Movie Monday: Run the Race

Movie Monday Run the Race.png

Twin brothers, Zach and David, decide to do whatever it takes to leave their small, podunk town after graduation. Working together, they figure that if Zach can just get a scout from Florida to notice him during a high school football game, that will be their ticket out of town.

What both Zach and David don’t anticipate is an injury that sidelines Zach.

What will become of their dream to leave and Zach’s dream to play football for the Florida Gators?

The boys haven’t had an easy life as of late. Having lost their mom to cancer a few years prior, their alcoholic dad has all but abandoned them. The bright spot in their lives is Nanny, their godmother, who is not only there for them, but also seeks to help them grow in their faith.

This movie, produced by Tim Tebow and his brother, Robby, is a heartfelt one with some humor, a bit of romance, and some difficult issues the characters must tackle. Faith is an important component to the story, and David’s and Nanny’s faith shines brightly in what is otherwise a difficult time for two boys given a hard shake in life. It is so much more than another sports movie…it features love, forgiveness, redemption, and hope.

There is nothing objectionable in the movie, although there is a scene with some underage drinking (an excellent opening for a chat with kids after family night concludes). Difficult issues include grief, loss, being unequally yoked, bitterness, anger, and some bad choices. It is well-made, features strong acting, and has an even stronger message that will leave you thinking about the movie long after its conclusion.

I’m happy to recommend Run the Race and give it five out of five stars.

 

 

Advertisements

Movie Monday: The Mask Murder

the mask murder movie monday

A who-dunnit with just enough twists and turns to throw off the viewer…

In The Mask Murder, one of the many in the Garage Sale Mystery movie series, Jenn finds a dead body in a storage locker. How did she get there, who killed her, and why is there a plaster mask that resembles the victim? Could it be clue that leads to the killer? Is Jennifer’s life in danger as she closes in on solving this mystery?

Meanwhile, Hannah learns a lesson about what’s really important when her dad helps her with a college building project constructing tiny houses for homeless people.

Hallmark does a remarkable job with The Garage Sale Mystery series. While they are suspenseful and include a variety of potential suspects in each episode, the series never delves into gratuitous violence or other unwholesome aspects. That being said, this and other episodes are for teens and older due to the storyline and content.

garage sale mysteryOne of my favorite things about this series is that it depicts a family of four with a husband and wife who love each other. Not another series with hateful banter, disrespectful children, or a dumbing down of the dad. The children (one who is a teen and the other who is a college student) both have their own lives, yet are an active (and close) part of the family unit.

 

One of the things I enjoy most about reviewing movies is finding ones that are safe for the family, void of language, sexuality, violence, and gore. The Garage Sale Mystery episodes fill the bill for that criteria.

A side note, but one I feel is important to mention is the recent “news” regarding actress Lori Loughlin (Jenn in the Garage Sale series). I’m saddened that due to her alleged choices, the series won’t continue as is. She did an excellent job, as did the others actors and actresses. My hope is that she would own up to what she allegedly did, apologize, and do her best to make amends. It would be an excellent example of redemption.

 

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled

Movie Monday Signed Sealed Delivered The Road Less Traveled (REAL ONE).png

What happens when the POstables find a seemingly old disposable camera in the lost and misdirected mail with pictures on it? And not just any pictures, but one including a note with a child’s writing begging to be reunited with his dad?

Was the child kidnapped? If so, where is he/she now? The pictures offer few clues.

signed sealed delivered road less traveled

The POstables set out to find the answer. And so the adventure across Colorado begins in the old Winnebago that Rita’s parents gifted Norman and Rita. Along the way, the group not only discovers the surprising answer to their mystery, but also some important things about their relationships along the way. Will Rita complete the 100 things she “must” do according to a wedding magazine before she and Norman get married? Why is Norman being so evasive? And who is Alex Brighton – the one who continues to text Shayne? Does Oliver have reason to be concerned?

Humor, romance, drama, a mystery, and clean wholesome viewing occur once again in this episode. It contains nothing objectionable. However, young children may be frightened by the “kidnapping” theme. It is appropriate for tweens and up.

 

Those of you who follow the Movie Monday reviews on my blog likely realize that the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series is among my favorites. It’s right up there with the Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye Series,Where Love Found Me, The Redemption of Henry Myers, The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, Finding Normal, Beautifully Broken, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, and Beyond the Mask. All awesome movies for family night (among many more too numerous to list, but that can be found on my Mom-Approved Movie Listing).

As a matter of fact, I can’t wait to watch the next installment of Signed, Sealed, Delivered when Rita and Norman finally head to the altar. Will Shayne and Oliver be next?

Movie Monday: Hailey Dean 3-Film Collection

Movie Monday Hailey Dean (2)

Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres (only behind historical and contemporary romance), so when I discovered clean suspense movies, I was thrilled.

Hailey Dean (played by Kellie Martin) is a former prosecutor. Now she’s a therapist who finds herself solving mysteries.

She joins close friends, Danny, who is the brother of her murdered fiance; Fincher, an investigator for the D.A.’s office; her boyfriend, Jonas, who is a medical examiner; and her therapist partner, Sabrina. Fincher brings comic relief to the series with his obsession with Mexican food trucks (and eating in general). Jonas, a more serious fellow, never really realizes what he’s in for when he accompanies Hailey on one of her “investigations,” disguised as a date. Danny turns to her for assistance in everything from missing persons cases to murders that aren’t as easy to solve as they may seem. Sabrina is a more dramatic character.

hailey dean

One of the pros of the Hailey Dean mysteries is the whole setup of the cast of characters that the viewer gets to see, as they attempt to figure how whodunit. It’s not always a clear-cut case, and the writers of the show do an excellent job of choosing someone as the perp who isn’t always the obvious choice.

