Ocean’s Eleven – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven.

Story

This movie was fascinating. The heist was extremely well done (cinematographically) and the characters, although a lot of them, felt very distinct. The love story felt trite and forced and there were a few borderline racist casting choices.

The heist is great if you don’t think about the details and how much could have gone wrong. And should have gone wrong.

Score: 0.5

Characters

When I watch a reality show it takes me more than half it’s run before I start telling the people apart. That didn’t happen here and I’m going to credit that each character is distinct and could in theory lead their own movie.

That being said, the movie was ridiculously male heavy, where the only women were strippers or love interests needing to be saved from themselves.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The banter and friendship of the main two characters is fantastic. The overall back and forth between characters and even with the “villain” is pretty good too. The nature of the movie means that you never get too long dialogue pieces which works for this movie, but makes it feel like we’re constantly missing something.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

This movie was washed out, with a weird reddish-orange filter. It’s shot well to keep the plot’s secrets and surprises, but it’s not a pretty movie.

The music is okay but there are some weird choices and I’m sad they didn’t use the a modern version of the original’s theme in the credits.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I had a lot of fun laughing at how old the tech looks in this movie. It’s clearly trying really hard to look like all the security is cutting edge tech. It’s certainly dated now.

It’s still a lot of fun to watch the whole thing unfold and see all the moving pieces in the plot.

Score: 0.5

Overall

There’s something particularly satisfying about watching a heist go off so well. I also appreciate that they didn’t use the original’s depressing ending. But for me, there’s too many characters, the love story is terrible, and I have trouble not nit-picking the details of the plan.

This is a good movie but not my favourite.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

Night at the Museum Series – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2006 movie Night at the Museum, the 2009 movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, and the 2014 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

*I reviewed Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009* I didn’t re-read that review when writing this one. Ratings may vary, I’m grumpier and older.

Story

Night at the Museum 1

The concept for this story is fantastic, a wonderful idea. The story is a little uneven I really can’t stand the interludes of stupid humour.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 2

The story was an entertaining modern D&D adventure. It was cute and clever but there was something unsettling about the shoehorned love plot. It was also terribly busy and seemed to ignore parts of the first movie. (If Dick Van Dyke can turn the tablet off, why can’t Stiller?)

Also the Smithsonian has the worst security in existence. Why was Ben Stiller not arrested, he should have been on a million cameras.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 3

This is a movie that knew it was the last in a series, but left a lot of openings for spin-offs. (Thank goodness that didn’t happen.) The story was a slight variation on the previous ones with a London twist. Definitely the weakest of the group.

Score: 0

Characters

Night at the Museum 1

The self awareness of Teddy Roosevelt along with the stellar cast and characters makes this movie. Roles that could have been boring or cliché are brought to life with depth and heart. It’s also nice that there wasn’t a romantic subplot with the historian. I truly hate dumb characters and needless bosses which made this less fun. Ben Stiller and Ricky Gervais’s antics are frustrating at best and boring at worst.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 2

Ben Stiller is still annoying but there’s less of him. I felt like leaving the room when he talked with Jonah Hill or the monkeys. There was certainly not enough time given to the characters from the first movie.

That being said, Amy Adams was spectacular as was Hank Azaria. It was also nice to see that Stiller’s character had evolved not reverted which is common for movies.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 3

Ben Stiller’s humour is still not my thing and there were two of him in this. I would have taken another six of him over Rebel Wilson. Not my style of comedy. The rest of the cast, as usual, did a great job. This is Robin Williams’ last live action movie and he’s great. The new additions are funny and well done. It was nice to see the trio of nightguards again.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Night at the Museum 1

There are gags and moments of true depth in this movie. Everything from Robin Williams is gold and a lot of the other secondary characters dialogue is wonderful.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 2

The dialogue was much more developed in this one, lots of fantastic banter between the characters.

