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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Pretending I’m A Superman – The Tony Hawk Video Game Story

Pretending I'm a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story

Thank you Wood Entertainment for sending us a screener to review!

Skateboarding has been around since the 1950s and its popularity has had its ups and downs. Skate parks would come and go and when they disappeared, underground and street skating took off. Pretending I’m A Superman – The Tony Hawk Video Game Story features many professional skaters like Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Eric Koston who share their experiences with this sport and various milestones before it became mainstream.

The popular Thrasher magazine started circulating in 1981, and the following year Tony Hawk became a pro skater. In 1986 Atari released 720°, a skateboarding game followed by California Games and Skate or Die in 1987. In 1989 the movie Gleaming the Cube was released. In the mid 90s skateboarding started to become popular and was showcased in the X Games, which was founded in 1994.

In 1997, Sega released a popular arcade game with a moving skateboard called Top Skater. Once Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater dropped in 1999, the sport would never be the same. Each new release would get better and when the fourth one came out, the other three were still in the top ten sales charts. Not only did this game revitalize the sport, but the skaters in the game became household names and the bands like Primus and Bad Religion got a whole new fan base. The inclusivity of minority and female skaters appealed to many people as well.

All in all, this is a fascinating documentary about a beloved game series that’s about to be re-released very soon. I look forward to checking it out with improved visuals! There is some language including a couple of F-bombs so be warned if you plan on watching this documentary with youngins. It’s available on popular streaming platforms including Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon Prime Video.


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Think Like a Dog

Think Like a Dog

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us a screener to review!

Oliver is a twelve-year-old genius whose parents are considering separating. To comfort him in these difficult times is his dog, Henry. Oliver also has a friend Xiao, in China, who plays online VR games with him. Xiao is also quite smart and is an accomplished hacker.

At this year’s science fair, Oliver shows off his mind-reading device. A fictional technology tycoon named Mr. Mills is in the audience and Oliver wants to make a good impression on him. Although the experiment didn’t go as planned, Mr. Mills (Kunal Nayyar) is impressed with Oliver's work and sees potential in it. At home, Oliver fine-tunes his project and with the help of a friend, hijacks a satellite to give the mind-reading device enough power. This move doesn’t go unnoticed by government officials. The project is a success and Oliver can hear his dog’s thoughts while wearing a special collar.

As it turns out, Henry is quite smart, talkative, and funny. Henry’s simple views on life are quite insightful and may help in repairing Oliver’s parents' marriage. There’s a school dance coming up and Oliver needs to work up the courage to ask his crush to the dance. The rest of Henry’s plans to rekindle Oliver’s parents’ romance revolves around them being at the school dance to hear their wedding song.

Oliver's date doesn’t go as planned, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a happy ending. You’ll have to see this 91-minute film for yourself. It’s pretty family-friendly and contained an OMG. I don’t recall any other language other than Oliver being told several times throughout the film that he needed to “grow a pair.” If you like movies where animals talk, you’ll probably enjoy this film. It’s just as corny as the rest of them.


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The Road to Edmond

Thank you Tripp Fuller for sending us a screener link to review!

The Road to Edmond was released in 2018, but now it’s available to watch on Amazon Prime for free. The movie begins with a young youth pastor named Cleo who is forced to take a 2-week sabbatical for telling one of his students that God loves her just as she is when she came out as gay. Cleo’s stance of acceptance goes against his church’s doctrine and that’s why he’s being reprimanded.

Not sure of what he did wrong, Cleo decides to clear his head by packing some camping gear and heading out on his vintage Schwinn bike without a particular destination in mind. On a rest stop, Cleo declines the advances of a lady, and later witnesses his bike getting ran over. The guy who ran over the bike is named Larry and he’s on a road trip with his father’s ashes. Without any better transportation options, Cleo decides to join along for the ride.

Please note that the rest of this post contains spoilers.

Larry is very talkative and tries to cheer up Cleo with crude humor and insightful questions. Having a religious background, Larry asks Cleo for his “Jesus Pitch” and it’s not very convincing. In fact, Cleo’s faith is shaky and on the road trip Larry gets him to swear, drink, and try marijuana. They even go to a gay wedding.

Though the movie praises Cleo for being accepting and open-minded, I found it sad that it depicts a youth pastor becoming corrupted with worldly ideas instead of Biblical truths. God loves you the person no matter what, but your sins against Him are repulsive. Sure, God loves someone with homosexual temptations who resists to do His will instead, but when you fall prey to them, you spit in His face.

