Red Notice – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Red Notice.

Story

Action packed from start to finish with lots of twists and turns. The story itself is pretty straight forward action/heist. Some of the writing was silly and a lot of the plot points that are supposed to make us think the characters are smart, are ludicrous. It had me saying, “That’s not how that works,” more times than it should have.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters aren’t deep; they’re basically thin backstories for the three main actors to play into their strengths. It works mostly, but there is more chemistry between the Rock and Reynolds than the Rock and Godot.

The secondary characters are cardboard cutouts with the exception of Chris Diamantopoulos as Sotto Voce who hams it up beautifully.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There are a few self aware and hilarious lines. Nothing super exciting, but the dialogue is fun.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals are competent and I’m glad they didn’t add a colour filter on the whole thing, but there was a lack of cohesion in the different settings on a colour level. The actors were pretty though.

The music was completely forgettable, but that just means it did it’s job.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Every action movie needs the rest points where we start to care about the characters. This didn’t have any because we were expected to care about the actors. Unfortunately, those scenes are also about letting the audience rest and relate.

Both my the two and five year old got a little bored and the rest of us, although enjoying it, spent a lot more time picking it apart than normal.

Score: 1

Overall

What you see is exactly what you get with this movie. It’s action packed with lots of personality and more than its fair share of quips. The actors play exactly what you expect. This is a fun movie, but it’s not deep.

Final Score: 3.5 stars out of 5

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

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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The Three Musketeers – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2011 film The Three Musketeers.

Story

The basic story is there with all it’s swash and buckle. There’s a few interesting twists and some fun clock-punk elements (like steampunk with with clockwork mechanisms instead of steam power.)

It’s a lot of talking, scheming, fighting, and quipping.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There’s a lot of variation that can be had with these characters. It worked extremely well with this group. I particularly like the changes in Milady, the King, and Queen.

The acting was purposefully and wonderfully over the top. Orlando Bloom channels a combination of Tim Curry and Alan Rickman, which I’d love to see more of.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue vassalates wildly from pure cheese to genius.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie is absolutely beautiful. The saturation, in my opinion, should have been higher, but other than that it was a beautiful film.

The music was great at what it did, occasionally feeling like a videogame, but it worked.

Score: 1

Fun

The kids weren’t big fans of anything but the action, but there was plenty of that to keep the five year old entertained. I thoroughly enjoyed the ridiculous action, sets, and history bending.

Score: 1

Overall

This clock-punk take on the Three Musketeers is action-packed and filled with fantastic action. It has all the excellent elements of action and over the top visuals that are the director’s standard.

Overall, it’s a lot of fun.

Final Score: 3.5 stars out of 5

Cinderella (2021) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Cinderella.

Story

The story is pretty standard. I liked the additional backstory on the evil step-mother and the addition of a dream for Ella.

That being said, it was very surface level and didn’t add much to the original.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters were fun, but not deep. It was a playful movie with witty banter. I liked that they joked about Pierce Brosnan’s singing.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The best way to describe the dialogue is mildly witty. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. There’s no double meanings or witty back and forths.

Score: 0.5

Music and Visuals

Nearly everything in the movie was anachronistic and it works to bring a sense of whimsy to the film. From the Baritone Sax to the impressive range of styles. It’s all in fun.

I truly appreciated the use of colour after so many colourless period films of late.

The music wasn’t Moulin Rouge level, but was a lot of fun. The duet dance to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect lived up to its name.

Score: 1

Fun

It had a good beat in both the music and the pacing. Little to no awkward moments and the actors could sing. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We had the main song stuck in our heads for the rest of the night.

Score: 1

Overall

Cinderella is a story that’s been told so often that it’s no longer a story as much as an archetype. This movie doesn’t add anything original to the story, but instead re-mixes it with fun music. It’s fun and will have you tapping your foot.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Moxie – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Moxie.

Story

The movie walks the line between heartwarming coming of age and showing the real horrors of sexism and racism. In the end it firmly settles on heartwarming coming of age.