Score: 1

Night at the Museum 3

When they weren’t making melting nose jokes or peeing monkey commentary the movie had some very funny lines and a few very deep moments.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Night at the Museum 1

The special effects are a little dated but still hold the beauty and wonder of a museum coming to life. The cinematography has a few moments of genius.

The music is epic and grandiose and used perfectly.

Score: 1

Night at the Museum 2

This movie took all the beautiful visuals from the first one and doubled down. The special effects are bigger and prettier. The hall of paintings was excellent world building. Visually this was wonderful to watch. And that fight scene at the end was fantastic.

The music didn’t disappoint and although I won’t be running out to buy the soundtrack, it was suitably epic.

Score: 1

Night at the Museum 3

The movie is beautiful and absolutely well done visually. The Esher painting scene and the snake dragon thing fight were stunningly beautiful. It was a beautiful movie that was well shot.

The music once again elevated the silliest gag to epic.

Score: 1

Fun

Night at the Museum 1

This movie is entertaining nearly throughout. Again I dislike Stiller and Gervais but the rest made up for it.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 2

There’s a little cringe at the beginning and the whole Brundan thing took too long, but after that it was a fun thrill ride. I still was uncomfortable with the love story though, and that took some pleasure out of it.

Score: 0.5

Night at the Museum 3

This movie had more awkward in it and longer anoying gags. It’s the shortest of the three but felt like the longest. It also felt like it took a long time getting to any sort of plot.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Night at the Museum 1

This is a lovely movie with a good message and some exceptional actors doing their comedic best. It’s fun and despite a few really dumb moments, it’s a classic. I also have to give the film makers credit for a racially diverse group that is actually properly cast.

Finals Score: 3 Stars

Night at the Museum 2

This was a good sequel that built on the first and brought some fantastic action and visuals. Amy Adams is spectacular as is Hank Azaria. Definitely worth a watch.

Finale Score: 3.5 Stars

Okay, so I went and looked at my previous review and it’s pretty consistent.

Night at the Museum 3

It’s a fitting end to a series of movies that was okay but not great. It didn’t fully live up to its potential, but was elevated by brilliant actors.

Overall, I like the background info on the tablet but it made me wish for a TV show spinoff starring a kooky off-the-wall librarian museum curator and his 3 apprentices.

Final Score: 2.5

Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2 – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2008 and 2010 Movies Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.

Story

Camp Rock 1

The story in this couldn’t be more cliché if they tried. I’ve been over the “lying to be popular” since I did it in first grade. It always blows up and it rarely ends as happily as it does in this movie.

Score: 0

Camp Rock 2

Just as cliché a the first but much less angst.

Score: 0

Characters

Camp Rock 1

The characters are so cookie cutter as to be boring. However the young actors manage to bring something watchable to their characters.

Score: 0.5

Camp Rock 2

The characters have changed, if not evolved, to suit the story. Once again the actors are much too good for the script.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Camp Rock 1

The majority of the movie made me cringe, however the Mom and the two romantic leads manage to make the dialogue acceptable.

Score: 0.5

Camp Rock 2

I can’t tell if the dialogue got better because of the writing or because the actors grew. It wasn’t enough to make this movie memorable though.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Camp Rock 1

There’s a camp and it’s filmed in standard Disney Channel style for the late 2000’s. It’s not as colourful as it could be and most of the shots are either frantic or boring.

The music is barely okay. It’s not bad but it shows that other then the main cast, these are not singers.

Score: 0

Camp Rock 2

This is where the sequel starts to get better. It’s better shot and has more coherent musical numbers, actually using the dancers in the cast.

The music for the main cast is catchy and likeable while the rest is still hum-drum.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Camp Rock 1

I spent the majority of the movie groaning or sighing. It’s not much fun.

Score: 0.5

Camp Rock 2

The story was predictable but in a fun way and despite a few lulls, I enjoyed this one.

Score: 1

Overall

Camp Rock 1

This movie is angsty and cliché. I really hope my daughter doesn’t want to watch it too often. The only thing that makes it anything beyond truly boring are the main actors.

