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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Where Hope Grows

Thank you Rogers and Cowen for sending us this DVD to review!

Calvin Campbell is a former professional baseball player who would rather go drinking with his friends than spend time with his seventeen year old daughter who needs him in her life.  She is dating a guy that is older than her and has a one track mind.  She knows her father doesn't approve of him, but when he doesn't spend time with her,  she's running into her boyfriend's arms instead.  

While shopping at the local grocery store for some food and alcohol, Calvin Campbell meets an employee there with Down syndrome.  He goes by the name Produce and just so happens to work in the produce department.  Produce is a good employee that knows the SKU numbers for every fruit and vegetable in the store.  As much as he longs for the employee of the month recognition, the honor always seems to elude him.  Despite the lack of recognition, Produce is very friendly and makes many friends at the store.  One of those friendships is with Calvin who can use a good friend to help him get his life back in order.  

Where Hope Grows tells a good story about redemption and spending more time with your loved ones.  Because of the language, heavy drinking, and sexual situations, I don't recommend this movie for young children.  It's accurately rated PG-13.  With that said, I highly recommend it for everyone else.  The picture quality and acting is well done.  I recognized the actors Alan Powell from The Song and William Zabka from Karate Kid.  Sometimes the actor for Produce, David DeSanctis, was a little hard to understand, but he still did an excellent job and made his character lovable.  I like how the movie and cast vowed to stop using the "R" word to describe people with Down syndrome.   The message of not under-estimating or giving up on people is clear and needs to be shared.  The DVD sells for less than $13 and the Blu-Ray goes for $18 on Amazon.


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Descendants

Thank you Disney for sending us this movie to review!

Unlike previous Disney movies, Descendants opens up with a story from a tablet instead of a book.  When Belle and Beast married they rounded up all of the villains and cast them away on an island with no Wifi and no escape.  That is until Belle and Beast's son, Ben, is crowned king of Auradon and gives the offspring of the most notorious villains a chance to live a normal life in his kingdom.  Their parents Evil Queen (Snow White), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Jafar (Aladdin), and Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmations) eagerly await their kids efforts to reclaim the fairy godmother's wand to undo the protection magic on the Isle of the Lost. 

Getting their hands on the wand is no easy task since it is locked down in a museum.  The misfits will have to make friends at the boarding school and become acquainted with the offspring of Dopey, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and the fairy godmother.  Sadly many of the friendships are one sided as the descendants are using their social engineering skills and magic to get what they want.  

They're not all bad once they step away from their parent's shadows though.  I like how this movie teaches about forgiveness and redemption.  Each of the descendants learns to accomplish things on their own and they become well aware of good and evil and its consequences.  Some of the treatment the descendants get is well deserved, but not all of it is.

Without spoiling the story I'll refrain from going into more detail.  I do however, highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys Disney's animated classics.  The characters are well developed and the songs (though obviously lip synched) and costumes are vibrant and well done.  I enjoyed the rap remake of Be Our Guest.   All three of my kids liked this film and  I'm sure other families will enjoy it as well.


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Patterns of Evidence

Thank you Rogers and Cowan for sending us this DVD to review!

Skepticism is on the rise and Christianity has been under attack from scientists, scholars, and archaeologists.  Many consider the Bible to be nothing more than a history book or just a bunch of fairy tales.  For more than fifty years, many prominent archaeologists believe that there is no solid evidence for the events in Exodus taking place as the Bible claims.  This view is so widespread that prominent rabbis like David Wolpe consider the book of Exodus to be "historical fiction."

If the book of Exodus is myth then the rest of the Bible loses its credibility and purpose.  Director Timothy Mahoney sets out to validate or disprove the Bible's account of Exodus in a twelve year archaeological journey to Egypt and around the world. Throughout this documentary (narrated by Kevin Sorbo) there are interviews with prominent Egyptologists, historians, archaeologists, authors, and even the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Shimon Peres, the president of Israel.

