Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Tim Burton's remake of the classic Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory both based on Roald Dahl's award-winning book. It stars Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie. We went and saw it at the drive in while we were on vacation.

Our family preferred the original over the remake. While the remake was stylish, fully half the movie was identical in content to the original while the remaining half of the film felt like tacked on scenes that didn't add much. While Depp was good in the role of Wonka, we all prefered the original cast over the new crew.

The overall family rating was 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Herbie, Fully Loaded

Herbie, Fully loaded stars Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon and Justin Long. Suitable for all ages, it's a remake of Herbie the Love Bug. It's a pretty fun movie if you don't attempt to take it seriously and you can separate Lohan's gossip magazine chronicles from her acting roles. It's a much gentler movie than the original. The bad guys aren't quite so evil, the good guys aren't quite so full of themselves (unlike Dean Jones character in the original). There were some decent slapstick gags and the time passed quickly.

The overall family rating was 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

New reviews coming

We've got a slew of new reviews coming over the next week. We have Herbie, Fully Loaded in the can, I'm putting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together and we'll be recording reviews of The Fantastic Four and a special book review of the latest Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Star Wars 3

I went to see Star Wars 3, Revenge of the Sith last week. Mike and I started chatting about the movie and I thought I'd do a quick podcast about it. I chopped the discussion at around 10 minutes because we both waxed on for quite some time. While we both like the film for the special effects and attention to detail and lauded the improvement in quality over Episodes 1 and 2, we both ultimately saw the movie as a missed opportunity.

We agreed that most of the performances were extremely wooden and Lucas shortchanged Anakin's conversion into Darth Vader. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

As a side note, after seeing the film I decided not to bring my kids to see it. I felt that it truly deserved its PG-13 rating due to subject matter and violence. I'll let them see it on DVD but I know I would have been dealing with nightmares for a few evenings if I let them see it on the big screen.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Family films top R-rated fare in 2004

In an interesting turn of events PG rated films hauled in more cash than R rated films in 2004.
Is this because of the good quality of PG rated films in 2004 or the lack of any "blockbuster" R rated movies? In my opinion, the number of films getting PG-13 ratings have expanded with some directors inserting just enough teen content (usually a few curses) to ensure the coveted PG-13 rating. Lucas has even said that the next Star Wars movie will probably be PG-13.

FYI - We're not dead or stopped podcasting. We've just been so busy (and sick) lately that we haven't seen many (any) movies. Hopefully that will change in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Racing Stripes

Heidi, age 6, went to the movies last week with some friends and saw Racing Stripes. She eagerly spent a few minutes discussing it with me tonight. Those of you that have been listening to the other podcasts with Heidi as a contributor will be amazed that she didn't call this the "best movie ever."

Racing stripes stars the voice talents of Frankie Muniz, Mandy Moore, David Spade, Steve Harvey, Dustin Hoffman and a bunch of other big names. Hayden Panettiere is the live actress who rides Stripes.

Heidi gave Racing Stripes a 3 star rating. There just wasn't enough action in it for her but she did think there were a lot of funny parts. Judging from her reaction it's targeted at the 6-11 year old crowd.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite

We watched Napoleon Dynamite as our latest family movie. As mentioned in the podcast, my oldest daughter really wanted to see it in the theaters but we never got around to it. It's available on DVD now. The cast isn't well known, the biggest "names" are probably Diedrich Bader and Tina Majorino but they do a credible job for a lower budget film that managed to generate $44 million in domestic box office gross revenues.

Looking at other reviews this film generates polar response in most viewers. They either love it or hate it. Our reaction was less drastic with a 2.5 star consensus rating.

This film is rated appropriately at PG. Most children under 10 won't get any parts of the movie. The humor and plot are definitely for older kids. Then again apparently most viewers over 30 don't get "it" either.

Apologies for the audio quality. We had a microphone malfunction and had to record using the internal PC microphone with the expected poor results.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I, Robot

I watched I, Robot on a flight yesterday. Guest reviewer Mike Houser and I spent some time discussing the film, the Azimov robot series of books, and science fiction as a film genre in general. We're both avid readers and moan about the lack a quality adaptations of new science fiction stories to the big screen.

