Disenchanted – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Disenchanted.

Story

This is a fantastic take on an alternate reality/wish style story. While the first one’s emotion was all tied up in the conflict between “jaded” and “fairytale” love, this one is all about not being happy and finding your place.

Each character is treated to their own character arc and it’s solidly built. The story did feel like it had been developed as a TV show and then shrunk down into a movie and I think some of the emotion and story ideas could have been better served with a longer runtime.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The casting for Morgan was scary impressive. I had to double check that it wasn’t the same actress. Amy Adams made me, once again, wonder why we don’t see her in more musical roles. I also now want to see her play more villains.

The rest of the cast did an excellent job.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Extremely believable, I like that they leaned into the dissonance between the fairytale language and modern day.

I also really appreciated Amy Adams arguing with herself and the Gollum-style camera work.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The scenery and camerawork felt smaller than the first one. The dance numbers smaller but more intricate. It’s a beautiful set and great acting, but shows they didn’t have the budget for massive set pieces.

They thankfully gave Idina Menzel something to sing in this one. I loved the music and I’m glad there was more of it.

Score: 1

Fun

There’s a certain melancholy in this one compared to the first, but it’s somehow more optimistic. Love isn’t a magical uncertain thing, it’s a certainty and the characters never seem to doubt it.

The entire family was glued to the screen and enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

There’s a grandness missing compared to the first, but it still has all the heart, warmth, and magic. The music is excellent and Amy Adams is a fantastic villain.

This was a joyful addition to the first movie and was just as enchanting.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Health Update end of November

Hello Friends and Readers,

As you’ve read, I’ve had a few health issues of late. Long story short, I have some sort of injury to my arms. It’s been painful and limiting since June.

To catch up, here’s my first health update,  here’s my second health update,  here’s the one from Septemberhere’s the update from October, and here’s the update for early November.

My doctor finally sent my files to WSIB. (Suspiciously after Jen had a talk with him during Dragon’s physical appointment.) That’s the good news.

Back in 2020 or 2019 I went to see the doctor about my hands hurting. They ache when the weather changes and it’s anoying and hurts, but wasn’t getting worse with use. (Thankfully, since I wrote 4 novels and finished one afterwards) He did some x-rays and couldn’t find anything wrong, so he sent me to physio. I got the referral in early 2020 and when the pandemic hit, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

That’s all in my medical history and someone or something flagged it as needing to be assessed with WSIB. So they need to decide if the pain in my hands is the same thing as the pain in my arms.

WSIB rules say that workplace injuries have to be declared within 6 months. In other words, if they decide this is the same thing, they’re cutting me loose and saying good luck.

Assuming everything goes well, it’ll be a week for them to decide it’s a different injury and then another week to decide if I get sent to their clinic.

Best case scenario, I’ll get to see a WSIB doctor in the new year… worst case I need to go through my family doctor and we’re talking 6-18 months to see a neurologist.

My pain is averaging a 7 or 8 most days and the tingling and numbness in my arms has spread to the shoulders. On my left side, it’s affecting my face. It feels like the muscle has fallen asleep.

The hardest part is at night. With painkillers and voltaren, I still wake up every 20-30 minutes because of the pain.

I’m tired, I’m in pain, and it’s getting worse every week. I’m not sure how much longer I can go at this pace, but I’m trying my best to cooperate with WSIB in hopes that I can see a doctor soon.

I’m feeling really defeated…

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 11 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 11: Planting trees and travelling the realms

“Be warned,” Randi said as she handed Titania the rainbow glass ring. “Anyone who succeeds in freeing him will take his place.”

Oberon, Titania, Randi and I stood in an offshoot of the Maze Between the Worlds, a creation of Merlin’s that would allow anyone with the will to travel between Everworld, Earth, Fay, and someday Albion.

In the small dead end was an angry tree that used to be Melchior. 

“Maybe someday he’ll have learned his lesson and deserve a return to Fay life.” Titania sounded hopeful.

