Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was popular when I was a teenager. Despite (mostly) growing out of toys and cartoons, I would still make excuses to watch this show with my brother. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem makes some changes to the characters, but there are many familiar faces. Like Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O’Neil is a woman of color. The main villain, Superfly (voiced by Ice Cube) is new to the series.

The movie begins with a scientist, Baxter Stockman working on his mutants in an underground lab. His work didn’t go unnoticed and his lab is trashed. Before his demise, he sends some of his green glowing ooze into the New York City sewers. As luck would have it, four turtles and a rat came into contact with it and grew to be as big as humans.

Unfortunately, these mutants are not accepted by humans and the few interactions with them have been scarring. Splinter (voiced by Jackie Chan) has taught the turtles martial arts so they can defend themselves if needed. He also taught them that humans are “demon scum” and should not be interacted with. The turtles stealthily rob convenience stores on a regular basis to sustain themselves. There’s a bit of brand placement as they have some peculiar tastes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has an overarching theme of acceptance. That’s what most of these mutants want. Sadly, some are misguided on how to get it. I love how many of the bad guys are swayed against annihilating the human race (despite their flaws). Prejudice is shown in a negative light, which is a good thing. Language is present in this film including words like pee, hell, d*mn, and OMG is spelled out numerous times. Lastly, there's a pride club poster displayed in the local high school that April O'Neil attends.

The art style is really unique with a gritty 2.5D feel to it. The voices and mannerisms of the turtles are different than the animated series. Whether you’re new to the series or a veteran, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is worth watching. Just keep in mind that it has more language than the TV show. Be sure to wait for the after credits scene which reveals the next villain!


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The Shift


Thank you Angel Studios for sending us a screener to review this film!

Angel Funding has raised funds to support many Christian projects like The Chosen and The Sound of Freedom. The Shift is their most recent successfully backed film and it’s due for release on December 1st. A nearly twenty-one minute short film version is available to watch on their website. The full-length movie has a different cast of which I recognized Sean Aston as the character Gabriel and Neal McDonough as The Benefactor.

The Shift takes place in 2008 during the real estate market meltdown and the main character, Kevin, is deeply impacted by it. Because of his line of work, many blame him for the crash. While watching the negative news coverage at a hotel bar, he is approached by a woman named Molly who is dared by her friends to hit on him. She does cheer him up slightly, and predicts their romance and trials and tries to back down saying it’s not worth the effort. Kevin doesn’t give up as she is the only thing keeping him going.

Kevin and Molly get married, have a child, and go through some good and some tough times together. Later on after having an argument with his boss, Kevin is dismissed early from work and heads home. While talking to his wife on the ride back, he gets into a car accident and wakes up to The Benefactor standing in front of him. The problem is that Kevin is not in the same world/timeline as before. The Benefactor has the capability of shifting people to different parallel universes. While The Benefactor has the power to shift people, he lacks the ability to be present in all of the parallel universes. He is seeking help in securing his control throughout the different timelines. The Benefactor sets his sights on Kevin. The only difference is that this version of Kevin is reluctant to join forces with him.

Kevin just wants to be reunited with his wife. Not just any Molly, but HIS Molly. He searches for five or more years while travelling to different universes to locate her whereabouts. While being stuck in a particular universe for a while, he takes on odd jobs and smuggles the Gospel to those who need to hear its message. The hard work takes a toll on his health and some of his close friends tell Kevin to give up on God. Kevin presses on despite having the odds stacked against him.

The Shift is a modern sci-fi twist on the book of Job. While it doesn’t have the same budget or level of special effects as AAA films, it tells an interesting story that will make you question what you would do in a similar situation. Would your faith survive hardships and trials? Job and Kevin are both good examples of keeping one’s faith in God despite the world crumbling around them. What would you do if you were in their shoes?