What Tim discovers is that many people assume the Biblical Exodus took place during the New Kingdom era of Rameses II.  There is no evidence of a famine, infanticide, or vacating and destruction of Biblical cites in that time period.  However, if you examine the previous era, the Middle Kingdom, there is evidence that matches up perfectly with the Bible time frame and historical accounts.  The problem with these findings is that it would mean that all of the dating to this point would be inaccurate and this is a tough pill to swallow for  Egyptologists, historians, and archaeologists.  

The evidence is pretty compelling and this DVD is extremely well thought out and goes about this process from a scientific approach.  The arguments made are logical and validated by the Bible and archaeological evidence taken from the Middle kingdom era.  I highly recommend watching this $20 DVD/$25 Blu-Ray and seeing this journey unfold for yourself.   

 

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Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

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

The Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection contains twelve short films that are bound to make you and your family laugh, cry, and stay on the edge of your seat.  Even though my family owns several Disney movies, we have only seen two of the short films beforehand.  The collection includes:

 

  • Frozen Fever - Elsa wants to make up for lost time and throw her sister a birthday party that she'll never forget.  The only problem is that Elsa isn't feeling that well.
  • Feast - A dog is enjoying the bachelor life style with his owner and all of the junk food that goes along with it.  Things change when the owner gets a health conscious girlfriend and hilarity ensues.  
  • Get a Horse - The classic black and white Disney characters get a 3D CGI-makeover in this silly short.
  • Paperman - A couple falls in love at first sight and suddenly get separated - can paper airplanes reunite them?
  • Tangled Ever After - Pascal and Maximus lose the rings for Rapunzel and  Flynn Rider's wedding.  They go through a lot of effort and humiliation to retrieve them.
  • The Ballad Of Nessie - The origin of Loch Ness is explained in this story about a dragon who was kicked out of her happy pond when a mini golf course took over the region.
  • Prep & Landing - Operation: Secret Santa - Christmas is just around the corner and Mrs. Claus needs the help of some tech savvy elves to put together a gift for Santa.
  • Tick Tock Tale - Clocks can live an exciting life too, especially when the owner of a clock shop leaves for the day.
  • How To Hook Up Your Home Theater - Goofy just wants to watch a football game on a good sized television in the comfort of his own home.  Little does he know how complicated setting up a home theater can be!
  • The Little Match Girl - In the dead of winter a poor girl is trying to sustain herself by selling matches.  Unfortunately nobody seems to be interested in buying them or helping her stay warm.  Perhaps her matches can comfort her?  
  • Lorenzo - A gluttonous cat enjoys eating in front of starving cats starting at him from his window.  As a tail-less cat walks by, Lorenzo makes fun of it.  He is then cursed with a tail that has a mind of its own that likes to dance the Tango.  
  • John Henry - Recently freed slaves are promised land for helping construct rail road tracks. The deadline is quickly looming and they may lose this opportunity.  The legendary John Henry with his super strength gives it his all to  help secure better lives for his family and friends. 

 

All of the shorts are entertaining and fun to watch for young and old alike.  Like many cartoons there is some silly violence and a couple of the shorts end with the death of the main character.  Fortunately, most of them are lighthearted.  The Blu-Ray/DVD combo sells for $20 on Amazon and is well worth the price if you don't own the shorts already on other Disney movies.


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That Sugar Film

Thank you Sunshine Sachs for sending us a DVD screener of this film!

Thanks to his girlfriend of five years, Damon Gameau has been eating a healthy diet with very little sugar in it. With a baby on the way he wants to see firsthand what impact seemingly healthy foods would have on his trim body. His goal is to eat the national average of forty-four teaspoons of sugar a day for two months and to record the negative changes his body goes through as a result. Instead of indulging on known sugary food like candy and ice cream, his new diet will include food with hidden forms of sugars in food such such as yogurt, granola, and fruit juices. 

To document his journey, Damon enlists the help of several doctors and a nutritionalist. While they monitor his calorie intake and the deterioration of his liver, Damon still exercises as he did before this experiment. Not surprisingly Damon started to develop fatty liver disease, mood swings, and loss of energy throughout this documentary. His abdomen and rear end grew in size as well.