Because of the sexual humor and foul language, I don’t recommend this movie for younger audiences. Evangelical Christians won’t like the message. People who celebrate pride month will probably enjoy this film though.


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Jason Gress
I was the other one to watch this screener with my wife, Cheryl. (We watch most movies together.) Whether intentional or not, th... Read More
Sunday, 17 May 2020 11:50
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I Still Believe

I Still Believe

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us a digital screener to review!

I Still Believe is based on the true story of Jeremy Camp’s college days before he became a popular Christian artist who sold five million CDs. This film was supposed to be released in theaters on March 13, 2020, but those plans were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Christians and fans of Jeremy Camp’s music can support this film by renting a premium video on demand on sites like Amazon for $19.99. The digital rentals are good for 48 hours.

This film has a star-studded cast including Gary Sinese and Shania Twain as Jeremy’s parents. Jeremy Camp is played by KJ Apa who does not lip-sync, but puts his own spin on the popular Christian hits sung throughout the movie. I must confess that I’m not familiar with Mr. Camp’s music (despite owning a CD!) so none of the songs performed in it sounded familiar to me. It’s really fascinating knowing the inspiration of two of his hit songs “I Still Believe”, and "Walk by Faith”.

The events in the movie are based loosely on Jeremy Camp’s written biography, I Still Believe. Some artistic liberties have been taken. In the film, the love triangle is between Michelle Henning, Jeremy Camp, and his musical mentor, Jean-Luc La Joie. In reality, the love triangle was with a friend from Jeremy’s Bible study instead.

Without giving away too much of the story, this movie depicts the genuineness of Jeremy’s faith in God and love for his on-and-off again girlfriend who eventually became his wife despite her health issues. It’s amazing how God uses people and how miracles still happen. This film is pretty family-friendly though some blood is shown.

I recommend checking out this film that will certainly pull at your heartstrings. It’s a shame that it didn’t debut in the theaters, but you can still enjoy it if you have high-speed internet.


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Sonic The Hedgehog

Thank you Paramount for sending us a digital screener to review!

There have been many movies adapted after popular video game franchises. Sadly, most of them are not very good. This film had a rocky start after fans heavily criticized Paramount’s original design of the blue blur. Sonic’s final appearance looks much closer to Sega’s design with the exception of his arms being blue instead of cream colored.

Sonic is voiced by Ben Schwartz and he does a great job with bringing out the attitude that gamers have grown to love. While Sonic is often cocky, there’s a lot of loneliness shown as he must remain hidden from humans while living on Earth. In the fictional town of Green Hills, Montana, Sonic watches many residents of this small community without being detected (for the most part).

When Sonic lets his emotions get the better of him, he causes a mass loss of power and the government calls upon Dr. Robotnik to discover the source. Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Eggman is quite funny and he provides a lot of humor in this film as expected.

With the help of a cop that Sonic dubbed the “Donut Lord,” they head to San Fransico to retrieve Sonic’s Rings. On this journey, a beautiful friendship is born, and some valuable life lessons are taught to both Sonic and the police officer (James Marsden), whose real name is Tom.

This film is family-friendly for the most part. There is some violence with most of it taking place in a bar fight that Sonic started. Language is pretty mild as I recall the start of a curse word being cut off before it’s said in its entirety.

Overall, my family enjoyed this movie and wouldn’t mind owning it in the near future. The Blu-ray is available for a little over $20 on Amazon. I’ll probably wait for a sale though. Fans of the Sonic franchise will enjoy this film and the hinting of a potential sequel.

Buy it on Amazon for $22.99

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Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Miracle - Part 1

Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Miracle - Part 1

Thank you Thinking Man Films for sending us a screener to review!

The book of Exodus documents many of God's miracles from the twelve plagues of Egypt to guiding the Israelites in the desert and parting the waters allowing them to cross on dry land. Director Cecil DeMile was so inspired by this book that he made the movie The Ten Commandments twice! I have fond memories watching the 1956 Charleston Heston version and these movies have also inspired film maker Tim Mahoney to create the Patterns of Evidence series. Sadly, many of these miracles are downplayed or considered mere fairy tales in today’s society. The Red Sea Miracle aims to determine where the parting of the waters occurred and the path that the Israelites took to eventually get to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.