“What do we do now?” asked Oberon.

I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I replied by saying, “Randi has taught you the ritual to strip powers called the Mireinio. It will turn our children into regular Fay, or if they’re half human, they can choose human. We must each agree to do so by their tenth birthday.”

They all nodded except Oberon who added, “I meant about the rings?”

Randi replied this time, “We keep them secret and safe. No one needs to know.”

“We know. What if one of us gets power hungry and decides to conquer?” Oberon looked at Randi suspiciously.

It took all my self control to not burst into laughter. 

Randi’s brow furrowed but her eyes were filled with the most delightful mischief as she replied, “I swear on Fay itself that I will never try to conquer, coerce, or capture any of the four Fay rings of power of which I have no claim.” Swearing on a Fay is binding, the realm itself would ensure she kept her promise.

Titania and Oberon stood mouths agape, even Melchior the tree was quiet. I repeated the oath myself with ease; I didn’t want to be a king, god, or leader.

It took them a long time, but eventually my siblings followed suit.

“We must help clean up the mess our son created. Fay still needs leadership,” Titania said and looked at me expectantly.

“I think I’d be more interested in visiting Earth and establishing ties with Everworld.”

“Fine. Someday you’ll need to grow up and take responsibility for our world.” 

That was the last time I saw or spoke to my siblings. They went on to rule Fay for generations, setting the framework for the nine kingdoms and then they disappeared. No one can tell me where they went or what happened. One day, they got up and rode into the Deep Realms and never returned.

I took Randi’s hand and she smiled at me sadly. “I can’t travel with you this time.” When I looked confused, she said, “I have to return to the fissure in the Deep Realms and sew it closed.”

“I can go with you,” I offered.

“You are the Guardian of Imagination and one of the original Fay. Your magic wouldn’t work and would disrupt what I need to do.” I knew she was right, her magic was of pure chaos with the flavour of nature. She was the wind that changed, I was the story explaining where the wind came from. My presence would distract and undermine hers as she closed the fissure between our universe and the other.

She was gone that first time for fifty years as I travelled the Earth and met its people. Humans have such capacity for stories and imagination that I found myself falling in love. I never acted on it and I confessed the second night of her return. She laughed at me.

“Of course you love the humans. They are chaos, imagination, and stories all wrapped into flesh. The Fay reflect an aspect of your power, they are your children, but they are too much the same.”

“You don’t resent it?” I asked, surprised.

“Do you still love me beyond all others?”

I answered without hesitation, “Yes!”

“Then don’t worry. Love, but remember Mireinio.” We conceived our first children together that night on top of mount Olympus.

Over the years, I met and loved many humans. I was father, and mother, to more children than I could count. 

It was after I’d left my friend William with a great idea for a play that Randi and I decided Titania was right.

My children and descendants were many and I was tired of not giving them a place to live. Travelling between Earth and Everworld was great, but I needed a home.

My brother and sister’s disappearance had destabilised the Fay kingdoms and from that strife had risen powerful leaders whose magic was more than a regular Fay. They rose to power on their strength and ruled.

Just because they had power didn’t mean they were good rulers and I chose the cruellest lord and settled into his kingdom. I made myself a nice home and with my children. I had a wonderful household. It had been long enough since I’d been back and my siblings disappeared that we’d faded into myth. So much so that it had become a trend to name themselves after one of us. 

It wasn’t long before the Fay lord became angry at my prosperity and declared me an enemy. I made it clear that I would pay fair wages and protection to any that would join me.

The lord found himself with a dozen loyal courtiers and a few soldiers while I took over his kingdom.

The kingdom thrived, as did Fay herself. That’s when I discovered that while I was gone, plagues, pestilence, and marauding creatures from the Goblin Markets had enveloped Fay. It had become a dark and dangerous place. 

The longer I stayed, the better the Realm became, as if my presence was its fuel. That’s when I vowed never to leave Fay again, and I wish I could have kept that vow.