I don’t recall any language, but there is blood, violence, and death. Sex outside of marriage is alluded to, but not shown. Not all of the Kevins in the parallel universes are monogamous. The Shift is not rated, but I would guess it would receive a PG or PG-13 rating. If you’re interested in a sci-fi retelling of a Biblical story, check out The Shift in theaters next month!

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Fan Expo Chicago 2023

 

Thank you Fan Expo for providing me with a press pass for the event!

Fan Expo is formerly known as Wizard World and has not changed much when it comes to bringing in talented film and voice actors along with renowned comic book artists.  You can attend question and answer sessions for free, but autographs, pictures and selfies have hefty fees.  This year’s themed movies stars come from Back to the Future (Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Tom Wilson) and the National Lampoon series (Randy Quaid, Christie Brinkley).    Unfortunately, Chevy Chase canceled along with Christina Ricci (Addams Family) and Brent Spiner (Star Trek). 

Many voice actors are present from popular anime shows like One Piece (Colleen CLinkenbeard, Christopher Sabat, Luci Christian, Ian Sinclair) , Avatar (Dante Basco), and My Hero Academia (David Matranga, Justin Briner, Clifford Chapin).  We have seen Mario’s voice actor, Charles Martinet at multiple Fan Expo/Wizard World events and he’s here as well.  Fans had an opportunity to play Mario Kart with him.  There are some themed areas for younger audiences, but many areas and artwork shown are intended for adults.  

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

 

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this DVD to review!

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic children’s novel that was published in 1970. I haven't read the book so I can't compare how well this movie represents it. The main character is an eleven-year-old girl named Margaret Simon. After arriving home from summer camp, she discovers that she’s moving out of New York city. She doesn’t want to move and be away from her friends and her grandmother, Sylvia (Kathy Bates). In desperation, Margaret introduces herself to God and asks Him to intervene and prevent the move if possible.

Upon arriving at their new house, Margaret is quickly introduced to an outgoing neighborhood girl named Nancy Wheeler. Nancy inducts Margaret into their secret club where they talk about boys, breasts (or lack thereof), and getting their periods. They compare bust sizes and use Margaret’s dad’s Playboy magazine for a reference. While photographic nudity isn’t shown, there is a scene where they look at a diagram of male genitalia.

Most of the girls in the club have a crush on the same boy in their class. Margaret is smitten with a different boy that mows their lawn. She took notice and seems to be attracted to the fact that he has armpit hair.

During their sixth grade school year, the students have to do a research paper and Margaret’s is on religion. She comes from a mixed household with her mom being raised Christian and then outcast for marrying a Jew. Her parents decided to let Margaret make her own choices when it comes to religion. For her research project, she went to synagogue with her grandmother and three different Christian denominations with her friends.

Upon seeing her family argue over religion, Margaret decides that it’s not for her. Does she completely give up on God? I won’t spoil that part and leave that for you to find out by reading the book or watching this 1 hour and forty-five-minute film. Is this film worth watching or is the book worth reading? Like puberty, it's certainly not something I want to experience again. Puberty is awkward enough to deal with once and this movie brings back some undesirable memories. My husband felt uncomfortable watching this film. The views on religion are thought-provoking. Can someone have a meaningful relationship with God without being "committed" to a faith? It's certainly not ideal nor Biblical according to Matthew 18:20.

 


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The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Thank you Universal for sending us a review copy!

I grew up playing Mario Bros. on the Atari and then Super Mario Bros. and its sequels on the NES. It’s been quite a successful video game franchise though it has had a rocky live-action history. Growing up, I loved the short-lived TV show and its rap theme song. The 1993 film adaptation, Super Mario Bros. was poorly received along with many other videogame themed movies around that time. Thankfully, videogame inspired films have been doing well recently and The Super Mario Bros. Movie is no exception.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie begins with Bowser invading an ice kingdom inhabited by penguins. After stealing their Super Star that grants invulnerability, he sets his sights on Mushroom Kingdom to demand that their princess marry him or be annihilated.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, New York, the Mario Brothers (Mario & Luigi) are struggling to launch their plumbing business after parting ways with their spiteful boss. They have spent their life savings on a TV commercial and their first job from it didn’t go so well. Their family isn’t very supportive of them following their dreams. To make matters worse, Brooklyn is getting flooded with water as multiple pipes start bursting. Mario and Luigi come to the city’s rescue, but as they go into the sewers they discover a network of pipes and get sucked into a green pipe that takes the brothers to different worlds.

