Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle  – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

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

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

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

10+ Books for $10 (Aurora Awards Voter Package)

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve talked about the Aurora Awards before.

Now all the nominating is over and it’s time for people to read the nominees and vote for their favourite.

Here’s a list of the nominated works

If you sign up for the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association and pay $10, you’ll have access to most of the nominated works. That’s 10+ novels, collections, short stories, and more. The voters package will be available until voting closes on July 23rd.

What are the Aurora Awards?

aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan-voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

In Conclusion

Sign up, get ebooks, read, and then vote for your favourites. It’s a great deal and you’ll love the books.

So go to https://prixaurorawards.ca/ and click on the “Become a Member” button.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Tomb Raider (2018) – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film Tomb Raider.

Story

I haven’t played the games, but I assume there are some common elements from the stills and trailers I’ve seen. The story isn’t what I expected; I expected a puzzle archaeology movie and got an action movie.

All that being said, the story was pretty good. I wish they’d spent less time with the island action scenes and more with the tomb or puzzles.

My major issues is that it started action / intrigue and the tone switched to horror action once it reached the island. That would work for a book or TV show, but for a movie it felt disjointed.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I have to give credit to the actress because we learn almost nothing about Lara the entire movie other than she’s smart, gets back up, and is very curious. Any urge by the audience to care about the character is due to the charisma the actress brings to it.

The bad guy was perfectly cartoonish and the dad was okay. I liked the captain.

The CEO of of Croft Corp reminded me of Nina Sharp in Fringe played by Blair Brown.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Not super quippy, but very well paced. There’s a lot of mythology and they space it out really well. I also liked that the few puzzles that Lara solves are thought out in dialogue.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Everything in this movie was stunning. Filming was amazing, lighting spectacular, and action just wonderful.

The music was intense and well composed. There were a few times that it was a little early for the scene, which didn’t work for me.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I loved every moment of it, but I regret watching it with the kids. It was a little scarier and more violent than they should be watching. However, that’s on me.

My wife liked it, but found it a little exhausting.

Score: 1

Overall

A roller coaster from start to finish. The tone goes from action to horror, but the cinematography is spectacular. A fun action movie with lots of thrills.

Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Renaissance is looking for readers!

Hello Book Readers,

My publisher is looking for people to read submissions. I would love to do it, but I’m not eligible since I keep submitting books to them.

Read below, and if you’re interested in helping choose what awesome books get published, go ahead and apply.

Thank you,

Éric


There are so many amazing stories out there, and every time we open ourselves to submissions, we become inundated with them, and it’s become evident that we need help! Please read below to see if this is something that might interest you, and please share this call with your network!

What will I be reading?

Renaissance is interested in stories that live in liminal spaces; between genres, between identities, between states. We love to publish stories of joy, triumph, hope, and optimism; but the optimism which takes work and commitment, the joys which come from radical hope and love. These are the stories we hope to receive, and we hope those will be the ones you will read.

What is the time commitment?

You get to choose your level of commitment, whether that is a manuscript once every few years, or one a month, you are only obligated to read and evaluate the manuscripts you’ve committed to, at the frequency of your choice.

How will I rate the books?

We have a comprehensive form for you to fill out which will guide you through the process of commenting by asking you questions about the plot, characters, style, and our specific editorial concerns. We strongly encourage you to read the questions before you read the manuscript so that you are familiar with what you are looking for, and we will send you those questions on a word document along with the manuscript, and most of the questions are answered on a scale of one to ten, with requests for you to comment on why you chose that number (the final submission for your comments is done via Google Forms.)

Who makes the final decision?

We take your comments under serious advisement! However, you do not bear the burden of the final decision. We make sure that a minimum of three readers read each submission; after that, we look at the results of your evaluation, and based on these cumulative results, we determine whether or not the final acquisitions committee will read the manuscript. When the committee does, they will come to a final decision on the manuscript; your role in the selection process is to filter what ends up on their plate.

What’s in it for me?

References

Even though this reading work is done on a volunteer basis, this still counts as work experience, which allows us to act as professional references for you in future employment endeavours!

Industry contacts

Renaissance is a member of the Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec, the Association of Canadian Pubilshers, and the Literary Press Group of Canada. One of our co-founders, Nathan, also sits on the board of directors of LitDistCo. We get all their newsletters, and we keep very informed of what is going on at other independent presses, which means we can easily pass on job opportunities and other industry news to you, as well as invite you to meetings you might be interested to sit in on, which often provide trainings and/or insights in the current Canadian publishing landscape.

Fun books to read

We have received SO MANY amazing stories every time we have opened for submissions in the past, it was sometimes physically painful to say no to some of them. One of (in our opinion) the best perks of reading our incoming manuscripts.

Please apply now if you are interested, and share widely with your network!