That Sugar Film is not just about Damon - he travels across Australia and to the United states to interview Aborigines and other people impacted by sugary sodas like Mountain Dew. Soda addiction has put many Aborigines in the grave or on dialysis and there was a seventeen year old in the US with such badly rotten teeth that he needed to have them pulled and get dentures. The dental procedure is a little graphic and there are some images of naked Aborigines. 

Other than those scenes, there are some light hearted skits and silly songs featuring famous actors like Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman. Most of the film is as serious as the issue at hand. People have to learn to read the labels on all of their food items; many foods look innocent, but contain the daily suggested amount of sugar by themselves! After seeing That Sugar Film and Fed Up, our family has been paying closer attention to how much sugar is in the food we are eating and have eliminated sugary cereals from our pantry. Thankfully we have never been big soda drinkers, but we have been fooled by seemingly healthy food. I highly recommend watching this movie, and if you don't please pay more attention to the amount of sugar (in all of its forms) in the foods you are eating.

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Project Afterlife

Thank you Destination America for sending us a screener of the first episode!

People often ponder what happens after we die.  Do the lights simply fade out, or is there more to it than that?  The Bible says that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He who believes in him, though he may die, he shall live. (John 11:25)  The team of Project Afterlife set out to talk to various people who have clinically died and have miraculously come back.  Their stories thus far indicate that there is indeed more to come after we die.  Are you ready for that day?

Each of the six-part series will look at two extraordinary cases.  The team consists of an investigative filmmaker, a paramedic, an ordained minister, and a retired state trooper.   A camera man and another teammate (who has some expertise on the case at hand) will interrogate the resurrected person and those involved with their death and resuscitation.    

The first episode has a case about a non-believer in his fifties that had a massive heart attack and died at a hospital shortly after his arrival.  He was pronounced dead and was unresponsive for forty minutes.  Despite all of the doctors' efforts, they cleared the room with the exception of one nurse.  The doctor in charge left the room and was audibly told to pray for the man and to try reviving him again.  The doctor obeyed after being told twice by this voice in his head (whom he believed to be the Lord's).  Even though his actions were questioned by the nurse and another doctor who entered the room, he prayed for the deceased man and shocked him one more time.  After putting his reputation and possible career on the line, the once dead man came back to life despite his body darkening after the massive heart attack he suffered.   

While that man was not a believer at his death, this experience changed his views and he lives a completely different life now as a result.   The doctor who obeyed and saved him was greatly impacted by this experience as well.  I won't go into too much more detail as this show is worth seeing firsthand.

Project Afterlife re-enacts the experiences of the people who have died and their experiences in the afterlife.  The deaths are sometimes dramatic and will keep you at the edge of your seat.  The experiences afterward are certainly eye opening and reveal that we may indeed have free will after our death too.   The minister came to that conclusion after hearing about the case of the newlywed wife who chose to come back to her husband after drowning in a fatal scuba diving accident.

If you find these cases and this show intriguing, tune into Destination America this August for the season premier coming on the 9th.  I'm looking forward to seeing more episodes.

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I'm Your Bride - Donna Allen

Thank you Jones & O'Malley for sending us this CD to review!

Donna Allen has been making R&B music since the eighties and released a couple of CDs, "Perfect Timing" in 1986 and "Heaven on Earth" in 1988.  She released some singles in the '90s and her song "He is the Joy" appeared on the Precious soundtrack.  In 2010 she released the single "He's Got the Power" which is the final track in her latest CD: I'm Your Bride.

Those who watch the show, The Voice, may have seen her singing "You Are So Beautiful" and blowing away Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera.  

After seeing her performance, there's no denying that she has a powerful and great voice.  It's even more inspiring that she uses it to glorify God in her latest album.

There are ten songs with a variety of styles from R&B to dance, rock and some gospel/soul tracks.  I'm not a fan of the bride theme of the CD cover or the title song, but the CD itself is pretty solid.  The messages are spiritual and uplifting and many of them have catchy tunes. Though I haven't managed to sing to any of them or get any of the songs in my head.  My favorite song from the CD is Get Yo Bless'in which is very upbeat and talks about God's grace.  I think that song would be a good one to listen to while cleaning the house.  

