Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Story

Like every other movie in this series, it feels like they come up with set pieces and added story as they went along. “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.”

That being said the plot in this one is, despite time travel, way more coherent than some of the others.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Instead of the confident, mellow, Indiana from the last movie, we have the Indiana who’s given up. Apparently, the screen writers liked Mutt less than I did and killed him off between movies to give Indiana more motivation. Once he stopped moping, he went back to his quippy roots.

I was glad the leading lady wasn’t a love interest and that makes this movie unique in the series as he doesn’t have a love interest that follows him through.

As for his niece, she bordered between fun and frustrating. The kid was awesome though, and it was nice to see Salah again.

The biggest frustration was offhanded way they kept killing people. I hate it when a story introduces someone interesting and then kills them off because they’re inconvenient.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This movie had much improved banter and dialogue. The archeology-babble was about the same but the conversations and jokes were great.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This was shot differently then the others and it worked really well. The camera work, effects, and colour palette was really good. I did find the “age reduced” Harrison Ford a little weird looking, and it was discordant to have the older voice coming from the younger character. Seeing as those effects look weird now, I can’t imagine they’ll age well.

The music was great as usual.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie straddled the line between nostalgia and new content and did a good job. The whole family enjoyed it. I feel like any Indiana film with Salah in it is awesome.

Score: 1

Overall

One of the better Indiana Jones films, and that means you’re in for lots of action, lots of adventure, and more than your fair share of quippy dialogue. It’s slowed down by experimental special effects, a depressing storyline, and more character deaths than were needed.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Dear Pegasus – Welcome to Level 5

Dear Pegasus,

You’ve had an impressive year. You’ve grown in every way and I’m really proud of the person you’re becoming.

This year you’ve:

  • Done homeschool with Mum
  • Taught yourself to read (What?)
  • Learned to use a mouse and computer
  • Learned how to add and subtract
  • Done a lot of baking and cooking
  • Played video games
  • Learned the rules for Battleship

You are all signed up for school in September and I’m just as nervous with you as I was with your sister. I worry about teasing and you having trouble with kids your age. You have had so little time to learn how to play with kids that aren’t Dragon. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Your big sister loves you, she might fight with you, yell at you, and sometimes go out of her way to get on your nerves, but she loves you. She wanted to go into your class for the first few days to make sure you’re okay. I hope that level of mutual concern continues. I never had anyone like that in school and I’m glad you two will be together for 4 years.

Dragon is more concerned about teasing and fitting in, but I’m also worried about your language and dealing with a real classroom where you’re not the centre of attention.

Before that happens, there’s a whole summer to get through. We have a big trip planned and you’re excited to get on the first plane you remember.

Something really special that I’m going to miss next year is spending time with you during the day. You would randomly ask me to read you a book (or 12) and snuggle into me. We’d play phone games and you just snuggle close.

You climbing into my lap and putting your head against my chest and demanding we do something is soothing and wonderful. I’m going to miss that with you at school all day and me coming home late 3 days a week.

You are stubborn in ways I’ve never seen before and sometimes you do things just because your sister does, but you are a joy to be around and I love you dearly.

Welcome to Level 5 and all the new challenges it’ll bring.

I love you lots!

Papa

Favourite Things: Éric

post on Instagram a while back detailing the author’s favourite things, and I thought it would be fun to do that, not only for ourselves, but for our characters too! Here’s Éric’s:

Read Éric’s latest book here:

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order now!

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Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Missed the launch?

Hello Readers,

Did you miss the fantastic launch of Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests? You’re in luck; Renaissance Press recorded it.

Enjoy, and remember that it’s available wherever you buy books.

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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1983 film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Story

This cleans up the loose threads of the other two movies and concludes the story in a satisfying way. It’s a little meandering and at times the philosophy is laughable.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main characters are consistant and likeable. The secondary characters are good and the emperor is deliciously evil.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Cheesy and a little over the top but lot of fun with quips galore.