Before seeing this film, you should watch Patterns of Evidence: Exodus and Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy to understand the non-conventional timeline they use for dating these events. Like the previous films, Tim interviews several Egyptologists and scholars on their thoughts on where the Israelites went and where the parting of the waters took place.

There are two schools of thought on how epic of a journey this truly was. The Egyptian theory is that there was 50,000 or less Hebrews and they didn’t travel too far before having shallow water part before them. The Hebrew view is that there were roughly two million Israelites who traveled a great distance for about a month before having a large body of water parted for them.

The goal in this two-part movie series is to break down the six-step journey. This film focuses on the first few objectives including determining where the departure point was, the direction they were heading, the size of the desert they crossed, and where the detour was before arriving at the dead end. The sea was parted at the dead end and there are many theories on where that took place.

The evidence provided to state their case is very convincing and it seems like they are on the right track given the teaser clips for the second half of this film series. I look forward to seeing remnants of Egyptian chariot wheels and other relics now covered with coral reefs. The Red Sea Miracle part 1 will be in theaters nationwide on February 18th. Part two will be coming to theaters in May of 2020.

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Arctic Dogs

Arctic Dogs

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

Arctic Dogs begins with a flashback of Swifty (an arctic fox) all dressed in white and nobody noticing him because he blends in so well in the snowy town of Taigasville. He wants to be noticed and recognized like the delivery dogs that the town kids all look up to. In the present day, Swifty works at the delivery company, but not as a delivery dog since he’s underweight and under-qualified.

His childhood crush, Jade, needs a package urgently delivered, but she missed the shipment time because Swifty covered her with snow on his way to work that day. Without his boss’s permission, he offers to deliver it personally. By doing so, he jeopardizes his job and the town’s safety.

I won’t give away any spoilers in case you plan on seeing this film. With that said, there are a couple of political messages worth noting. The premise of being something that you’re not designed to be is very politically correct these days, but oftentimes, restrictions are in place for a good reason. Swifty isn’t even twenty pounds and struggles pulling packages weighing more than he does. Perhaps there was some logic in the company not taking his dream position seriously.

Global warming is another theme present in this film; however, the arctic town’s heat wave can be pointed at the walrus nemesis instead of carbon-imprinting humans. The walrus is voice-acted by the legendary John Cleese. Other popular actors lend their voice talent, including Jeremey Renner (Swifty), James Franco (Lemmy), Heidi Klum (Jade), Alec Baldwin (PB), and Angelica Houston (Maureen).

The animation is well-done and looks great. It’s a shame that the writing falls flat at times. There was only one scene where I chuckled. If you’re looking for a funny film, you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere. I appreciate the message of honesty and being true to yourself, but I’m not a fan of promoting being whatever you dream of even if you’re not qualified to do so. There’s nothing wrong with teaching kids to be realistic.


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The Moses Controversy

The Moses Controversy

Thank you Thinking Man Films for sending us a screener to review!

Many Christians believe wholeheartedly that Moses wrote (with God’s guidance) the first five books of the Bible. Exodus 24:4 states that Moses wrote what the Lord instructed him and in John 5:46, Jesus mentions that Moses wrote about Him. Many agnostic and non-Christian scholars don’t believe that Moses wrote the Torah since the Hebrew language used in the dead sea scrolls didn’t exist during the Exodus.

How could God’s word have been preserved accurately in Moses’ lifetime? Oral tradition changes over time and if the Torah can’t be trusted, what credibility does the rest of the Bible have? Investigative film maker, Timothy Mahoney, travels around the world to find answers for several questions and determine if it is possible for Moses to truly be the author of the Pentateuch and how it was done.

This two and a half hour film is very informative and gathers input from Archaeologists, Egyptologists, Christian and Jewish scholars. In order to validate Moses as the author of the Torah, a suitable language that was like Hebrew had to be used, the origin of it in the region of Egypt, and used during the Exodus’ time period.

The key to solving this puzzle was discovered by an Egyptologist named Flinders Petrie. Unlike many archaeologists, he was looking at relics with a scientific mindset instead of a profitable one. Flinders and his wife, Hilda, discovered the Proto-Sinaitic script in the winter of 1904-1905. To understand the significance of this discovery, I recommend watching this film, since I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

If you haven’t seen Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, I recommend watching that movie first. That documentary focuses on a timeline discrepancy that’s heavily relied on for this film. Both of these films are thought provoking and it’s great to have your faith bolstered by science instead of “The Bible says so.”