The least inspiring song is Music is My Religion and I think the title pretty much says it all.  Music can definitely make us dance and sing and it can bring us closer or further away from God depending on what we're listening to. Thankfully most of the tracks on this CD are inspiring and God honoring.   If you like Christian gospel music, I'm You're Bride is worth checking out.


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Brother's Keeper

Thank you Falco Ink for sending us this blu-ray to review!

Brother's Keeper tells the compelling story of identical twins, Andy and Pete Goodwyn who tragically lost their parents at a young age.  As a result, they rely on each other and go in completely opposite directions with their lives.  With their high school graduation drawing near, Pete is planning for his future by making arrangements to marry his girlfriend and attending a seminary to become a preacher.  His brother on the other hand, has no plans other than picking fights with those that look at him the wrong way.  

Both of their lives are forever changed when Pete is framed for a murder that he did not commit.  To complicate matters further, the town's police and witnesses are bribed to pursue the death penalty for Pete.  As a devout Christian, Pete's faith is greatly challenged as his situation is getting more and more dire.

Though he doesn't notice it right away, Pete does make a positive impact on the people he interacts with in prison.  Not to mention the transformation that his brother, Andy goes through.  Pete does have his dark moments and a fellow believing inmate (played by Travis Tritt), offers him some solid and Biblical advice.  

While Brother's Keeper tells a powerful story about forgiveness, it's best enjoyed by a mature audience.  There are adult themes including murder, adultery, drinking/drunkenness, and smoking.  The story is engaging,  but predictable at times.  Some things still caught me by surprise though.  

Brother's Keeper is one of the better Christian movies I have seen and I highly recommend renting it at the very least.  It sells for less than $13 on DVD and the blu-ray version goes for $25.  


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Turbo FAST

Thank you DreamWorks for sending us screener episodes!

Turbo the movie came out in 2013 and my kids really liked it.  The Wii U videogame that followed was a dud though.  Fortunately, the animated series that premiered later that year does a lot of things right. Including the rap intro song!  

My kids enjoyed some of the episodes available in Netflix's new and exclusive season that includes thirteen shows.    The two episodes we watched were Home On Our Own and the Sting of Injustice.  In Home On Our Own, most of the snails are away for a seminar while Skidmark and White Shadow stay behind to catch up on their favorite show, Gossip Snail, on SnailFlix.  While they're binging, their place is getting broken in by a couple of crabs attempting to rob them.  Fortunately, their attempts are thwarted and the snails get to find out the identity of Gossip Snail in a humorous fashion.        

As funny as Home on Our Own was, we enjoyed The Sting of Injustice more.  In this episode a superhero hornet moves into town and recruits Turbo as his side kick.  At first their intentions were good as they got the price lowered for theater popcorn.  While the townspeople didn't mind cheaper popcorn, they did not enjoy getting ticketed for silly offenses like exceeding the speed limit at a race track. Turbo and his friends have to work together and find a way to get rid of an unwanted  and over-reacting super hero.  

Like many cartoon shows there is cartoon violence and the comic style text bubbles were hilarious. It goes from the typical "Wham" and "Pow" to "Stub"  and "Concussion".  The first episode did have one cuss word that was bleeped out.  Other than those issues my family enjoyed this series and I highly recommend it for any Netflix subscriber.

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Adventure Time Season 5

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

Unlike previous seasons, the disc set for season five has twice the number of episodes in it. There are fifty-two action packed and wacky episodes in this collection.  There are shows about love, breaking up, getting married and becoming parents.  This season has it all!

Even though Jake and Rainicorn become parents in this season, they are not the ones getting married.  That honor goes to Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig and it's officiated by the king of Ooo.  Princess Bubblegum doesn't like this impostor king and nearly ruins the wedding trying to discredit him.  

