirrel. Everything is out to get them: cars, bikes, gum, and humans. They had the easy life in the closed down nut shop, but good things don’t last forever. Sadly, it exploded and the easy life is now gone for Surly and his friends. Surly’s love interest, Andie, wants him to go back to the park and live as a wild animal again. However, the greedy mayor wants to remove Liberty Park since it’s not generating any income.

Instead of going back to the park, Surly and his friends decide to steal their meals from humans. Their life of crime is short lived after discovering that it’s not worth the hassle. Aside from stealing, there is some alcohol consumption and a spoiled rotten child being given her way when she throws a temper tantrum. Some gross humor is also shown when it comes to dogs and vomit.

The comedy begins when the ground breaks in the park to construct a new amusement park. The animals team up to stop the construction team from making any progress. The mayor brings in reinforcements and things get serious when Precious the dog gets taken by the mayor’s daughter. The daughter’s dog loves Precious but the feelings are not mutual.

During Precious’ rescue, Buddy gets injured and the animals rally together once again. With the renewed comradery, the animals vow to take down the newly opened amusement park. The animal exterminators come in full force and capture everyone but Surly. Does he run and take the easy way out or does he save the park and his friends? I’ll leave the rest as a mystery as you should see this movie firsthand.

My kids and I enjoyed this movie and recommend picking it up. The Blu-ray/DVD combo can be yours for less than $20.


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Cars 3

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Thank you Disney for sending us a Blu-ray, board game, Cruz Ramierez plush, Miss Fritter toy, snack cups, plates, and napkins!

My family has enjoyed and owns Cars 1 and 2 on Blu-ray. Though we enjoyed the first movie more than the sequel, we had high hopes for the third entry (if you don’t count the Planes movie). Cars 3 is a solid film despite its predictable ending.

In the beginning, you see Lightning McQueen at the top of his game with several adoring fans in the audience sporting his number 95. The banter and pranks between the top three performers is quite entertaining and fun to watch. The racing season starts off good for Lightning McQueen, until a younger, high-tech model racer named Jackson Storm starts winning the races. It doesn’t take long for many of Lightning McQueen’s friends to see the writing on the wall and start retiring one by one. Lightning McQueen doesn’t want to throw in the towel so easily, but a bad car accident gives him plenty of time to reflect on his situation and think back to the good advice that Doc Hudson gave him during his training.

Despite being at a disadvantage against the modern cars and their hi-tech simulation training machines, Lightning McQueen decides to continue on with his career. He soon befriends a personal trainer who constantly makes cracks about him being old, needing naps, and leaking oil. As someone who is pushing forty I can relate to feeling insecure to the threats of younger and more efficient models out there.

The overall story is good and the heartwarming ending isn’t a total surprise. My family enjoyed watching this film and highly recommend it to any Cars fan out there. People of all ages can enjoy this film and its lessons of pushing yourself to try harder and thinking smarter than your opposition. Sometimes things are not as hopeless as they seem. Currently you can enjoy this movie digitally and on November 7th it will be available on Blu-ray and DVD.



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Supergirl

Thank you JGPR for sending us this film to review!

Supergirl is a 78-minute documentary about Naomi Kutin who is a record setting power lifter. The catch is that she started breaking national and world records when she was eight years old! Her first national record was set for lifting 148lbs at eight years old. In this documentary, you’ll see her living out her Orthodox Jewish faith and lifting over 230lbs while weighing less than 100lbs. In fact, she has to maintain a strict diet to keep her weight at 97lbs or less. As she grows up physically, she’ll have to change weight classes to adjust to her adolescent body.

It's pretty neat to get a glimpse into the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle. When traveling for events they cannot operate gas or electric powered tools like elevators at hotels on Saturdays. Seeing her become of age and watching her Bat Mitzvah is pretty exciting as well.

Despite all of the excitement, there are some somber moments in this documentary which should be considered before showing this to children. Naomi reads some comments on her YouTube and Facebook videos and many of them are rude and laced with profanity. Her adoring brother has autism and her mother was a victim of sexual abuse as she was growing up. With Naomi’s many successes come failures and she doesn’t win all of her competitions, but she does learn from them though.

One of the biggest trials in this film is the migraines that she experiences for months on end. Per doctor’s orders she has to take a break from lifting. This is a pretty tough blow because she loves lifting and her parents encourage her and don’t force this upon her. Once some progress is made, she resumes lifting and I’ll leave the conclusion of whether or not she makes a comeback for you to watch! Supergirl became available for sale and rental on Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, as well as DVD and Blu-ray on September 28, timed to coincide with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


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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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Jennifer Brownz
Great memories from when I was younger. Love sharing with kids and grandkids. The kind of show I want them to see. Refer: kissmang... Read More
Friday, 30 March 2018 03:56
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The Atoning

Thank you Roberson Public Relations for sending us a screener of this film!

While I’m not typically into horror movies, the trailer looked interesting for The Atoning. My husband laughed at me for getting startled while viewing it. Like many horror movies, this one revolves around a haunted house and deals with spirits that have not crossed over to the “other side”. While unbiblical, it does provide decent entertainment.