In the end, my faith was strengthened by this film. Though I didn’t doubt Moses’ authorship, it’s fascinating to see how it could be validated with science. Today's Hebrew was not around during Moses' lifetime, but its origins were. The alphabet is something we truly take for granted, and yet it’s a gift from God that has been used to solidify and translate His word to thousands of dialects.

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Abominable

Abominable

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

Abominable tells the story of a teenager named Yi who stumbles upon a Yeti on the rooftop of her apartment complex. The Yeti escaped from some bounty hunters and longs to go back to his home on Mount Everest. It’s quite a trek since Yi and her family are from China. At first, her cousins Peng and Jin were not on-board with escorting the yeti they dubbed Everest back home. As it turns out, they have quite the magical adventure along the way.

My family enjoyed this film in the theater and we’re happy to own it now as it’s very heartwarming. It teaches the value of family and is safe for all ages. There are some instances of tranquilizing and Everest is injured in the beginning of the film. There are some references to Buddhism and the characters believe that their ancestors watch over them from the stars.

Along with the movie, there are several bonus features to enjoy including:

Marooned – A lonely space robot tries to leave the moon and return back to Earth. If only he had some help. There’s a great message here about determination and sacrifice.

Show & Tell - Everest tries to show the other yetis about the neat things he has learned about on his adventure including playing violin, basketball, and love.

There are also a few deleted scenes that are roughly animated, but fully voice acted. The making of/inspiration behind Abominbale is also fascinating to watch. Aspiring artists will enjoy watching how it was animated and videos teaching people how to draw the characters. It’s also cool to see how the voice acting is done. There’s even instructions on how to make the pork buns that everyone loves in the movie.

If you’re looking for a heartwarming film to show your family, look no further than Abominable. It’s available on Amazon for less than $23 in Bu-ray and has 4K and 3D versions available.


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Frozen II

Thank you 4DX for providing us five tickets to see this film!

Frozen II begins with a flashback of Elsa and Anna as children hearing a story about an enchanted forest where a war between Arendelle and the natives began. Nobody knows who started the war, but as strange events are currently happening in Arendelle, the townsfolk are forced to evacuate, and Elsa must discover the truth before things get any worse. To make matters worse, Elsa is hearing a singing voice that nobody else can and it's interfering with her day-to-day activities. She needs to discover the source for her kingdom and her sanity!

Meanwhile, Kristoff has an engagement ring ready for Anna but is having a difficult time finding the right opportunity and words to successfully propose to her. His blundering attempts usually upset Anna instead of winning her over. His reindeer, Sven, tries to assist in the process any way he can. Olaf is trying to grasp the concepts of aging and maturity as he defies the typical lifespan of a snowman.

The five begin their journey to the enchanted forest, which is surrounded by a thick mist. With Elsa leading the way, they are able to make it past the protective barrier. Once there, they must tame the spirits of wind, fire, water, and earth. The fire spirit is my favorite character, he’s adorable!

The 4DX enhancements are all present in this film. 3D makes the magical scenes come to life as they expand beyond the movie screen. The unidentifiable fragrance is used multiple times as well. As the characters burst out into song, the seats will sway along. You can also expect to get spritzed in the face with water and have the back of your legs blasted with air for an added surprise.

Overall, this is a great sequel that even managed to win over my skeptical teenage daughter. I daresay that it’s better than the original film. Any Frozen fan should definitely check this film out, especially in 4DX if it’s available near you.

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Ford v Ferrari

Ford v Ferrari

Thank you 4DX for sending us five movie tickets to see this film!

As a proud owner of a Ford Mustang, I felt obligated to see this film. It’s the first 4DX movie we’ve seen that’s not kid-focused. Ford v Ferrari is rated PG-13 for language (including the f-bomb) and mention of sex. There is some kissing, but nothing beyond that is shown. Unfortunately, God's name is taken in vain a few times. It’s also worth noting that one of the characters dies, but the details are left to the viewer’s imagination. If you don’t mind these issues, this movie could be enjoyed with older children.