It took me much too long to realize what the movie was going for and I kept waiting for the metaphorical axe to fall. I was expecting expulsion, but instead I got successful social action, and the drama came from the angry teen.

Beyond my expectations being skewed, the movie abandoned some threads and didn’t give enough room to some of the characters. Even after adjusting my expectations, it felt too clean and sanatized.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is a quiet girl whose whole goal in high school is to fly under the radar. When she gets exposed to some severe racism and sexism, she goes from shy wallflower to passionate SJW.

Everything in the movie is seen through her lens, which is a great way to introduce white people, especially young girls, to these issues. However, because of that, there are characters introduced that have no story or very little.

In order to make the movie end on a happy note, the “villains” had to be comical and a mixture of inept and lazy.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is designed to make everyone understand the main topics and hint at some of the others. The dialogue is very cleverly written, being both authentic and educational.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Just like the dialogue, the cinematography is very cleverly done to both illustrate and emphasize the different issues.

The music is well picked and does a great job to enhance the story.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie stressed me out; I kept expecting something predictable and horrible to happen. It didn’t happen, but it did affect my enjoyment. I think a second viewing would be easier.

That being said the romance was cute and the high points were satisfying.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A great introduction to social issues that a lot of privileged people don’t know or want to think about. The issues are wrapped in a predictable coming of age story and shown through the lens of a partially oblivious white girl.

It’s a fun high school romp with a great set of messages, but it’s an overly optimistic and shallow introduction to social issues.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

A Christmas Prince Series – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film A Christmas Prince, The 2018 film A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, and the 2019 film A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.

Story

A Christmas Prince

The main plot of the movie is typical undercover reporter fall in love with subject. It makes reporters look bad and honestly the entire things is awkward.

The parts of the story that shine are when the characters are soul searching or making genuine connections. The sister character is fantastic and I could have watched the whole movie about her instead.

Score: 0

The Royal Wedding

The weak mystery is barely explored instead they spend most of it on wedding angst and pushing the main character around.

Again, like the first on the bright spot is the sister. She’s inspiring and adorable.

Score: 0

The Royal Baby

This was a well written closed-circle mystery that kept me guessing until the end. (Although I did have the culprit in my top 3.) The characters were less wet towel and they gelled with each other more. There was some awkward drama and they tried much too hard to pin the blame on Simon, again.

Score: 0.5

Characters

A Christmas Prince

The main character does a great job of being doe-eyed and fell for the prince the same time we all did, when we saw him with his sister. There’s some nice developement for the main three characters but overall it felt lack-luster.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

The king went from an unsure prince who doesn’t want to commit to being king to now being an unsure king who trusts his advisors way too much. The main character gets pushed around and is only really interesting when she pushes back or is helping the sister. There’s also a storyline that’s lifted directly from Princess Diaries. I’ll give the movie this, they did a great job with the redemption arc.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

Overall this was a cute and joyful set of characters, something that should be standard for a Christmas movie. I liked the new additions.

Score: 1

Dialogue

A Christmas Prince

Mostly acceptable, if a little over the top. There are a few good speeches about identity, but nothing spectacular. The dad and the sister got all the great lines.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

Completely over the top; comparing the dialogue to a telenovela would be an insult to telenovelas.

However, as a giant nerd, I did appreciate the quotes and nods to other movies.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

The writers built on the geeky quotes from the last one and made sure to include as much dorky future parents stuff as possible. The dialogue for them was believable and cute.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

A Christmas Prince

The cinematography of this movie made me angry and gave me a headache. My family didn’t seem to notice, but the constant slow paning for no reason was extremely frustrating.

The locations were lovely and very thematic.

The music was lack-luster and was only elevated by the christmas music included. (You can’t go wrong with Tchaickovsky.)

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

The cinematographer discovered quick cuts since the last one and they were almost as over used as the pans.

That being said, the scenery and clothing were good and the music classic.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

Finally the useless pans are gone and the director and cinematographer started to frame the shots better. It’s not excellent, but good. The castle and clothing are as beautiful as ever.

The music didn’t stand out much; a few cute scenes but nothing spectacular.