Luigi lands in the Dark Lands and is surrounded by undead skeleton koopas. He takes refuge in an abandoned castle. Meanwhile, Mario lands in the mushroom kingdom and meets Toad who tells him about Luigi’s dire situation. Mario seeks an audience with Princess Peach who in turn wants his help to thwart Bowser from destroying her kingdom. Because the mushroom inhabitants are not battle savvy, Mario and Princess Peach must seek an audience with Cranky Kong to lend their army.

You’ll see many references to classic and modern Mario franchise games throughout this film. You’ll also hear iconic theme songs as well. Naturally, there is some go-karting and lots of cartoon violence and battles.

The character line and voice acting is top notch. This is a star-studded film and it’s very well made. I love the banter between Donkey Kong and Mario, but one of the funniest characters is the cute nihilist, Lumalee. Lumalee is one of many of Bowser’s captives. While Luigi has hopes of escaping, Lumalee is looking forward to the sweet release of death. Bowser is hoping to offer the prisoners as a ritual sacrifice for his wedding to Princess Peach.

Though there are some dark moments, especially when Luigi goes to the Dark Land in the first act, overall this film is pretty upbeat. There’s lots of eye candy and be sure to stay tuned after the credits as there is a hint of a possible sequel? If you’re a fan of Super Mario Bros (who isn’t?) this film worth watching/owning. The Bluray is available for under $25 on Amazon.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Thank you Paramount Pictures for sending us a Blu-ray to review!

Dungeons & Dragons is a popular role playing game that was originally released in the 70s. There have been many revisions since its launch and some popular video games as well. Fans of the board game and videogames will recognize locations like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter which are part of the Forgotten Realms world of Faerûn.

The main character is a thief/mistral named Edgin who is played by Chris Pine. He is accompanied by an intimidating warrior woman named Holga. Together, they are doing time in prison and are up for a parole trial. During that trial, you’ll get to hear Edgin’s backstory about losing his wife from a vengeful red mage and how Holga took pity on his daughter, Kira, and helped raise her.

Edgin heard about a relic that can revive someone from the dead and tried to acquire it with the help of Holga and his aspiring mage buddy, Simon. Unfortunately, the job did not go as planned and that’s how Edgin and Holga got incarcerated.

Once they’re out of prison, Edgin and Holga attempt to reunite with Kira who has lost her faith and trust in her father. Along with acquiring the relic to revive his wife, Edgin must also restore his relationship with his daughter. This won’t be easy as there are many obstacles in their way.

Many CGI enhanced battles await them as well as some character plot twists. Violence and magic use are prevalent. You’ll get to see severed limbs and eyes dangling out of their sockets. Necromancy plays a big part in the story as one would expect from a guy wanting to bring his wife back from the dead. There is also mention of reincarnation.

In this two-hour and fourteen-minute film you get a few chuckles and be enamored by the special effects. It's not a theatrical masterpiece, but it is enjoyable and light-hearted. There’s plenty of action and the characters are intriguing. Because of the fighting and violence, it’s rated PG-13. Fans of the DnD franchise will likely enjoy this film as long as they’re okay with magic, necromancy, and fighting. If you’re not comfortable with Dungeons & Dragons, then this movie is a hard pass.


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Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Thank you Disney for sending us a digital review code!