The film begins with Carroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon) winning the 24-hour Le Mans race and having to retire shortly thereafter due to a heart condition. He still focuses on designing cars and works closely with a fellow car enthusiast and racer, Ken Miles (played by Christian Bale). Meanwhile, Ford is in a funk and wants to expand its market and get their name out there in the race and sports car circles. Ferrari was going bankrupt and while offering to partner with them, the Ford businessmen were insulted instead. Henry Ford II wanted to retaliate by having a Ford racecar dethrone the multi-year winning Ferraris.

Lee Iacocca (played by Jon Bernthal) asks for Shelby’s help in making the GT40 racecar Le Mans worthy. They only have ninety days to improve upon the car’s design. Ken Miles is the most familiar with the car and its flaws, but due to his short temper, Ford does not want him representing their brand. There are many hurdles to cross in order to for these two parties to work together peacefully. I won’t spoil any details, but this movie can even be enjoyed by people who are not car enthusiasts.

Ford v Ferrari is the first 4DX movie that we’ve seen that did not require 3D glasses. With the movement and rumbling of seats during all of the car scenes, this film was very immersive and I didn’t miss the lack of 3D whatsoever. One of the scenes has some fragrance to it but it wasn’t too recognizable. During some rough driving scenes, the air blasts behind our ankles was startling. The timing for all of the 4DX effects is spot on and I’m grateful to have seen this film with these enhancements. I highly recommend seeing this film in any format, but if you have an opportunity to see it in 4DX, take it!

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The Peanut Butter Falcon

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us a Blu-ray, 2 t-shirts, and some peanut butter!

The Peanut Butter Falcon tells the story of Zak, a twenty-two year old young man with down syndrome who lives in a nursing home. He doesn’t like it there since he can’t relate to people who are generations older than him. However, he doesn’t have any other family to take care of him. Zak dreams of becoming a professional wrestler and tries to escape from the nursing home to live his life and make his dream a reality.

Eventually, Zak does break out from the nursing home with nothing on him but underwear. Zak stows himself away in a boat owned by Tyler (played by Shia LaBeouf). Tyler is a fisherman who doesn’t think twice about fishing in areas without being properly licensed. After destroying equipment from a competitor, he flees the scene of the crime in the boat that Zak is hiding in. Needless to say, it wasn’t a warm welcome when Zak was discovered.

Although their relationship was tense at first, the two men bond and help each other out. Since they are both being pursued, they’re constantly on the run. Tyler helps Zak follow his dream and teaches him important skills like swimming and how to shoot a rifle. Though Tyler is rough around the edges he’s got a good heart and tries to look out for Zak. With that said, he still manages to expose Zak to undesirable things like alcohol.

Zak doesn’t like to swear, but people around him will do so freely with almost every word used including the f-bomb. God’s name is taken in vain a couple of times as well. Wrestling is a violent sport and there is some blood shown and during one of the matches where a wrestler appears to lose at least one tooth. I think the PG-13 rating is fair and my tween/teenage kids enjoyed watching this film with us.

In the end, The Peanut Butter Falcon delivers a heart-warming story that’s bound to especially resonate with those who know someone with disabilities. While it’s unethical in execution at times, the overall theme of helping people achieve their dreams is admirable.


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Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Thank you Sony Pictures for sending us this 4K Blu-Ray to review!

If you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame you’ll want to hold off on seeing this film. Spider-Man: Far From Home opens up with a touching tribute to the Avengers that gave their lives in the showdown with Thanos. The world is still reeling from the aftereffects of those who have re-appeared at the same age they were after “the blip” happened. Those who have survived Thanos' judgement have aged five years. As you can imagine, this really messes with high schoolers who are not too keen on re-taking a year of school and suddenly being surrounded by kids that used to be way younger than them.

Although Peter Parker likes being a neighborhood hero, he does enjoy his teenage life and has plans to express his feelings for MJ during their European school trip. Unfortunately, the world needs saving and the bad guys just so happen to be where the high schoolers are touring.

Though Peter Parker is young and naive, he really made an impression on Tony Stark who gave him some powerful eyewear and put in a good word with Nick Fury. Given that Nick Fury is one of those who has blipped back, he’s not as familiar with his surroundings as he needs to be. He needs intel from Peter, wants him to commit to either being a student or an Avenger, and most importantly, he wants Peter to answer his phone when calling.

