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

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 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

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Story

A very clever mix of the Ghostbusters formula and the rural “kids on bikes” genre. The story is extremely predictable, but that’s part of its fun.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters on paper are kinda boring and overdone. Weird kid who’s probably autistic, ghost nut, slacker teacher, horny teens, sad single mother. However, the actors make them lovable, quirky, and just fun to watch.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The strength of the first three movies was their dialogue and this doesn’t disappoint. Self referential and nostalgic enough for old fans, but funny and quippy enough for newer fans.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects are great and I loved the location. If felt grand and rural all at the same time. The kind of place locals don’t see the beauty in.

The music was solid. Did what it needed and used themes from the older films.

Score: 1

Fun

I fully expected to not like this one. There were a lot of issues with the originals and I wasn’t in the mood to revisit the same story and cast again. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and cast. Even more by how nostalgic I felt about the whole thing.

The kids loved it to the point where the two year old keeps talking about it.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun nostalgic ride with a talented, entertaining, and fresh cast. It’s shiny and new and will tug on all your heartstrings. If you liked the previous three (does anyone really like the second one?) you’ll love this.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Encanto – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Encanto.

Story

I was expecting a completely different story structure and was pleasantly surprised not to have another fetch quest Disney movie. Well crafted and put together, everything flowed from one scene to the other. I look forward to rewatching and seeing the foreshadowing.

Score: 1

Characters

At first I was a little annoyed at how stereotypical the characters were, but as the story progressed, I loved that it was explained and used for the story.

Mirabel is an intelligent, flawed, and fantastic character. The rest of the characters were just as good.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue was spot on for sibling and family dynamics. It was, however, overshadowed and often replaced by the songs.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The level of detailing in in every frame is awe-inspiring. Beyond the animation details, the colours, locations, and variety of character models was truly impressive.

The music was the star of the show. Each song told a story and pushed the main plot ahead. Inspired and captivating.

Score: 1

Fun

The physical humour, action, songs, and beautiful animation kept the kids and adults glued to the screen. My vision got blurry with tears a few times, but it was a the good kind. The kids were singing the songs as they went to bed.

Score: 1

Overall

An amazing animated musical with everything to make it a classic. The animation, locations, characters, songs, and humour were all impressive. Definitely worth a watch or ten.

Final Score: 4.5 stars out of 5

Single All the Way – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Single All the Way.

Story

The story is a copy paste from so many other Christmas movies. Instead of an ex or childhood friend, it’s a current best friend, but it’s pretty much the same. Even though the story is basic, the final touches are wonderfully queer.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The slightly neurotic big city agent, the small town ski instructor, the overbearing mother trying too hard, the sensitive nice guy, and the overdramatic aunt. All the stereotypes are there and they added a few extra with the meddling teens and the wise dad.

A lot of Christmas movies feel like they forget about the love part of romance and the love in the family around them. This one didn’t and love was very much central and believable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Oscillating from corny to sweet, the dialogue was perfect for the type of movie. I’m also really impressed at how well the different couples communicated. It would be easy, and typical, to have non-communication caused hijinks. I’m glad they didn’t go that way.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were pretty but generic. The filming was effective and I really liked how they framed the lovey-dovey moments.

The music was pretty good. Lots of Christmas and a few original songs.

Score: 1

Fun

I took particular joy at the teenagers forcing a “There was only one bed” scenario. Obviously the teens are learning their set-up methods from fanfics. I also really liked seeing all the Canadian actors.

My five year old liked it; she really got into the set up. She kept asking why he was going on date with the other guy. My two year old got a little bored.

I appreciated that they avoided angst and awkwardness. I also liked that it was an unabashedly queer and happy story, which is a combination that we need more of.

Score: 1

Overall

This is the happy, queer, and Christmassy movie you’ve been looking for. It’s fun, cute, and honestly really refreshing.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Story

The story felt very familiar yet different. It was a wonderful melding of hero’s quest, Chinese action movie, and Marvel origin story. They took a story that could have been grim and turned it into something hopeful and I appreciate that.

Score: 1

Characters

The main character was a little brooding and very quip-y, which I like. I enjoyed the friend who tags along getting their own story arc. The villain was nuanced and interesting.

I think overall the entire cast was fantastic and I wish we could have had more time with them.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Two very well placed, “Oh Shit” moments and lots of excellent banter. The narration and storytelling leaned into the epic LOTR / Crouching Tiger style while the in world dialogue was pure Marvel sass.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The fight scenes were beautifully done, filmed in a more traditional style with pans and freezes that I personally prefer over the jump cuts and shaky cam.

The special effects were perfect and the amount of personality in the dragon, Cthulhu stand-in, and temple guardians was absolutely spectacular.