Final Score: 1.5 Stars

Camp Rock 2

It’s not great but it’s fun and if I want a camp movie that has music I might consider it.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

George of the Jungle – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1997 movie George of the Jungle.

Story

The story is riddled with puns, fart jokes, 4th wall breaking, and silly slapstick. Some of that is good, some of that is bad. It’s a story that doesn’t take itself seriously but has some interesting things to say as subtext. Great moments where the script flips the tropes on their heads, especially those of toxic masculinity and ignorance.

Score: 0.5

Characters

George is a lovable idiot with a better understanding of how to respect others then the rest of the characters.

Ursula was the stand in for the every man-character and bland because of it. The rest were a mixture of tropes and silliness.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue in this, specifically the narrator, makes me laugh every time. Despite the silliness, the movie does a great job at not overdoing the dialogue. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly quotable.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were okay. Scenery was pretty and the special effects held up well.

The music was so 1990’s it hurt. Even the theme song was a punk rock late 1990’s cover.

There was nothing special here but nothing terrible.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I have fond memories of this movie as a kid. Brendan Fraser is charming (as always) and the movie still has some of my favourite gags, but also has a lot more crotch punch and fart jokes then I remembered.

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a fun movie, not great, not terrible but definitely fun. It has less awkward sexism or racism than a lot of movies from it’s time, and even has some good feminist messages.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

The Spy Next Door – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2010 movie The Spy Next Door.

Story

The story is cute. Sort of a Uncle Buck meets Jackie Chan. It was just as formulaic as you can expect from a “fighting guy takes care of kids” type of movie.

You don’t watch this for the story.

Score: 0

Characters

Nerdy boy, angsty teen, and cute little kid. They all did well and their was some surprising depth in the characters. Although I did get annoyed at how young the 4 year old acted and was frustrated by the old trope of the Hispanic character being the mole.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Overall it was stilted and awkward. Some of it made me cringe.

However Jackie Chan was both adorable and hilarious.

Score: 0.5

Visual and Music

The fighting was top notch, the rest was okay.

The music wasn’t great and sometimes jarring.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie had Jackie Chan signing a lullaby and using stunts to get kids ready for school. It had him beating up a future MacGyver. It had heart, humour, and great action.

Fun for everyone.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie isn’t great cinema but it is a lot of fun and if you’re looking for a cute action movie, or if your child is currently in a spy obsession, this a great choice.

Overall Score: 2.5 Stars

Josie and the Pussycats – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 movie Josie and the Pussycats.

Story

Let me start by saying this is the most 2000’s movie ever. This is a movie that predates smartphones, 9/11, and MTV no longer playing music videos.

The plot could have been pulled straight from a comic book from the 90’s, the main message is literally explained, and it can’t seem to decide if it wants to be family friendly or not.

The movie is riddled with sex jokes (I mean really ‘backdoor lover’?), puns (the band ‘Dujour’), and patented 2000’s anti-commercialism (buy stuff to make you unique not to be like everyone else).

This is thoroughly a pre X-men and Spiderman comic book movie. Hammy, fourth wall breaking, and terrified it’s audience won’t get it’s messages.

Score: 0

Characters

After 15 minutes I turned to my wife and said, “Ah the 2000’s where female characters were finally allowed to be 2 stereotypes.”

The three protagonist are: Josie (Rock Star, mechanic), Valerie (Activist best friend), and Melody (Animal loving Ditz).

The rest are pretty much the same, Allan Cummings eats up the scenery as does Parker Posey. They ham so much and seriously make their characters work.

Are they balanced? No. Are they an attempt at social commentary? Maybe… Are they likeable? Yes mostly.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Trite, silly, and downright hilarious. The dialogue in this movie is written to both date it and make it wallow in it’s own silliness. From the code words based off of old rock songs, to the puns, to the line, “I’m here cause I was in the comic” This movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to silly dialogue.

Somehow it manages to skirt quotability.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie goes out of its way to push the anti-commercialism by including over 70 brands as product placement. It’s coloured and shot like a comic book and genuinely pretty.