Finn still has feelings for Princess Bubblegum and tries to woo her after his relationship with the Flame Princess goes cold.  Speaking of cold, the Ice King makes many appearances this season as he is living with Finn and Jake since they destroyed his ice castle in the previous season.  There are many flash backs regarding him and his attempts at raising Marceline and keeping his sanity while wielding the power of his crown.  True to his corrupted self, he still kidnaps princesses and tries to get them to marry him.  *spoiler alert* When those attempts fail, he marries his foot instead. /*spoiler alert*

In case you haven't noticed, these episodes are just as wacky as ever.  Sadly, in this season there some episodes that go against Christian values and teachings. In the episode “The Suitor” Peppermint Butler uses dark magic and summons a demon to take control of Cinnamon Bun.  Reincarnation is also introduced in the episode “The Vault” where Finn helps solve a mystery from his former life as a girl named Shoko.  The cartoon violence and potty humor from seasons past is still a given.

Christian parents may want to screen these episodes before letting their kids watch them.  If the moral issues are of no concern, the humor is just as wacky and this set is sure to crack many smiles and giggles.  The Blu-ray currently sells for $32 and the DVD bundle is less than $25.  Fans of the show will find plenty of value in owning these episodes.


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Any Day

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

Any Day is the story of a boxer named Vian (Sean Bean), who was recently released from prison after serving twelve years for killing a man with his bare hands.  Now that he is free, he must find a place to live and a job to get back on his feet.  His sister, who is a single mom, lets him stay in her garage for a couple of weeks as long as he stays sober.  Her son Jimmy bonds with Vian instantly and appreciates his staying there since he does not have any friends or a father to talk to.

Finding work is difficult for Vian since most places don't want to hire an ex-convict.   Vian does eventually find work at a pizzeria that many school kids hang out at. His boss (Tom Arnold) is a recovering alcoholic that instantly trusts Vian enough to offer him a partnership opportunity if he can come up with $15,000.  

Since Vian doesn't have $15,000, a house, or a car of his own, the partnership opportunity seems unlikely unless a miracle happens.  God is brought up several times and it seems that everyone is a Christian with the exception of Vian.  Even though God is clearly at work in his life, Vian doesn't acknowledge his handiwork.  

Despite the religious references, Any Day is a mature movie and should not be seen around kids.  There are alcohol and drug references along with language and violent scenes.  While Vian doesn't have much going for him, he does manage to win over a woman out of his league (Eva Longoria) and a sex scene is shown as a result.  

Because of the appropriateness issues, I doubt conservative Christians will enjoy this movie.  For everyone else, the story is mediocre and worth a rental at best.  I will admit that there was one scene that brought tears to my eyes, but I won't spoil the story here.   Lastly, the picture/editing quality could have been better as there were scenes that flickered black that made my hubby wonder if there was something wrong with our projector.  Since it was repeatable, we discovered it's a movie quality issue.  Overall, the story and the editing  could have used more work.  I recommend renting this movie before buying it.


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Two New YouTube Videos!

Two New YouTube Videos!

My siblings and I have two new videos on YouTube.

One is a continuation of our Sonic videos. It is about our versions of the characters meeting the Sonic Boom versions of the characters: 

The other is a message video from our other channel, Ordinary People. It takes Bible verses and puts them together like a story: 

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Godfit: Through Love Serve

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Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

John Hayden is a Christian certified fitness trainer that uses his skills to train others to stay fit and glorify God.  The goal of Godfit is to challenge believers to be both spiritually and physically well.  If believers stay healthy, they can live and serve others longer.  This 117 page book is broken down into a six week program that has both exercise routines and devotional questions.

Before you begin, you should make sure you have the required equipment including dumbbells, kettlebells, and a Bible.  The book also recommends using a photo of yourself for inspiration.  There's a core strength assessment that is highly recommended to complete in order to gauge your fitness level.   There is a spiritual questionnaire to evaluate your religious life as well.

Each workout is between twenty and thirty minutes long.  There are various warm-up and cool down routines to choose from.  If you're unsure of how to do an exercise, there are video examples on http://www.godfit.com.  The videos are password protected but the password is in the book (page 5).

Each week has a spiritual theme including: Solitude, Meditation, Prayer, Simplicity, Study, and Service.  There are many convicting devotional questions to make sure you are growing spiritually as you tone your body.  There are prayer examples as well to give you the strength and the faith to become a better follower of Christ.  Praying for strength is a good idea since the exercises get more challenging throughout the book.  Thankfully the book gives you a list of ten exercises and lets you pick which ones to do with the option of skipping a couple.

