17 Again

Media Type: Major Motion Picture
Date of Release: April 17, 2009
DVD Release: August 11, 2009
Distributor: Newline Cinema
Director: Burr Steers
Actors: Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon
Rating: PG-13
Age Level: 11+
Viewer’s Annotation: Mike O’Donnell knows if he only made the right decision when he was 17, than his whole life would be different. What happens when Mike is given the chance to be 17 again?
Summary: At 17 Mike has his whole future to look forward to. He loves his girlfriend, and is the star of the basketball team; a sure scholarship in the works at tonight’s big game. Everything changes when Scarlett, his girlfriend, tells him she’s pregnant. Twenty years later Mike regrets his decision to blow the scholarship ride, and he blames Scarlett for his life. Reliving his former glory days, Mike is met by a strange janitor who mysteriously gives him the chance to re-do his choice; by making him 17 again at the same school where his teenage son and daughter attend.
Evaluation: This is a really good film. Zac Efron walks a thin line between being ridiculous as a teenager, and being perfectly cast as a believable adult. Secondary characters move the story along, and Mike’s best friend is hilarious in his pursuit of the school principal. A heartwarming movie that surprises the audience with it’s’ sincerity and honesty.
Additional Info: A huge hit with rabid HSM fans. Zac is adorable as ever.
Selection: I showed this film at our Teen Movie Night.


Media Type: Television Program
Episode: Preggers
Station: Fox
Air Date: September 23, 2009
Actors: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison
Age Level: 12+
Viewer’s Annotation: Quinn finds out she’s pregnant, Kurt tries out for the football team and Sue tries once again to take down the Glee team.
Summary: Quinn finds out she’s pregnant, but is Finn really the father. In an effort to show unity and impress his dad Kurt tries for the football team that leads to a hilarious rendition of Beyonce’s hit song, danced to by boys in football pads. Sue talks to Sandy in an effort to get Schuester kicked off Glee.
Evaluation: I love this episode because of the scene between Kurt and his dad. All his life Kurt knows he is gay, and fears that his father will actually find out. He says dancing to Beyonce is a work out session. At the end, he comes out to father who simply says “I know.” I thought it was wonderful that the father already knew his son’s sexuality, and responded with I love you anyways. Perfect.
Additional Info: First season.
Selection: Love the show, period. Fox has managed to discuss important topics without too much weight, it’s remarkable.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Media Type: Major Motion Picture
Date of Release: July 15, 2009
DVD Release: December 8, 2009
Distributor: David Yates
Director: Warner Bros.
Actors: Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Rating: PG
Age Level: 10+
Viewer’s Annotation: Harry Potter joins his friends for his sixth year at Hogwart’s Academy while somewhere Voldemort gains strength and power.
Summary: Harry’s six year at Hogwart’s finds him still struggling with the death of her uncle, and bearing the weight of being “the Chosen One.” Now that the wizarding world is aware of Voldemort’s return, and the Muggle World finds the unexplainable happening, Dumbledore finally takes Harry under his wing. Harry must journey with Dumbledore into the depths of the past to learn the truth about Voldemort’s beginnings.
Evaluation: The sixth theatrical release was everything that the fans were waiting for. The fights were bigger, the tension more gut wrenching and the teen angst more angsty. The actors playing the primary characters have finally come into their own, and truly own the characters they portray. The seasoned cast of Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape once again prove their acting prowess as storylines deepen and lines are drawn. The final fight scene feels somewhat rushed, and the movie ends without the cathartic funeral of one of the main characters, but fans will be pleased by the overall feel of the film and its adherence to the text.
Additional Info: The sixth movie released in the huge Harry Potter franchise.
Selection: Huge fan, saw the midnight showing

New Moon Soundtrack

Media Type: Audio CD
ASIN: B0029O08WA
Date of Release: October 16, 2009
Label: Chop Shop, Atlantic
Artists: Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, The Killers, more.
Age Level: 9+
Listener’s Annotation: Soundtrack for the film The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Soundtrack includes music heard throughout the movie as well as additional music.
Summary: Music includes several songs specifically written for this film: “Meet me on the Equinox,” “I Belong to You (New Moon Remix)” and “White Demon Love Song.” Additional songs are atmospheric and quirky. Album is not mainstream and will appeal to those looking to match the feel of the movie.
Evaluation: A great soundtrack. Finally someone has realized that listeners want exactly the same music on a CD that they heard during the film. The songs chosen for this soundtrack mimic the feel of the movie creating atmosphere, drama and (usually) some type of angst. Songs written specifically for the film are excellent and it’s nice to have a song included by Muse (Meyer’s musical inspiration for the series).
Additional Info: Soundtrack for film: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Selection: I bought this CD because I am a fan of the books, and the film.


Media Type: website
Address: www.pandora.com
Age level: all ages
Summary: Your favorite music, your way. Pandora is an interactive site that allows you to enter a type of music “Christmas” or artist “Brittany Spears” and it will make a station that has similar music. Features include skipping, rating and building your own station.
Evaluation: What an awesome site! When my teen taught me to use this I was so impressed. The site bills itself as the “music genome project” bringing like music together. I was able to rock out all morning to a wonderful mixture of Christmas music.
Selection: One of my volunteers uses my work computer to complete bibliographies – just cross checking titles to make sure they’re available. She asked if she could listen to Pandora and I had no clue what it was.

Rock Band

Media Type: Video Game
Platform: Playstation
Date of Release: December 18, 2007
Distributor: Sony
ESRB Rating: Teen
Age Level: All Ages
Summary: A four player game where the action takes you into a band. You and your band mates can play as a band, or solo. The more times you play as a band, the more titles and songs you unlock.
Evaluation: So much more fun than Guitar Hero. Since this game plays as a band, you can have up to four players at one time: guitar, bass, vocals and drums. The songs are fun, and you unlock more as you go.
Additional Info: Great game to move onto when your tweens are sick of Guitar Hero.
Selection: We recently purchased this game for our Teen Gaming Night.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Media Type: Major Motion Picture
Date of Release: June 24, 2009
DVD Release: October 20, 2009
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Michael Bay
Actors: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
Rating: PG-13
Age Level: 12+
Viewer’s Annotation: Optimus Prime must enlist Sam in an attempt to save the Earth when the Decepticons learn about an ancient power that could give them control on our planet.
Summary: The movie picks up two years after the first film with Sam going to college, and Optimus working with the US military to locate and destroy errant Decepticons. Apparently, Megatron is not the head of the Decepticons, instead he is servient to The Fallen; the first deceiver of the Primes. The plot gets lost at this point as Sam finds a sliver of the all-spark which imprints on his brain giving him the lost location of a great weapon that could be used for good or evil.
Evaluation: My husband called this film two hours of trailers, and I have to agree. The story did not really advance, and the whole film seemed more interested in playing on the sex theme than anything else. Language and crude humor dominate this film, ruining the good old fashioned fun of transformers and the first film in the franchise. A real shame. This is especially true since tweens are sure to watch this movie and parents will get much more than they expect.
Additional Info: Sequel to blockbuster Transformers.
Selection: I loved this first film and recently showed this one at the library.

Twilight Saga – New Moon

Media Type: Major Motion Picture
Date of Release: November 20, 2009
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Director: Chris Weitz
Actors: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner
Rating: PG-13
Age Level: 10+
Viewer’s Annotation: When Edward leaves Bella she struggles to pull herself together with the help of Jacob; who has secrets of his own.
Summary: Life is rosy for Bella and Edward who have found a way to be together despite the tempting scent of Bella’s blood. An inopportune papercut puts Bella in danger, and Edward, in a selfless act to protect his love, decides to leave Bella – “it will be as if I never existed.” With Edward gone, Bella falls apart unable to hold her life together without Edward to orbit. She slowly becomes friends with Jacob who make her feel better, despite her growing knowledge that he sees their friendship as something more. Through a series of misunderstandings (Romeo and Juliet, anyone?) Edward comes to believe that Bella has died, and sets himself on a path of vampire suicide via the Vulturri.
Evaluation: The second movie in the Twilight franchise puts Twilight (2008) to shame. Director Chris Weitz has pulled out all the stops to fix the issues that were obvious in the first film. Special effects have improved an enormous amount. The actors have really grown into their characters. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenburg does a fantastic job of condensing a very long novel into the essential plot points without depriving her audience. A wonderful addition to the series that will leave fans clamoring for Eclipse (June 30, 2010).
Additional Info: The second movie released in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers
Selection: I admit it, I’m a huge fan. I saw the midnight showing.

The Vampire Diaries

Media Type: Television Program
Episode: Pilot
Station: The WB
Air Date: September 10, 2009
Actors: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder
Age Level: 12+
Viewer’s Annotation: When Stephen returns to the town of Mystic Falls Elena finds herself drawn to him and his mysterious life.
Summary: In the first episode viewers receive the basic set up. Elena is a normal teenager, living with her young aunt and her drug addicted brother after the car wreck that killer her parents. Elena is determined to start the new school year with a positive attitude so that the town around her stops the pitying glances and the whispered comments. Stephen is new in town, and seems mysteriously drawn to Elena and likewise. Bonnie, Elena’s best friend, hides her psychic gift, but can’t help but recognize something different about Stephen. At the end of the first episode viewers meet Damon, Stephen’s older brother, who antagonizes his younger brother and taunts him with Elena’s name. Viewers learn both are vampires who have returned to Mystic Falls, their hometown. But, what does Elena have to do with that?
Evaluation: The first episode stayed remarkably true to the original series, which was really refreshing. The actors are cast really well, and the African American woman playing Bonnie is a welcome change to Smith’s original character: a flighty red head with no direction.
Additional Info: This series is based on a series of books released in the early 90’s of the same name by L.J. Smith.
Selection: I still have the paperbacks of the original series. I am both highly amused and incredibly happy that the books have been reprinted; and a series created from the itles.


Media Type: website
Address: www.wikipedia.com
Age level: all ages
Summary: Wikipedia is a search engine in wiki format. This allows anyone to add and/or edit pages on the site.
Evaluation: Due to its interactive nature wikipedia is not always the most dependable one-stop research tool. People can log on and provide information that is just plain wrong or mistaken. However, it is also highly used by the proposed age group as a first stop for homework assignments. Wikipedia should not be the only source used, but it can certainly be helpful in understanding a larger concept in the simplest language.
Selection: I took a reference course this semester that had weekly “mini-assignments.’ Many of them used unfamiliar terms and people. Using wikipedia I was able to gain a common ground with the terminology and move onto more respected research sites. That being said, I think wikipedia needs to be re-evaluated in the academic field as a useful first tool to start from. We tell tweens and teens that it’s not a good source when in reality it’s great to use to get a grip on unknown topics.