Scoob! – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Scoob!

Story

The movie was a fun adventure with a lot of the fun of traditional Scooby-Doo stories but completely lacks in the mystery department. There’s not question as to who the villain is after the first ten minutes.

Score: 0.5

Characters

This had a lot of the 70’s Hanna-Barbera characters. Some felt like great additions to the story like Dee-Dee Skyes as the Blue Falcon’s pilot (she was awesome), others felt a little forced like Captain-Caveman.

The main five characters were all there and shown in much better light than previous movies. They were extremely well cast and well acted. The major problem was that by splitting the group up immediately there was less character interactions between them. It also meant that Fred, Velma, and Daphne all have less screen time and almost no arc.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Scooby-Doo usually contains puns, self-referential humour, and breaking of the 4th wall. This movie didn’t disappoint in that. It was great hearing all the little jokes and will take multiple viewings to catch them all.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation was colourful and flashy. It lacked the depth of the older animations or of the big 3D animation studios. I was never caught up in the beauty or in the little background details. The background details being something that I’ve always loved about Scooby-Doo.

The music was good but not memorable. It did its job but didn’t go beyond that.

Score: 0.5

Fun

There were very few dull moments and the movie was entertaining. I enjoyed what was there but missed what wasn’t. It kept my interest and my daughter’s the whole time and even my 1 year old watched it for a while.

Score: 1

Overall

This had all the elements of Scooby-Doo but lacked the mystery and the background details to make it truly authentic. It was a fun movie but lacked depth.

I hope they can make a second movie with the same cast and truly dive into a good mystery.

Alternately I’d love to see a young Mystery Inc. movie.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars

Éric’s 2020 Resolutions Mid-Year Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Well… Oh Boy… nearly half way through 2020… It’s been quite a year for the world.

So let’s see how I’m doing with my resolutions for 2020.

https://www.comicskingdom.com/Macanudo/

Writing

1. Finish Writing The Dancing Lights (Failing)

I’m still about a third of the way through… It’s been hard to write this year. I’m still hoping to having to beta readers by September or October but…

2. Finish Writing Paragenesis (No Movement)

If I’m lucky enough to finish Dancing Lights by October I’ll try and finish this one. It’s so close I can taste it.

3. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

So far so good. This reminds me; I better go get on that, eh?

Read this year’s serial story

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Succeeding)

There was a major change in this year’s lineup but we’re doing well. Hopefully we have enough TARDIS pictures to last until we can get more.

5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Succeeding)

We released Crowley’s Temptation and I think we’re going to maybe release something in the Fall, but I’m not sure.

6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG (No Movement)

I’m probably going to push this one back. I wanted something for Ottawa Comic Con but I doubt that’s happening and I’m not comfortable investing the time or money into this for this year.

Editing and Marketing

7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds (Succeeding )

We finished a high level campaign and I’m pretty happy with how it went. It needs a little more work but we’ll get there. I’m going to continue to beta-test various parts, but for now I’m not rushing anything.

8. Figure out how to market my books better (No Movement)

This is a great goal and a great idea… I put my books up on our coffee site and sold a few but I don’t think I’m going to spend much energy on this one this year.

Personal

9. Read 20 books (Failing)

I’m at 4 of twenty and I’m reading slowly. Between Pegasus waking a lot, pandemic stress, and no bus to work I’ve found it hard to find time to read.

10. Don’t Burnout (Succeeding)

I’ll be honest, I constantly feel on the brink of a breakdown. I’m trying really hard to not let that happen. 2020 isn’t an easy time for this resolution.

11. Be More Patient (Trying)

My daughter is in a licking/biting phase (again) and my son is trying really hard to learn how to talk which means he just screams like a horror movie vixen. It’s hard to keep my cool, but other than a few times I’ve used “Angry Dad” voice instead of “Losing Control and Likely to punch a wall” voice so I’ll say that’s a win.

12. Play Some Video games with Dragon (Succeeding)

We’ve played a few times and she’s really improving. Hopefully we’ll do more soon.

