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

Focus and too much of it

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m a very focused person. Probably not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not particularly goal oriented. If I were, I wouldn’t need my new year’s goals. I’m not going to make any lists of hot up-and-coming business people.

What I do have is an inability to let something go until it’s done or I’ve given up. Currently, I’m fighting with a smart light fixture that refuses to be smart. It’s consumed my thoughts and my actions. So much so, that I couldn’t think of anything else to write.

This focusing is super helpful when I’m working on a project or writing a novel. It pushes me and I can use it to get over the slumps. It isn’t, however, useful when I have no control over the situation. It’s also very unhelpful when I have other things to do.

The satisfaction of being done with the subject of the focus is great and long lasting. But it’s not always fun and can lead to me being grumpy or distracted until I finish or fix the issue.

The Endless Fight by the Awkward Yeti
Mildly relevant in that when I’m very focused, I feel like my brain and heart are fighting.

I’m told this is a trait of both ADHD and Autism. I’ve never been diagnosed with either, but the more I read about it, the more I’m confused and wondering if I may have one, the other, or both.

I’ve developed tricks and habits to make sure the focus isn’t detrimental to my health or those around me, but it’s stressful.

There are different levels of focus, of course. The light fixture thing is something I don’t want to have to worry about any more so it’s more immediate. Writing a book is easier and less frustrating in its pull.

I’m fine and I’m not asking for help. I just needed to vent and let you know that if you feel the same, you’re not alone.

I’ve always been this way, but I’ve started to recognize it more in the past year or so. The lack of commute, activities, and other larger distractions have given me time to be more introspective.

Hopefully that’s a good thing.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 3/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 and Part 2

In order of appearance:

Rachel

Appearance inspired by Aimee Carrero

Age: 20

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Dark hair and tan skin

Job: Student in third year at Westmeath University, working in sales at Discreet Frills

Connection to Protagonists: Coworker of Kennedy’s, was babysat by Jason when they were younger

Nick

Appearance inspired by Colton Haynes

Age: 23

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Grey eyes

Job: Head server at The Hawaiian in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Works at Jason’s restaurant

Jesse

Appearance inspired by Tom Cavanagh

Age: mid-50s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall and thin, greying hair

Job: Owns and operates Mortimer’s Diner in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Jason loves his Hungry Man’s breakfast

Coffee BBQ Defence

Hello Coffee Lovers,

Here at JenEric Coffee we use a BBQ coffee roaster. That means that it’s all outside until it’s ready to flavour and package.

I even roast in winter.

Now, winter roasting is the best. The beans cool quickly and I don’t have to worry about the BBQ becoming a target for something to live in.

This summer I’ve had to fight off wasps and climbing vines… both are so fast that between weekly checks they managed to climb in.

Don’t worry. I made sure to deal with both and clean the BBQ to avoid any issues.

If you’re interested in buying wasp- and vine-free coffee, check out JenEric Coffee.

Thank you,

Eric

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

Shameless Birthday Promotion

Hello Readers,

Tomorrow is my birthday. Why not buy yourself something nice in my honour?

Here are a few options:

Books

All of these are available from the following stores:

Preorder my newest novel

Coffee Shop Between the 'Verses
Coffee Shop Between the ‘Verses

Available at the following stores

Coffee

Buy some coffee from JenEric Gourmet Coffee

Other Options

If you’re not comfortable or able to buy anything, why not consider reviewing the books you’ve already read? Review them on the site you bought them and/or GoodReads.

Thank you!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 2/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 here.

In order of appearance:

Zhanna and Lydia Turgeneva

Appearance inspired by Jackie Burroughs and Cloris Leachman

Age: Unknown (very old)

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Old, hunched demeanor, Lydia uses a cane carved to look like Baba Yaga’s house

Job: They own and operate a tailoring and sewing store called Seams Likeable in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

Judy Fauche

Appearance inspired by Lorraine Toussaint

Age: Early 60s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Very large, red hair, Black

Job: Owns and operates Judy’s Butchery in Oldtown, has a dojo on the third floor above it and runs classes on the weekends, in charge of policing and protection for the Oldtown Council

Connection to Protagonists: Trained Jason in Kung Fu

Michelle and Evanna Swan

Appearance inspired by Michelle Trachtenberg and young Alexa Gerasimovich

Age: Early 30s and 3

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Single mother and daughter, blonde

Job: Unknown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

See Part 3

Mid-Year review of Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s a good thing that my wife reminded me I made these cause I had completely forgotten. The past sixish months have been a roller coaster of emotion and a study in lack of sleep.

Here are my resolutions for this year.