I like the included list of energetic Christian songs to work out with.  I was happy to find out that many of them were free to listen to with my Amazon prime membership.  :)  Towards the back of the book there are some healthy meal and snack ideas.  There is also a leadership guide with outline and group activity suggestions.  

If you looking to workout by yourself or with a group, Godfit offers a unique approach that will help you strengthen both your faith and your body.  The Godfit website sells the book along with shirts and stickers.  You can get the book on Amazon for the same price, but the shipping will be cheaper if you're a prime member or have other items to buy to qualify for free shipping.


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Call Me Lucky

Thank you Sunshine Sachs for sending us a screener of this movie to review!

Call Me Lucky is a film directed by Bobcat Goldthwait who was inspired by Barry Crimmins in many ways.  Barry used to go by the nickname "Bear Cat" to which Bobcat Goldthwait followed suit.  Besides helping Bobcat stay sober, Barry has helped launch many successful comedians in his Boston area comedy clubs.  Some of the comedians he worked with include Kevin Meany, Steven Wright, Dennis Leary, Steve Sweeney,  Paula Poundstone, Jimmy Tingle and many more. 

Barry was known for being a political satirist in the '70s and '80s and he didn't hold back in bashing our government and the Catholic church.  Since the pope has joined twitter, Barry has tweeted him daily asking to be excommunicated.  Barry holds an understandable grudge against the church because he was abused by both a family friend and by a priest as a young boy.

While Barry vented on stage and cursed often, he had a gentler side that helped give a voice to those who needed to be heard.  He visited wounded children in Nicaragua during Reagan's term and he helped the government and AOL toughen their policies and prosecute pedophiles when the interest was in its infancy stages.  Thanks to his efforts  thousands of pedophiles have been arrested.

Until Call Me Lucky, I wasn't familiar with Barry Crimmins.  I did watch many skits from his protégées though. Perhaps my parents didn't let me watch Barry's  skits because of the constant swearing and tirades he would go on.  His jabs at the government were direct and laced with information that wasn't as accessible as it is today with the resources of the internet.  While the documentary is interesting, sad, and insightful, I cannot recommend it to a younger audience because of the language and mature content.

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Teen Beach 2

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

After a wonderful summer together, Brady and Mack (Mackenzie) are heading back to school together.  Even though they're celebrating their three month "meetaversary", their relationship is about to be seriously tested as they discover that they are complete opposites when it comes to their academic studies.    

Mack has her future planned out with wanting to become a marine biologist.  She already knows which college she wants to go to while Brady doesn't even know what he's going to have for dinner at night.  Even though biology isn't Brady's strongest subject, he's not stupid.  In fact, he's designing many great surfboards.  The problem is that he's lost his confidence and doesn't want to share his passion with his girlfriend for fear of being rejected.  

Other guys are taking notice of Mackenzie and Brady is getting jealous of the attention she is getting.  Between the jealousy and the secrets, Mack is wanting some time away from Brady.  Back in Brady's favorite '60s movie, Wet Side Story (a surfers versus bikers rendition of West Side Story), the main characters Lela and Tanner are sensing some trouble between Mack and Brady and come to the future (our present day) to save them. 

Hilarity ensues when Lela and Tanner arrive and don't know how to interact with cell phones, scuba divers, and aggressive jocks.  They try their best to blend in and sing whenever the opportunity arises.  Just like the first Teen Beach movie, the sequel is very much a musical. 

Lela is adjusting well to the modern era and enjoys discovering her true self and untapped intellect.  Tanner on the other hand is very conceited and flaky.  Later, he does come around and learn to put others before himself.  Other lessons include being and believing in yourself and not keeping secrets from a loved one.  

If your family enjoyed the first movie, the sequel is worth checking out.  It's kid safe and my children enjoyed the movie even though they are not teenagers yet.  The wacky humor and silly songs were enough to keep them tuned in.  My daughters fought over the included necklace which is rather stylish.  The price is a reasonable $15, and if you don't like the movie, you still get a nice necklace out of the deal.  