With the attacks from huge elemental monsters happening in Europe, Spider-Man needs to assist. Can Peter keep his alter-ego a secret with all of his classmates nearby? Will he win over MJ? To answer those questions, you'll have to see the film for yourself.

Spider-Man: Far From Home does earn its PG-13 rating for blood, violence, language (b*tch), and sexual references. There are some “caught with your pants down” scenes that are innocent but taken in the wrong way. Blackmail and revenge are also referenced.

Overall, I enjoyed this entry and am warming up to Tom Holland’s rendition of Spider-Man. I’m still partial to the Tobey Maguire movies though.


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Abominable

Abominable
 

Thank you 4DX for sending our family tickets to see this film!
 
Abominable tells the story about a teenager named Yi who stumbles upon a Yeti on her rooftop. The Yeti escaped from some bounty hunters and longs to go back to his home on Mount Everest. It’s quite a trek since Yi and her family are from China. At first, her cousins Peng and Jin were not on-board with escorting the yeti they dubbed Everest back home. As it turns out, they have quite the magical adventure along the way.
 
Everest has the ability to alter nature and can cause plants to bloom and yield fruit at his will. The 4DX effects definitely enhance the experience as well. While they are soaring in the sky on a giant dandelion the theater seats swayed back and forth. The scents were also used and I couldn’t place the fragrance they were going after. It wasn’t bad nor good.
 
There’s plenty of action scenes and it was cool to see the theater lights flicker and flash with lightning and car headlights. Water misting is another 4DX enhancement that you can expect to experience in this film as well. Last but not least are the smoke effects which were very fitting. Out of all the 4DX films we have seen so far, Abominable has benefited the most from the 4DX enhancements.
 
My family enjoyed this film and it’s very heartwarming. It teaches the value of family and is safe for all ages. There are some instances of tranquilizing and Everest is injured in the beginning of the film. There are some references to Buddhism and the characters believe that their ancestors watch over them from the stars.
 
Unfortunately, we were the only ones at the 6:40PM showing on opening weekend. Hopefully more people check out this film as it’s definitely one worth watching.
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The Secret Life of Pets 2

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

The Secret Life of Pets 2 takes you back into the lives of your favorite animals while you’re not at home with them. Many of the same funny and lovable characters are back with most of the same voice acting talent. Patton Oswalt now provides the vocals for Max who is well adjusted with his fellow canine roommate, Duke. At the park, Max gets rather annoyed with the rambunctious children there and enjoys his peaceful life. As fate would have it, his owner soon falls in love, gets married, and has a son named Liam. Though Max still does not like children, he is over the moon and overprotective of Liam. Keeping a toddler safe in this world is a lot of work and stresses out Max. Due to his nervous scratching, he soon gets fitted for a cone of shame and is not too happy about it. Things look up when his family is planning a vacation to a farm.

Meanwhile, Snowball the bunny is taking his superhero costume seriously and gets enlisted in a rescue job by a cute dog named Daisy. It’s up to Snowball and Daisy to save a young white tiger named Hu from a cruel Russian circus owner named Sergei. Hu is guarded by several black wolves and a feisty little monkey.

Gidget is on a quest of her own: to become like a cat in order to rescue Max's favorite toy. While under the influence of catnip, Chloe agrees to assist her. As you can expect, hilarity ensues on all three of these adventures. As funny as this film is, there are some moral issues worth mentioning.

Sergei is quite mean and threatens to harm the animals and is shown wielding a gun, cattle prod, and whipping Hu. There is some gross humor involving cat and dog poop and some mild language (p*ssed). My older kids enjoyed this film, but this may be too much for younger children. If you enjoyed the first movie and don’t mind the language and animal cruelty, The Secret Life of Pets 2 is worth checking out!


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Avengers: Endgame

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

Note: Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow!

After spending a lovely day with family on Mother’s Day in 2018, I thought I would end it with seeing Avengers: Infinity War with my husband. I didn’t expect such a downer of a movie! Not all of the Avengers are down for the count and they want to undo the devastation that Thanos caused to our beloved planet. With the help of the over-powered Captain Marvel, they have a slim chance of setting things right in Avengers: Endgame.

Avengers: Endgame begins with Hawkeye spending time with his family before they literally blow away in the wind. Earth is reeling from the chaos that Thanos caused. The remaining Avengers are not taking it well and are bickering more than getting along. Even five years after the event, people are still mourning and the world is a dump. After Ant-Man's return, they find a new, high risk approach they can take - if they survive.