Let’s get right into this and see how I did.

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

I’m pretty proud of this year’s story and impressed with how easy it is to write. Check out Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist now.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. (Success)

Oh my. This went so much better than I could have hoped. We managed 100k words and Jen went a step further and wrote most of a short story collection to go with it. We submitted the book to Renaissance Press in May and are planning on writing the sequel in the Fall.

3. Write Another Hal Story (Failing)

I haven’t written another Sun Speaker universe story, unfortunately. However, I have written over 20,000 words in short stories for the short story collection that follows Assassins. That counts for something right?

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates (Succeeding)

So far so good. What I’m most struggling with is the movie reviews. Not writing, but watching. We’re watching too much television and not enough movies.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip (Fail)

I’m going to call this now. I don’t have the motivation to do this. As much as I love the story, there are other stories to work on.

6. Keep Working on FADDS (Succeeding)

I’ve reworked tables into accessible columns and added a whole new power section to the rules. My playtesters are fantastic and things are going well.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books (Failing)

I was reading at night before bed, but since writing Assassins at that time worked so well, I’ve been doing it for Elizabeth 4 and short stories. That means I’ve barely finished 2 books this year. I doubt I’m making this.

8. Play more games with the kids (Succeeding)

We haven’t done enough board games, but that’s mostly because the 2 year old can’t follow. We bought a Nintendo Switch and both kids play Mario Kart and I’ve been playing Yoshi Craft World with Dragon. I’ve also been playing Link’s Awakening, which both kids love to watch.

9. Be More Patient (Unsure)

I still yell a little too much and I’m a little too stressed. I need to chill. I’m doing a little better but I still need to work on it.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November (Fail)

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

So I haven’t pressed on this. I probably won’t. It hasn’t happened again and when I started to feel something similar I made sure to de-stress and relax a little and it helped. I don’t know what happened, but at this point I’ll see if it happens again.


Results

Well it’s not great but it’s not bad either. I’ll call that roughly 50%. I’m not going to add anything to this since I already have my hands full trying to improve this score.

  • 1 Success
  • 4 Succeeding
  • 2 Fail
  • 2 Failing
  • 1 Unsure

What do you think? How are your resolutions going?

Éric

Space Jam – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1996 film Space Jam.

Story

The movie is a basic underdog sports story with a little bit of cartoon magic. It’s cute and over the top in a way that only Bugs and pals can handle.

I am sad they didn’t include a proper training montage though.

It’s written in a way that even people like me who know nothing about 1990’s basketball can still follow easily.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main charater is Michael Jordan and he does a great job of playing the cool, Roll-with-it kind of character. The Looney Tunes are mostly alright, although I find the portrayal of Lola Bunny disturbing. She’s a odd combination of damsel, useless, and competent.

Bill Murray playing Bill Murray will always be a treat.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There are quite a lot of one liners in this and most of them stick about as well as you’d expect from the Looney Toons. There are a lot of great adult jokes and I love the bits with the basketball players who lost their abilities.

Overall it’s pretty forgettable dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals are clean and well shot. They are definitely dated by style and by limits of the 3D tech at the time.

The music is wonderfully nostalgic and well chosen for the oomph needed in a sports movie.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Despite it’s flaws, this movie is a lot of fun and hits all the right beats for a sports movie. It’s exciting, funny, and overall easy to watch. Both my kids were trying to sing the title song by the end.

Score: 1

Overall

Space Jam is a product of it’s time and as such is a strange mashup of timeless sports movie chained to 1996. It’s entertaining and has plenty of background jokes for the basketball fans and the cartoon fans. It’s fun and quirky and easy to watch. In the end, however, it’s also utterly forgettable in everything but nostalgic soundtrack.

Final Score: 3

Come see us at Virtual NerdCon

Hello Coffee and Crochet Lovers!

Tomorrow from 10am – 5pm est, we will be participating in Virtual NerdCon.

Virtual Nerdcon is a nerdy convention hosted in an ACTUAL virtual world! You can customize your avatar, make friends, and shop from actual booths! It has all of your favourite nerdy hobbies and interests for you to shop from AND you can support small businesses! Best part is, you technically don’t even have to get out of bed!

Date: July 10th
Time: 10am – 5pm EST
Price: $1 CAD/ticket

Get Tickets Now

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All proceeds from ticket sales are going to helping Native Women in the community through the charity Native Womens Wilderness.

Native Women’s Wilderness was created to bring Native women together to share our stories, support each other, and learn from one another as we endeavor to explore and celebrate the wilderness and our native lands.

https://www.nativewomenswilderness.org/

Hope to see you there!