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Guest — Paige
Nice little synopsis. I haven't seen the first movie, but I have heard it is pretty good. I'll have to check both out. Thanks for ... Read More
Monday, 20 July 2015 17:39
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All Creatures Big and Small

Thank you Entertainment One for sending us a screener of this movie to review!

An over protective nestrian father  is on the move again after his son, Finny, had just settled in and started making friends.   Finny isn't happy about the change, but this time it can't be avoided since the global flood is coming and they have to head towards the ark.  Once they arrive at the ark, the nestrians run into a setback as they are not on Noah's list of animals to bring along.  Perhaps it has something to do with their fictitious species?   Another unique species called grimps, did make the cut though.  The father and son disguise themselves as grimps and stow away on the ark.  The female grimp isn't happy about the nestrians becoming a part of their fictitious family.  

Finny and the young grimp, Leah, get along for the most part and start exploring around the ark.  Panic sets in when they discover that they were not actually on the ark when it has taken off without them.  After a while, the parents notice and try to convince the lion captain to turn the ark around.  Their request is denied and they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Meanwhile, Leah and Finny are trying to find high ground and avoid becoming dinner for a couple of flying creatures that are pursuing them.  Along the way, they meet some other stragglers that didn't make it onto the ark either.  Despite the grimp's nature of being a loner, Leah learns the value of friendship, teamwork, and forgiveness.   

The Christian overtones are relatively minor as Noah or God are not seen or heard from throughout the film.  I also found it peculiar that not all of the animal pairs were mixed gender.  Maybe Leah's mom was pregnant when she boarded with her daughter?  To survive and provide a happier ending, some of the animals were forced to change or evolve rather quickly.  There are plenty of silly scenes and some bits of potty humor.

When all is said and done, All Creatures Big and Small is a cute movie with charming characters and silly humor.  The animation is well done and the voice talent from Amy Grant and Martin Sheen is well done.  If you're looking for a preachy movie, you may want to stick with Veggie Tales, but my family still enjoyed this 80 minute movie regardless.

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Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Thank you HarperCollins for sending us a copy of this book to review!

The videogame industry is a huge multi-billion dollar industry.  It started and flopped in the early eighties with notable failures like Atari burying between 700,000 to three million copies of ET in a landfill.   Nintendo and Sega continued on and started a battle that defined a generation.  Console Wars is a 576 page book written by Blake J. Harris and weaves the history of these two companies based on over two hundred interviews from family, friends, and former employees of Sega and Nintendo.    

In 1990 Nintendo was dominating the videogame market with its 8 bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and soon to be released 16 bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).   Even though Sega's Genesis was the first available 16 bit console, it didn't get much recognition and as a result it failed to sell very well.  That changed when Tom Kalinske was personally recruited by Sega of Japan's president to become the CEO of Sega of America.  

When Tom started at Sega, he didn't know much about videogames, but he did know how to market things with huge successes including Barbie, He-Man, and Flintstone multivitamins.  He specialized in uphill battles and this story is no exception. It's so good, a feature film is being made about it!

The book goes into the humble beginnings of Sega, Nintendo, and eventually Sony's endeavors into the videogame industry.  Nintendo has an interesting past with their playing cards origins and briefly owning a hourly rental hotel.  They definitely became more family friendly later on which gave Sega a target for their aggressive commercials aimed at slightly older gamers.  Sonic the Hedgehog gave Nintendo and their mascot, Mario, a run for their money.  

While I enjoyed the book and look forward to the upcoming movie, I must caution parents thinking about letting their kids read or see Console Wars.  There is a lot of language (including F bombs) throughout the story and in the Foreward by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

For mature gamers, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out this book to learn how Sega briefly toppled Nintendo with their aggressive marketing but ultimately lost the war once Sony's PlayStation came into the market.  Even though Nintendo's side is fairly represented and respected, the story focuses more on Sega's viewpoint.   I could not help but root for the underdog while I read Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation.