As good as this film is, it’s not without some moral issues. Like any comic book themed movie violence is a given. There’s a fair amount of language and blaspheming. Even Captain America says S.O.B. Other words used include *ss, sh*t, p*ss, and d*ckhead. Last but not least is a scene where a homosexual man is talking about his dinner date with another man. Please exercise caution if showing this film to a child.

On the standard Blu-Ray disc, you’ll find 7.1 DTS-HD Master English audio, descriptive English, French, and Spanish along with subtitles. Commentary and an intro from the directors is also available. Also, like other recent Marvel releases, you have to purchase the 4K UHD Blu-Ray in order to get the Dolby Atmos mix, which is the highest quality mix available. The bonus disc contains featurettes (Remembering Stan Lee (my favorite), Settings the Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr., A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America, Black Widow: Whatever it Takes, The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame, The Women of the MCU, Bro Thor), deleted scenes (with minimal CGI). and a gag reel. For $25 or less, you can add one of the highest-grossing movies of all time to your collection.

 


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The Lion King

Thank you 4DX for providing my family with tickets to see this film!

The animated classic version of The Lion King was released in 1994. I owned it on VHS (later on Blu-ray) and bought the Hans Zimmer & Elton John soundtrack too. The voice acting talent from James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, and Rowan Atkinson is top-notch and hard to beat for this live-action version. Out of all of that talent, James Earl Jones was the only one to reprise his role as Mufasa in this remake. Seth Rogan voices Pumba and John Oliver is now Zazu and they both did a great job.

My biggest complaint about this film is that it’s not much different than the animated one. At least in the other live-action remakes there were some new characters and back-stories added. This film is almost frame by frame the same as the original. Again, with the other film setting the bar so high it’s hard to top it, but to not bring anything new to the table makes you wonder why they bothered remaking it in the first place.

The music sounds the same but has different singers so there’s not much deviation in that department either. Out of all of the songs in this film, Timon and Pumba’s rendition of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ is my favorite.

The visuals are quite impressive and the animals look quite realistic though expressionless. Their lips move, but their eyes don’t convey as much emotion as the animated version does. With the lions all being the same color, it’s hard to tell them apart. Compared to Mufasa and Simba, Scar seems to appear sickly. In the heat of battle, it’s still hard to tell which is which. Like the original, there is some violence, but some blood is shown in this version. The shaman monkey is still present along with references to the "Circle of Life."

We were blessed to see this film on opening night and the theater was packed as a result. It was nice to see how the audience reacted to the 4DX enhancements. The first time water spritzed the audience everyone in the room reacted (positively). It was neat to experience the savanna riding motion with the seats swaying as the birds were soaring in the air. Feeling the rumble from the stampede made you feel like you were in danger too! Scents were added at times too and I’m still not sure what fragrance they were aiming for. I’m just glad that they didn’t make us smell Pumba’s flatulence.

Like the other Disney remakes, I still have to give the nod to the original. Instead of a remake this film felt more like a rerun. The 4DX experience is still fun and I highly recommend checking it out if you have a nearby theater.

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Belong To Us

Belong To Us

Thank you Rappstar Entertainment for providing us with a digital screener to review!

Belong To Us tells a story about a German Shepherd who escapes a dogfighting ring and chooses a broken family as his own. The father, Travis, is a businessman who bonds with his teenage son over baseball, but has no idea on how to raise his nine-year-old daughter, Paige. The father almost became a major league baseball player, and hopes that his son can make it to the big leagues in his stead. Paige feels neglected and quickly bonds with the stray dog that wanders into their yard.

With her sassy grandmother’s help, Paige and her brother, Decklin, get permission to keep the dog and name him Duke. Unfortunately, the fighting lifestyle leaves behind some emotional scars on the dog. To make matters worse, the criminals that ran the dogfights are looking for their champion and endanger this family.

Throughout the movie, there is violence, and some blood is shown. In fact, when the dogs are fighting you’ll only see their legs and human violence is shown through shadows (no special effects or stunt doubles needed). Smoking, drinking, and drunkenness is also seen. The grandmother sometimes uses colorful language (sh*t), and hand gestures. Not surprisingly, this film is rated PG-13.

