The Wedding Planner – JenEric Movie Reviews

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 movie The Wedding Planner.

Story

I’m not sure what was going on in the early 2000’s that this was considered a romantic comedy. There was very little comedy and very little romance. The most jaded love story I’ve ever seen. It’s interesting that it has a similar love story to Enchanted but a completely different feel.

It’s the early 2000s but the amount of sexism, ableism, and racism is disturbing.

Score: 0

Characters

Jennifer Lopez manages to make a narcissistic, vapid, and whiny character be sympathetic. Beyond that I disliked almost everyone in this movie. I hated that she suddenly stopped caring about her career the minute a pretty boy blinked at her, I cringed at the love story, I yelled at the screen about how disrespectful her father was, and overall wished I could slap some sense into everyone.

Also can we talk about the inherent racism of making Lopez an Italian? I’m all for casting anyone in any role but it would have taken 2 lines to make her mixed race Italian-Latina.

Score: 0

Dialogue

The movie is pretty standard dialogue for it’s time and avoids a lot of slang by being mostly about rich people. There are a few lines by McConaughey that should be uncomfortable but he manages to make almost sweet. This is massive feat considering the dialogue is terrible.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The movie was well shot. It had solid angles and the locations are beautiful. They didn’t try to use any weird colour filters and let the beauty of the locations and the clothing shine through. I feel like they could have increased the saturation a little.

The music was well done, adding emotion and guidance where the movie lacked any idea whether you should be cooing or screaming in horror.

Score: 1

Fun

I like my romantic comedies with more comedy and more sweetness. I don’t like to cringe and I really don’t like it when a powerful career woman is made out to only be the product of a loveless life.

Score: 0

Overall

This type of movie is the reason rom-coms started to die out. It’s jaded, creepy, and overall offensive. The main actors are fantastic at what they do and manage to make the characters almost likeable but the writing gets in the way.

This is the kind of movie that would be fun to watch without dialogue where you make up your own story.

Final score: 1 star out of 5

Mr. Peabody & Sherman – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2014 film Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

Story

Less of a consistent story and more of a series of vignettes, usually ending in a pun with more than a few fart/poop jokes.

The way it was tied in at the end was clever and overall it was inoffensive, if juvenile.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main three characters had growth and a little depth despite themselves. I’m personally sick of the bully actually secretly likes the victim trope; it feels like setting up kids for abusive relationships.

The rest of the characters didn’t even try to be historically accurate and once you get over that, it’s cute.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

I like puns and wordplay so the quips at the end, and sometimes middle, of the sketches were enjoyable.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie was colourful and quite well animated. Beautiful landscapes and clever use of framing.

The music was epic enough to tie the sketches together into some sort of coherent whole.

Score: 1

Fun

I felt the movie dragged a little at the beginning and the sketches were a little too silly even for me. Once the plot started to kick in midway I started having more fun.

Score: 0.5

Overall

It felt like there was more thought given to the wordplay than the characters or plot. Unfortunately characters and plot will stick with me.

It was a cute and fun movie, but didn’t have much substance.

Final Score: 3 stars

Romancing the Stone – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1984 movie Romancing the Stone.

Story

This is pretty standard 80’s adventure movie stuff but has a few stand out moments. The story never takes itself seriously and does a great job at giving the female lead the agency in the story. There are a few seriously dated tropes, meek girl becomes fierce, no makeup until romance, etc.

There’s a moment that’s so dated my wife and I burst into laughter. After the main female lead sees a dead body she screams, drops the machete, and the male lead pulls her into a hug to comfort her. Anyone I know in the same frightened or surprised situation wouldn’t have taken being pulled into a hug that well. But it’s an old Hollywood tradition.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters all start out really stereotypical but find nice nuances along the way. It’s hard to tell if the character journeys are predictable because they’re cliché, satire, or because it influenced a lot of adventure romance movies over the past thirty some years.

They are however unique and interesting in their motives and personalities. I really enjoyed the drug runner who was a fan of her books.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue in this movie spanned the entire gamut from pure cheese to deep character development. I wouldn’t say it was ground breaking but it was entertaining.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie was obviously shot on locations, although not Colombia. It’s beautiful and pretty well shot. There are some camera angles that must have been a pain to film at the time.

The music was epic enough but very 80’s synth.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie was fun. It’s nice to see movies with writers where they aren’t tortured artists, bastards, or lusting after teenagers.

The adventure part of the story was grand and small and had everything I love. Including a sexy/fun dance scene. We need to bring those back for adventure movies.

Score: 1

Overall

This was a funny, interesting, and overall fun movie. It explored some interesting themes of feminism and romance. It had a “bad guy” that didn’t want to be and a lot of good twists. If you enjoy slightly more adult adventure movies and can handle the 80’s, this is a fun movie.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars

Coin Heist – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film Coin Heist.