The music is good, if repetitive. I’m sad that none of the cast actually performed the songs.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie is a condensed feel of my teen years and brings back good and bad memories. It was a more innocent time and because of that I really enjoyed re-watching this.

There’s a little cringe in there but overall the music and corniness make it a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Conclusion

This movie is a snapshot in time of what the late 1990’s early 2000’s was like. Before the world was changed by 9/11 and everything thing else the 2000’s brought.

It’s fun, but not the greatest movie. I feel the messages and lessons get drowned out by the ham.

Final Score: 2.5

The Ghosts of Buxley Hall – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the made for TV movie from 1980 The Ghosts of Buxley Hall.

Story

The story is pretty simple, but feels like it lacks depth. We don’t really get to know much about the characters backstories or motivations, beyond the ghosts. Even the “In Your Face” feminist story line feels a little flat.

It is however a nice linear story that follows through with its promises and foreshadowing.

Score: 0.5

Characters

This has all the stereotypes but made more human than I expected. The military man, the independent woman, the troubled boy, the troubled girl, the tough guy who doesn’t like kids, the bully, and the mad aunt who wants money.

They all have tender moments where their human side is shown. Unfortunately the cast is much too big for the movie. It means we are constantly moved between the kid’s story, the adult’s story, and the ghosts. Sometimes forgetting about one of the others.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is pure 80’s and pure cheese. Most of the best lines are given by the Sargent or the general’s wife.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

This movie might have been about ghosts but it could have seriously used some colour. The shots however are very well designed and clean. Both the music and the visuals are effective if not inspired.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a fun movie. You know everything will end well and you get a combination ghost story, coming of age, and boarding school story.

Score: 1

Conclusion

This is a fun fluffy movie that is now 40 years old and is showing it’s age. It’s not offensive but it’s definitely shallower than it could be. However, it is a lot of fun.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Warning Spoilers!

Story

This is marked as the end of the Skywalker Saga (AKA numbered Star Wars movies) and was meant to tie up the loose ends and stories of the old, new, and middle characters in the series.

Although the story was pretty coherent, it was meandering and often got marred down by awkward nostalgia. Treating things like the fallen death star or Luke’s old X-wing as near magical artifacts of nostalgia.

As much as this felt like a love letter to the old Star Wars, it also felt like a massive set up for the future of that universe. Introducing so many new elements into the last movie that some from previous movies faded into the background. (Poor Rose.)

Overall, it was hopeful, anyone can be redeemed, the force is with us, you aren’t your parents, etc etc. (What’s with American entertainment and the obsession with hereditary power and competence.)

It was fun, but overly self-indulgent in it’s own mythos. Also “Wonder-Force-Twins” ex-machina.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I’ll have to watch the whole trilogy again but I felt that the characters changed a lot between movies. Poe’s character seemed to have the least consistency between movies, but even Rey felt different.

The only completely consistent character was Kylo.

It was nice to see the old crew, but overall it was frustrating to see the inconsistencies.

I did love Leia though.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was exactly what you’d expect from a post-Lucas Star Wars. Hammy but not to the point of cringe. Lots of throwbacks and the actors genuinely delivered emotion.

Nothing stood out as infinitely quotable and a lot of it was whiny.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

This was Star Wars. Visuals and Music are essential the best parts. When the Star Wars theme starts playing during the opening exposition crawl, I get shivers.

This is genuinely beautiful. From lightsaber fights on a storm-wracked wreck, to jungle planets, and the Sith homeworld. It was wonderful to watch.

Score: 1

Fun

There was a part of the movie near the end where Rey has gone off on her own and the others are feeling helpless that I just got bored. From that part onward, it felt like the ending was both rushed story-wise and slow pacing-wise.

Score: 0.5

Conclusion

This was a Star Wars movie. It had all the Star Wars stuff, both good and bad. I can see why some people loved it. I can also see where some people hated it.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars