Reviews of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Once Upon a Time in the North" and "Ticket to Ride," play-set tips and more.


  Family Screening Room   Movie: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”   Rated: R (for sexual content, language and some graphic nudity)   Length: 112 minutes   Synopsis: From the producers of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” comes a comic look at one guy's arduous quest to grow up and get over the heartbreak of being dumped. Struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) has spent six years idolizing his girlfriend, television star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), but his world is rocked when she dumps him. After an unsuccessful bout of womanizing and an on-the-job nervous breakdown, he sees that not having Sarah may just ruin his life. To clear his head, Peter takes an impulsive trip to Oahu, where he is confronted by his worst nightmare: His ex and her tragically hip new British-rocker boyfriend, Aldous (Russell Brand), are sharing his hotel. But as he torments himself with the reality of Sarah's new life, he finds relief in a flirtation with Rachel (Mila Kunis), a beautiful resort employee whose laid-back approach tempts him to rejoin the world. He also finds relief in several hundred embarrassing, fruity cocktails.   Violence/gore rating: 3.5   Sexual-content rating: 5   Profanity rating: 5   Scary/tense-moments rating: 3   Drugs/alcohol rating: 4   (Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)   Book Report   “Once Upon a Time in the North,” by Philip Pullman Ages: 12 and older Pages: 112   In this new prequel episode from Philip Pullman's “His Dark Materials” universe, Lee Scoresby -- Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua -- is just 24 years old, and he's recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. He finds himself floating north to the windswept Arctic island of Novy Odense, where he and his hare daemon Hester are quickly tangled in a deadly plot involving oil magnate Larsen Manganese, corrupt mayoral candidate Ivan Poliakov and Lee's longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country: Pierre McConville, a hired killer with at least 20 murders to his name. It's only after Lee forms an alliance with one of the island's reviled armored bears that he can fight to break up the conspiracy in a gun-twirling classic western shoot out -- and battle of wits. This clothbound volume offers a glimpse for Pullman fans into the first friendship of two of the most beloved characters in the “His Dark Materials” trilogy: Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison. (Knopf)   Kids Kitchen: Bee Sting   1 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup honey 1 quart water Frozen lemon slices   Stir together the lemon juice, honey and water. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses and garnish with the frozen lemon slices. Serves 5. If your kids like their lemonade pink, just add a few drops of red food coloring. (Recipe from   Play Inside: “Ticket to Ride”   Players: 2 to 5 Ages: 8 and older   October 2, 1900 -- it's 28 years to the day that noted London eccentric Phileas Fogg accepted and then won a bet that he could travel around the world in 80 days. Now at the dawn of the century, some old friends have gathered to celebrate Fogg's impetuous and lucrative gamble -- and to propose a new wager of their own. The stakes: $1 million in a winner-takes-all competition. The objective: to see the most cities in North America -- in just seven days. “Ticket to Ride” is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. “Ticket to Ride” won Best Family Game of 2004 and the prestigious Spiel des Jahres Award (German game of the year).   Pet Tip: Will Fifi Go on Vacation, Too?   Should the family pet go on vacation, too? Ann Weaver Ph.D., an ethologist and assistant professor of psychology at Argosy University-Sarasota, says it is important to make sure that the travel experience is safe and enjoyable for the pet. "How you handle it depends on the type of pet you have, but some things apply to all pets, and the type of travel you plan, airplane or car."   "Animals that travel via airplane must endure rough, rugged travel in the luggage compartment that is cold and unmanned," Weaver says. "In the summertime, the luggage compartment can be hot with poor air ventilation while the plane awaits take-off from the airport. Some people do not realize that their animals are handled by luggage handlers, not flight attendants. Many times dogs, cats and other animals that are transported in a carrier can experience rough treatment by luggage handlers because their carriers are mistaken for luggage and are unknowingly tossed around."   Travel by van or car also can pose problems for a pet. It is important that family members keep an eye on the pet to ascertain its condition and level of comfort. If the pet is shaking, whining and appears fretful, then the family must do something to relieve the animal's anxiety.    "Sometimes, you can let a dog or cat rest its head on your lap or lay on its blanket with recognizable scents to provide a sense of familiarity and comfort," Weaver says. "It is also important to line the interior of the carrier with a blanket for additional comfort and secure the travel carrier to avoid excessive jarring and motion." (ARA)   Tip of the Week: Tips for Purchasing the Perfect Play Set   Rainbow Play Systems Inc. offers the following tips to get parents through swing-set season:   - Pick a set that can grow with your child.   - Make sure you have enough space in your back yard, and that it’s not near vegetation, fences, landscape rocks and other objects.   - Make sure you ask about the strength and quality of the materials used in the play set.   - Try before you buy.   - Enjoy the experience. (ARA)   GateHouse News Service