Weekly family rail, with road trip tips, doggie portrait tips, review of “Indiana Jones” and more.
Tip of the Week: Be road-trip ready
Prevent yourself from spending a good chunk of your vacation stuck in traffic by doing these five things:
- Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape before setting out.
- Pre-plan your route. You can also find up-to-date traffic information on Web sites like Traffic.com.
- Avoid driving at peak times.
- If you are going to use a GPS, update your maps before setting out on your trip.
- Be sure to bring along activities to keep everyone on the trip occupied. (ARA)
Family Screening Room
“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
Rated: PG-13 (for adventure violence and scary images)
Length: 123 minutes
Synopsis: Indiana Jones' (Harrison Ford) newest adventure begins in the desert Southwest in 1957 -- the height of the Cold War. Indy and his sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone) have barely escaped a close scrape with nefarious Soviet agents on a remote airfield. Now, Professor Jones has returned home to Marshall College -- only to find things have gone from bad to worse. His close friend and dean of the college (Jim Broadbent) explains that Indy's recent activities have made him the object of suspicion, and that the government has put pressure on the university to fire him. On his way out of town, Indiana meets rebellious young Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), who carries both a grudge and a proposition for the adventurous archaeologist: If he'll help Mutt on a mission with deeply personal stakes, Indy could very well make one of the most spectacular archaeological finds in history -- the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary object of fascination, superstition and fear. But as Indy and Mutt set out for the most remote corners of Peru -- a land of ancient tombs, forgotten explorers and a rumored city of gold -- they quickly realize they are not alone in their search. The Soviet agents are also hot on the trail of the Crystal Skull. Chief among them is icy cold Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), whose elite military unit is scouring the globe for the eerie Crystal Skull, which they believe can help the Soviets dominate the world -- if they can unlock its secrets.
Violence/gore rating: 4.5
Sexual-content rating: 1
Profanity rating: 3
Scary/tense-moments rating: 4.5
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2
Family Time rating: 3. While being quite PG on the sex, drugs and profanity front, overall, the violence and tense scenes make this a movie for teenagers. If you’re uncertain as to whether your child can handle such content, perhaps you can review the previous “Indiana Jones” movies first – the new installment is fairly similar.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“Evil Genius,” by Catherine Jinks
Ages: 12 and older
Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At 7, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he’s 14 and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, misinformation, forgery and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he’s a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies for the first time. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot? An engrossing thriller with darkness and humor, freaks and geeks, “Evil Genius” explores the fine line between good and evil in a strange world of manipulations and subterfuge where nothing is as it seems.
Kids Kitchen: Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Bars
1/4 cup butter
1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
6 cups chocolate flavored crispy rice cereal
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
Butter a 13x9 pan. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the marshmallows and butter, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in cereal, peanut butter chips and peanuts, if using; mix until well combined. Press mixture into the pan, cool and cut into bars. Makes about 36 bars. (About.com)
Play Inside: “Yamodo”
Ages: 8 and older
To play “Yamodo,” players depict the meaning and the look of new words. Players choose a card. On this card there is a word, and below the word, there is the start of a drawing that will be what the word at the top looks like. Below the drawing portion, there are lines to write the definition of the word shown at the top. Players take turns adding to the drawing and the description until all players have had a turn and the word is now official. Fun for young and old, this is a game that is noncompetitive and a lot of fun for those days/evenings you just want to kick back and not have to think too hard. A lot of laughs will always be available when playing this game, as the drawings and definitions can get downright funny! (Familyreview.org)
Pet Tip: Puppy portraits 101
For millions of Americans, their pet pooch is among their favorite photo subjects. So how do you get the shot of a lifetime, the winning snap that communicates to all who see it just how special your dog really is? Celebrity photographer Christopher Ameruoso offers some tips:
- Take your dog outdoors, where natural lighting is best and most flattering.
- Be patient. Once you start snapping, you'll probably have 20 minutes to get the shot.
- Use a digital camera and take lots of shots. (ARA)
GateHouse News Service