Vera and Ray’s marriage is on the rocks and their son Sam is trying his best to keep them together. His attempt at cooking breakfast for them resulted in black and crispy pancakes and a huge mess to clean up. Vera is a loving mother while the father seems a bit distant. One thing that the family can all agree on is that their house seems to be haunted. Between doors opening and closing for no reason, objects moving around without explanation, and water turning on sporadically, this family is legitimately creeped out. The oddities seem to escalate at 9:45 every night as well.

Ray knows the name of the inhabitants of the house and their son Sam has seen their daughter who is about his age. The ghosts are not welcome and a medium is consulted to help remove the spirits. Unfortunately, the ghosts need to resolve their conflicts before moving onward. This involves a marital affair with an underage girl, drunkenness, and murder. To help figure all of this out, Ray consults a book that discusses occult topics like Neo-purgatory and Necrostasis. God is mentioned and quickly dismissed as soon as He’s brought up. During some flashbacks, Vera mentions going to church, but later doubts that God existed.

There’s a bit of a story twist, but this film’s main focus is on scaring it’s viewers. The demon like creatures are very creepy with their black bodies and bright eyes. After being startled from the trailer I was on guard for the movie and didn’t get freaked out while watching it. In all honesty I wasn’t very entertained either and have no desire to watch this film again.


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Pup Star: Better 2Gether

Thank you Air Bud Entertainment for sending us a screener link!

After losing to Tiny in the first Pup Star movie, Bark isn’t taking it lying down. In his local singing club, The Bark Easy, there’s a small dog with a big attitude named Scrappy that just so happens to look a lot like Tiny. Bark comes up with the plan to replace Tiny with Scrappy and have her take the fall to Bark in the upcoming season of Pup Star. Scrappy isn’t keen on this plan at first, but once her back alley home gets destroyed she’s onboard with it.

With the help of a skunk, the dog switch happens and those closest to the two dogs immediately detect the personality differences. Lots of hilarity ensues as the little dogs adjust to their new roles. Tiny’s human family considers a vet visit, holy water, and possibly an exorcism to bring back the dog they’re used to.

Many characters return including Lady Paw Paw, Simon Growl, and Dog Marley. Some new characters like Jimmy Kibble and Katty Purry are introduced. Like the previous movie, there is a character that’s extremely flamboyant. Even with the theme of deceit running throughout the movie, the pursuit of integrity and forgiveness is promoted. One final nitpick is that one of the dogs says OMG.

My kids enjoyed this movie and its over-the-top humor that adults will see coming from a mile away. Without spoiling the story, this film is heartwarming and shows the importance of family, friends, and acceptance. If you enjoyed the first movie, chances are that you’ll like this one too. This movie will be in theaters on August 29th. If you enjoy the music the soundtrack is available for purchase on Amazon.


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The Passion of Augustine

Thank you EG-PR for sending us a press screener of this movie to review!

The Passion of Augustine is a Canadian film that was originally released in 2015. Since this film takes place in Quebec, the native language is French. There is English closed captioning which doesn’t kick in until ten minutes or so into the film. The beginning of the movie starts off in Latin and the nuns are waking the girls up in Latin and attending a church service conducted in Latin. Had I not known that Catholic services used to be conducted in Latin, I would have assumed that the subtitles were misconfigured. Thankfully, we stuck with it and enjoyed the rest of the film that we were able to understand.

The rest of the film is fairly easy to follow if you don't mind subtitles. Later in the movie there is a scene where a student is singing a love song in a foreign language and I wish I knew what the lyrics were. Despite the language barrier the story is worth sticking around for. It’s based in the ‘60s and tells the tale of a struggling convent. Between the Vactican II changes and the state’s push for public schooling, the mother superior, Augustine, is doing what she can to keep the all-girls school running. Unlike the public schools, this convent focuses a lot on music theory and has won a silver medal award at a prestigious piano contest.

With the rising cost of heating oil, and the need for better musical instruments, the mother general is not fond of music and thinks that mother Augustine is too proud of her school and its students. One of the recent transfer students is Augustine’s niece, Alice, who gets into trouble and sometimes it’s not even her fault. Other times it is and Alice and another fellow classmate get in big trouble for sneaking out to a “Love in” dance club.

Mother Augustine is protective of Alice because of mistakes that she has made when she was younger. There is a flashback scene that isn’t very clear of a medical procedure being done to Augustine when she was younger. Given some later conversations in the movie, I believe that it was an abortion.

Because of the religious backdrop, there isn’t much cussing in this film. You do see some kissing, but nothing more. Part of the Vatican II changes included modernizing the church and that involves changing the attire of the nuns. There are scenes of them changing their clothes, but like the rest of the film, it is done in good taste and nothing is seen.

We viewed this movie using Vimeo which usually provides good service, but we ran into several buffering delays and had to set the quality to auto instead of the 720p maximum. Even on auto, it still had buffering issues.

