Lightyear – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Lightyear.

Story

This was a great concept. A movie about the real Buzz Lightyear. The character is the basis for the toy in Toy Story.

Unfortunately, there are some issues with this sort of story. People are expecting a movie about the cartoonish and silly character. This means that people who only care about Toy Story might be turned off by the science-fiction elements, while people who love science-fiction might be turned off by the the association with Toy Story.

That being said, this is an excellent adventure / science-fiction film with influence and nods to so many other great films.

Score: 1

Characters

The character of Buzz is only changed a little from the toy; his silliness is toned down, but he’s still brash, overconfident, and single-minded.

The rest of the cast, although not as fleshed out, are fun and have rewarding story arcs.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are plenty of references to both Toy Story and classic Sci-Fi. With so much reference material, it could easily have been a quote fest that left people feeling like they missed something. The writers did a great job balancing the quotes and the original story. To a point that they’re great for those that know, but pass over other’s heads.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

I was in awe of the space scenes, and pretty much all the animation. Pixar ups their quality with every movie and I love it. Beyond the animation, the cinematography is fantastic and references so many other great movies. The shot of Zurg’s ship rising from the floor was just like Vader’s in A New Hope, the airlocks look just like those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, there were plenty of others too.

The music was epic and had just the right balance to be remarkable but not overpower the action.

Score: 1

Fun

The fun you get from this is definitely influenced by your expectations. If you’re expecting the tone and feel of Toy Story, you’ll be disappointed. I went in expecting cheesy sci-fi and was surprised by how much fun it was.

My five and three year old both loved it and sat through the whole thing without complaining. The rest of the family seemed to really love it too.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie is a retro sci-fi with all the best parts from the movies of the genre in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. It’s delightfully littered with Pixar and Sci-fi references and has a fun and heartwarming story.

Final Score: 5* Stars out of 5


*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.

Fear Street 1978 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Fear Street 1978.

Story 

This is my favourite of the three. It feels like a good old-fashioned slasher with an added supernatural twist. The framing narrative of the other movies doesn’t intrude as much.

Score: 1

Characters

The younger versions of the characters from the first movie were perfectly cast. The surreal feeling of the trilogy shines here.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Definitely felt off, but not as bad as 1994. I found despite the supernatural elements, the dialogue was delivered pretty well.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This felt oddly undersaturated compared to the other two. I liked the predominance of red in the caverns though.

The music was a lot of fun and felt like a nod to Supernatural.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I liked this one a lot. It was exciting and fun. I enjoyed the camp hijinks and the off-kilter world.

Score: 1

Overall

The strongest of the trilogy, it could stand on its own. The characters are fun and I love the mixture of lore, supernatural, and good old-fashioned slasher.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Fear Street 1994 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Fear Street 1994.

Story 

This feels like a Fear Street book but with a little more gore. The end sequence of the movie in the grocery store felt like a way of killing off some characters, since they had an ambulance and could have driven around. It’s also not a complete movie.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I really liked the main three characters and even some of the secondary ones. They were all a little nylistic but that made sense with the setting. The actors were great.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Everything sounded a little too modern for my liking. It didn’t sound like the right time period. Beyond that the dialogue was a little awkward and tried to hard.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

Dark and aesthetically perfect for Fear Street and 1994. I like the background details that were nods to the books and other horror movies.

The music did its job well.

Score:

Fun

This was a lot of fun to start with, but I got frustrated at the characters quite often. The fact that they didn’t use the ambulance instead of the store annoyed me.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun throwback to the books, but the characters do some really dumb things. I enjoyed it, but it feels unfinished without the rest of the series.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Story

A rare sequel which is more coherent and better all around. Possibly the best video game themed movie of all time, it both relies on and mocks the usual tropes.

Score: 1

Characters

The main five actors do a phenomenal job at being the kids. It’s mostly believable and impressively detailed. Jack Black is amazing.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The problem with trying to capture the dialogue of teens is how quickly it changes. The dialogue already sounds dated after just five years. Although the quips, jokes, and overall tone is well done.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie looks great and I greatly appreciate that they didn’t try to animate it like a video game.

The music is haunting and exciting all at once.