The emperor is wonderfully evil but his manipulations of Luke aren’t as clever as it’s made out to be.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects from the original movie hold up well but like the other movies, the effects added digitally in the 2000’s don’t look as good. I’m also not a big fan of replacing Sebastian Shaw as the Anakin force ghost. I get the whole Anakin died when he became Vader but I don’t like it.

The music is amazing and I was particularly happy with the major-chord version of Vader’s theme that played when he died.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie remembers the hope of the first and gives us the happy ending needed. It’s only sad because of what we know about the sequel movies and how the characters never truly find happiness.

I love how all three movies are excellent at building a universe with so much depth without being overly confusing to the casual viewer.

The kids loved this one although they were a little confused about Vader’s motivations.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful way to end the series, filled with hope and fun. The movie is satisfying on it’s own and as a closing chapter to the trilogy.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Mid-Year Review of Éric’s 2024 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello,

After a year off of resolutions, I made a whole bunch. Let’s see how I did.

Calvin: Well. it’s a New Year. And I’d say the first to hours haven’t been up to snuff.
Hobbes: Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?
Calvin: You bet! I resolved to quit hiding my feelings so much! From now on, the world’s gonna know exactly what I think of it!
Hobbes: Yes, you’ve certainly been the model of self-restraint and under-statement up until now.
Calvin: Well no more. And I’ve also resolved not to put up with sarcastic tigers.
Hobbes: If I see any, I’ll tell them.

1. Write a serial story. (Succeeding)

This year I’m writing the final chapter of Speakers of the Rebel Sun, as the serial story. It’s quite epic. I haven’t missed an update and all is going well, I think.

Go read: Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises

2. Finish Speakers of the Rebel Sun (Succeeding)

I’ve done some editing and I’m using the serial story to finish this up and it’s looking good. I have 2 other stories inside to write and then I’ll be done. So far it’s on track.

As for submission, I’m not sure. I’m going through some stuff due to a rejection and it’s got me rethinking what I want to do.

3. Finish Fanatics! Inevitable Honeymoon Crashers (Succeeding)

We are at Chapter 17 of 24 and moving along. It’s a little slower than before because we’re busier and I’m having a terrible year health wise.

4. Clean up FADDS and continue the re-skin towards making the Aetherverse the default setting. (Succeeding)

We’ve been playing a game in Everdome and it’s going well. I’ve expanded and cleaned a whole bunch of things and even created a Great Beast for my players to meet.

5. Play more Ukulele and Bass (Failing)

I’ve had multiple colds and infections which means I haven’t had motivation or a voice. I would like to get back to it. I’ve played maybe a few times a week at most.

6. Work weekly on my magical café (Failing)

I did super well in January on this and then it fell off. So many tiny things, sigh. I’ll try to get back to it.

7. Read at least 10 books (Succeeded)

I’ve managed 19 books so far and only about half of those are audiobooks. I’m still struggling to let myself read for pleasure but I’m getting there.

8. Be kind to myself (Failing)

There have been some major hurdles with health and with rejections and I’m having a hard time. I’m trying hard to see myself as worthy but I’ve spent so long thinking of myself as barely average that it’s hard.

9. Find time for me (Failing)

Gardening is helping but I constantly feel like I’m letting everyone down if I’m not doing something. I need to learn to relax and let things go. It might be time to start thinking about what I prioritize and how to rearrange my life.

10. Restart posting JenEric Movie Reviews (Succeeding)

I started posting again January 13th and have managed a weekly review since. Now I just have to keep it up. Thankfully it’s something fairly quick to write up.


So far so good with 5 Succeeding, 1 Succeeded, and only 4 Failing. I’m definitely seeing a trend of me prioritizing doing something for others over something for myself. I need to work on that.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Favourite Things: Jen

post on Instagram a while back detailing the author’s favourite things, and I thought it would be fun to do that, not only for ourselves, but for our characters too! Here’s Jen’s:

Read Jen’s latest book here:

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order now!

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Amazon Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
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Apple Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

The Process of Writing a Book 2

There were a few major differences when writing a second book versus writing the first one. If you’d like to read about the first book’s writing process, we wrote about it in 2021.