Overall, we enjoyed The Passion of Augustine and recommend checking it out when it goes to video on demand. The DVD is available on Amazon but the $40 asking price is pretty hefty. Hopefully the paid rental service is more reliable than the method we used to watch this film.


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Power Rangers 2017 Movie Review

Go Go see a different movie. That's all I can say about the 2017 Power Rangers movie. It was truly an odd experience for the ages. I want to make a few things clear before I write why it was so awful to me. Power Rangers has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, so I guess you could consider me a fan of the series. This includes what Power Rangers is based off of: the Super Sentai series in Japan. I would also like to make it clear that I am working with a slight bias: while things like the Power Rangers should be meant for a younger audience first, this doesn't mean I can't enjoy things not targeted towards me. So let's rush to the command center; this is a Power Rangers movie.

Power Rangers starts with Zordon, leader of the first team of Rangers on Earth 65 million years ago. His Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa, has betrayed her team and she is ready to rip out the source of Earth's life, the Zeo Crystal. After Zordon hides the power coins, he calls on Alpha 5 to send a meteor crashing down to Earth. We then fast forward to years later when our first protagonist, Jason, is caught stealing the football mascot of a rival school. As punishment, he loses all opportunities given to him and is forced to attend detention every day as a troubled student. Along the way he meets the four other future Rangers. The characters Billy, Kimberly, Trini, and Zack end up in the same spot the coins are hidden. When they try to escape gold mine security, they end up getting hit by a train. Though it seems this is the moment they die, they wake up at home faster, stronger, and better. Eventually they meet Zordon and Alpha 5, who warn them Rita Repulsa will return. If they can't learn to morph and work together within eleven days, the world shall end.

So first let me give thoughts on the two elephants in the room. Billy is made to be an autistic kid, and they let you know very earlier on how different he is. Speaking as an autistic man, it seemed more like they were playing autism like it was down syndrome. He would constantly remind the movie audience that he was autistic. He would also have a lot of strange quirks that replaced character. Not only was he token, he was a poorly developed character. Trini, the lesbian character was a much bigger token. I'll hate myself later for putting it this way, but she was a “millennials'” version of coming out. In the scene where she admits to her team she's gay, she says, “My family is just so normal, all they care about is labels.” This story arc doesn't go anywhere and it seems to be just thrown in for brownie points. While it seems people on different sides got worked up over these characters, the controversy wasn't worth it. They used these things to replace actual character. The theme song could have been "Go Go Token Rangers anyway". Jason was token jock, Zack was token smooth talking loner and Kimberly was token cheerleader brat. 

The Rangers might as well have been a super hero retelling of the Breakfast Club without any real character development. Despite a scene around a bonfire sharing their deep dark secrets, none of them really have any reason to work together and the audience doesn't really know them. Like I said early, they go through the movie as character traits, not characters themselves. By trying to make these Rangers more “realistic and relatable” they come off as more fake and unrelatable. They hate their town right until they face Rita Repulsa. Most of their time as Rangers are spent training in montages. When they can finally work together, they spend about 5 to 8 minutes of time fighting in the suit while the rest of the climax is a long zord battle. The only two characters that at least tried to be a little fun was Zordon and Rita. I actually found it quite interesting that they tried to set Zordon up as a previous Yed Ranger. While Rita was slow in the beginning, she became a corny, over the top and insane villain, and that's what a Power Rangers villain should be. Yet Zordon's potential was thrown out when you realize they set up this idea of him being revived only for him to sacrifice himself so he could revive Billy when Rita drowns him. Rita’s monster, Goldar, did not look threatening at all; living molten gold doesn't look good no matter what you do. 

The cinematography didn't do anything for the movie. If it wasn't just shaky cam, they had a lot of close up shots to the face during emphasized dialogue. Someone must really hate lighting in this movie as well. The colors of the movie seemed to have had to fight to really stick out from all the grays and dark lighting of the movie. It seems modernizing a story means trying to force it to be dark and edgy without reason. Not every superhero has to have a miserable background before becoming a hero. Inspiration can come from the top.

Morality wise, aside from the implied homosexuality of the Yellow Ranger, this movie has low brow humor and a lot of rage and hatred that border between teen angst and blind rage. You're constantly reminded until the very end of the movie how much they hate their town and their own situation. This idea of being a bad kid, an outcast in detention is slightly glorified as well.  They push that whole 'it's cool to be different from the crowd' ideology in the wrong way. It's sad this is being pushed so hard towards kids. I say the movie earned its PG-13 rating at least.

This movie definitely has the crowds divided. Critics hate it and most audiences adore it. Its opening weekend scored the movie a strong $ 40.5 million. All I ask is for readers to remember that high sales does not equal quality. Some of that old Power Rangers camp might have actually made this movie better. For this writer, I give it a 3/10. Effects are cool the first time you see it but the rest of the movie is a shallow cash grab banking on nostalgia and ”relatable teen” story tropes. Go Go far away from this movie.

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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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