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania begins with a flashback of Janet Van Dyne during her thirty-year stay in the quantum realm. During this time, she made a lot of friends and some powerful enemies. After her rescue (in Ant-Man and the Wasp) she has kept quiet about the inhabitants in the Quantum Realm. As the film goes on you’ll learn more about her mysterious past.

Since the previous film, Hope Van Dyne (Wasp) has been keeping busy with business and philanthropy endeavors. Scott Lang (Ant-Man) has been doing well for himself. He has a bestselling book and everyone in town knows his name and wants selfies with him. Or at least with their dog. His daughter, Cassie, has been in and out of jail due to political protests. She has also been using the shrinking technology Dr. Hank Pym invented.

Hank Pym and Cassie have been working together and she has invented a device that can communicate with the Quantum Realm. Since the communication is bidirectional, the enemies that Janet made are able to lock in on their location and pull the entire family into the Quantum Realm. Not surprisingly, the family gets split up which gives Scott and Cassie father/daughter bonding time. The other group consists of Hank Pym, Hope, and Janet. This group gets to learn about Janet’s past.

When someone is gone for thirty years, new romantic relationships are in the realm of possibilities and that’s the case between Hank and Janet. Despite their previous transgressions, they still love each other. Other than digging up past relationships, you’ll get to hear some language (*ss, d*mn) and the Lord’s name used in vain.

Throughout this two hour adventure you’ll see lots of eye candy as the Quantum Realm is a beautiful place with plenty of mysterious creatures. Not all of them are friendly! There are lots of battles with some blood and death scenes. On the flipside, there’s a good amount of humor to keep things generally upbeat. If you enjoyed the previous Ant-Man movies, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is worth watching. From the looks of the after credits scenes, the villain will be back in future Marvel movies.


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Minions: The Rise of Gru

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

Minions: The Rise of Gru is a prequel that gives you a little bit of insight into Gru’s childhood in the 70s. At the tender age of eleven and three quarters, his role models were a group of villains called the Vicious 6. After betraying their leader, Wild Knuckles, they had an open position. Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) applied for it and earned an opportunity to interview with them. At this point in time, Gru lives with his mother who sells Tupperware on the side. The minions are living in the basement of the house working on Gru’s evil lair.

The minions are supportive of Gru’s interview with his heroes until they realize that they’re not invited to go with him on it. That doesn’t stop a few of them from tailing him on the way there. The Vicious 6’s headquarters is at a record store that’s run by a tinkerer (voiced by Russell Brand) who gives Gru his first gadget.

The Vicious 6 didn’t expect Gru to be a child and dismissed him right away. They told him to come back when he impressed them. Taking that as a challenge, Gru manages to steal their prized zodiac medallion with the help of the new gadget and the minions. The Vicious 6 gives chase and on the way back to Gru’s lair, the medallion is traded for a pet rock.

The rest of the movie revolves around Gru, the Vicious 6, and Wild Knuckles all seeking the misplaced zodiac medallion. Along the way, Gru makes a new friend and some of the minions learn Kung Fu. Like the previous minion movies, there’s a lot of slapstick humor that’s bound to make you chuckle. I also enjoyed the two short films on the Blu-ray. My favorite of the two was the Dungeons and Dragons based one called Minions and Monsters.

For the most part, this film is family-friendly. You will be exposed to seeing some minion rear ends and plenty of cartoon violence. The voice acting is superb (I love the Minion gibberish) and I liked how the crustacean-themed villain Jean-Clawed, is voiced by Jean-Claude Van Damme. The nun villain, Nun-Chuck cracked me up as you don’t expect to see nuns as the “bad guys”.

If you enjoyed the previous Minion movies, this one is definitely worth checking out. The Blu-ray sells for less than $25 on Amazon and it supports Dolby Atmos audio.


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Gigi & Nate

Thank you Roadside Attractions for sending us a screener of this film to review!