Conditions and conflicts of interests

Confidentiality

Authors who submit to us trust us with their precious book babies, and we owe it to them to exercise the utmost discretion with it. Be respectful of their creative labour and do not disclose anything you read about the manuscript outside of filling the forms and speaking to Renaissance staff, whether positive or negative; authors deserve to know their ideas, characters, and worlds are safe with us.

3 years after having published a book with us

If you have published a book with Renaissance before, please know you cannot be a reader for us until three years have passed since original publication.

2 years before publishing a book with us

If you choose to be a reader for Renaissance, please know that you cannot also submit a manuscript for our consideration. You must wait at least two years after your resignation from reading for us before you may submit a manuscript.

Other conflicts of interest

You may not be a reader for Renaissance the same calendar year as a member of your immediate family, such as a spouse, parent, or child, submits a work for publication.

You may not be a reader for a work of which you are friends, ex-friends, ex-partners, or family with the author (this includes cousins, niblings, in-laws, grandparents, etc.), or any other person you have an existing relationship with (neighbour, co-worker, dogsitter, cat’s ex-lover’s sister-in-law, etc.) This rule is true whether the feelings you have towards this person are positive, negative, or neutral.

You may not evaluate a work you are also evaluating for another publishing company.

Please make use of judgement when evaluating whether a conflict of interest exists. You are required to disclose any conflict of interest immediately as they arise.

Apply to be a reader!

Spin – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Spin.

Story

This is a pretty standard Disney formula teen music/sports movie. What’s different here is the lack of the usual tropes associated with this genre. There’s no mean girl, not much friends angst, no racism, and no parents yelling about what is appropriate.

The girl also doesn’t change herself for the boy, which is great.

There is a little bit more parental angst than I’d like and it was handled awkwardly in the story.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The friends and classmates were fantastic. It’s great to see that dynamic. The grandmother was amazing, she stole the show. The brother felt a little superfluous.

The love interest was perfectly annoying, as he should be.

The only character that bothered me was the dad. He had reasons for what he did but they were terribly shown and you really had to read between the lines. It made him seem like he went from supportive to ass without provocation.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was quipy and felt appropriate, if a little extra clean, for the age and characters. I liked the nerdy talk and the pun on tikka masala tacos (tik-taco)

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The scenery and camera work are really well done and perfectly colourful. Perfect for the style of the story.

The music is excellent and had the whole family wanting to dance.

Score: 1

Fun

The entire family was bopping to the music and loving the story. It was really nice to see some of the most frustrating tropes in kids movies were turned upside down or discarded.

Score: 1

Overall

This is the teen movie I wish I’d had as a kid. The supportive friends, family, and teacher are awesome, the music fun, and the grandmother is amazing. If you enjoyed the music based movies from Disney in the early two thousands you’ll love everything about this.

I can’t wait to see it again.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Consider “How I Taught My Dragon” for the Auroras

Hello!

Last year, Jen of JenEric Designs wrote, prepared, ran, and posted a new adventure called How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media.

Effectively, it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughter’s 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she did over 10 months is spectacular, both as a tool for other parents, and as a journey with Keladry.

Please check out the blog and consider nominating it for the Aurora Awards in the category of Best Fan Related Work. Keladry is included as an author because her writing is included on the blog as part of the results. Nominations are open until March 26th.

What are the Aurora Awards?

aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 18th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Thank you!

Éric

PARTY! Digital and Festive!!!

Hello Readers and lovers of books,

Come join me tomorrow from 4-6 for some awesome books and great people. Renaissance Press is hosting a Holiday PARTY!!!

Put on your ugliest holiday sweater and join us for a celebration of the holidays and our latest releases!

There will be readings, heartwarming tales, and multiple treats and prizes to win!

You can register, for free of course, here!

I’ll be reading from the Holiday portion of my newest book Coffee Shop Between the ‘Verses.

Coffee Shop Between The ‘Verses by Éric Desmarais (YA)

Jackie sometimes likes to have conversations with the characters, and as he reads five novellas in the small Ontario town of Baker…

In The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicitous, the grumpy Felix is thrown into an adventure through time, despite his protestations.

In Only Human, Rachel has accidentally signed up for the University of Monsters.

In Wargrave Island, Inspector Riko Dulac has to find out who’s killing all her former high school classmates before there’s no one left.

In Database of the Ageless Kings, Sophia rebuilds an alien ship, only to find the galactic prince still inside.

In Devices of Desire, follow Artemis, Diana, and Ezekiel as they navigate secret identities, demons, and love in the kingdom of Cillian.

Are the characters Jackie is talking with real? Is he just talking to himself? Or is something else going on?

There will be plenty of other awesome authors and generally great people.

Hope to see you there!

Éric

Deck the Halls with Books!

Join me and some other fantastic authors for a few hours of awesomeness.

Put on your ugliest holiday sweater and join us for a celebration of the holidays and our latest releases!

There will be readings, heartwarming tales, and multiple treats and prizes to win!

ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION

Automatically generated live closed captioning will be available for this event. All visual material will be described.

For any additional accessibility inquiries, please contact Renaissance at pressesrenaissancepress@gmail.com

Register now!

About the books

Samantha’s Sandwich Stand by Sonia Saikaley and illustrated by Nathan Caro Frechette (children’s picture book)

Samantha is bored. It is summer and her friends are on vacation. When she sees a lemonade stand, she wants to open one but her father convinces her to sell something different: her mother’s homemade Lebanese cream cheese and cucumber pita sandwiches. But can she convince others that her sandwich treat is just as refreshing and delicious as lemonade? When her friends return from their holidays and offer to help her, along with a very hungry eagle, will customers finally come and buy her sandwiches? Samantha’s Sandwich Stand is an inspiring story about believing in yourself, accepting help from others when something doesn’t succeed at first, and celebrating each other’s differences.

Coffee Shop Between The ‘Verses by Éric Desmarais (YA)

Jackie sometimes likes to have conversations with the characters, and as he reads five novellas in the small Ontario town of Baker…

In The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicitous, the grumpy Felix is thrown into an adventure through time, despite his protestations.

In Only Human, Rachel has accidentally signed up for the University of Monsters.

In Wargrave Island, Inspector Riko Dulac has to find out who’s killing all her former high school classmates before there’s no one left.

In Database of the Ageless Kings, Sophia rebuilds an alien ship, only to find the galactic prince still inside.

In Devices of Desire, follow Artemis, Diana, and Ezekiel as they navigate secret identities, demons, and love in the kingdom of Cillian.

Are the characters Jackie is talking with real? Is he just talking to himself? Or is something else going on?

Beyond the Stone by Jamieson Wolf (queer paranormal romance)

After a schism renders the world unrecognizable, Magic comes out into the open.

Bane is a Supernatural who works for the Clocktower, the organization that is supposed to protect mortals from themselves. Jackson is able to teleport long distances and is also a clairvoyant, something that no mortal should be able to do. That’s the least of their troubles, however. Sparks fly when they meet, even if relationships between mortals and Supernaturals are frowned upon.

When they learn that the Clocktower is keeping mortals and Supernaturals prisoner, Bane knows that they will have to go against the Clocktower in order to break them free… but will they break themselves in the process?

Dissatisfied Me: A Love Story by Bruce D. Gordon (humour)

Rick “Dickie” Duncan is turning fifty. Meh.

On the eve of this mid-century milestone, he finds himself alone in his mother’s Ottawa basement, surrounded by gaudy decor and a carpet that hasn’t been raked in years. Grabbing some brews and frozen hotdogs, Rick rummages through the clutter that’s made up his dissatisfied life.

From the death of Santa to the last days of Scottish Rot, Rick meanders through the decades, mapping his existence amid the pop culture of the ’70s to the present day.

Marking key moments of his unsated misadventures and real-life dating disasters, Rick reminds himself that his journey is a love story. Sort of.

Artificial Divide, edited by Robert Kingett and Randy Lacey

Step into a world of rogue screen readers, Braille in fantasy worlds, a friend meeting an acquaintance after several years, and more.

This #OwnVoices anthology features fiction by Blind and visually impaired authors showing readers how they thrive, hurt, get revenge, outsmart bullies, or go on epic adventures. Artificial Divide is an own-voices story collection that captures the many layers of Blindness and, for once, puts visually impaired protagonists in the driver’s seat, letting us glimpse their lives.

When we think about it, we’re not really divided.

With stories by: Eunice Cooper-Matchett – Anita Haas – Rebecca Blaevoet – Tessa Soderberg – Laurie Alice Eakes – Melissa Yuan-Innes – Jamieson Wolf – Ben Fulton – Felix Imonti – Niki White – M. Leona Godin – Ann Chiappetta – Lawrence Gunther – Heather Meares – Fabiyas M V – Jameyanne Fuller

Shifting Trust by Madona Skaff-Koren

Tyler Demir left the RCMP after an undercover operation he was in charge of turned deadly. Refusing to make life and death decisions anymore, he now works as assistant head of security for a military funded Canadian nano-tech company. But when one of their scientists is kidnapped, the military send Tyler to England to retrieve him.

Not sure who to trust, Tyler uses contacts from his undercover days to get the scientist to safety. At every step, he sees the rescue crumble around him and again he has blood on his hands.

How the hell did he manage to go from a stress-free job, where lives didn’t depend on his split-second decisions, to this?

Please Vote for the Travelling TARDIS

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

As you know, The Travelling TARDIS has been nominated for an Aurora Award. (4th year in a row)

Voting for the Aurora’s is now open and will close on Saturday, September 4, 2021. Please vote for the Travelling TARDIS.

Voter’s Package

The majority of nominated works are available in the voter’s package now. Simply make an account, pay $10, and you’ll have access to a wonderful library of Canadian Science fiction and fantasy.

The Travelling TARDIS isn’t part of the package because you can access it for free on this site.

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Thank you to everyone who nominated and especially to everyone who reads and enjoys our content.

Thank you!

Éric