By the time we sat down to plot and write Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests, we’d gotten a contract for the first one, done several editing passes with beta-readers, wrote a dozen or more short stories, and talked about the second book the entire summer.

Jen had written Crushing It and I’d written the fourth Elizabeth book, both of which altered the shared world of the Aetherverse to a point where we now had nine books, and a dozen short stories worth of lore.

As much as consistency in story was important, Jen realized we needed to keep track of how we wrote things. Was it Aethercreature, Aether-Creature, or Aether Creature? Not to mention the impressively hard to find rules of Canadian English (looking at you, ‘practise’!). She created a spreadsheet with a list of things we needed to keep consistent. Something I wish I’d thought of after my first book.

The other major hurdle was the sheer quantity of content. Every time one of us took a shower, we’d have new ideas. (Yeah, boohoo. I know.) We had a couple pages of random ideas, scenes, and plotlines. We even had a list of fun quotes we wanted to integrate.

Take all that and having to use everything to start building the overall arc of the series.

We weren’t really thinking about this as a series while we were writing, which means we had to go back into Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers a few times to add foreshadowing and little plot details. (One which won’t come up until book 4!)

This book had the same excitement of the first but felt a lot more like a giant puzzle where every piece was a square.

We managed to corral all the information and looking at the outline now it looks really clean and easy to follow. (Thanks to Jen for updating it as we deviated.)

It’s impressive how every book has a different feel and despite doing it almost the same as last time, it feels like a different process.

It keeps us on our toes and honestly I love it.

Éric

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order now!

49th Shelf Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Indigo Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Archambault Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Amazon Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Rakuten Kobo Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Apple Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2008 film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Story

There are things about this story that work better than the others and some that just don’t work as well. The soviets as villains don’t have the same feel as the Nazis. Aliens just doesn’t work as well as supernatural artifacts. Frankly, the whole “ancient aliens” thing is an insult to human ingenuity and progress.

Score: 0

Characters

The older, more relaxed, Indiana is a joy to watch. It’s great to see Marion again and Ox is brilliant.

Mutt and the villains aren’t all that fun to watch and are treated as plot devices instead of characters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

They seemed to want to recapture the dialogue that worked so well between Indiana and his father, but Mutt is a little too young and innocent for it to work.

Indiana has some amazing lines and the banter between him and Marion is excellent.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Despite my memory telling me there were some terrible green screen issues with the movie, I didn’t see them this viewing. The locations are great and special effects are okay. The large action set pieces are fantastic as usual.

The music was amazing.

Score: 1

Fun

I don’t like Mutt. He feels like a bad set up to replace Indiana Jones. (Mutt Jones and the…. sounds terrible.) I also feel like the soviet scientist was underdeveloped and kinda boring. They should have brought back short-round.

And all that isn’t talking about the random use of the skull’s magnetism. It didn’t stick to the metal car, it attracted coins, and at times did nothing.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie suffers not from the protagonist’s age, but from the studios awkward attempts to create a spin-off character. Beside that and the bland villains, the movie has some very fun Indiana Jones style action pieces.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Chapter 6

The text, "Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story" over a red sun.

Characters | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 6: Suns of War not Slaughter.

The Galahad’s bridge was quiet as Zuri explained Hal’s plan. Her lack of confidence was evident in her delivery.

“They want us to distract the ships so they can fight our battle?” Bart asked in complete disbelief. His tail wrapping around his left leg.

“We can’t win this one,” Alexandre said emotionlessly.

“Bah!” Bart said, and scowled.

As the others discussed it, Nessa stayed silent. When the conversation transitioned from frustration to grudging acceptance, she finally spoke, “It’s a sound, strategic plan.”

Zuri heard the hesitation in Nessa’s voice and asked, “But?”

“I’ve met commanders like him before. More interested in avoiding casualties than winning the battle. They are all martyrs and egoists. He’s going to get a lot of people killed because he has more respect for life than our enemies,” Nessa said.

“Should we leave? It’s not our war,” Alexandre asked.

Bart guffawed and said, “Run from a fight? Not me.”