Gigi & Nate is based off of the true story of Ned Sullivan and his capuchin monkey service animal. The film begins with Gigi the capuchin monkey being rescued from a poorly maintained petting zoo that looks like a run-down travelling circus. The group that rescues Gigi trains her to be a service animal.

Meanwhile, Nate is living it up as a teenager in North Carolina and he completes a dare to dive from a high waterfall ledge. Little does he know that this dive will give him meningitis, which only has a 20% survival rate. Thankfully, Nate survives but is wheelchair bound and in pain. His parents have to sell the North Carolina property and move to Tennessee to build him wheelchair accessible accommodations and hire a caregiver and a physical therapist.

Nate is very depressed and is not making much progress with his physical therapy. His mom looks into service animals and introduces the family to Gigi. Not everyone is onboard with the idea of having a monkey in the house. (Especially their dog!)

It takes Gigi a while to be comfortable enough with Nate to help him with his therapy. The family almost returned her! When Gigi starts helping Nate, she really makes a difference with his mental health and physical dexterity. She helps Nate with reading books by turning the pages for him and Gigi also helps him with grocery shopping. That’s when Gigi gets the attention of an animal rights activist who pushes for banning capuchin monkeys as service animals. The family and town will have to fight to keep Nate and Gigi together.

I’ll leave the rest of the details as a surprise since I don’t want to spoil this heartwarming film. There are some appropriateness issues worth noting before showing this film to younger kids. Some mild language (hell and sh*t) is present. Nate and Gigi attend a college party which starts trending on social media as both of them consume alcohol there.

If you’re looking for a comedy film, Gigi & Nate isn’t it. However, it is a touching story that shows that it’s not always humans rescuing animals, but it’s sometimes the other way around. The actors do a great job and the picture quality is great. I highly recommend this film if you don’t mind the language and alcohol usage.

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Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

Thank you Paramount for sending us a digital copy of this move to review!

I’m a long time fan of Mel Brooks and I haven’t seen his name in recent movies until Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Not only does Mel Brooks lend his voice to The Shogun, but he contributed to the screenplay. There are some similarities between this computer-animated film and his classic: Blazing Saddles. And yes, there’s a hilarious bean and fire scene in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.

The film begins with a high-ranking official, Ika Chu (voiced by Ricky Gervais), anticipating a visit from The Shogun. In order to impress The Shogun, he wants his palace to be immaculate and doesn’t like the “eye sore” village of Kakamucho ruining the view of the landscape. Wiping this village off of the map isn’t easy and this town is known for being under the protection of a powerful samurai.

Kakamucho’s samurai eventually turns tail and leaves the town to be raided by Ika Chu’s thugs. The town reaches out to The Shogun to send a replacement and he tasks Iku Chu to supply a replacement. Ika Chu has to obey the order despite not wanting to aid the town. To fulfil the order and cripple the town, Ika Chu has the brilliant idea of sending a canine prisoner, Hank (voiced by Michael Cera), who is about to be executed to the all feline town of Kakamucho as their Samurai.

Hank wants to be a samurai, but lacks the training. Fortunately, there’s a retired Samurai, Jimbo (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), in Kakamucho who begrudgingly begins training him. Throughout the training, you’ll see some humor and multiple instances of breaking the fourth wall. While Hank is training, Iku Chu is planning more attacks on the town before The Shogun arrives. Iku Chu’s personal guard, Ohga, is voice by George Takei and you’ll hear his signature phrase ‘Oh my!” used multiple times in this film. While there is no swearing, Samuel L. Jackson’s character utters the phrase “what the mother-father cocker spaniel is going on here?” Violence is a given and there are many cartoon-like battles throughout the film. Even though you’ll see an arrow going through a character’s hand, no blood is shown.

My family enjoyed watching Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank together, though we’re not in a rush to watch it again. We had some laughs, but it’s not anywhere near the caliber of Blazing Saddles.


