Reviews: What's New This Week

Filed under: Toys, Gadgets, That's Entertainment, Shopping, Music, Activities: Family Time, Gear Guides: Tweens, Activities: Tweens, Gear Guides: Big Kids, Activities: Big Kids, Gear Guides: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Movies, New In Pop Culture


Here is a look at what's new this week in family entertainment as adapted from reviews and ratings by Common Sense Media. Click on the links to read the reviews in full.

In Theaters: Ramona and Beezus
Beverly Cleary's beloved book series comes to the big screen in "Ramona and Beezus," a kid-friendly movie about a mischievous little girl and the family who loves her. The central storyline is taken from "Ramona and Her Father" with secondary elements borrowed from other books in the series. It works beautifully thanks to the casting of Joey King, who perfectly captures the free spirit of Ramona Quimby. Rated G, OK for kids 6+

DVD: The Runaways
While most teens will be familiar with the lead actresses in "The Runaways," this film is intended for older audiences. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning play rockers Joan Jett and Cherie Currie as young girls making their mark on the male-dominated world of rock and roll. No surprise, there's lots of sex, drugs and violence in the realistic retelling of the rise and fall of The Runaways. Rated R, iffy for kids 16-18

TV: If You Really Knew Me
MTV takes aim at teenagers in "If You Really Knew Me," a reality show that lifts the veil on the secret lives of high school students. Each episode takes viewers to "Challenge Day" workshops at different high schools where students open up about who they really are and what their lives are really like. Although it can be painful to watch, the show presents an eye-opening and often inspiring look at the modern teenager. Rated TV-PG, iffy for kids 13-15

Books: Big Nate: In a Class by Himself
Based on the comic book series, "Big Nate: In a Class by Himself" takes a humorous look at the life of a 12-year-old boy who just can't seem to get things right. Dealing with grumpy teachers, middle school crushes and the general awkwardness of the age, Nate takes one wrong turn after another. In the end, self-confidence, a sense of humor and a few good friends help him make it through the worst day of his life. OK for kids 9+

Music: Ordinary Girl by Miley Cyrus
From the soundtrack of what will be the last season of "Hannah Montana," Miley Cyrus sings about the price of fame in "Ordinary Girl." Despite the fact that she's "paid larger than life," she's still a regular girl who sometimes feels bored, scared and ignored. OK for kids 8+

Web: Sprout Online
From PBS Kids, "Sprout Online" offers preschoolers educational content mixed in with lots of fun. The games, activities and videos feature familiar characters and most have valuable lessons to impart. While the site itself is entirely age-appropriate, some games link off to other sites, including PBS Kids. OK for kids 4+

Games: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
For Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, "LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4" is an easy-to-play and fun adventure game for Hogwarts fans. Following the plot of the first four books, players go to school, make friends and do battle with enemies as they try to stop the return of Lord Voldemort. Because the characters are plastic LEGO pieces, the violence is of the bloodless variety and mostly involves characters breaking apart. Rated E10+, OK for kids 8+

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