We gave it a solid 3.5 star rating and were both rather suprised with the quality of the film given its origination (it wasn't written as a screen play from the book) and the big name star (Will Smith).

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Samantha - An American Girl Movie

My wife, Katie (12) and Heidi (6) watched Samantha - An American Girl. The kids thought that it was good and gave it 4 stars. Betsy rated it pretty low, mostly due to poor casting decisions where the movie actors didn't reflect the characters as they are written in the books.

We all agreed that we really love the concept of the dolls and their backstories. Hopefully they can crank up the production values a little more for the next film and hit a home run.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

We took an afternoon last week to go see Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events at the local theater with my older two daughters. We all thought that it was a very good film, well constructed with excellent performances. The children playing Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire were very well cast and equalled that other group of kids at Hogwarts in portraying their characters.

We gave it our highest 4+ stars rating and discuss the film vs. the series of books in our podcast.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


For those of you discovering this podcast as a result of its mention on Adam Curry's Daily Source Code, welcome aboard. Of course Adam picked the one review to excerpt that contained only my voice. Rest assured that most of the reviews will be done by a majority of the family.

I did want to clarify that the intent of our reviewers is not to push any religious or moral agenda on our listeners. We do not review films through any hidden filters. We're just trying to give honest opinions on the quality and age appropriateness of the films we review. Everything we review will be rated PG-13 and under. Since the family consists of 4 daughters we may tend to skew toward comedy and drama instead of action films but all genders can appreciate a good animated feature like The Incredibles.

If you're interested in contributing content to the site send email to familyreviews@comcast.net

Monday, December 20, 2004

Ocean's Twelve

My wife and I went to the movies this weekend and decided to see Ocean's Twelve. Bad decision. Normally I read some critical reviews before heading to the theater. I didn't do so in this case and it resulted in a bad movie situation. After the movie finished my wife turned to me and said "I think I missed something". She didn't, this film just didn't hang together. It was extremely disappointing because we were both such big fans 0f the first movie, Ocean's Eleven.

General consensus was 1 star and Steven Soderbergh should thank Matt Damon for that lone star.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Incredibles

Our 4th review is now available. We went to see The Incredibles a few weeks ago and we've finally gotten around to recording the review. We do things a little different this time. Brian Alkerton submitted a review to Reel Reviews and he's agreed to let us use his review as a basis for ours. We listened to his review and then recorded our feelings on the movie. We even got a few guests involved.

General consensus was 4 to 5 stars.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Provide comments if you dare...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Sponge Bob

Our third review is ready. The kids went to the movies last weekend to see Sponge Bob, The Movie.

We get comments from all of the the kids, Kelly (3), Heidi (age 6), Holly (age 10) and Katie (age 12). Since I didn't go see the movie, I just moderate the conversation for this one. We also switched to a round table format. Overall kids review was 4 stars and adult rating was 1 star.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Please send feedback if you like what we're doing.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Our second review is now in the can. We sat down last weekend and watched Elf, starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel (who I always want to call Chloƫ Sevigny, dont ask me why) and Ed Asner as Santa.

We get comments from most of the the kids, Heidi (age 6), Holly (age 10) and Katie (age 12), my wife and myself. There was a definate split between adults and children on the merits of seeing Elf. Overall kids review was 4 stars and adult rating was 2 stars out of 5.

Get the direct MP3 download here or subscribe to the podcast.

Apologies for the lousy quality of the audio for this podcast. I tried recording on my PocketPC device instead of my laptop. After listening to the audio quality I won't make that mistake again.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Around the World in 80 Days

Our first review is now available through Podcast. Dad, Katie and Holly review Around the World in 80 Days starring Jackie Chan and Steve Cooghan. The concensus was 3 stars out of 5. Listen to our comments by downloading the mp3 file here, or subscribe to the Podcast here.

Feel free to leave comments....

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Welcome to family reviews. We'll be trying to roll out a podcast a week with comments from the entire family on a given film. Most movies we review will be ones we watch on DVD however we will occasionally review a film we go to see in the theaters.

Please feel free to comment in the blog.