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Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 picks up after the first movie with Doctor Eggman trying to make the best of living on a distant planet filled with various mushrooms. He unsuccessfully tries to make a mushroom-infused coffee while contemplating on ways to leave the planet and getting revenge on Sonic. With the help of one of Sonic’s quills, Doctor Eggman is able to generate power and send an SOS beacon which gets the attention of Knuckles, who is also trying to locate Sonic. Knuckles is under the impression that Sonic knows the location of a powerful emerald that grants the wishes of its owner.

Meanwhile, Sonic is still living with the Wachowskis who treat him like a son. In the middle of the night, Sonic moonlights as a superhero, but often leaves chaos and disorder after his attempts at justice. After Sonic’s latest justice attempt makes the front page of the morning paper, Tom Wachowski and Sonic have a man-to-man talk about growing into their roles and not diving in prematurely. Shortly after this conversation, the Wachowskis head to Hawaii for a wedding.

Sonic enjoys having the house to himself, but it’s not long before he has unexpected company. Tails locates Sonic and warns him that Knuckles and Eggman are looking for him. Upon meeting Knuckles, Sonic and Tails realize that their brains and speed are no match for his strength. A tactical retreat is necessary so they can form a battle plan to have a chance against Knuckles and Doctor Eggman’s minions.

Doctor Eggman has a loyal lackey, Agent Stone, who runs a café shop. Agent Stone is either obsessed or in love with Eggman as he often makes latte art of Dr. Robitnik in his customers drinks. When Eggman comes in town, he sets up his headquarters at Agent Stone’s coffee shop. Chaos shortly ensues, but I’ll leave the rest of those details out so I don’t spoil this movie for you.

Other than Agent Stone’s fascination with Doctor Eggman, there are some other moral issues to be addressed in this PG-rated film. Slapstick violence is commonplace and you’ll see people beat up, blown up, and crushed, but no blood or death is shown. Language has some near misses for the sake of humor. In the beginning of the movie as Doctor Eggman is leaving the mushroom planet, he says that he’s leaving the Shiitake planet. Last but not least, lying and deception is shown by multiple characters.

If you enjoyed the first Sonic film, this sequel is definitely worth checking out. If you haven’t seen the first movie, I strongly suggest watching that before this one. A third movie is hinted at and has a target release date of December 2024. I look forward to the latest installment. In the meantime, this Blu-Ray (with Dolby Atmos support) can be yours for under $23 on Amazon.


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Secret Headquarters

Thank you Paramount for providing us access to a digital screener to review!

Secret Headquarters begins with a picture-perfect (Kincaid) family of three on a camping trip together. Just as the mother is about to play some acoustic guitar by the campfire, there’s an explosion in the night sky and a ship comes tumbling down a couple of miles away from their location. Since they’re in the middle of nowhere, the father (Owen Wilson), drives down to the crash site to offer assistance.

Upon arriving at the crash site, Mr. Kincaid finds a wounded pilot near the wreckage of a U.F.O. Near the alien ship is a hovering orb that rejects the military officer as its new owner, but accepts Mr. Kincaid as becoming its new guardian.

This alien artifact allows its owner to see futuristic events and produces energy far beyond any means available on Earth. The orb also creates structures and useful gadgets surpassing anything humanity can presently do. With this new technology, Mr. Kincaid becomes a superhero named The Guard who travels around the world at supersonic speed to stop crime. With great superpowers comes great sacrifices. The time commitment of saving the world from crime costs Mr. Kincaid his family as his wife files for divorce and their son hardly has a relationship with him anymore because of all of his “business trips”.

 

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Cinergy Dine-In Cinema Experience

Thank you Cinergy for providing us with dinner and a movie!

My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting the newly opened Cinergy Dine-In Cinema in Wheeling, Illinois. We got to dine on $4.99 Sour Patch Kids Candy, a $14.49 Kong Burger, and a $13.49 BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger while watching Thor: Love and Thunder. We sparingly drank our fountain drinks to avoid mid-movie bathroom visits, but refills are easily requested via a QR code menu if we needed more. Cocktails, wine, and beer are also available if you’re 21 or older. If you do find yourself needing to use the restroom, they are modern looking with a marble finish that goes floor to ceiling.


