I'm a mom of 3 kids, and I love to read and watch movies, and I'm picky about what my kids read and watch.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FILM: This Means War (2012)

This Means War (PG-13)
starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine

I will watch anything with Reese Witherspoon in it, and my husband thinks Chris Pine is funny, so this seemed like a great choice for date night.  It has a cute premise, a nice romance, plenty of action, lots of humor, and appealing stars.  Great recipe.  It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it.

BUT, there is way too much sex and language.... we were both very surprised it had received a PG-13 rating rather than an R.  (We avoid R-rated movies unless they are edited.)  Maybe we are prudes (probably).... or maybe movie ratings have gotten more lax through the years (definitely).  The language is pretty bad (lots of the s-word, one f-word, lots of sexual references), but the sexual situations are worse.  There is quite a bit of action violence (spy stuff), but it's generally mild and never graphic or gruesome.

I should have read the "fine print."  It would have been better to wait for the DVD and watch it on our ClearPlay.  Oh well.  Lesson learned.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

FILM: Avalon High (2010)

Avalon High
rated PG

This made-for-TV Disney movie is full of factual errors, nonsensical situations, and plot holes, but my kids thought it was great fun and very entertaining.  There is some mild violence, but nothing offensive.  Good for family-movie-night.  Just remember it's a children's movie and ignore the goofy stuff.  You might even be entertained yourself.

I'm feeling generous because it made my kids happy.

BOOK: Stand for the Family (Sharon Slater)

by Sharon Slater, President/Founder, Family Watch International

The author happens to be my neighbor and fellow church member, so I know her pretty well.  I knew that she was heavily involved with family issues around the world, and lobbies constantly at the UN, but until I read this book I really had no idea of the extent to which she is involved, the incredible influence for good she has been, and the terrible plague that is sweeping the world in opposition to the family.

The book is very eye-opening... shocking is a better word.  It's sobering, frightening, and horrifying.  If you care about families, this book will make you angry at the evil out there, but very grateful that there are people like Sharon Slater who "stand for the family."  Hopefully, it will also inspire you to do something.... to find out more, to get involved in your community.

So, get the book.  Read it.  Buy it.  Read it again.  Inform yourself.  And do whatever it takes to protect your family..... and "stand for the family."

Because of some of the shocking content (carefully edited to avoid the most offensive material, but necessary to help people understand the truth), this book is not appropriate for children, but should be shared and discussed with teens.

TV SERIES: Foyle's War (PBS Masterpiece)

PBS Masterpiece 
Starring Michael Kitchen

This series about a detective who solves murders during World War II is excellent, with great stories, an excellent cast, and interesting characters.  Though the stories naturally intersect with what is going on during war time, the cases are about people, and not the war exactly.

Each episode is more like a full-length film, and each "case" is inclusive in that episode.  However, the main characters' stories continue throughout the series.  I have watched the first 8 episodes (sets 1 & 2, called "Series 1 & 2").  I really enjoyed them.  Though murders are involved, the violence is very minimal and not graphic (most takes place off camera), and there are only a few mild swear words here and there.  Nothing really offensive, but certainly not appropriate for children.

Monday, March 12, 2012

BOOK: The Woman in White

The Woman in White
by Wilkie Collins

This thrilling novel written in 1859 and first published as a serial is considered to be one of the first mystery/detective novels ever written.  The book takes the form of personal testimonies of various characters and compiled as "evidence" of a sort.  It's very intriguing and compelling.

I listened to the audiobook, which used different readers for each character, making it easy to know who was "speaking."  I imagine it might be a little bit difficult to keep track of the current narrator when reader it in print form.  It will keep you on your toes, as will the story!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

BOOK: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
by Anne Bronte

This short novel has a few interesting plot twists and drama, but is seriously lacking in several areas.  The love story develops for seemingly no reason at all and between two characters the reader never really gets to know.  These problems are likely the result of the format of the novel, which takes the form of a letter, and which includes long passages from a diary and other letters.  It was interesting enough to finish, but just so-so.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

BOOK: The Clockwork Three (Matthew J. Kirby)

The Clockwork Three
by Matthew J. Kirby

This partly magical story of three central characters whose stories gradually come together is charming and exciting.  It's well-written and has a very satisfying ending. There are a few small bits of mild violence but nothing offensive. 

Recommended for ages 10 - 16

BOOK: What's So Great About America (2002)

What's So Great About America
by Dinesh D'Souza

This excellent book by writer/speaker/former-Reagan-policy-analyst/Indian immigrant Dinesh D'Souza is part world history lesson, part American history/civics lesson, part philosophy lesson, and part psychological analysis, and yet is perfectly accessible, gripping, and downright fascinating.  It is also timely, even though much has changed in our country (and the world) since this book was published in 2002.  It should be required reading for every American high school and college student, every teacher, every parent, every politician, every public servant, every business man or woman, every homemaker, every immigrant... well, basically every American.  (I'm even going to have my 12-year-old read it.) 

Unless you are familiar with D'Souza's writing, you might be deceived by the title at first glance.... it's not a question, but rather a statement.  And yet the book does ask (and answer) that very question, by teaching us, as I mentioned, not only about America herself (warts and all), but about other countries and societies and their perceptions of America, and why they matter to us.  D'Souza's unique perspective as an American by choice, rather than by birth, is valuable indeed.  And even if you think you know what Mr. D'Souza has to say or suspect where he goes with this, you will be surprised.  It's not exactly what you might think.