Score: 1

Fun

The five year old found it a little scary, but she loved the action and humour. It’s nice to see her starting to appreciate word-based humour more.

The rest of us enjoyed it as much as the first few times. I particularly appreciate that the humour around Jack Black’s character was so wholesome.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful adventure that balances action, humour, and character development for a near perfect movie.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Lost City – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Lost City.

Story

I love absurdity in my movies, however, it doesn’t often lend itself well to properly exploring human emotions and relationships. I’m in awe at the balance between groundedness and absurdity in this film. As a romantic comedy with an archeological adventure twist, none of the many parts failed to work. If anything, they worked perfectly together in a way that I would love to dissect.

Score: 1

Characters

The characters (except Brad Pitt’s Jack Trainer) start as caricatures, but with every scene, layer on emotion and depth. Although a completely new story, watching this cast in a romantic comedy felt like a new album from your favourite band; comfortable, but still exciting.

Score: 1

Dialogue

I’m not a fan of bodily function humour or crude humour. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of this film’s laughs were dialogue and banter-related. It was both intelligent while still throwing in the occasional dick joke.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Tropical islands, volcanoes, ancient temples, and archeological digs are hard to screw up as a backdrop. The movie uses its special effects sparingly and the location very well. There were only one or two instances of green screen that didn’t look quite right.

The music wasn’t in your face, but definitely accentuated the action and was instrumental in one of my favourite jokes.

Score: 1

Fun

I’ll be honest, a movie about a writer is an easy sell for me. However, it’s really easy to screw it up and there are very few of them that I consider any good. This managed to have everything in it that I like and none of the whiny writer stuff. I also really appreciated the archeological twist and that it wasn’t reversed.

I do take offence to the villains categorizing romance as porn, but the positive portrayal from other characters more than made up for it.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an action-packed, witty, and extremely fun take on the romantic comedy genre. Despite following the genre’s standard tropes, it felt fresh. If you enjoyed Sandra Bullock in anything from the 90s or aughts, you’ll love this.

Final Score: 5*


*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 Emperor’s New Groove – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2000 film The Emperor’s New Groove.

Story

Irreverent to the point of absurd, this movie does a great job at setting up all its major plot points with clever jokes and gags. Simple plot that seems like unconnected gags at first, but ties everything together by the end.

Score: 1

Characters

I love these characters. Kuzco is a perfect jerk, Pacha is the sweetest, Yzma is great evil, and Kronk is utterly adorable. Each plays their part perfectly and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the roles.

That being said, it’s a bunch of white people playing South Americans (with the exception of the kids and the fantastic Eartha Kitt.) The movie is quite clearly supposed to be set in a fictional version of the Incan Empire, but that’s only set dressing and doesn’t mean anything.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue in this is burned into my subconscious and speech patterns. The jokes are so expertly crafted that even after having seen this hundreds of times, I still laugh.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The detail in the animation and the background jokes are excellent. It’s pretty and very well animated.

They got Tom Jones and Sting to do songs for this. If I had a complaint, it’s that a few times the music was a little generic turn of the millennium Disney. But that still means it was excellent.

Score: 1

Fun

We waited a little to let my oldest start to understand the wordplay and it was worth it; she giggled throughout. I laughed a lot, as did the rest of the family. This is just a fun movie.

Score: 1

Overall

A classic comedy that relies as much on word play as it does physical gags. It has aged impressively well and is tightly scripted.

I loved this movie when it came out and still do.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Parent Trap (1961) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1961 film The Parent Trap.

Story

The transitions between parts of the movie were a little choppy and uneven, but the story was solid. It had the right amount of twists and turns. I’m not sure if some of it is cliché or if it’s just had a huge influence on YA films afterwards. It’s definitely a product of it’s time with some casual racism and sexism.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I really enjoyed the side characters, the grandfather was awesome and so was the cook. I thought the mother and father were a little annoying, but hilarious. I was impressed with how Hayley Mills had different body language, mannerisms, and movements for each of her characters. It was always obvious which was which.

Score: 1

Dialogue

A lot of the slang in this is antiquated to the point that it took me some time to understand what it meant. It’s not unintelligible, but it was an adjustment.