Score: 0.5

Fun

A Christmas Prince

Breaking a ming vase or shooting an arrow through a window is a level of awkward I don’t like. There’s a lot of the movie that just isn’t fun to watch even if you know everything will end up fine.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

The obvious mystery was dragged out too long, and the angst was also dragged out too long. I spent a lot of the movie rolling my eyes and not yelling.

The sister and eventual warm ending was good though.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

I have a soft spot for good mysteries and this was pretty close. It also isn’t angsty and kept my attention. A lot of fun.

Score: 1

Overall

A Christmas Prince

An excellent cast with a mediocre script and lots of cringe, the only thing that truly saves this is the interactions with the little sister.

Final Score: 2 stars out of 5

The Royal Wedding

An acceptable sequel to a lack-luster movie. Too little plot and too much angst. Again the sister saves the movie but she’s joined by a delightful redemption.

Final Score: 2 stars out of 5

The Royal Baby

Finally a balance between urgency and angst, this movie is the best of the three, with a fun mystery and lots of the best parts of the first two movies. I will probably skip the others in future years and just watch this one.

Final Score: 3.5 stars out of 5

Snow – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2004 movie Snow.

Story

At times the movie is brilliant and others you wonder how that story point got past editing. It’s a bare bones slightly goofy plot. The world building is interesting and other than a few cringy moments it’s great.

I like the near complete reversal of traditional gender roles in holiday movies.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Nick is at times a clueless goofy idiot and at others a wise loving Santa… It’s a role that should be hacky and terrible but is made believable by Tom Cavanagh. (Seriously this role shouldn’t work, but he makes it not only likeable but one of my favourite versions of Santa.)

The rest of the cast is perfectly suited and well acted. Ashley Williams manages to play up the humour of her attraction to Nick without ever coming off as lewd.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It’s a made for tv movie from the mid 2000’s the visuals are okay. The cinematography is bare bones and the special effects are mostly limited to the mirror and a flying reindeer. The costumes are very well done, especially the Santa Suit at the end.

The music is fantastically well thought out. I’m not humming the themes but they were perfect for the characters and had a quirky cheerfulness that saved some scenes from being too serious or too scary.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is clever and adorable. Also very dorky. I loved that we went from, “Nick… name… mine… my name is Nick.” at the begining of the movie to, “The first time I saw you I forgot to breathe.” near the end.

Score: 0.5

Fun

My wife and I have been watching the movie yearly for a decade and a half. It’s a Christmas staple that I enjoy. I’m not sure my kids liked it as much.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie is both adorable and aDORKable. The actors elevate what could have been a weird and uncomfortable movie into something lovely and fun.

Final Score: 3.5

A Christmas Movie Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film A Christmas Movie Christmas.

Story

This is one of my favourite sub-genres; the transported into a movie movies. (I reviewed Teen Beach Party that falls in the same sub-genre.)

Post-wish, the story follows the traditional Christmas movie tropes with a lot of wry commentary. At times it was ridiculously cheesy. The story itself was passible and held a few tiny surprises.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The stereotypes of the Christmas movie world were amped up at the beginning and slowly started to become grounded as the movie moved forward. I really enjoyed the lampshading of the stalkerlike behaviours of some of the men. Santa was perfectly mystical.

The main girls managed to rise beyond the tropes of “The Meek escapist” and “The Jaded one who really wants to believe”.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The wry humour and lampshading made this movie. The dialogue pulls together the ridiculous concept and elevates it beyond just cheese.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The cinematography wasn’t amazing, but the set design was amazing. They amped up the “fake christmas town obviously filmed in summer” to a new level of absurd. Using cotton balls as snow and plenty of impractical clothing. The outfits were also really pretty; loved the sparkly sweaters.

The music was okay for what it was.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I laughed and smiled the entire movie. It was light and entertaining. A perfect Christmas romance that managed to be nicely self-aware.

Score: 1

Overall

If you enjoy Christmas romance movies this is probably for you. I loved seeing the tropes and stories through the lense of pseudo-real people. The wry dialogue and hammyness were all perfectly well done.

Final Score: 3.5

Night at the Museum Series – JenEric Movie Review

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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