Nessa nodded and said, “I’m not running from a fight. We can help. We just have to make sure we’re ready to make up for his weakness. Zuri, can you do the sun bomb detonation?”

Shaking her head, Zuri replied, “I know how, and I have the power, but channelling all that would burn me from the inside before I could finish. He’s right that it needs all three of us. I’m also firm on not wanting to slaughter trillions.”

Nessa sighed and said, “I have never been a fan of senseless death. I’m not sure the Sun fleets are going to hesitate at the idea of the sun bombs. What we need is a way of distracting them.”

“I could tap dance on the bow?” suggested Bart, which got everyone chuckling.

“No one would see it unless we projected it…” Zuri trailed off before exclaiming, “That’s it!” When everyone looked confused she added, “We need to make ourselves look bigger. As if we have more ships. If we project the image of ships on the asteroids from the inner and outer belts, then we can make it look like we have millions of more ships.”

“The mass of the asteroids would fool the sensors and the visual projection would fool their eyes. What about these psychic powers they seem to have?” Alexandre asked.

“They’re not perfect and so far from their suns, it might work.” Zuri hoped she wasn’t being too optimistic.

It took her a few weeks to work out the energy cost and the technology needed. It was an exciting puzzle with concrete math and goals, something she’d missed ever since arriving in the Sol system. She appreciated being the reincarnation of Arthur and the knowledge that came with that, but this situation felt like an impossible task.

She’d just finished transmitting the technical specifications to the rest of the fleet when Hal suddenly appeared beside her. They’d barely spoken since the big meeting.

“Hey,” he said as if it was normal for gangly older men to appear out of thin air.

“How did you get here?”

“I’m not. I’m sitting comfortably on my ship. I just projected myself into your mind. Some of the telepaths can do it amongst themselves so I decided to try. Hold on, let me get Diamond.” His face contorted into a weird shape, and suddenly standing next to him was Diamond.

Zuri always felt a little flustered around Diamond. He was the handsomest man she’d ever met. “Hi,” she said, trying not to blush at thinking of him in her mind.

“I hear you went off on your own and worked out a clever plan,” Hal said, looking pointedly at Zuri.

“I did, but—”

He cut her off and added, “Good job. I need you two to work on your own plans. Three times the meddling and maybe we’ll see the other side of this.”

“It’s quite clever. Good job kid,” Diamond said. “Is this secure? Can the others hear us?”

Hal shrugged. Zuri wondered if the older man exaggerated his movements to seem less of a threat. He replied, “If you mean from your crew, yes. If you mean from other psychics or Sun Speakers, I have no idea.”

He barely finished when Sol sent them all a vision. The fleets were almost there. They had less than an hour before they were horribly outnumbered.

“They’re early. Let your crews know and let’s get our welcome party ready,” Hal ordered. Zuri didn’t like the fear in his voice.

The Galahad, the Hey Sunny, and The Revenge flew out to the edge of the solar system and got ready to meet the enemy. The enemy’s wormhole generators got less accurate the closer to a sun they tried to exit, which meant they usually attacked from just outside the system.

“The foreseeable future is terrifying but we have each other, several decent plans, and Sol protecting us. In the darkest moments of the coming battle, remember that we are born of Sol and we die in Sol.” It wasn’t the most inspiring speech but it made Zuri feel better.

Surrounded by the cyborg Myrddin ships, they waited. When the ships arrived, it was like watching heavy rain falling on a calm lake. Each drop was another ship competing to block out the blackness of space. 

The ships were all the same basic black matte but they varied in size and in the colour of the insignia. They appeared and didn’t do anything until one larger ship arrived.

The ship was three times bigger than any of the others and had a black sigil. “I am Gerald the High Speaker of Spica, Voice of the Conclave of Suns. You are outnumbered, outgunned, and out of time. This fleet isn’t here for the servants of the Rebel Sun, we are only here for the sun. Stay out of our way and we’ll show you leniency.

Zuri saw in a vision the death they had planned in the name of compassion. She couldn’t let that happen.

Read Chapter 7 (July 2024)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories: