Halloweentown – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1998 film Halloweentown.

Story

This is a timeless Halloween fable about a kid who loves spooky things and turns out it was because they were spooky too. Every kid who loves Halloween and all the stuff around it wishes they were Marnie.

The villain reveal surprised me the first time I saw it as an innocent twenty something and overall the movie flows really well. There is a little awkwardness in the love interest, but overall it’s a solid offering.

Score: 1

Characters

I love all the kids. They each work so well in their roles as underappreciated kid, sceptic, and spooky girl.

The grandmother is fantastic and pulls the film together extremely well.

The villain is hammy and over the top in the best way.

The mother, however, is quite possibly the most frustrating character possible. I can’t stand her.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

“Someone’s coming.” is up there with “They’re here.” for creepy lines and I love it. Overall, the dialogue is solid, if a little young. Not quite as memorable as other Disney TV movies.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects are cheap but endearing; the camera work is excellent though.

The music is okay, but could be better.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie is a family favourite. My son and daughter love it.

I didn’t see it until almost a decade after it came out and I’m sad I didn’t have the chance to experience it as a young teen. It’s an easy movie to watch and inspires wonder.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a fabulous movie for all those spooky kids that wish they were magical. The acting is solid and the story surprising. Definitely worthy of it’s place as a yearly family tradition. Kids will love it and parents will too, if they have any love of magic.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Dear Dragon – The Princesse

Dear Dragon,

For about three years, as of this writing, I have been telling you stories at night. They’ve been improvised and a lot of fun to tell. They started out very simple, with little girls getting lost and having tea with pixies, or rabbits who couldn’t jump, they expanded to Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities, and about a year ago, maybe less, you started asking for the same characters.

I wanted to help you with your French and I thought that adding some words would help. So I made up the Princesse, she started out as a simple character who discovered the servant’s tunnels in her castle and made friends with a kitchen maid called Amie.

From there, the cast expanded to include the brave Chevalier and a whole lot of magical creatures. There was a dragon kept as a furnace, another castle through the lake in the basement, grumpy wizards, aliens, a knitting ogre, and many others. It was serialized and adventurous. You loved the stories, begging me for more every night.

I added a one-off superhero and you loved her so much you named her MIghty-Girl and she became part of the main cast.

After a few months you asked about bad guys and I introduced the Shadows, a group of shadow monsters that the main characters accidentally released when they opened a treasure chest with a warning.

We went back to serialized for a while and then we added the Silver Fox, the Princesse’s arch nemesis and equal in intelligence. He was an alien like Mighty-Girl, but has super magic instead. She captured him eventually, but I drew it out for over two weeks. You were really excited about it. Later there were other villains; the Swan Sorceress, The Nightmares from Beyond, and the Evil Serpent.

We added lore about the great Wizards, Dragons, and Mermaids who created magic in the golden days, there was the glass pyramid in the Arctic with a castle full of zombies, the castle on the moon, the dragon palace that flew in the clouds, the mermaid kingdom, the floating city of mermaids and people, the great caves of friendly monsters, and the ancient ruins that littered the world.

I tried to have the Princesse win through brains, friendship, and kindness. She built hospitals, learned magic, and helped people and even changed bodies with a girl from our world who you called Rachael.

A few weeks before Halloween, you asked me to read some of the Disney Halloween stories instead and I agreed. This week, I asked if you wanted to go back to me making up stories, and you said no. You’d rather I keep reading short stories from your bookcase.

I know you really like being read to, but I’m sad that this story has ended. Maybe we’ll go back to me making up stories for you at night, but I fear the Princesse, Chevalier, and Mighty-Girl’s stories are over.

I wonder if you’ll remember them, or if like so many other things, they’ll fade away. Maybe someday I’ll write some of them down, but it won’t be the same.

All things change and I’ve never been a big fan of change.

I love you little Dragon,

Papa

LAST DAY for Holiday Calendar Orders

Hello Coffee Lovers!

Order Tonight by midnight!

They are whole bean, fresh roasted coffee which is a custom blend of Peruvian, Mexican, Guatemalan, and Sumatran beans.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Holiday Calendars. All bags will include fresh roasted whole bean coffee from a variety of locations.

Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

Deadline to order second wave November 5th – Orders will ship mid-November.

Each Holiday calendar will come packaged with a surprise.

*ALLERGY* If you have allergies please mention them in your order.

Pre-orders are open now

Thank you!

Éric

Young Frankenstein – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1974 film Young Frankenstein.

Story

Shockingly close to the actual novel, possibly with more quotes from it than most movie adaptations. The story was pretty much a remake of the novel with a lot of Mel Brooks spin. It toes the line from serious to absurd and I personally wish it went further into the absurd.

Story: 0.5

Characters

Then entire cast was having a lot of fun and you can tell. They often over do it in the most delightful way, but at times the jokes fall flatter than I’d like.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Oscillating between dick jokes and monologues about beauty that could be pulled from the novel, the dialogue was all over the place and I mean that in the best way. The contrast is what adds an extra level to the humour.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The filming style is a perfect match for the old monster movies, which was a little discordant when I saw the background actors with seventies hair styles.