The music was a little muddled at times, having trouble choosing between brassy Marvel, and strings with Asian influences. I appreciate the more modern music as a counterpoint though.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Exciting and interesting throughout. It hits all my favourite beats for epic fantasy and superhero movies. My 5 year old was riveted the whole way and my 2 year old loved the fights, but got bored at the story parts.

I look forward to re-watching.

Score: 1

Overall

This is the Marvel formula done properly with a hint of classic kung-fu movies. The cast and storytelling is amazing. It has some of the most spectacular creatures and fight scenes in Marvel and I can’t wait to see more of this cast.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Vivo – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Vivo.

Story

The beginning was a little predictable in its “Pixar” style twist. The rest was a usual road trip buddy story. It was a fun story.

Score: 0.5

Characters

We don’t see a lot of Cuban or Cuban-American culture in animation. It was nice to see the art, music, and accents take centre stage. The characters were all motivated by relatable emotions.

The character of Vivo is sassy, funny, and filled with heart.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The running commentary by Vivo is both adorable and refreshingly funny. I appreciated the music, situational, word, and absurd humour.

I liked that they treated parts of the dialogue like motifs in music. They repeated or altered certain phrases to create more of an emotional impact and to pull the various parts of the movie together.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was absolutely beautiful. It might not have been up to Pixar or Disney quality but they captured the Cuban art and colour style fantastically. There are a few times that the face and perspective in that art style didn’t translate well to a 3D animation, but over all, it was great.

The music was Broadway with the Lin-Manuel Miranda twist and a large dollop of Cuban influence. It’s a little reminiscent of his other work, but that doesn’t detract from how good it was.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie was colourful, never wallowed too much, and had multiple levels of humour. It was poignant and had a pretty good message, plus both kids loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

It takes a lot of elements that we’re familiar with in animated and musical movies and mixes them together with a Cuban-American influence making it feel fresh and vibrant. The visuals, music, comedy, and heart warming story make for a wonderful film.

Final Score: 4.5 stars out of 5

The House with a Clock in Its Walls – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

Story

I was very impressed. The movie had the right level of intrigue and excitement and the pace was a great balance between Gothic horror and kids horror. The plot was relatively simple and gave space for the characters’ backstories and the world building.

Score: 1

Characters

A lot of times, stories like this will neglect character development for the adults or the kids, but this one did a great job balancing it. The villain was surprisingly sympathetic for a corpse.

Cate Blanchett was amazing in her role and really made me feel for the character.

Jack Black managed to do what he does best and make a loud, arrogant, character who is both sympathetic and likeable.

Owen Vaccaro was wonderful as the quirky kid. I am a little sad they cut the fat-phobia story, but it’s probably for the best.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Quirky, weird, and definitely memorable. The skills of the writer (who wrote for the first five seasons of Supernatural) were definitely well used.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were beautiful and creepy. I wasn’t a fan of the abundant poop jokes however.

The music was atmospheric and fun.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I watched this with my 2 year old and he loved it. Kept saying “scary… fun!” In the actually scary parts he hugged me. I think my 4 year old would have yelled at the screen when the cabinet was opened and flailed like an angry octopus.

Its exactly the kind of kid’s horror that I grew up with and it felt like something I would have watched in the 90’s, but better in almost every way.

Score: 1

Overall

Fun, exciting, and scary with more heart and better acting then expected. This is a movie made by horror fans for future fans. It’s a great introduction for those kids that can handle and enjoy the scary moments. It’s also a great nostalgic feel for those of us that grew up with this style of storytelling.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Monsters University – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2013 film Monsters University.

Story

The story is a great subversion of the traditional college movie. I like how much it plays with our expectations from knowing the first movie. The messages of “it’s okay to change your dream” and “there are many paths” are more poignant to me now than they were when the movie came out, making me enjoy it a lot more.

Score: 1

Characters

As much as I like the story and the movie itself is very consistent with it’s characters, I find Sulley feels off. His greatest character trait from the first movie was how much he cared for people and monsters. His empathy and genuine niceness was impressive and played at odds with his scaring. Making him an entitled rich kid works for this movie, but we don’t see any hint of it in the original and his turn around feels a little unmotivated.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The writing is extremely well done and the dialogue really reflects the lived experience of a lot of animators and writers. Especially the parts where someone says, “You just don’t have it.”

The humour is clever and delivered perfectly.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The original was spectacular for it’s time and is starting to look a little dated. After almost a decade, this movie still looks better than a lot of other animations that came out this year. It’s spectacular and beautiful in all its detail.

The music takes a shift away from jazzy to more orchestral which works extremely well both for the plot and the location.

Score: 1

Fun

Once I let go of my precious nostalgia, this movie was fantastic. I laughed and cheered throughout. My kids both loved it with the two year old laughing at everything Mike did.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a prequel and as such suffers a little at having to fit in the world and story of the first movie. It is, however, a fantastic watch and worth every moment. It’s a beautiful and poignant movie with lots of laughs.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5