Read Chapter 12 (December 2022)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Enola Holmes 2 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Enola Holmes 2.

Story

With less set up needed then the first one (Enola Homes Movie Review), there’s more room for the story, characters, and world to breathe and grow.

I liked the mystery and all its twists and turns.

Score: 1

Characters

The characters are consistant with the first movie and mostly keep the same cast. There’s no Mycroft, but that’s a good thing, letting Sherlock and Enola grow as siblings. I have to say that I adore this version of Sherlock. He’s warm, kind, but still jaded, manic, and brilliant.

Enola is clever, charismatic, and soooooo young. It’s great to see that the writers didn’t just copy-paste a younger Sherlock.

At first I was a little annoyed at the inclusion of Moriarty, but it was done so well and acted amazingly.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is witty, quick, and loaded with multiple meanings and references.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Everything is bigger in this one, the fights are more dramatic, the dancing more impressive, and the camera work is excellent.

The music was extremely well-placed and beautiful.

Score: 1

Fun

I love both action and mystery when they are well done and this was extremely well done. Lots of twists and turns, lots of great characters, and some great historical elements.

Score: 1

Overall

Surpassing the first by virtue of wasting less time on setup and more on the actual mysteries. Henry Cavill is a splendid broody Holmes and Millie Bobby Brown is both believable and delightful in the role. If you enjoy a good mystery and can enjoy a new Sherlock, this is a great choice.

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.

When did I get old?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Douglas Adams had some rules about technology:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

I started looking at replacing an old CD player and found out that home audio CD players that plug into an amp are now antiquated. You can buy the high end stuff, but nothing at the lower end. I was hoping they were 50-100, but in that range you need to get a blu-ray player or a bluetooth CD player that looks suspiciously like my Sony Discman from 2003.

I had the same issue when looking for burnable CDs, and blu-ray burners.

I guess the technology that I’m used to using is slowly dying. I’m going to be very salty when optical disks die. Streaming is great, but rights change and disappear. Owning the physical media means you can watch it whenever you want. Even during a nation-wide internet outage.

Okay… I’ll go back to yelling at clouds. (Nothing like a 20 year old meme right?)

Éric

Stress relief with an arm injury

Hello Readers,

My biggest stress relievers before my injury were playing video games, making pretty noises on the ukulele, reading, writing, and baking.

All of those use your arms.

I was able to make some adjustments and still bake. I have an excellent helper and a wonderful new mixer. I can even write in small bursts or with text to speech.

I can read on my kobo if I prop it on some pillows. However, reading outside the house is near impossible without hurting my neck. I definitely can’t read when I’m getting physio. My wonderful wife recomended I listen to an audiobook.

We owned the Percy Jackson series so I listened to those and they were great. I then discovered the AMAZING selection of audiobooks available at the Ottawa Public Library. I’m really impressed with their selection.

Audiobooks have been a massive help in relaxing while at work. I’m currently supposed to work 20 minutes and then rest for 30. I do my stretches and listen to my audiobooks. It’s relaxing and means I’m not holding my phone or figiting too much.

So yes, Yay for audiobooks! And double yay for the OPL!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Galaxy Quest – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1999 film Galaxy Quest.

Story

The story is simple, but has wonderful layers. The nods to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Alien are great. I like the nods to Nemoy’s books and the drama behind the scenes while still keeping the spirit of classic science fiction. I”m impressed at how well it holds up after twenty-three years.

That being said, it glosses over or outright ignores the socially progressive nature of it’s influences. I like the diversity of the cast, but it doesn’t reference or push any of the same boundaries that Star Trek did 33 years earlier.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are great amalgams of the Star Trek characters and caricatures of their actors. Each one could have been annoying, but ended up being very endearing.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is believable and wonderfully tongue in cheek. I liked the technobabble and the wonderful freak outs by Guy.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects stand up extremely well and have a great mix between cheesy and impressive. I liked the practical effects and wonderful camera work.