There’s more than just movies at Cinergy. Patrons 18 and older can enjoy pool and/or shuffleboard for $12/hour. In the future, they plan on adding attractions at this location for younger audiences to enjoy. Other Cinergy locations offer VR, bowling, and laser tag so those are within the realm of possibilities. When other entertainment possibilities become available, so will the option of hosting birthday parties and private screenings.

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5 Most Recommended Shonen Anime For Starters

 

Anime has a complex scope, covering a wide variety of genres unique only to its essence. The Shonen genre stands out because of its appeal to a large number of audiences. Since it is the most popular category, there is no question that it has an overwhelming number of titles. However, that doesn't mean that it's hard to get into. If you're just entering the anime realm and are interested in this niche, we will provide you with a list of gateway titles that are newcomer-friendly and perfect starters for your new obsession.

 

My Hero Academia

 

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I Am Mortal

Thank you RLJE Films for sending us a Blu-ray to review!

I Am Mortal takes place 213 years into the future in the year 2235. According to this film, mankind pretty much dresses the same way (in the 2020s) and occasionally reads paperback books still. It’s assumed that humanity has been through some devastating warfare as the main city is in a domed environment and much of the Earth’s surface is barren. The main character, Logos, is a terraforming engineer trying to restore the land to its pre-devastated state.

Humanity’s leader refers to himself as “The Pilot” and he believes that God is a fantasy and that free will is undesirable. His gods are science and technology and he has discovered a way to modify people’s genes and wipes their memory if they defy his orders. In order to fit into The Pilot’s society, people must take a daily medication called “maintenance” that keeps them compliant and suppresses their critical thinking abilities.

When The Pilot deems people to be at their peak, he grants them the opportunity to become immortal in exchange for their service and compliance. Logos is days away from his gift of immortality, but he’s not looking forward to it as much as he thinks he should be. Sensing Logos’ hesitation, a group of rebels contact him to let him know that he’s not alone. The resistance group meets in an abandoned church and wants to tamper with the maintenance medication to let humanity know that God has a purpose for them and that they are intended to die in order to truly live.

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American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story

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

American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story is based on a true and remarkable story. Kurt Warner is considered the NFL’s greatest undrafted player. Kurt was inspired by Joe Montana’s Superbowl XIX performance and actually broke his record in Super Bowl XXIV. However, it took him a long time to get into the NFL.

During college, Kurt spent four years on the bench because the coach there didn’t like his playing style. I’m not savvy on football terms, but apparently Kurt didn’t stay in the pocket enough. When he did play, he did extremely well.

While in college, Kurt met Brenda, a divorced mother of two with one of them being blind. Their relationship had highs and lows and Kurt had to prove that he was going to treat her better than her ex-husband. Eventually Kurt got noticed by the Green Bay Packers, but only lasted two days in their training camp.

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The King's Man

 

Thank you 20th Century Studios for sending us a Blu-ray to review!

The King’s Man is a prequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle. This origin story takes place in 1902 with Orlando (the Duke of Oxford), his wife, Emily, and their son, Conrad, supplying provisions through the Red Cross. A marksman’s bullet takes the life of Emily and wounds the Duke’s leg. Before she dies, Emily makes Orlando promise that their young son won’t see warfare again.

Fast forward twelve years during World War I and Conrad is a strapping young teenager and instead of pursuing females, he wants to jump into the battlefield to protect his country. The Duke has high-ranking military official friends who can only deter Conrad so much. In a last-ditch effort to convince him that there are other ways to save the country instead of being on the battlefield, the Duke takes Conrad on an undercover mission to assassinate Grigori Rasputin. Though the mission was successful, it didn’t change Conrad’s mind and he enlists anyway.

