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

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

Muppet Treasure Island – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1996 Muppet Treasure Island.

Story

The story is disturbingly faithful to the original; as with all Muppet movies they add mostly flavour and silliness to the mix.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Other than the Muppets, we have two main human characters. The innocent, daddy issue laden Jim; and the devilishly handsome Long John Silver. Both are portrayed with nuance and depth that is impressive. The Muppets themselves do a great job as well, but the nature of the story and the lack of time between gags means the characters feel less fleshed out than they should.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The Muppets almost never disappoint when it comes to quippy, quotable, and cute dialogue. This was no exception.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This was a beautiful movie and the ship scenes set my childhood brain’s idea of pirate ships. The music was definitely an influence on future pirate movies. The songs however fell a little flat. Tim Curry is a fantastic singer and they definitely underused him and the actor who played Jim had a nasally falsetto that irked me. The rest of the songs were forgettable with the exception of Cabin Fever.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The majority of the time the Muppets deliver on fun. This is no exception. It had my daughter glued to the screen and me laughing most of the way.

Score: 1

Overall

This is one of my favourite Muppet movies and I enjoyed rewatching it. It’s nice watching a movie you loved as a kid and finding out it doesn’t suck.

If you want a fun watch with pirates and Muppets, this is your choice.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars

Bill & Ted Series – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1989 movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the 1991 movie Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and the 2020 movie Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Story

Excellent Adventure

This story is dated in so many ways but still manages to be fantastic at the end. I’m torn between the poor pacing, homophobia, and sexism; and the fantastic message of love and peace.

Score: 0.5

Bogus Journey

The same message resounds through the second movie as in the first, but again there’s more sexism, homophobia, and transphobia to make things awkward. Again the ending is fantastic.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

The same message of unity and love are sown throughout this movie like the others but with a little more maturity. The twist is predictable but getting there wasn’t. There was none of the previous movies’ sexism, homophobia, or transphobia, but there was a little bit of an awkward fat joke. (nothing compared to Avengers Endgame)

Score: 0.5

Characters

Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted are well meaning, mostly kind, but so foolish. They have fantastic vocabularies but they really don’t seem to follow everything going on. They are the personification of the slacker. There was an extremely homophobic joke that was out of character and pretty jarring.

The rest of the characters are a wonderful mix of what-if historical characters showed up in 1988.

Unfortunately the women are all pretty useless.

Score: 0.5

Bogus Journey

Once again we get Bill and Ted as sweet, mostly, caring, and pretty fools. They graduated high school and got jobs at the mall.

The evil people are all very much evil and totalitarian. It’s an interesting switch to see the rebels be the ones who want to be controlled.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

This is the saddest and the most relatable version of Bill and Ted. They are broken by the weight of their own destiny but still trying anyway.

The introduction of the daughters was great. They are the generation that grew up with music-obsessed slackers. They were both believable and perfect. Both actors managed to mimic the original Bill and Ted’s movements and mannerisms better than the original actors did.

I’m happy they gave the princesses both more story and more screen time.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Excellent Adventure

The dialogue is actually impressively clever. They bypass time travel confusion really well and do really well with making their characters sound unique. It’s endlessly quotable in the way only 80’s movies can be.

Score: 0.5

Bogus Journey

Station! The dialogue doesn’t seem quite as special the second time, but there are some fantastic lines. The time travel battle at the end and speech is fantastic.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

It’s hard to judge the dialogue of this one compared to the others. It’s a lot of self-referential jokes and quips but there’s some interesting bit in there too. I like the consistency in speech patterns and then impressive impersonations of famous musicians.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Excellent Adventure

The production value on this was fantastic, making each time period look authentic (in an 80’s high school curriculum sort of way).

The music was perfect for the movie and really enjoyable.

Score: 1

Bogus Journey

The nature of them going to hell and heaven make so that everything in this movie is more stylized and a little darker.

The music was okay but not excellent.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

The special effects were updated and beautiful, the makeup work was fantastic, and everything worked towards the story. The locations were authentic and the shots were well thought out.

The nature of the final twist means that the music is less important than the message, but despite that there’s some fantastic pieces. Especially between the historical figures.

Score: 1

Fun

Excellent Adventure

Despite a little cringe and a few really awkward moments the movie is pure fun.

Score: 1

Bogus Journey

There’s some cringe and a few parts that I think drag but overall the movie is a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Face the Music

For both nostalgic reasons and because it was well written with little to no cringe, this was a lot of fun. It kept the entire family entertained and watching.

Score: 1

Overall

Excellent Adventure

The movie is dated but still really heartwarming. They really want to push the love and peace message and like Bill and Ted themselves they stumble a few times along the way.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Bogus Journey

Like the first movie, it is dated but overall positive. It manages to capture the optimism of the first despite the darker tone.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Face the Music

The movie manages to pay homage to the first two while surpassing them in fun and quality. Definitely my favourite of the series.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

High School Musical – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2006 film High School Musical.

Story

This movie simplifies everything about high school and condenses it into a plot that is much less stressful then the real thing. The loves story, which could have been super annoying, is played low key and the focus is really on expressing yourself through multiple likes and dislikes.

It’s simple and works well to get the message and the music through.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are desperately trying to not be two dimensional in a one dimensional world. There’s growth and even the main characters that could have been bland were endearing.

They are cleverly built and work perfectly for the movie.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There’s nothing fantastic about the dialogue, but there are a few moments of tenderness between the love interests that is both sweet and genuine.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

This is one of the most lavish high schools I’ve ever seen; it’s beautiful in it’s own right. Add in the singing and dancing and it works really well. I’ve always wondered why they have a camel for this musical. The music is poppy and very mid-2000’s but it has heart and is used to push the story forward.