13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon (Succeeding)

We’ve had 2 board game nights so far and they went well. She’s not grasping the strategy of the games, but she is getting the mechanics which is good. Our current favourite is The Mysterious Forest. It’s a co-op memory game with a little resource management. She mostly loves being in charge of the stuff.


That’s not as bad as I expected. So far I’m succeeding at 7, Trying with 1, No Movement on 3, and outright Failing on 2. I expected much worse.

I’m not adding or changing anything this year. Who knows what 2020 still has in store for us. Hopefully I can continue at this pace.

Stay Safe, Wash your hands, and be kind,

Éric

Reviews

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The best way to help an author is to leave a short review of their work on Amazon or Goodreads. Even anonymous reviews count towards something. Write what you liked and what you didn’t or just a line of what you thought.

The more a book is reviewed the more it’ll show up on recommendations and the more people will see it.

If you didn’t know I have three books out that you can review:

Please and thank you for your time,

Éric

Blood Relations by Caroline Fréchette – Book Review

In my continuing mission to read the first in every series I haven’t read yet but I own. I read Blood Relations.

Full disclosure I have known the author for nearly 2 years and I’d consider her a friend. She is also one of the head people at Renaissance Press, to whom I may have submitted a book.

None of this really matters cause I’d be completely honest either way, or if it was really really bad I might pretend I didn’t read it. Yeah I can be a coward.

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

BloodrelationsCharacters

I liked

The main character is involved in organized crime and has some serious “daddy” issues but is incredibly likeable. His likeability probably stems from the fact that throughout the book he is trying to help people.

The secondary characters are well fleshed out even if we don’t fully know their motivations.

I didn’t like

There is a lot of vice from the innocuous like drinking cola, to heavy drug use. The main character is a chain smoker and even though it’s important to the character development, I’m not a fan.

I also find that the style and the fact that the main character is both young and not great with other’s emotions that we don’t get as much of a depth of knowledge about the other characters.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

I normally dislike present tense. It’s very hard to do properly and I’ve rarely seen it done well throughout a novel or series. Even the Hunger Games only manages to do it well for 80% of the books.

The author however wields the first person present tense as if they’d being using it their entire life. It’s skillfully done from choice of information to description and word choice. I can’t state and stronger how impressed I am with the author’s skill.

I didn’t like

The only issues I had with style were due to the limitations of first person narratives.

I give it 5 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The flow of the novel is extremely well balanced. Being someone who takes a week or two to read a book I appreciate the slower character moments between high action scenes. The story was built to ebb and flow without spending too much time world building or dumping information.

The tropes and structure of the book are closer to Horror than Urban-Fantasy. Often times Urban-Fantasy gets bogged down by long infodumps about how the world is really different. While this story borrowed from classic supernatural horror movies and gave small bits in between action.

I didn’t like

In the same way that the Horror structure helped the flow of the novel it also detracted from the wonder that comes with Fantasy or Urban-Fantasy. The wonder of realizing that there is a great big world of supernatural. The information about the supernatural world was so sparse that it didn’t feel like the world was that big.

None of this detracted from the engrossing and fun plot.

I give the story 5 out of 5

Fun

I liked

The characters, the action, and the witty dialogue were all very fun.

I didn’t like

Again the smoking and drugs weren’t fun for me. I also felt the fight scenes with the vampires were a little fast. I also feel that the main character’s supernatural abilities didn’t progress at all, he used them a lot but never seemed to improve in control.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Blood Relations is an action packed and emotional ride through a Supernatural, Horror, and film noir style story. It challenges and bends the tropes of all three styles into something completely unique and compelling. The author has a command of style and language which is rare in a first novel.

If you enjoy Horror, Urban-Fantasy, or Supernatural stories, you’re going to want to pick up this book.

Final score is 90%

Feeling Old and a Mission

Short Story Collection

The other day I came up with the idea of collecting my short stories and maybe self-publishing them. My first instinct was that I’d never have enough and I’d have to write more.

After looking through my writing folders I certainly have enough content but I’m not convinced I have enough quality… Yet.

I get a perverse joy out of reading my old stories and pretending someone else wrote them. It’s easy, seeing as even some things on this blog I don’t remember writing. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, but boy is there a lot of it.

Feeling Old

I feel old when I look through the folder and find some of my stories that are just shy of 2 decades old. My early stories could vote. That’s frightening. I didn’t consider myself a writer until I finished my first novel “Cerulean Skies” and even then I never considered writing regularly, but looking back I’ve been writing, in one form or another, for over twenty five years. I remember the first novel I tried to write. I had almost finished it and left it in an envelope. I found it when I moved to Ottawa in 2002, but I had made the terrible mistake of using pencil and it had faded beyond recognition.

I found some Dungeons and Dragons writing that I did for my first big campaign. I remember it being massive in scope. When I looked at it today it was barely 9000 words. Or as most of my author friends would call it, a few days’ work.

I think I’ll stick to stories that were written within the past decade for the collection.

I’m Terribly Sorry

There are several serial stories that I have written that I promised to write more and I seem to have completely forgotten.

If you’re interested in reading them here are the links:

Armstrong 3 (Space ship Science Fiction) – 2009

The Professor (Archeological Action Adventure) – 2009

The Cosmic Cuckoos (Adventure Science Fiction) – 2014

I plan on not only continuing these stories but re-writing and editing them into a coherent total. One of them may even become my next serialized story.

I have a Mission

I discovered around Christmas that I’d been collecting Urban-Fantasy/Fantasy series at an alarming rate. At last count, I have over 50 of them and more than 20 that I hadn’t read. No seriously, I have one series where I own the first 8 books and I’ve never read the author before.

In order to pare down my library and make sure I like the books, I’m on a quest to read the first in each series. I’ll be posting short reviews of each of the books unless I really love them or hate them.

Here’s what I’ve read so far this year and my opinions:

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

A great start and a wonderful read. I look forward to the next one. Rating: 80%

Night Child by Jes Battis

Not a terrible book but very uneven. The author’s metaphors were awkward, the characters were stupid and the style wasn’t consistent. Not planning on reading the rest of the series.

This book had so much potential and angered me so much that it gets the lowest rating I’ve ever given with 40%

Blood Relations by Caroline Fréchette

Check out my full review this Thursday.

 

That’s 3 down and 19 more to go.

 

What’s your favourite fantasy, science fiction, or urban fantasy? Let me know and I may add it to my list.

Recomendation Wednesday – Silver Stag Entertainment

Hello,

This week’s Recommendation Wednesday is for a Webseries and web organization.

I’ve mentioned them before but Silver Stag Entertainment, is a great website that delves into Books, Movies, and all the awesome speculative fiction stuff.

Go ahead and follow them on:

Their Youtube channel has several great shows and covers book readings/launches.

Let me be honest with you; I’m an occasional contributor to their Nights at the Round Table (NatRT) show that reviews and discusses books and movies. So this is mildly self-serving but even if I wasn’t involved I would follow, subscribe, etc because the people who run it are awesome!

Silver Stag Entertainment has only been around for half a year now and I’m impressed with what they’ve been able to accomplish. I also look forward to seeing how they’ll grow and the wonderful things they’ll do in the future.

Enjoy the bloopers below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Reto-ogBLCg&w=560&h=315]
Éric

The Swiss Family Robinson (1960) – Movie Review

220px-Swiss_family_robinson322

Silver Stag Entertainment will be reviewing Pirates of the Caribbean March 16th. In order to prepare to re-watch it my wife and I are going to watch a bunch of old “Pirate” movies.

Arguably this movie isn’t about Pirates, and the original book didn’t have any Pirates in it, but it was a start and I hadn’t watched it in decades.

Characters

The characters were completely unlikeable. We have the super whiny youngest boy, the smart ass moping middle boy, the muscle bound lovable but dumb oldest, the overly stern father with a heart of gold, the useless mother, and the whiny useless flirty love interest.

The only likeable character was the Captain/Uncle who ends up saving the day.

Each character has their likable moments but overall I was almost cheering for the pirates

I won’t start ranting about how useless the women were in this movie. Let’s just say that they had less importance as characters and more importance as set pieces.

I give it 1 out of 5 for Characters

Story

The story was disjointed transitioning too quickly between scenes and taking too much time with parts of little importance.

The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a family drama, survival movie, action adventure, or love story. Instead of integrating each style into the overall movie they wrote the scenes separately and sewed it together like some sort of Frankenstein’s monster.

If they had cut out the survival in the jungle scenes between the two boys and the girl it would have shaved 20 minutes off the movie and helped the flow.

I think the family scenes were heartwarming and make the movie.

I give it 2 out of 5 for Story

Sight and Sound

This was a beautiful movie, despite the low quality version we have, it’s filled with real jungle and real animals. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much a real tiger will add to a movie compared to a CGI recreation.

The soundtrack wasn’t memorable but it wasn’t bad either.

The screatching of the youngest was a little annoying though.

I give it 3 out of 5 for Sight and Sound

Fun

Most of the movie was cringe worthy but it did have enough scenes that were fun to watch that I didn’t hate every moment of my time.

I give it 3 out of 5 for Fun

Overall

It’s an uneven, chauvinistic, frustrating, but mildly entertaining movie. It’s a movie that is desperately in need for a remake.

If you don’t mind stupid characters and want to see a fun old style live action Disney movie this might be for you.

Final Score is 45%

The Swiss Family Robinson (1960) – Movie Review

220px-Swiss_family_robinson322

Silver Stag Entertainment will be reviewing Pirates of the Caribbean March 16th. In order to prepare to re-watch it my wife and I are going to watch a bunch of old “Pirate” movies.

Arguably this movie isn’t about Pirates, and the original book didn’t have any Pirates in it, but it was a start and I hadn’t watched it in decades.

Characters

The characters were completely unlikeable. We have the super whiny youngest boy, the smart ass moping middle boy, the muscle bound lovable but dumb oldest, the overly stern father with a heart of gold, the useless mother, and the whiny useless flirty love interest.

The only likeable character was the Captain/Uncle who ends up saving the day.

Each character has their likable moments but overall I was almost cheering for the pirates

I won’t start ranting about how useless the women were in this movie. Let’s just say that they had less importance as characters and more importance as set pieces.

I give it 1 out of 5 for Characters

Story

The story was disjointed transitioning too quickly between scenes and taking too much time with parts of little importance.

The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a family drama, survival movie, action adventure, or love story. Instead of integrating each style into the overall movie they wrote the scenes separately and sewed it together like some sort of Frankenstein’s monster.

If they had cut out the survival in the jungle scenes between the two boys and the girl it would have shaved 20 minutes off the movie and helped the flow.

I think the family scenes were heartwarming and make the movie.

I give it 2 out of 5 for Story

Sight and Sound

This was a beautiful movie, despite the low quality version we have, it’s filled with real jungle and real animals. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much a real tiger will add to a movie compared to a CGI recreation.

The soundtrack wasn’t memorable but it wasn’t bad either.

The screatching of the youngest was a little annoying though.

I give it 3 out of 5 for Sight and Sound

Fun

Most of the movie was cringe worthy but it did have enough scenes that were fun to watch that I didn’t hate every moment of my time.

I give it 3 out of 5 for Fun

Overall

It’s an uneven, chauvinistic, frustrating, but mildly entertaining movie. It’s a movie that is desperately in need for a remake.

If you don’t mind stupid characters and want to see a fun old style live action Disney movie this might be for you.

Final Score is 45%

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – Book Review

210331I’d heard of Susan Cooper before but had never read any of her books. They were on my “To read, maybe someday, if I remember, who knows” list but hadn’t gotten to them yet.

Last month S.M. Carrière asked me to join Silver Stag Entertainment as a contributor. All I had to do was sit with other people and discuss movies and books. That’s how I joined The Nights of the Round Table.

The first book was Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. If you hadn’t guessed yet.

You can join the NotRT bookclub on Goodreads, and watch the review on Youtube.

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

I really enjoyed the ominous and creepy villain but wished we’d been properly introduced to him earlier on. I also enjoyed Barney who was the only fleshed out character in the book.

I also enjoyed that the main characters spoke to each other, as if they were siblings. It’s a fine line between friends and siblings but the banter is a little different and Cooper nailed it.

I didn’t like

I felt that for the size of the book, there were too many characters that didn’t get fleshed out. The parents were basicly set pieces.

Other than the scene where the Uncle lays out what’s going on, I found he was more or less useless. He was so useful that the author needed to pull a Gandalf and have him disappear.

For characters, I give it 2 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The language in this book was wonderful. It wasn’t dumbed down or over explained. I also liked the weaving of Arthurian myth into the story. It was a very simple book and didn’t pretend to be anything more.

I didn’t like

I felt she spent too much time describing how they solve the puzzle and not enough explaining the puzzle.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

I liked the second half of the books, action. It was quick and well-paced. Again I think a little trimming of characters might have helped the pace.

I didn’t like

The beginning was just so slow and I kept thinking certain people were more important than others. It was a little frustrating that the Author introduced characters and possible stories and then didn’t follow through.

I give the story 3 out of 5

Fun

I liked

It was light and easy to read. The language was nice and it was an Arthurian Quest. It was written to be fun and that’s what it was. I also really like the part at the end with the Uncles name.

I didn’t like

How slow it was to begin or that the majority of characters aren’t fleshed out as much as they should have been.

It shows that the author made the characters interesting if one of my major complaints is that she didn’t let me see more of them.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

It’s an interesting book that holds a lot of nostalgic value for people who read it as children. Since I read it as an adult I can see the flaws in the over-simplicity of the story.

Final score is 65%

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – Book Review

210331I’d heard of Susan Cooper before but had never read any of her books. They were on my “To read, maybe someday, if I remember, who knows” list but hadn’t gotten to them yet.

Last month S.M. Carrière asked me to join Silver Stag Entertainment as a contributor. All I had to do was sit with other people and discuss movies and books. That’s how I joined The Nights of the Round Table.

The first book was Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. If you hadn’t guessed yet.

You can join the NotRT bookclub on Goodreads, and watch the review on Youtube.

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

I really enjoyed the ominous and creepy villain but wished we’d been properly introduced to him earlier on. I also enjoyed Barney who was the only fleshed out character in the book.

I also enjoyed that the main characters spoke to each other, as if they were siblings. It’s a fine line between friends and siblings but the banter is a little different and Cooper nailed it.

I didn’t like

I felt that for the size of the book, there were too many characters that didn’t get fleshed out. The parents were basicly set pieces.

Other than the scene where the Uncle lays out what’s going on, I found he was more or less useless. He was so useful that the author needed to pull a Gandalf and have him disappear.

For characters, I give it 2 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The language in this book was wonderful. It wasn’t dumbed down or over explained. I also liked the weaving of Arthurian myth into the story. It was a very simple book and didn’t pretend to be anything more.

I didn’t like

I felt she spent too much time describing how they solve the puzzle and not enough explaining the puzzle.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

I liked the second half of the books, action. It was quick and well-paced. Again I think a little trimming of characters might have helped the pace.

I didn’t like

The beginning was just so slow and I kept thinking certain people were more important than others. It was a little frustrating that the Author introduced characters and possible stories and then didn’t follow through.

I give the story 3 out of 5

Fun

I liked

It was light and easy to read. The language was nice and it was an Arthurian Quest. It was written to be fun and that’s what it was. I also really like the part at the end with the Uncles name.

I didn’t like

How slow it was to begin or that the majority of characters aren’t fleshed out as much as they should have been.

It shows that the author made the characters interesting if one of my major complaints is that she didn’t let me see more of them.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

It’s an interesting book that holds a lot of nostalgic value for people who read it as children. Since I read it as an adult I can see the flaws in the over-simplicity of the story.

Final score is 65%