Under Wraps

This movie was a definite schocker! I’m not usually into zombies, mummies or science fiction, but this really wasn’t like that.  It was totally different than anything I have seen before, but I really enjoyed watching it with my daughter. It kept my interest, the acting and the animation was good and the moral was very family oriented. It has a clever story line and in the end the family of four learns a lot about each other and becomes closer. It is a great movie to watch around Halloween, but it’s not really a Halloween movie so it is perfect to add to your family’s DVD collection for any time of year. It would definitely appeal to boys, but my daughter really, really likes it too. She is only four and it didn’t scare her, so you don’t have to worry about that factor either. It is a well made animated movie by ARC Entertainment and I recommend it to any family with young kids!
under wrapsAVAILABLE ON DVD: October 14, 2014
DIRECTOR: Gordon Crum

WRITER: Allison Ross

CAST: Brooke Shields, Drake Bell, Matthew Lillard

SYNOPSIS: Danny and older sister Eleanor fall into an adventure of a lifetime when Danny accidentally unleashes a centuries old curse involving mummies, phaoroahs and nefarious villains! When their archeologist parents go on an expedition to an ancient Pharoah’s last resting place, Danny sneaks into the tomb and finds a sacred amulet, which he takes home. When he accidentally breaks the amulet, all sorts of chaos follows, starting with his parents turning into mummies! Eleanor and Danny frantically look for clues to solve this nightmare but the police, an evil assistant, and a mysterious visitor from the past are suddenly getting too close for comfort.

DISTRIBUTOR: ARC Entertainment

Step Dogs

Step Dogs is a cute movie for animal loving kids. It is full of slapstick humor that children find hilarious and the story is very easy to follow. It is safe for kids and even the “violence” with the thieves is silly and ok for kids. It totally reminds me of a pet version of “Home Alone” with the adorable talking dogs saving the day. The teen actors do a nice job and are enjoyable to watch, but for our family the dogs were the stars!
stepdogsStep Dogs

Available on DVD on December 3, 2013 by Image Entertainment

Synopsis: Meatball is a carefree, wisecracking country dog. Cassie is Hollywood’s most pampered pet They couldn’t be more different, and when their owners marry and move the entire blended family to the rural north, the claws come out It’s only when two bumbling thieves scheme to break into their house, that these four-legged foes must team up to defend their home. This riotously funny and heartwarming comedy proves that it takes all breeds to make a family.

http://www.us.rljentertainment.com/product/step-dogs/2b51ff71-f11d-e211-baaf-020045490004

The Dragon Pearl

This family friendly movie is one for the kids only. It is best suited for school-age kids (not preschoolers), although my 3 year old was interested when the dragon was on the screen. There are a few fight/action scenes that are probably ok for most school-age children to watch and the language is fine. The story line might be hard for younger kids to follow but nothing is really scary. The dragon doesn’t talk, it only “growls,” but my 3 year old quickly recognized it was friendly.  The dragon doesn’t have as much screen time as I thought it would, but the focus is definitely on the child characters. The acting is not impressive but I don’t think kids will really care. The dragon and the flying/floating effects are sub-par, but again children shouldn’t be bothered by it. When I asked my daughter what she thought of the dragon she said it was “cool.” I can see boys that are into dragons liking the movie and even the big “fight scene” near the end.

The Dragon PearlThe Dragon Pearl

Available on DVD June 18, 2013

Synopsis: Josh (Louis Corbett) and Ling (Li Lin Jin) thought they were in for a boring vacation with each of their parents (Sam Neill and Wang Ji) at an archaeological dig in China. It turns into an adventure of a lifetime when they discover a mournful dragon trapped deep inside a mystical temple. According to ancient legend, the dragon is missing its life force, a sacred pearl that is hidden away in a secret chamber. Josh and Ling must battle evil forces (and some very skeptical parents) in their heart-stopping journey to return the magical pearl to its rightful owner.

Delhi Safari

This movie has some pretty big names on the box art along with adorable animals. I thought instantly my now 3 year old daughter would like it, which she did. The message of the movie is to protect animal habitat, a lesson that is great for kids to learn. The earlier children can understand their impact on the world, the better!

I did, however think this movie was more appropriate for kids that are a bit older. I didn’t love the weapons that the naughty monkey carried around and some of the violence between the animals bothered me. While there are not “bad” words it did use words like “stupid” which I don’t want my kids to use. I prefer children’s movies to be more “safe” although I imagine some parents wouldn’t think much of my complaints.

One other criticism I had was that because it was dubbed in English (it was made in India), the mouth/speaking animation doesn’t match the words coming out of the animals mouths. I found it distracting although my daughter didn’t seem to notice (or care anyway).

So, animal loving kids will probably like the movie, but parents are likely to be unimpressed. We have a lot of animal movies in our collection and I don’t think I will let my daughter watch this one again…at least for a while.
Delhi SafariDELHI SAFARI 
Available on DVD on April 16th, 2013

SYNOPSIS: A wacky pack of mismatched animals takes on the human race as they travel to the big city to protest the destruction of their jungle. How can a leopard cub and his mother, a peace-loving bear, a mischievous monkey, and a wisecracking parrot present their ideas to a bunch of humans? You’ll find out in this hilarious and heart-warming adventure that will have you cheering at the end.