The movie is quite witty and has a lot of fun lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie’s green screen is uncomfortable, but other than that, the movie is extremely well done. The split screen and body double work is impressive.

The music is good, especially the opening theme.

Score: 1

Fun

The 5yo didn’t want to watch it at first, but loved it pretty quickly. I had never seen it and it was a fun movie that made me smile. For my wife and mother-in-law it was a nostalgic return. We all had fun.

Score: 1

Overall

Mildly dated with some pacing issues, but overall a very fun and funny movie. The acting from Mills is excellent and the attention to detail is great. Definitely earns its place as a Disney classic.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Tomb Raider (2018) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film Tomb Raider.

Story

I haven’t played the games, but I assume there are some common elements from the stills and trailers I’ve seen. The story isn’t what I expected; I expected a puzzle archaeology movie and got an action movie.

All that being said, the story was pretty good. I wish they’d spent less time with the island action scenes and more with the tomb or puzzles.

My major issues is that it started action / intrigue and the tone switched to horror action once it reached the island. That would work for a book or TV show, but for a movie it felt disjointed.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I have to give credit to the actress because we learn almost nothing about Lara the entire movie other than she’s smart, gets back up, and is very curious. Any urge by the audience to care about the character is due to the charisma the actress brings to it.

The bad guy was perfectly cartoonish and the dad was okay. I liked the captain.

The CEO of of Croft Corp reminded me of Nina Sharp in Fringe played by Blair Brown.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Not super quippy, but very well paced. There’s a lot of mythology and they space it out really well. I also liked that the few puzzles that Lara solves are thought out in dialogue.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Everything in this movie was stunning. Filming was amazing, lighting spectacular, and action just wonderful.

The music was intense and well composed. There were a few times that it was a little early for the scene, which didn’t work for me.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I loved every moment of it, but I regret watching it with the kids. It was a little scarier and more violent than they should be watching. However, that’s on me.

My wife liked it, but found it a little exhausting.

Score: 1

Overall

A roller coaster from start to finish. The tone goes from action to horror, but the cinematography is spectacular. A fun action movie with lots of thrills.

Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1994 film Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken.

Story

For a Disney animated show in the 90’s, it was groundbreaking. Looking at it through a modern lens, it’s predictable and slow paced.

As much as it was packaged as a movie, it’s not really a movie. It’s obviously a first episode to a television show.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are iconic, not just because of the fantastic voice actors but because of the story arcs throughout the run of the show.

That being said, there are fat jokes that make me roll my eyes and very little development of anyone but Goliath.

I do have to give it it’s due in that it’s one of the most diverse casts of the 90’s.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The odd plethora of accents in the Gargoyles is weird. I wish they’d made a quick mention of why they weren’t speaking Gaelic or Middle English.

The introduction of slang was funny and well played.

Some of the lines were great, but there was a lot of dialogue that felt overly verbose for no reason.

I did appreciate how everything Xanatos said could be taken in multiple ways.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The animation was standard Disney television from the 80’s and 90’s. It was uneven with spots of brilliance.

The music was impressive for what it was. I’m very impressed with it.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a lot of fun. Both kids loved it (despite the 5yo not wanting to watch it to start with). I enjoyed it and the rest of the adults were long time fans.

Score: 1

Overall

Despite some uneven pacing and animation, the movie delivers an excellent introduction for the classic television show that follows, but it doesn’t stand on its own.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers.

Story

The concept is Roger Rabbit, but the story is a traditional buddy cop reunion. It has a good amount of humour and lots of interesting moments.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Despite being the actors behind the characters, they’re still fairly similar, which is great. The writers even comment on it in one of the last scenes. I appreciated that they didn’t try and give them a dark backstory, but overall they were okay.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was clever and aimed at kids, regular people, and animation nerds. There was a great balance of quips and references along with exposition.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

I am extremely impressed that they managed to make so many animation styles work together without it being jarring. Very well done. Combined with the camera and composition, this movie was pretty impressive.

The music was good and did its job.

Score: 1

Fun

The whole family loved it. I found it dragged a little in the middle, but overall it was a lot of fun with lots of laughs.

Score: 1

Overall

What the movie lacks in story, it more than makes up in visuals and jokes. This is an homage to the best buddy cop comedies and it does a great job.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5