Monster High – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Monster High.

Story

The story started really cliché but had some great moments. It’s not ridiculously great for the story, but it was competent.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are completely different from the source material. That being said, the characters are both entertaining and diverse in a way that I wasn’t expecting.

I like the overall feel of the characters trying to find themselves and the drama of high school. I also appreciate the ND representation along with the gender-neutral character Frankie.

I have to say, I did not guess the villain and I was happy to be surprised. It all fit with hindsight and that’s the best sort of reveal.

Score: 1

Dialogue

I’m going to be honest, I have no idea how teens talk anymore. This felt stilted at times but still fun. The vocabulary and innuendo level definitely geared for younger kids.

There’s a lot of borderline cheesy but empowering dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were colourful and well filmed. The camera work showed a cinematographer who understood monster movies. The sets, costumes, makeup, and special effects were acceptable.

I was impressed by the music. Some of the same people who worked on this also worked of Descendants and/or Julie and the Phantoms. They brought that quality to this.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was a little slow to start but once we got the first song, it picked up. The entire family loved it. The 6yo more than the 3yo, but not by much.

It was a fun boarding school mystery adventure; my wife and I loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

Those that loved the TV show will be incensed at the changes. It uses the look and feel and spins its own story.

Taken on its own, it’s a great monster twist on the boarding school adventure genre. The characters, music, and story are fun with a hopeful message.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Sneakerella – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Sneakerella.

Story

This was a modern take on Cinderella and had a lot of throwbacks to the Disney Cinderella. The story was pretty standard, but included a nice, if awkward, Aladdin twist.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The two mains had a lot of chemistry and the rest of the cast was great. The acting was top notch, I particularly liked his best friend and fairy god-father.

I am a little peeved at the lack of development dedicated to the step-father. He didn’t earn his happy ending by being anything but obtuse. He was still a jerk, just not too big a jerk.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was excellent. It felt authentic to my ear and was quite witty. I liked the puns and plays on classic Disney.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The locations and cinematography were stunning. The dance numbers were cool and everything about it was beautifully colourful.

The music was solid. I won’t be humming the songs, but they were well done.

Score: 1

Fun

Maybe it was knowing how it ends or just not liking the angst, but the second half dragged a little for me. My 3yo was bored when there wasn’t any music and everyone else liked it okay.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun re-interpretation of Cinderella with great Disney Easter eggs and enjoyable songs. The movie doesn’t add much to the tried and true story, but doesn’t really need to.

Final Score: 3.5

Zombies – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film Zombies.

Story

A cute, if formulaic, take on a traditional teen drama. I like the twist of it being Zombies instead of cliques and the obvious parallels to racism and race relations.

The love story is actually cute and avoids a lot of the cringe and creepiness of the genre.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Zed and Addison are chipper, optimistic, and still a little flawed. Despite the majority of the characters being copy-paste tropes, the actors’ story makes sure to give them more depth than you’d expect from this type of movie.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Despite being a little on the nose and cheesy, it’s quite effective at what it does. The messages and banter come through cleanly without too many explanations to bog down the story.

The fourth wall breaking was a little jarring the first time, but worked well overall.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The cinematography is quite clever and obviously influenced by previous musicals. The choreography is clever and fun.

The music is good and hits all the Disney Musical beats, but is missing a little something to make it amazing.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Singing, dancing, and charming zombies is something that borders the absolute absurd but somehow works. The kids loved it and the rest of us found ourselves bopping to the music.

Score: 1

Overall

A worthy successor to the post millennium Disney musicals. It’s catchy, fun, and ridiculous. If you enjoy musicals or teen movies, you’ll enjoy this one.

Finals Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Uncharted – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Uncharted.

Story

The story isn’t all that original and is best when they’re doing the treasure hunting parts.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Every character is backstabbing and tragic. It’s a little tired by the end, especially when they try to make them seem less bad. Nathan Drake is likeable because he’s the main character and Tom Holland is a sweetheart. The rest are kinda meh.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Fun quips, silly dialogue, and archeological techno-babble is all fun, but other than Drake, no one seemed to have any emotions.

Score: 0.5

Visual and Music

It’s a little too obvious that the movie was built around the visuals and the fight scenes. It’s gorgeous and beautiful to look at.

The music is fantastic and has wonderful references to the game.

Score: 1

Fun

The treasure hunting was fantastic, but the character moments mostly fell flat. It frustrated me that no one corrected the “found gold” narrative when it was obviously gold belonging to the natives.