The character framing for the love interests is always perfect, both reflecting their feelings and in showing them vs the world.

Score: 1

Fun

Despite never wanting to be in the same situation, I love the meet-cute at the beginning and the overall feel of the romance.

I despise the teachers and the complete lack of understanding of theatre and science. I also really dislike the “character says something to shut up friends that is mean and gets them in trouble with the love interest” trope.

I’m also extremely amused that this has one of the most realistic portrayals of computer hacking. (The science girl uses a preset macro program to shut the gym down.)

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a fun movie that reminds me of high school while not looking anything like my high school. The music and story are fun and overall it’s pretty good.

I do wish that the character of Kelsi was more used, or that she got a spinoff.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars

Scoob! – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Scoob!

Story

The movie was a fun adventure with a lot of the fun of traditional Scooby-Doo stories but completely lacks in the mystery department. There’s not question as to who the villain is after the first ten minutes.

Score: 0.5

Characters

This had a lot of the 70’s Hanna-Barbera characters. Some felt like great additions to the story like Dee-Dee Skyes as the Blue Falcon’s pilot (she was awesome), others felt a little forced like Captain-Caveman.

The main five characters were all there and shown in much better light than previous movies. They were extremely well cast and well acted. The major problem was that by splitting the group up immediately there was less character interactions between them. It also meant that Fred, Velma, and Daphne all have less screen time and almost no arc.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Scooby-Doo usually contains puns, self-referential humour, and breaking of the 4th wall. This movie didn’t disappoint in that. It was great hearing all the little jokes and will take multiple viewings to catch them all.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation was colourful and flashy. It lacked the depth of the older animations or of the big 3D animation studios. I was never caught up in the beauty or in the little background details. The background details being something that I’ve always loved about Scooby-Doo.

The music was good but not memorable. It did its job but didn’t go beyond that.

Score: 0.5

Fun

There were very few dull moments and the movie was entertaining. I enjoyed what was there but missed what wasn’t. It kept my interest and my daughter’s the whole time and even my 1 year old watched it for a while.

Score: 1

Overall

This had all the elements of Scooby-Doo but lacked the mystery and the background details to make it truly authentic. It was a fun movie but lacked depth.

I hope they can make a second movie with the same cast and truly dive into a good mystery.

Alternately I’d love to see a young Mystery Inc. movie.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars

Happy Death Day – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 movie Happy Death Day.

Story

I’m frankly shocked and surprised that it took this long for someone to combine the slasher and the Groundhog Day concepts. It’s a beautiful mashup that works because these two sub-genres and surprisingly compatible. They both traditionally have horrible stuff happen to the main characters, they both usually involve death, and they usual end happily for at least one character.

This story works, not because of the twist, but because of how heavily it leans into the tropes.

Now that being said the first two loops are set up really slowly, however anyone who’s seen the trailer knows by the second day that the tension isn’t from the slashing but the loop.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are mostly stereotypes with a few little tweaks. This is a weakness of both sub-genres. Because you live the same day over and over again, only one character develops, leaving the entire emotional outcome of the movie on the shoulders of the main character and their massive development.

Tree’s the heart of the film and without her and us feeling for her, this movie would fall flat. Thankfully it didn’t and she is awesome.

A lot of the characters are superfluous and feel like unused threads. The Vietnamese girl who sits outside the sorority house is a good example of an unused character.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was quick, quip-y, and felt right for the characters. It’s fun but not poetry or super memorable.

You’ll laugh, but you won’t be quoting this one in twenty years.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The music is very much from a slasher but it’s unobtrusive and works really well. Visually this movie doesn’t need to be anything beyond a B horror style but doesn’t rest on expectations. The compositions, cuts, and references to other movies is fantastic. The transition where Tree gets hit by a baseball bat and falls into the next day is beautiful on it’s own, but the fact that it’s directly referencing a similar transition in Groundhog Day makes it ever so much better.

Score: 1

Fun

I love slashers and I love Groundhog Day style stories. This movie delivers exactly what I wanted from all of it and has a nice little twist. I’m very glad they changed the ending to what we see in the theatrical version.

Once it got going I didn’t even consider looking at my phone. High praise, considering it was my second viewing.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a movie that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and it certainly isn’t high cinema but it is exciting, smart, fun, and funny. If you like slashers or Groundhog Day stories, you’ll love this movie.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5


We reviewed the movie on Silver Stag Entertainment‘s Aurora Nominated show Nights at the Round Table.

Teen Beach Movie – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2013 Disney Channel movie Teen Beach Movie.

There are a few movies about people getting sucked into their favourite movie, book, or game. I’m not sure what this niche genre is called but I obviously love it since I wrote a book in the same genre. Go check out Everdome.

Story

The movie’s plot is simple and too the point. It’s almost completely unimportant and used as a vehicle for the music, whimsy, and references.

Score: 0

Characters

The main characters in this movie are basically Disney Channel cutouts that develop as time goes by.

Oddly enough the “real” world characters have less depths then the stereotypes in the movie world.

They are however very sweet and extremely fun to watch.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This movie is pure and utter cheese and ham. The movie revels in some of the best cheese lines.

The dialogue is delightful.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie is surprisingly pretty. They really worked towards making it over saturated and beach movie like.

The music is a love letter to teen love stories and classic movie musicals.

Score: 1

Fun

Fun music, cool concept, and extremely entertaining dialogue. This movie has a very low cringe factor and a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Overall

If you’re a fan of musicals and classic beach movies you’ll love this one. I’ve seen it twice and it’s the kind of movie I’d watch without being annoyed. I will also absolutely sing along.

Final Score: 3.5