Story

The build-up and teen angst were forefront on this movie. Despite the name, there was very little heist. The film was disjointed with too many undeveloped threads. The heist was jumbled and not explained. Meaning we weren’t sure where the mistakes in the heist happened. It felt like it wanted to be a heist movie, a teen drama, and an independent art film all at once.

The ending set up a perfect revenge scenario that would have been a great pay off, but didn’t use it and that pisses me off.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters were boring, stereotypical, and angsty-er than a WB show from the early 2000’s. The acting was passable but it felt like they were as confused about what was going on as the audience.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The only thing more grating than the bad heist dialogue or the teen angst was the annoying trope that was the teacher.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The visuals were close in and pretty basic. There wasn’t anything that was particularly pretty or impressive but nothing terrible.

The music was okay, lots of angst-ridden heist-like music and a good song.

Score: 0.5

Fun

When they were in heist mode (maybe 20 minutes of the movie) it was fun and exciting. Beyond that it was a little boring.

Score: 0.5

Overall

I’m really angry at the ending. If they’d used the extra coins to flood the market and basically devalue them, they could have gotten back at the jackass that caused the entire thing. Instead they melt them down and add them to a statue… sigh.

Score: 1.5 stars out of 5

Over the Moon – JenEric Movie Review

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Over the Moon.

Story

This has all the elements of a wonderful Doorway-style story. (Doorways stories are about youths that find a method of travelling to a fantastic world. Think Alice or Dorothy.) The near-Pixar style sadness at the beginning and the Olaf clone are well done and don’t feel trope-y.

Unfortunately the concept is prettier than the story, and once they reach the moon, the story is disjointed and thin, giving too much room to world building and action.

The ending and the moral are heavy handed and uninspired.

Score: 0

Characters

The kids were interesting and realistic for an animation. It’s great to show a character that is into myth and STEM equally, something that isn’t explored enough. I didn’t really like the whole, “I have a super power” story line, since it was done for cheap laughs and a non-funny gag.

The animal sidekicks are plenty and cute, never detracting from the story or getting too annoying.

The woman on the moon was supposed to feel mythological, like dealing with a god or magic power. She came off more as whiny, entitled, and not too bright. Less like a force of nature and more like a toddler.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was okay. It served its purpose but compared to the complexity of other animated movies I felt like it was a little simplistic. The word humour was well done and the sassyness of the kids was a mirror of reality.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Pearl has now, after two movies, established itself as a studio that can do quality animation. This movie is stunningly beautiful. The detail, lighting, and cinematography are all beyond anything anyone else is doing outside of top tier Disney and Pixar.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think making this a musical was the wrong choice. I think it detracted from the emotion and story. The music was however very good, catchy, and insightful.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie was a lot of fun to watch. My kids were enthralled, my wife and I cried, and I still have some of the songs stuck in my head.

Score: 1

Overall

Stunningly beautiful with a mediocre story. The movie could have been so much better, but is still a lot of fun to watch.

Final Score: 3 stars out of 5

Abominable – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 movie Abominable.

*This was my favourite movie of 2019*

Story

This feels like a modern fairy tale. A YA adventure story set in modern day. The story is cleverly simple and avoids so many of the traditional pitfalls. No forced love story, no double crossing from one of the kids, no parents that disbelieve. It’s about helping preserve magic and finding yourself along the way.

There are a few political issues but nothing truly problematic as far as I can tell.

Score: 1

Characters

Each of the characters, except the goons and the snakes, have a journey and growth. It’s sort of a mini found family that only exists in adventures (mundane ones like trips etc or magical one).

I like the twist with the bad guys and goon Dave is the best.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The movie has plenty of funny lines but the ones that are most memorable are the ones tied to emotions. The little conversations and moments that show both character and move the story forward.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

From the little details like the various wood grains to the big nature shots, this movie is truly stunning. Absolutely beautiful. The animation quality isn’t quite up to Disney/Pixar levels but they created some fantastic visuals.

The music is utterly fantastic. The humming and violin are suitably epic and magical.

The scene at the Leshan Giant Buddha is so beautiful and reflects Yi’s emotional journey perfectly.

Score: 1

Fun

The action always has a reason and everything is strung together in a surprising and coherent way. The movie made me smile and almost cry multiple times.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an adventure story with likeable characters that are trying to help a magical creature. It’s exactly my style of story. The few calmer moments weren’t lulls but one on one conversations that moved the emotional plot forward.

Final Score: 5 Stars*


*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.

The Princess Bride – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1987 film Princess Bride.

Story

There are two stories going on in the movie. The boy and his grand father and then the main story. Both are extremely simple. Simplicity in this movie isn’t a bad thing; it’s used to shift the focus away from the plot and towards the characters and dialogue.

The movie has aged well in almost every way except the complete lack of diversity and failing the Bechdel test on all counts.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The movie has some of the most iconic characters and the movie is really about them and their journey. Other than Buttercup and Humperdinck, the major characters see growth and resolution.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is quite possibly the most iconic in American cinema. It’s definitely one of the most quoted movies and in my D&D group it competes with Monty Python for quote time.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The scenery is gorgeous as are the costumes. The sets are purposefully simple but still beautiful. The movie has a look that is just borderline cheesy while still being ageless. The sword fighting is exceptional.

The music is lovely, simple but definitely fantasy inspired. It’s very well used in the fight scenes and “Kissing” moments. I was glad it didn’t follow the synth trend of the 80’s.

Score: 1

Fun

I saw this movie for the first time in my twenties and have watched it a handful of times since. It’s extremely fun to watch and easy to enjoy. It really has a little bit of everything.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie isn’t perfect but it’s pretty and a lot of fun. The dialogue is iconic and if you don’t find yourself quoting something from it, I’d be surprised.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars

Hocus Pocus – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1993 film Hocus Pocus.

Story

It’s harder for me to judge this movie’s story than normal because I’ve watched it yearly for 25+ years. There are a lot of witch clichés thrown around in this movie but it also works as a satire of the concept.

I was impressed that there were no offensive moments and it was as much fun as it always was.

Score: 1 (Admittedly not objective)

Character

The witches were wonderfully evil, narcissistic, and funny.

I’ll always have a soft spot for Dani (one of my first crushes). Max is an idiot who doesn’t think before he speaks or acts but has lots of heart. The brother-sister relationship makes him likeable beyond the typical white boy with a crush. Allison is a little bland but could have been worse.

The movie is greatly lacking in any sort of representation.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

I think I need a list of Bette Midler’s insults in this for my next internet argument. Maggoty Malfeasance and Thundering Oafs being some of my favourite. The dialogue is over the top and a little awkward but delivered perfectly. I’ve often danced around singing Amok! Amok! Amok!

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This movie more than anything defined what I thought of as what Halloween should look like. The beautiful leaves and lively decorations. Similar to home but we had more snow and less leaves by that point. I envied their lack of snowsuits.

The music is sometimes epic, sometimes silly, and always right on point.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie makes me nostalgic and makes me smile. Watching my daughter’s face as she whispered, “He’s going to light the candle.” and, “No don’t light the candle.” made my night. It was great to see how into it she was.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a classic and is both scary and funny. It’s not a perfect movie but it is a lot of fun. The sections with the kids would have made for a fun movie but the witches send it over the top in every way. I’ve watched this dozens of times and I’ll happily watch it every Halloween.

Final Score: 4.5

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting.

Story

A by the numbers spy/secret society/urban fantasy first episode. This is an example of not just playing into the tropes but embracing them fully.

The story isn’t new, but it is well executed with extremely good set up. Predictable but fun.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main genre team tropes are all there: the science nerd, the tech nerd, the bad-ass with a tragic backstory, and of course the special kid who was destined to be the hero with a special power. (I like that the power is math.)

Overall, these characters should be flat and boring, copies of copies, but somehow through writing and acting the characters are likeable and unique.

Tom Felton chewed up the scenery, relishing the role, as a weird cross between Jude Law as Pitch in Rise of the Guardians and Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue was standard YA and with the exception of Tom Felton and the kidnapped kid there wasn’t much good dialogue. Nothing cringe, just bland.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Surprisingly pretty and wonderfully shot. The movie uses every horror trick except the expanding corridor and uses them well. When the movie wasn’t in full horror mode it was bright colours and beautiful sets.

The music was subtle but effective. A lot of half used pop songs but they were effective and pushed the urban fantasy feel.

Score: 1

Fun

I think this was just the perfect scary level for my daughter but she’s a horror fan. It was a little scary for my Mother In-Law though. I found it a lot of fun but it did suffer from the need to set everything up for this movie and the next 2. (Assuming they’re doing all 3 books.)

It was definitely handled better than Society for Second born Royals but not as well as Enola Holmes. That being said, I look forward to re-watching this one.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun movie with a few flaws. Easily a new favourite Halloween movie and I’m excited for the next ones in the series. Not perfect, but a lot of fun.

Final Score: 4 stars out of 5

Monsters vs. Aliens – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2009 film Monsters vs. Aliens.

Story

An interesting mash-up (monster mash-up?) of typical monster and alien invasion tropes from both the classic movies and the newer ones. Although they revel in the tropes of the genre, the movie isn’t an alien invasion or monster movie, it’s a superhero origin story.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters were funny but not particularly interesting. They balanced their roles well and were likeable but nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The movie was filled with quotes, references, and jokes about other monster or invasion movies and TV shows. I’m sure I missed a few but greatly enjoyed those that I caught.

As far as original dialogue, each character had a few great moments.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was colourful and the monsters were okay, but the humans and Susan were really off. The mouths and eyes were just off enough to make it disconcerting.

The music was a beautiful homage to classic monster and alien movies.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Lots of action, jokes, and fun moments. It was fun from start to finish. I’m sure the genre references and jokes help me a lot.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a movie that squeezes monsters, aliens, and superhero tropes all together. It’s what happens when you make a loving parody. It was exciting for the kids and a had lots of little Easter eggs for the adults.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5