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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

TV SERIES: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Seasons 1 & 2)
PBS Masterpiece
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern

You might not have heard of Downton Abbey.... if you have been living under a rock.  :)  I kind of resisted watching it at first because I knew I would be hooked and I didn't have time for another obsession.  Well, as expected, I was completed addicted after the first very episode.   My husband (he is just as hooked) and I even stayed up until 2:30 a.m. watching the last five episodes of the second season.

As we finally went to bed (but couldn't stop thinking about it and talking about it, and the next day too), I said to my husband, "You know, we would never want to actually endure the gut-wrenching heartbreak that these characters experience, but we certainly enjoy watching it!"  I suppose that is because we have all felt brokenhearted for one reason or another (and not necessarily romantically) so we recall our own feelings as we watch these fictional characters suffering. 

During several episodes I actually said out loud, "I can't stand it!  It's just too heartbreaking!"  I felt like I was about to explode.  It just feels so real that I felt like my own heart was breaking.  It's so emotional and powerful....and human.

The series is extraordinarily well-acted, the sets and costumes are exceptionally realistic and carefully controlled to maintain historical accuracy, the characters are extremely fascinating, and the story lines and events are incredibly compelling.  I imagine I am not the only one who is waiting breathlessly for season 3 to begin.

As for any objectionable material; there are some intense scenes of war, including some violence and visible injuries, and a couple of scenes of a sexual nature, but they are relatively mild and viewers don't see anything inappropriate.  Some of the serious subject matter makes it inappropriate for children, but they wouldn't find it interesting anyway.

Are you a fan?  Have you seen this hilarious parody?  It's spot on!

Monday, April 23, 2012

BOOK: The School Story

The School Story
by Andrew Clements

This fun book is charming, interesting, educational (you learn about the publishing industry), and tender.  The story is quite compelling.... in fact, I couldn't put it down.  It is a tale of friendship, love, courage, hard work, and family.

The book contains nothing offensive.

Recommended for ages 8 - 12.

Friday, April 6, 2012

BOOK: Why Women Need Fat

Why Women Need Fat
by William D. Lassek, M.D. and Steven J.C. Gaulin, Ph.D.

This book describes the results of a fascinating study of fat-and-women researched by a medical doctor and an anthropologist, who originally set out to discover why men (including themselves) prefer/find attractive the traditional "hour glass" figure of women.  Along the way their comprehensive study lead them to discover not only why women need fat, but also why we are fat and what makes us fat.  (As it turns out, those are NOT the same thing.)  The authors are also able to dispel many myths about fat that have plagued women for a very long time. 

NOTE:  I would have given it 4 stars except for the fact that I found it repetitive at times.  (I refuse to give 1/2 stars, so it only got 3.)  I only give 5 stars to books that I would read more than once.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

FILM: The Lamp

The Lamp
based on the novel by Jim Stovell

This sweet film about loss, hope, faith, and finding happiness in life is not blatantly "Christian" but is inspirational and very uplifting. We found it on Netflix and it was perfect for "Family Movie Night."  We were entertained and it made for good discussion afterward.  It contains nothing offensive, though there are some mildly intense scenes that might be frightening for very small children.

Recommended for:  Everyone

FILM: Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day (PG-13)
starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz

This is a classic action flick (a la Mission Impossible) with plenty of humor, some language (several uses of the s-word, one f-word), lots of action and violence (mostly just lots of shooting and car chases, not gory, and in fact it's usually humorous, meant to poke fun at action violence), and one suggestive comment.  The chemistry between Cruise and Diaz is great, and they are both very funny.  It's not a great movie, but it's very entertaining, though fairly predictable (I believe it's meant to be, since it's mostly a parody).  It's definitely not for kids, and would be better if edited for language.