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The Addams Family 2

Thank you MGM for sending us a Blu-ray to review!

My family saw the first computer animated Addams Family movie in the theaters in 2019. The film was mildly entertaining, but mostly a disappointment. I’m happy to report that overall we found this sequel to be better than the original movie on many fronts.

The Addams Family 2 begins at Wednesday’s science festival which has many uninspiring science projects including the typical baking soda volcano. Wednesday’s entry is quite fascinating as it transfers the intelligence of her octopus, Socrates, into her Uncle Fester. When it comes time to announcing the winner of the science fair, Wednesday is visibly disappointed when everyone is given a participation trophy. The professor takes note of her disappointment and consoles her while asking for her data so he can improve upon her work. Wednesday tells him it’s a family secret.

Gomez Addams also takes note of his daughter’s disappointment, but she rebuffs any attention and consolation he offers her. In an effort to strengthen the family bonds, Gomez and Morticia decide that a family road trip is in order. Instead of bringing the family closer, a wedge is further driven between Wednesday and her family. Apparently, she discovers a mix-up of babies at the hospital she was born in and wonders if she is even an Addams.

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Rumble

Thank you Paramount for sending us a screener of Rumble to review!

Most stories start with a “what if?” scenario. Some famous examples include “what if toys had feelings and lives that nobody could ever see?” or “what if a robot was sent back in time to murder the mother of an influential enemy leader before he was born?” When someone inevitably decided to take fantasy’s most gruesome residents and the most physical televised sport and put them together, they (namely Paramount) created Rumble: a movie whose premise is based wholly on monsters wrestling. (For those of you invested in the cast, there are a few names in there you’re bound to recognize.)

The film follows a young adult by the name of Winnie, who lives in a small town known for its monster wrestling. The town, named Stoker, is famous because of a coach-monster duo that are considered the greatest of all time. However, this duo was lost at sea several years before the story begins – leaving Winnie without a father. When the monster champion that replaced that duo decides to leave town for bigger and better things, Stoker is in a conundrum: monster wrestling is their biggest source of income. Since the town no longer has a use for the stadium, they plan to tear it down. It’s up to Winnie to find a champion for the town that will replace the one that left them before it’s too late to save the stadium.

I won’t go into too much detail on the plot (to avoid spoilers), but I will say that there are a lot of parallels and thematic elements in the story that I immensely enjoyed. The plot is stereotypical, but the characters make the movie and bring it to life. Their interactions are hilarious, and they don’t feel like comedy. They just feel real. There’s a certain sense of uniqueness with the dialogue that isn’t really represented in a lot of other movies I’ve seen. There are a couple of very minor plot inconsistencies, but it’s a kids movie. Paramount probably put those in because of its target audience.

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The Addams Family 2

Thank you MGM for sending us access to a digital version of the film to watch!

My family saw the first computer animated Addams Family movie in the theaters in 2019. The film was mildly entertaining, but mostly a disappointment. I’m happy to report that overall we found this sequel to be better than the original movie on many fronts.

The Addams Family 2 begins at Wednesday’s science festival which has many uninspiring science projects including the typical baking soda volcano. Wednesday’s entry is quite fascinating as it transfers the intelligence of her octopus, Socrates, into her Uncle Fester. When it comes time to announcing the winner of the science fair, Wednesday is visibly disappointed when everyone is given a participation trophy. The professor takes note of her disappointment and consoles her while asking for her data so he can improve upon her work. Wednesday tells him it’s a family secret.

Gomez Addams also takes note of his daughter’s disappointment, but she rebuffs any attention and consolation he offers her. In an effort to strengthen the family bonds, Gomez and Morticia decide that a family road trip is in order. Instead of bringing the family closer, a wedge is further driven between Wednesday and her family. Apparently she discovers a mix-up of babies at the hospital she was born in and wonders if she is even an Addams.

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  1622 Hits
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