The music was like the dialogue, all over the place. Not sure it worked as well though.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I have a feeling that I could watch this movie yearly and enjoy it on my own. However, it is a very slow-paced and very talky movie sometimes to a self-indulgent level. The kids were bored, but I expected that.

Score: 0.5

Overall

There are glimmers of genius in the comedy of the movie, but it tries too hard to be too many things. Personally, I prefer Brooks when his movies are more absurd and frantic.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Quick update – cute cat and bunny

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I are working hard on book 2 of The Gates of Westmeath, at work it’s report season, and between allergies and season change; I don’t have much time.

Soon it’ll also be roasting for Holiday Calendar season too. (Preorder yours before Friday)

So quick update, but the kids had a good Halloween and that makes me happy.

Hope you had a happy spooky season. Bring on the Holiday music!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Last Week for Holiday COFFEE Calendar 2021

Hello Coffee Lovers!

Only one week left. Deadline for orders is NOVEMBER 5th!

They are whole bean, fresh roasted coffee which is a custom blend of Peruvian, Mexican, Guatemalan, and Sumatran beans.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Holiday Calendars. All bags will include fresh roasted whole bean coffee from a variety of locations.

Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

Deadline to order second wave November 5th – Orders will ship mid-November.

Each Holiday calendar will come packaged with a surprise.

*ALLERGY* If you have allergies please mention them in your order.

Pre-orders are open now

Thank you!

Éric

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1948 film Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Story

The story was definitely driven by the scenes they wanted to include in the movie. It was well set up and simple. Some of the build-up was slow and there were some awkward jokes, but overall pretty solid.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I’m not a big fan of Abbott, I find him bland, rude, and insulting. I know he’s the straight man, but I always end up feeling bad for Costello.

Costello’s physical comedy is spectacular.

The monster actors were fantastic and Glenn Strange is a great Frankenstein’s Monster. Although, I would have liked to see Karloff. Awesome mini cameo from Vincent Price at the end.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The wordplay is fantastic and the sound mixing is impressive.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The filming techniques were solid and I liked the cartoon transformation for Dracula.

The music was okay; a strange mixture of comedy and horror that could have been more exaggerated.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie is a classic for a reason, it’s funny and it’s a lot of fun. It is, however, much slower paced than I would have liked, and a few of the jokes seemed overdone.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Fun and exciting, a real treat for those that love older horror movies, but it does drag at times and isn’t one of my favourites. It’s worth a watch just for the fantastic faces that Costello makes.

My two year old’s review is, “Scary” followed by a shrug.

Final Score: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 10


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 10

“What the hell did you two steal?” asked Flint. We were all looking out the window at the fleet of ships.

“Are they hailing us or just sitting there threateningly?” Diamond asked.

“The second,” answered Sphene. She looked scared and it made her look her age, young.

Diamond reached down to her belt and pressed a button on the holo-emitter. “Built into this is a jammer that causes Sun Speakers to not be able to see what’s going to happen. That’s how we got out and how we got away. I turned it off just before they showed up. Figured we were free.”

“We need to look at the data that I got,” I said and sat at the last place on the bridge. It was a basic computer console.

I loaded up the files and there was nothing in the folder about the replicators other than the basic specs. This tech would change the way the system worked. The great thing was that it was simple and easy to reproduce. “I’m not convinced this is worth an armada,” I said, glancing nervously out the front viewport. If any of those ships so much as sneezed, our atoms would be dispersed across the galaxy.

“What about this one?” Diamond pointed at the files marked, “Operation Black-Sun.”

I opened the file. I wasn’t sure how a two hundred year old file could help.

What was in that file seemed to be a simple memo from one of the Sun Speakers to the heads of the military. It detailed the discovery of a ship filled with people from a planet called Earth that came from outside our system. It was filled with advanced tech. I recognized names for everything from propulsion to weapons we currently use. The research facility had been in charge of reverse engineering all the tech.

Past the tech, there was a description of what the Sun Speaker called a False god. The people were escaping a society that had rejected materialism for the teaching of a Sun god. This god sounded a lot like ours but the Sun Speaker in the files described it as a rebel who would be massing a fleet to come with an army to collapse our sun and kill everyone.

The file continued with a series of recommendations. The first was rapid recruitment into Black-Sun, converting more than half the military, of that time, to Black-Sun control. The second was to set up research stations across the system to study and re-create the tech. The third was to introduce Project Black-Sun.

The project was meant to swell the numbers of recruits by recruiting them from birth. Black-Sun demanded the Galactic Government give them half of all children born to be genetically altered and trained as Black-Sun operatives.

“That’s sick!” growled Diamond and I couldn’t disagree with her.

In the past two hundred years, the people had been told that there was a physical condition called Toxic Radiation Syndrome caused by an alien asteroid that had brought with it a radiation that altered our DNA to make it much more likely to give birth to a stillborn child. 

Because of TRS, all birthing parents had to be sedated and the only other people allowed in the room were the doctors and the priests of the Sun God.

This memo said that TRS was made up to create an army to fight a god.

Attached were the current statistics for the standing army of Black-Sun. It numbered almost as much as the entire system. It also wrote that with the deciphering of the replicator, the last pieces were ready for Black-Sun to preemptively attack the rebel god in a system called Sol, nearly three million light years away.

“We have to warn people,” said Onyx.

“Who? How?” I asked.

“Everyone and we need to get home,” Diamond said.

I scoffed, “You’d need an array of massively powerful transmitters and a hacker better than any I’ve ever heard of. And I have no idea how to warn the Sol system.”

Diamond smirked, “We have that and we can transmit this across the system, but we have to get home first. Do you have any bright ideas?” She looked at me and tapped her holo-emitter absentmindedly.

Smiling widely, I replied, “I do. But first, do you have anything explosive on board? Oh, and I’ll need your holo-emitter.”

They did and I had a plan. The holo-emitter and the Sun Speaker blocking tech was based off of what they’d found on the alien ship but altered in a very clever way. Whoever was the original Diamond Stars was brilliant.

I hooked the emitter into our shields and programmed it to show the illusion that we were one of the Black-Sun ships. I then did the calculations to jump us across the fleet to the other side.

The last part of my plan was trickier, but thankfully Diamond had stretched the truth when she had told us the ship had no weapons. It had a collection of older plasma bombs. They were bright and they made lots of messy radiation.

I programmed the bombs to explode and then took the controls of the ship as Flint and Diamond jettisoned them. 

Alone on the bridge with Onyx and Sphene, I asked, “Did you know?” 

“Know what?” Onyx sounded genuinely confused.

“Did you know about Project Black-Sun? You are a doctor.” I couldn’t keep the disgust out of my voice at the word doctor.

His brown eyes grew wide and he shook his head violently. “I had no idea. You have to be an initiate of the Sun Temple to become an obstetrician. I was all about emergency medicine.” Something about his panic made me believe him. Or maybe it was the relieved look on his sister’s face.

I took his hand and kissed it. “If we get out of this, I want to spend a long time in bed.”

“Okay…” Again he sounded confused.

“With you!” I exclaimed, smiling.

“Ew!” Sphene teased.

The bombs went off between us and the fleet at the same time as I activated our jump. When we dropped out of the jump, I activated our new disguise and hoped.

Read Chapter 11


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


Want to learn more about what Sun Speakers are? Check out what the one in our solar system is up to.

Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Lots of stuff

Hello my Imaginary friends,

I love Autumn! Halloween, cooler weather, PUMPKINS, and everything else that goes with this season. (Although this year I’m seriously missing the conventions and the parties.)

It’s a good thing I love this season because mentally and physically, it sucks. I’ve always thought it was stress that made this time of year hard, but I’m starting to realize it’s allergies and season changes.

Spring and Fall are the hardest on me. My hands ache, I feel anxious and weak. Then there’s my allergy symptoms which include fatigue, coughing, stuffy nose, nasal pressure, and trouble sleeping.

I’m seriously looking forward to snow. The snow covers the ground and freezes the allergens and reflects more light. Overall, when nights freeze and snow comes, I start feeling better. Until the melt anyway.

Book 2 of the Gates of Westmeath is cruising by. We’ve been writing since early October and have already finished the first third. I’m hoping we’ll be done the book by Christmas.

I’m impressed by how easy it has been to write this book. Hopefully that holds out for the next two thirds.

It’s hard sometimes, realizing the authors and creators who make things you love are human. Sometimes not very nice humans. I wrote about my disillusionment before.

So it was nice to get a reminder that there are good people in the world when I saw this facebook post:

Thank you Tamora Pierce for being an awesome person. If you haven’t read anything by her, I highly recommend all her books. We named our daughter after one of her characters.

Completely unrelated I have the most adorable cape:

Thank you for reading.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Muppets Haunted Mansion – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 special Muppets Haunted Mansion.

Story

This was a love story to the beloved ride. The story is a bare bones outline of the ride with some touching moments in between.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main characters are Gonzo and Pepe. I find Pepe extremely annoying, I’ve never been a fan of the womanizing characters. I understand why they used him for this story, though.

Gonzo goes through a good story arc and speaks to older fans and younger ones as well.

The rest of the muppets have nice cameos.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

It was everything a good muppets movie should be. It had music, puns, and lots of jokes. I especially liked the shameless use of quotes from the ride.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It was a very well shot and designed film. The background details are designed for that cross-section of Haunted Mansion fans and Muppet fans. Down to muppet-a-fying the wallpaper.

The music is a lot of fun and I wish there had been more. I liked the spooky muppet show opening song version at the end.

Score: 1

Fun

Be warned that although this isn’t scary, it does have a lot of jump scares. The kids liked it, although the five year old found it too scary due to the jump scares.

It was nice and nostalgic for those of us that grew up with the muppets show and movies.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a wonderful mix of classic Muppet humour and nostalgia for the Haunted Mansion ride. The littles might dislike the jump scares, but overall it’s a lot of fun.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5.