The music was spectacular. Absolutely epic and I liked the melding of the score with the music from the show in the show.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie was action packed, fun, and had lots of great visuals. I greatly enjoyed it.

The kids were glued to the tv and everyone loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

One of the greatest parodies and an excellent science fiction in it’s own right. This movie checks almost all the boxes and is an excellent romp.

A classic for all science fiction fans.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

I Wrote a Story

Hello Readers and Friends,

I haven’t written much in the past five months. I did, however, manage to write a short story that I’ve submitted to an anthology. I’m really proud of the story and the storytelling in it.

I’d love to tell you all about it, but it’s an anonymous submission so I can’t. I’ll let you know if I get into the anthology, if not it’ll probably go into a short story collection… Once I can write more regularly.

Writting is one of my biggest stress relievers, and losing that has been really hard. I know there are other methods (speech to text, narrating, etc) but I’m not quite ready to admit that I won’t be able to go back to my old ways of writting.

Sorry for the vague post, but I wanted to share my excitment. I hope the editors like my story as much as I do.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Health Update Early November

Hello Friends and Readers,

As you’ve read, I’ve had a few health issues of late. Long story short, I have some sort of injury to my arms. It’s been painful and limiting since June.

To catch up, here’s my first health update,  here’s my second health update,  here’s the one from September, and here’s the update from October.

I was on WSIB health leave until early November.

My doctor filled out the WSIB forms and then gave me a letter saying I should not be going back to work. The letter used the words “completely disabled”. He also recomended I see a neurologist.

WSIB ignored the letter because they said to be completely disabled I’d have to practically be unable to move. So based of the forms he sent in and the forms my physio filled in, WSIB declared I was ready to go back to work.

I had a back to work meeting on Monday the 31st of October and started work on Wednesday the 2nd of November. I had hoped for more time to prepare and heal. I had a massive meltdown and freakout (sorry Jen) and then did the only thing I could, I prepared to go back to work.

My physio recomended I get the WSIB doctors to have a look at me. (I didn’t even know they had their own doctors.)

My back to work plan had me working 30 minutes then taking a break for 30. After a week, they changed it to 20 minutes work and 30 minutes break since my symptoms have gotten worse.

Now it’s been 2 weeks of work (a week of 3 days and a week of 4) and as (I’m sure) everyone expected, I’ve gotten worse.

  • Pain has jumped and it make it hard to concentrate during the day and sleep at night.
  • The numbness has spread from the underside of my left pinky to the bottom three fingers up to my shoulder. On my right, it’s just my forearm and elbow. It’s not a complete loss of sensation, more like pins and needles meets white noise and burning.
  • Weakness in my arms is worse. I’m having trouble lifting things with only one hand. Hanging clothes, putting dishes in the top cabinets, or getting the milk pitcher out of the fridge.
  • Loss of fine motor control. My fingers get stiff and react slowly. Sometimes I’m trying to click my ergonomic mouse and I double click or have trouble getting the pointer to where I want it.

I can minimize the pain with the work breaks, voltaren, and advil, but the symptoms are still getting worse. I’m hoping with the three day weekend and some rest, I’ll be better by Monday.

I called WSIB last Friday (November 4th) to see where we were at with the neurologist or their doctors. Turns out they can’t do anything until my doctor sends them my medical history and a referral. Also, if I go through my doctor, I might get denied since I’m on WSIB. I left a long message with the nurse at my doctor’s office on Monday (November 7th) and I haven’t heard anything. I will call WSIB back on Monday to see where we’re at with that.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much I can do but wait for WSIB. This pace has been hard and I haven’t done a full 5 day week yet. I’m not sure how long I can keep going and I’m worried I’m hurting myself more.

Hopefully I’ll have better update later in the month. Hopefully I can see a specialist before the end of the year. (Please let me be optimistic. I need the hope.)

Thanks for reading,

Éric

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