Film stars Jane Lynch (TV’S Glee, Wreck-It Ralph), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Pirahna 3D, Snowmen), Vanessa Williams (TV’s 666 Park Avenue, TV’s Desperate Housewives, TV’s Ugly Betty), Cary Elwes (No Strings Attached, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter), Brad Garrett (Hoodwinked Too!, Tangled, Night at the Museum films), Jason Alexander (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld).
Check out the trailer:

My Lucky Elephant

I admit that some days I let my daughter watch more TV/movies than I probably should. But, some moods (hers and mine) and some amounts of work to catch up on make it an easy solution that Cora loves. When I got sent this movie to check out I wasn’t sure what to expect. Since our family loves animals I figured we would think it was cute, but I wasn’t sure how cheesy it would be or how interested Cora (2.5 years) would stay in it since its not animated. Well, it turns out I was pleasantly surprised and the whole family truly enjoyed it.

There is not a lot of dialogue or a complicated story line, which makes it easy for younger kids to follow and I think that helps you appreciate the beauty of the elephants. It starts off with adorable footage of a sweet baby elephant that sucks you into the cuteness of the entire movie. You get to watch a wonderful relationship develop between the elephant and an orphan boy, which is relatable to any relationship between an animal and a child. The ultimate destination of these two, an art academy where the elephant learns to paint, was the best part of the movie to me. I was seriously blown away by how incredible these elephants can paint in real life! In fact, I was so intrigued that as soon as the movie was over I had to get online to see where I could purchase art done by elephants. Elephant art is now on my wish list!

This movie really is great for families with kids of many ages and even mom and dad can enjoy it. It is totally cute and completely safe!  Definitely worth checking out!

My Lucky Elephant DVDMY LUCKY ELEPHANT 

Available on DVD on February 26, 2013

Synopsis:  In a far away land of jungles and wild animals, there lived a little orphan boy who was all alone in the world. But he knew that no matter how hard life can be, it’s always better if you can share it with a friend. This is the story of how he found one, an elephant named Lucky. Together they face a changing world, but always manage to triumph. After a series of humorous challenges, they discover the Academy of Art, where elephants learn to paint. And Lucky becomes the star painter, a famous artist and celebrity. Finally, life is good for them, with money and food aplenty. But when Lucky falls in love with another elephant, Candy, and starts his own family, what will the boy do? My Lucky Elephant is an exotic adventure in a magical and beautiful place, and yet it’s about what everyone is looking for in life – a true friend, a home, family.

 

Is TV Ok for Tots?

Toddler, Television, TVIs It Ok For Your Toddler To Watch Television?

Is it ok for your toddler to watch TV? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television at all for children under two. You might think that is ridiculous, but there is a lot to really consider and think about as it relates to your television. Here are a few things to think about when deciding whether or not to turn on the TV:

How Much Is the TV On?

As adults, we don’t think much about some of our daily habits, like having the TV on while we do chores and hang out. Even if you are not “watching” television and your toddler seems to be totally ignoring it, having it on can be having more of an effect than you think. The noise and stimulation is something your toddler can be getting used to and learn to expect. When your toddler gets older, TV can become something he wants to watch all the time instead of playing physically and using his imagination.

What Kind of Programs are On?

There are obviously programs that are made for children and others for adults. But, within those categories you can break that down into what is appropriate and “safe” for your kid to see or hear. Don’t assume that just because a program is made for kids that it is ok. There are shows for children that have a lot of “adult humor” that kids can pick up on or messages that really are too “old” for tots. You might be surprised at how perceptive your toddler is and how much she actually absorbs. Before you turn on a program to occupy your child be sure that you have already seen it and know that it’s a good one.

When it comes to adult television, some programs or networks, like HGTV or TCM probably aren’t going to have anything on that you need to worry about with your toddler. But, do pay close attention to violence and the underlying messages of the programs you watch. Obviously, with school-age kids and teens, the messages of programs are clearly understood, but you still don’t need TV planting any seeds that can grow into something else as your child gets older. It is best just to avoid anything you wouldn’t be ok with an older child, that definitely would understand, watching.

Educational Doesn’t Make It Better

Networks and companies love to market their products and programs as “educational”, making parents feel like they are better for them to watch. Most movies and television geared for kids are educational in some capacity, but it cannot replace any hands on, exploration and learning that you can engage in with your child. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that because what your toddler is watching is “educational” that it is ok to watch more often. Your child will definitely learn more by playing with you and participating in just normal everyday activities.

TV and Movies/DVDs Are The Same

Movies and DVDs may be marketed differently or give you a different vibe than television. But, they really are all the same and should be kept in moderation. Movies and DVDs have the same kinds of stimulation and have the same addictive qualities.

Don’t Feel Guilty But Remember You Are Setting the Stage

You can’t feel guilty for putting your toddler in front of the TV if you have to get something done and you really need the distraction, or if you are not feeling well and don’t have the energy to engage all day long. There are plenty of reasons why you may need or want to do it. The important thing to keep in mind is that it should be kept in moderation and should not become a habit. If you are tempted to turn on the TV because you are bored or are running out of ideas, bust out things from the kitchen cabinets, go outside or cook/bake something. Resist the temptation unless television is really necessary.

Just remember that the toddler years are setting the stage for the rest of you child’s life. If he gets used to TV being a part of his day now, it will surely continue into later years. Keep the foundation of hands-on, creative, physical activity and everyone wins!