Though there are some rough patches and acts of defiance, the overall messages are positive in this eighty-four minute movie. Dogs can be a wonderful part of our lives, but sometimes they come with some baggage. Family needs to love and support each other at all times and keep their promises.

This film should be releasing on DVD soon and I don’t see it available for purchase anywhere quite yet. When it does come out, it’s worth renting or buying if the price is reasonable.

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Toy Story 4

box

Thank you 4DX for providing my family with tickets to see this film!

Hearing that Pixar was revisiting the series made me skeptical, especially with how well the previous film concluded the series. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this film quite a bit.

The story begins nine years in the past on a rainy night when Woody and Bo Peep get separated because he wouldn’t follow her and stayed behind to be with Andy. The water and rain effects look amazing and the visuals are way more detailed and advanced in comparison to the original Toy Story film from the 90s. I like how the 4DX experience has flashes of light in my peripheral vision when lighting strikes and fireworks pop. The gusts of air blowing in the theater definitely add to the experience as well.

After Bo Peep’s departure, the film resumes the story present-day with Woody and the gang with their new child, Bonnie. Unlike Andy’s room, Woody isn’t in charge - that role is delegated to a purple-haired doll named Dolly. In fact, Woody isn’t played with much anymore as Bonnie prefers playing with Jessie the cowgirl more. Despite feelings of neglect, Woody is still loyal to Bonnie and wants to help her adjust to kindergarten.

During orientation, Woody sneaks into Bonnie’s backpack despite her father not wanting her to bring toys to school. Thankfully, Woody tagged along so he could cheer Bonnie up without alerting her to his presence. That day, she literally made a new friend, Forky, out of a spork, googly eyes, popsicle stick feet, and pipe cleaner arms and hands. Unfortunately, Forky has a desire to be trash more than a toy. Woody has to keep bringing him back to Bonnie as he’s her new favorite toy.

On a family road trip, the toys get separated for various reasons and have some tough choices to make as a result. Bo Peep and Woody are reunited and work together to rescue Forky from some creepy toys at an antique store. If you’re easily startled, you may not like the multiple jump scare scenes. There are some lessons about love, sacrifice, and loyalty. Some humorous bad examples are in this film as well.

Overall, my family enjoyed this movie. Because of some technical difficulties, we did not get to watch the previews or Pixar short. We did get free movie passes for the inconvenience though. The 4DX experience was excellent, especially during the skunk car scenes. If you’ve enjoyed the previous Toy Story movies, be sure to check this out (in 4DX if you have it nearby)!

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Captain Marvel

Thank you Marvel Studios for sending us this movie to review!

Captain Marvel begins with a touching tribute to Stan Lee who filmed his final cameo for this movie. The funny history about Captain Marvel is that both DC and Marvel comics have them and Marvel’s version used to be a male character. Instead of Carol Danvers being a side character, she ultimately becomes an over-powered super hero that makes quite an appearance in Avengers: Endgame.

Captain Marvel begins with Vers suffering from amnesia and nightmares on the Kree Empire’s capital planet, Hala. Her mentor, Yon-Rogg trains her and urges her to keep her emotions in check and to control the power that’s been graciously given to her. The Kree Supreme Intelligence threatens to take away the power if she cannot harness it.

Shortly after meeting with the Supreme Intelligence, Vers gets tasked on a covert mission which goes sideways. Her memories are scanned by an alien race that can shapeshift into any being they see with complete DNA accuracy. Telling them apart from their target takes some clever questioning. Both Vers and these Skrull aliens land on Earth, in the 90’s.

I appreciated the 90s nostalgia with Blockbuster, payphones, pagers, as well as music from Nirvana, Garbage, and No Doubt being featured. Seeing younger versions of S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Coulson and Nick Fury is cool too. If you’ve ever wondered how Fury lost his eye, you’ll get your answer in this film that’s 124 minutes. Just like the other comic book themed movies, you can expect to find blood and violence in this film. I don't recall any strong language so young Marvel fans should be able to enjoy this movie too.

I don’t want to spoil too much so I’ll just say that Vers finds out that she's been to Earth before and discovers that there’s more to the Skrull than the Kree have let on. Captain Marvel must decide on who to align with and how to be the best version of herself. Like most Marvel movies, you’ll want to stay after the credits roll for an added bonus. In the end, I did enjoy this movie despite feeling that Captain Marvel is a bit over-powered. I guess female super heroes can kick some serious butt too.

 


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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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