The Hailey Dean mysteries (there are six available on DVD/streaming at the writing of this review) are clean and avoid stepping over the boundaries when it comes to violence. However, they are not for children, but rather 13 and up.

A fun added bonus? Nancy Grace, the author of the Hailey Dean series, of which the movies are based on, makes an appearance as a reporter in several of the episodes.

I give the Hailey Dean Mysteries a rating of a solid 4 out of 5.

 

 

 

Movie Monday: Duma

movie monday duma

Once in awhile, I come across a little-known movie that is, in my opinion, a “must-see.” Duma is such a movie.

dumaSet in South Africa in the present day, 12-year-old Xan and his father nearly run over a baby cheetah while driving home on an empty stretch of highway one evening. They take the animal back to their South African farm and raise it as a pet. Xan mentions that when you give something a name, it then becomes your friend.  After trying to decide on a name, Xan finally decides to give his new pet the name of Duma, which is “cheetah” in Swahili. It isn’t long before a wonderful friendship begins between Xan and Duma.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this movie is the portrayal of Xan’s closeknit family. Xan’s dad, Peter, is sure to teach his son all he knows about building things and taking care of a farm (which comes in handy later in the movie). Peter spends a considerable amount of time with Xan and, together, they test Duma’s speed by racing alongside the animal with a stopwatch.  There is also a strong love and devotion between Xan’s parents, even when they are in the midst of tragedy.

Duma is void of anything objectionable (there is a situation with “cultural” medicine practices, but nothing explicit); however, there are several intense scenes that will frighten younger viewers. When Xan embarks on an adventurous journey and a promise he made to his father to return Duma to the wilds where he belongs, Xan encounters the harsh elements, wild animals, a stranger, and near death due to a lack of water and food. Parents will also want to discuss Xan’s choice to leave on his own to help Duma find his way back to the wilds, rather than solicit his mom’s help.

Duma is one of those movies that I hadn’t heard much about, but that I am glad I purchased. Themes of family unity, forgiveness, loyalty, loving your neighbor, and grief all play integral roles in this movie. I highly recommend it for everyone ages 12 and over. (NOT recommended for those under 12).

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see Mom Approved Movie Reviews.

 

Movie Monday: Miss Potter

Movie Monday Miss Potter.png

Miss Potter is based on the life story of author and artist Beatrix Potter, known for her best-selling “Tale of Peter Rabbit” books. Having a gift for art since she was a child, Beatrix continued to hone her talent and seek publication as an adult. However, as one from a wealthy and upstanding family in the early 1900s, Beatrix was expected to take a different route with her life – to marry, have children, and host social events in her fancy home. She, however, had a different dream – to see her stories published in book form.

miss potterWhen Beatrix receives an acceptance from a large publisher, she is ecstatic. However, her mother is less than thrilled, and we see the conflict throughout the entire film. Her publisher assigns the publication of her books to the youngest brother of the owners of the company, a man named Norman, who is almost as excited as Beatrix is about her books. Will their partnership blossom into something more?

This movie is appropriate for all ages, although those under 8 or so will not likely understand the story line and might become disinterested.  There is nothing objectionable in this movie, although there is an incident where Norman is less than honest when he slips a bit of brandy into the elderly governess’ tea.  Spoiler alert – be sure to have a tissue box because there is an unexpected tragedy woven in the movie.

Miss Potter is a delightful movie and I enjoyed it for so many reasons. First, as an author myself, I could completely understand how the characters came to life in Miss Potter’s mind and how she loved to tell the stories of each character. Secondly, this movie contained all of the elements of a great story: romance, drama, and a bit of humor. It encourages all of us to follow our dreams.

I give Miss Potter a five out of five stars.

Join me most Mondays for Movie Monday, reviews from a Christian point of view of suitable movies for families – and yes, there are many!

For a listing of movies, please see my collection of Mom-Approved Movie Listings.

 

Movie Monday: Switched for Christmas

Movie Monday switched at christmas (2)

My favorite type of movie is one that has humor, romance, and a little bit of drama. Switched for Christmas fits the bill on all three counts.

Kate and Chris are identical twins with vastly different lives. Both are jealous of the other, so when one brings up the suggestion to switch places, it gets the ball rolling for a hilarious time of mischief.

Does the other twin have a better life? Kate and Chris are about to find out. Kate is a high-powered real estate developer in Denver, living in a fancy condo with stylish clothes. Chris is an art teacher and single mom living in suburban Littleton. Will they each be able to be the “other one” during the Christmas season with two big projects at stake?

Switched at Christmas is pretty close to the perfect holiday movie. Candace Cameron Bure does a great job playing both sisters. Her daughter, Natasha, is also in the movie as Chris’s daughter.

There were a couple of great themes throughout the movie including loving and appreciating your family, and not taking what you have for granted.

My only suggestion would  have been to “play up” on the lessons the children learned about not taking their mom for granted. It would have been great to see their disrespect at the beginning of the movie addressed more fully. However, if you’re watching this with your tweens and teens, this could be a great discussion starter.

So grab the entire family and enjoy this fun movie that will have you laughing and rooting for each sister. It’s appropriate for all ages, and there is nothing objectionable in it.

I give Switched for Christmas a full five stars out of five. 🙂