The Parent Trap (1961) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1961 film The Parent Trap.

Story

The transitions between parts of the movie were a little choppy and uneven, but the story was solid. It had the right amount of twists and turns. I’m not sure if some of it is cliché or if it’s just had a huge influence on YA films afterwards. It’s definitely a product of it’s time with some casual racism and sexism.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I really enjoyed the side characters, the grandfather was awesome and so was the cook. I thought the mother and father were a little annoying, but hilarious. I was impressed with how Hayley Mills had different body language, mannerisms, and movements for each of her characters. It was always obvious which was which.

Score: 1

Dialogue

A lot of the slang in this is antiquated to the point that it took me some time to understand what it meant. It’s not unintelligible, but it was an adjustment.

The movie is quite witty and has a lot of fun lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie’s green screen is uncomfortable, but other than that, the movie is extremely well done. The split screen and body double work is impressive.

The music is good, especially the opening theme.

Score: 1

Fun

The 5yo didn’t want to watch it at first, but loved it pretty quickly. I had never seen it and it was a fun movie that made me smile. For my wife and mother-in-law it was a nostalgic return. We all had fun.

Score: 1

Overall

Mildly dated with some pacing issues, but overall a very fun and funny movie. The acting from Mills is excellent and the attention to detail is great. Definitely earns its place as a Disney classic.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Holiday – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2006 film The Holiday.

Story

The movie is easy to brush off as another rom-com holiday movie, but it has some surprising depth to it’s story and insights on love. The parallel structure both between the stories and between each pair of lovers is amazing.

Score: 1

Characters

Despite some exaggerated characteristics, the characters are well grounded and relatable. Each actor is at their best and it shows that the characters and roles were written for these specific actors. I still think it would be nice to see Jack Black in more romance roles.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There’s a wonderful balance between mid-aughts slang, romance tropes, and dialogue inspired by classic films. It gives the film a historic and timeless feel.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Between this viewing and the last we upgraded from a DVD to a Blu-ray and upgraded our TV to 4K. The jump in colour and depth was amazing. This movie looked foggy and grey before and now looks vibrant and sharp.

With the upgraded tech, I can see the impressive camera work and hear the music better. The music goes the extra mile to give each character a theme and even make it so that they are played at a different tempo and key depending on the situation. Example, when they’re having a hard time, things go minor. Another cool trick is the melding of the romantic lead’s themes when they’re being romantic.

Score: 1

Fun

I always expect to find this movie long or get annoyed with the plot, but I don’t. It’s a story that makes me sad and happy and leaves me feeling satisfied. It’s just enjoyable.

The kids, however, got bored. It’s a little more talky and emotional than they fully grasp right now.

Score: 1

Overall

This movie plays on the actors’ strengths and develops believable and lovable characters. It’s got just enough of a classic movie feel combined with a good romance to make it unique and fun to watch.

Definitely a feel-good movie with lots of depth.

Final Score: 5 Stars out of 5*


*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.

Muppets Haunted Mansion – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 special Muppets Haunted Mansion.

Story

This was a love story to the beloved ride. The story is a bare bones outline of the ride with some touching moments in between.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main characters are Gonzo and Pepe. I find Pepe extremely annoying, I’ve never been a fan of the womanizing characters. I understand why they used him for this story, though.

Gonzo goes through a good story arc and speaks to older fans and younger ones as well.

The rest of the muppets have nice cameos.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

It was everything a good muppets movie should be. It had music, puns, and lots of jokes. I especially liked the shameless use of quotes from the ride.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It was a very well shot and designed film. The background details are designed for that cross-section of Haunted Mansion fans and Muppet fans. Down to muppet-a-fying the wallpaper.

The music is a lot of fun and I wish there had been more. I liked the spooky muppet show opening song version at the end.

Score: 1

Fun

Be warned that although this isn’t scary, it does have a lot of jump scares. The kids liked it, although the five year old found it too scary due to the jump scares.

It was nice and nostalgic for those of us that grew up with the muppets show and movies.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a wonderful mix of classic Muppet humour and nostalgia for the Haunted Mansion ride. The littles might dislike the jump scares, but overall it’s a lot of fun.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5.

The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

Stephen King is a fantastic author, a man that truly understands his characters and how to scare his audience. He’s best known for his horror but has written some amazing science fiction, fantasy, and heartwarming works.

The Shining is probably one of his best known works due to the Kubric movie adaptation.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

There are five main characters in the book and we see a glimpse into each one but we mostly see the development of the Torrence Family. All in excruciating detail. They each feel real and like friends going through a terrible time.

I didn’t like

If you haven’t seen the movie or tv adaptation, you still know how this will end. It’s a large shadow of inevitability. It was amazingly done but the slow decent into madness was almost painful as a reader. I understand that was the goal but it was difficult to read and made me want to stop.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

King has an amazing way of swinging from exist descriptions to crude turns of phrase. Often he even mixes them. When we saw from Jack’s (the father) point of view, it was often filled with clichéd thoughts or crude turns of phrase. Almost as if King was trying to tell us that Jack as a writer wasn’t as good as he believed.

In contrast when we followed Danny (the son) his thoughts were poetic and beautiful. In the way that kids’ minds often are. Showing him to be the real hero.

I didn’t like

Often things were repeated from different viewpoints in what felt needless. The repetition served to remind us what was going to happen and why but it felt like it was overdone. That said it was written for an audience 35 years ago that might not have been as savvy with genre concepts.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was set in one location for most of the book. Despite the stagnation in place, there is always a feeling that something is happening and that we are going somewhere with the story.

All the events are foreshadowed. Everything is structured and the book doesn’t pull any punches in scariness or character pain.

I didn’t like

The moments of joy are all at the beginning and a little at the end. This isn’t a happy story. It doesn’t pretend to be.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

I loved the characters and the writing. It’s a true classic in horror literature. It was overall very well done.

I didn’t like

I knew what would happen and I didn’t like it. It made reading harder than it should have. Less the fault of the author and more the fault of the reader.

I give it 2 out of 5 for fun

Overall

The book is very different than the movies. Make sure to check your preconceptions at the door.

This isn’t the best Stephen King novel I’ve read but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s an amazing book. If you like horror and don’t mind a sad book, it’s more than worth the read.

Final score is 70%

The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

Stephen King is a fantastic author, a man that truly understands his characters and how to scare his audience. He’s best known for his horror but has written some amazing science fiction, fantasy, and heartwarming works.

The Shining is probably one of his best known works due to the Kubric movie adaptation.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

There are five main characters in the book and we see a glimpse into each one but we mostly see the development of the Torrence Family. All in excruciating detail. They each feel real and like friends going through a terrible time.

I didn’t like

If you haven’t seen the movie or tv adaptation, you still know how this will end. It’s a large shadow of inevitability. It was amazingly done but the slow decent into madness was almost painful as a reader. I understand that was the goal but it was difficult to read and made me want to stop.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

King has an amazing way of swinging from exist descriptions to crude turns of phrase. Often he even mixes them. When we saw from Jack’s (the father) point of view, it was often filled with clichéd thoughts or crude turns of phrase. Almost as if King was trying to tell us that Jack as a writer wasn’t as good as he believed.

In contrast when we followed Danny (the son) his thoughts were poetic and beautiful. In the way that kids’ minds often are. Showing him to be the real hero.

I didn’t like

Often things were repeated from different viewpoints in what felt needless. The repetition served to remind us what was going to happen and why but it felt like it was overdone. That said it was written for an audience 35 years ago that might not have been as savvy with genre concepts.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was set in one location for most of the book. Despite the stagnation in place, there is always a feeling that something is happening and that we are going somewhere with the story.

All the events are foreshadowed. Everything is structured and the book doesn’t pull any punches in scariness or character pain.

I didn’t like

The moments of joy are all at the beginning and a little at the end. This isn’t a happy story. It doesn’t pretend to be.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

I loved the characters and the writing. It’s a true classic in horror literature. It was overall very well done.

I didn’t like

I knew what would happen and I didn’t like it. It made reading harder than it should have. Less the fault of the author and more the fault of the reader.

I give it 2 out of 5 for fun

Overall

The book is very different than the movies. Make sure to check your preconceptions at the door.

This isn’t the best Stephen King novel I’ve read but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s an amazing book. If you like horror and don’t mind a sad book, it’s more than worth the read.

Final score is 70%