Score: 1

Overall

A visual spectacle with little to no plot that is completely carried by the charisma of Tom Holland. The treasure hunt is exciting and the puzzels interesting. It’s fun with great action scenes, but not super memorable.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5

Spider-Man: No Way Home – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Story

There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad in this one. The hopefulness of Spider-man is challenged, but shown to be worth protecting. Spider-man doesn’t kill his enemies was a theme in the older films, but he also didn’t save them. Saving them in this one helps affirm the joy and hopefulness of this Spider-man. I love the concept.

I hate that they had to, once again, kill a strong female character to move the plot and motivate the hero. It’s old, it was old a long time ago.

Another thing that’s old and really annoying is the forgetting spell. I hated the soft reset of Gamora in Avengers, and I hate it here. It makes everything from the previous movie feel cheap. It feels like they had to have it so that Strange wouldn’t go ask Peter for help in the next movie.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I absolutely loved seeing the two older Spider-men. It made my elder millennial heart happy to see them and see them work through some of their trauma and issues. Felt, oddly, like coming home.

I adored the character development and redemption for the villains. When Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock called Peter, “Dear Boy,” I cheered. I’d forgotten how absolutely brilliant William Defoe was as Norman Osborne.

M.J. and Ned are great characters and I really liked watching them work with Peter. Unfortunately, most of their development and interactions now don’t matter. That pisses me off.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This was surprisingly heartfelt and perfectly quippy. Bringing back the Great Power speech was well done. I loved all the in-jokes and all the dialogue between the main trio.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Absolutely stunning special effects, camera work, and fight scenes.

The music didn’t just elevate the scenes, it also punched up the nostalgia perfectly.

Score: 1

Fun

I’ve been a fan of the Spider-man movies for twenty-one years and this brought all the feels and brought me back to summer 2001 when I watched the first movie more times than I can count at a discount second run cinema.

The kids liked it mostly (the 2yo got bored during the talky bits) and the rest of the family geeked out with me.

I was ridiculously annoyed at the loss of character interaction and growth due to the memory loss spell.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Lots of hope, thrills, excitement, and nostalgia with a big heap of fun. This is a Spider-man film for those who love Spider-man films. It’s marred by some tiresome tropes and leaves us in a frustrating place for the next one, but overall it’s a lot of fun.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Stardust – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2007 film Stardust.

Story

This is a wonderful mish-mash of fairytale stories. I like the concept and the idea. The plot and adventure are great. The romance, however, is bland and uninteresting.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The supporting cast are facinating and all the actors are great. I find the character of Tristan goes from annoying to mildly likeable. Yvaine is basically the same, except that she doesn’t get much development. Again, the romance is the least interesting part.

Captain Shakespeare makes the movie though.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is quick and quippy, but not particularly iconic.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The sets, fight scenes, special effects, and scenery are amazing. Combined with some clever cinematography, it makes the movie worth a watch.

The music is epic and genius. Each character got a theme that is both recognizable without pulling you out of the film.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie is fun. It has adventure, comedy, and action.

The kids were glued to it and the adults loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

A bland romance and mediocre main characters make what should be an epic fairytale adventure mostly forgetful. Thankfully, the cinematography, music, and secondary characters make the movie more memorable.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Eternals – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Eternals.

Story

The epic scale and complexity of characters wasn’t well served in the format of a movie. I think it would have worked better as a miniseries. I think some of the characters didn’t get enough screen time to show their motivations and evolution. That being said, I really enjoyed the non-linear aspects combined with the fascinating weaving into history.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There wasn’t enough time for all the characters and because of that, they seemed underdeveloped. They were very well acted and directed.

I think you were supposed to sympathise with all of them, but there were three that I didn’t like even before the twist. Maybe that’s a sign of a complex character.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The humour was extremely well-placed to balance the epic drama that was unfolding and even the info-dumps were very well placed.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Even with our state of the art 4K television, there were a lot of very dark scenes. It ruined the beautiful scenery and shots by forcing us to squint for no reason.

Beyond that, the cinematography was absolutely amazing and the amount of background detail is completely worth a rewatch.

The music was suitably epic and felt coherent with the MCU.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I’m surprised that the kids sat through the entire movie. It was fascinating, but not always action packed or accessible for kids.

I enjoyed it, but it was long. Oddly enough, I do think it would hold up better as 6 episodes. I was never bored though.

Score: 1

Overall

An extremely strong attempt at bringing the epicness of Lord of the Rings to the Marvel Universe. Too many characters and too little time for them to shine hurts the movie, but a brilliant script and excellent acting make it more than worth watching.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

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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