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Build an HTML5 Game

Thank you No Starch Press for sending us a copy of this book to review!

My kids have learned many programming languages like JavaScript and Ruby thanks to the helpful books published by No Starch Press.  Build an HTML5 Game assumes that you are familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and will teach you how to create a game from start to finish using them.  You don't have to be an advanced coder to read this book, but some foreknowledge will go a long way since you won't be learning the basics of these programming/scripting languages. 

This 198 page book written by Karl Bunyan will teach you how to make a browser based bubble popping game similar to Bust-A-move.  There are eight chapters and the first seven are dedicated to programming the game while the final chapter discusses other HTML5 capabilities such as retrieving data, webSockets, WebGL (for 3D) and security.  The final chapter also makes some suggestions on other games HTML5 would be well suited for including solitaire, platformers and match-3 games like Bejeweled.  

You won't be getting any history lessons as the first chapter has you diving in and coding right away.  Some of the goals achieved during the development process include randomizing the game board, calculating the firing angle and stopping point for the bubbles fired, dealing with collisions, keeping track of the score and handling new levels and the game's ending.  

Throughout the book, there are many helpful explanations and points to consider.  While the author recommends using Google's jQuery files, we have found the program to run better with them hosted locally.  The source code is readily available to download and view if you're stuck and can't figure out why the game isn't running. 

The price of the physical copy is a reasonable $22 which is much cheaper than taking a college course on browser based game development.   The Kindle version is even cheaper at less than $14.  Click here to check out the completed game.


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Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle

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

Curious George is back and up to his usual unintended trouble making.  The story begins with George and Ted (the man in the yellow hat) flying a kite in a park.  For most people the worst case scenario is losing the kite to a tree, but for George it's a very expensive excursion with many food vendors  getting their carts knocked over and losing any chance of  turning  a profit.  The man in the yellow hat hands out yellow contact cards with his insurance information to those impacted by George's kite flying.  It makes me wonder what his insurance premiums are.  

Later George and his owner head back to the museum where Ted works and they are greeted by Mr. Houston.   There is an opening for an astronaut to go on a mission to alleviate the massive flooding in Africa.    George is eager to go, but the man in the yellow hat isn't sold on the idea right away.  Fortunately for George, he relents and lets him go on the mission.

Sadly, the mission doesn't go as planned and George gets lost in Africa.  Houston and his team estimate George's location within a 500 mile radius.  Not surprisingly, most of the movie revolves around locating George.   Even though George starts off alone, it's short lived as he befriends many unlikely wild animals.  

While this movie teaches the value of friendship, it has a very dangerous ending that involves flying a metal framed kite in the middle of a thunderstorm.  Other than that, I recommend this film for kids of all ages.  The music is catchy and arranged by Heitor Pereira.  Besides the movie, the sound track is worth looking into as well!


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Comeback Dad

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

Not everyone grows up with a perfect family.  Many kids are raised by a single parent, and in most cases it's the mother.  It was the opposite for me as I grew up fast when my mother ran off when I was a teenager.  Comeback Dad struck a chord with me as I chose to forgive and reconcile with my mom. I was curious if the daughter, Nina, would do the same for her absentee father (Charles Dutton) in this movie.  

I won't spoil the ending in this review.  Nina is an up and coming composer who learned from her father on how to play the piano.  Her successful fiancé, Spence, loves her despite knowing that she can't trust him fully due to her broken relationship with her father.  Spence encourages her to make amends before their wedding and that includes an out of state trip to meet her estranged family. 

Unfortunately, this movie reinforces the false teachings of works to earn a person's way to heaven.    Nina mentions getting double heaven points for making the trip to see her family.    The Bible clearly teaches in Ephesians 2:8 and in Romans 9:16 that it is by God's grace alone that we are saved, not by our works.

There are both emotional and humorous moments and overall this movie was enjoyable to watch.  Even though it has themes of redemption and forgiveness, it's not suited for a younger audience.  This film is not rated, but it does have some language, sexual references and situations, as well as drinking and drunkenness.

If you don't mind the moral short comings, the overall story is worth checking out.  It's worth renting at the very least.    


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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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