The Hunters (2013) – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2013 film The Hunters.

Story

This is a mashup of Indiana Jones and Spy Kids, but it works. The story beats are predictable but interesting, and the world building was fun.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There are a few times where I think the writers got confused about which brother was which but besides that, they were passable characters. Thankfully the acting was significantly better than the dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There was a lot of useless explaining and some mixed-up lines, along with some strange reasons for doing anything. That being said, at least the writers understood how to write a romance subplot.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The special effects were bad but the locations were nice (Yay BC!). The fight choreography was passable.

The music did its job but wasn’t particularly good.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I enjoyed it but it wasn’t great. The kids got bored a few times.

I usually love when this sort of story mixes myths and reality but the entire made up story of Cinderella’s shoe was frustratingly under-researched and under-utilized.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun take on the archeology/adventure genre but its special effects, terrible dialogue, and poor research take away from the overall enjoyment.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Story

The story is equally as nonsensical as the rest of the series but feels even more disjointed. The set pieces are barely held together by plot. Reminds me of the James Bond series for more than just Sean Connery.

Score: 0

Characters

Whoever wrote this has no idea what a romance is or how to fake it. Indiana’s love life is all the more cringe with the Nazi triple agent. The villain doesn’t take his own advice which is really frustrating. I hate dumb villains.

All that being said, the character interactions between Ford and Connery are spectacular. The humour, heart, and familial frustration are the saving grace of this movie.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is all over the place. There are some great quotable lines and some self-referential humour that just doesn’t stick the landing.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The majority of the movie was beautiful but the reliance on blue screen was obvious in several locations.

The music was amazing as usual.

Score: 1

Fun

This is a nostalgic and fun movie. The father-son dynamic alone is worth a watch. Everyone liked it and even the 4yo was glued to the screen.

One accidental funny moment was when Indiana Jones tells the love interest, called Elsa, to “let it go”, a joke that wouldn’t be funny for 24 years after the film’s release.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, if disjointed, action-packed movie that’s mostly saved by the charisma and chemistry between the two leads.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1980 film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Story

Deviating a little from the bare bones hero’s journey of the first film, this one introduces new villains and allies. It also becomes a lot more confident in its worldbuilding. It definitely leans further into the space opera in one story and the wizard fantasy in the other.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Luke starts to have a backbone and agency, which is shown as a bad thing. The romance between Leia and Han is pretty forced. Leia is portrayed less like a competent diplomat and more like an overworked leader with workaholic tendencies.

I’m also reminded that I like C3P0 significantly more when the humans ignore him.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is deliciously cheesy and I love so many of the lines. I get annoyed at the bargain-bin Orientalism of Yoda and the ridiculous absolutism of the Jedi in general.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Once again the model work is utterly fantastic and the practical effects are wonderful. The camera work is great and the set are spectacular.

The music is iconic and although there’s a lot of carry-over from the first movie, the new themes are wonderful.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie is a lot of fun but has less of the hope (pun intended) of the first film. The shift in tone comes from the defeat at the beginning and the way the Jedi act like all is lost when Luke, rightfully, chooses to save his friends.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie is epic and the visuals amazing but it suffers from being half of a story and from a drastic change in tone that would continue in the sequels/prequels.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Star Wars: A New Hope – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1977 film Star Wars: A New Hope.

Story

This is a Fantasy movie, set in a Space Opera setting, populated with characters from Westerns and Samurai movies. It’s a combination that shouldn’t work, but works really well. However, all the set dressing in the world doesn’t make it any less of a stereotyped hero’s journey.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are barely fleshed out archetypes and tropes. The farm boy, the rogue with a heart of gold, the strong(TM) princess, the honourable wizard knight, and the evil dark cloaked former apprentice.

The actors do a great job with what they have, but the weakest part of the movie is the characters’ motivation and personalities. (Something that improves in future movies.)

My biggest gripe is that the bad guys and the good guys treat non-human races as inferior. I’m still annoyed that the droids and Chewy didn’t get medals.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Iconic quips and quotes that are hardwired into geek culture. The movie has some amazing lines and some absolutely terrible ones.

As quotable as the movie is, its dialogue is stilted and filled with pseudo-nonsense that wouldn’t be explained for decades.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

I realize that the special effects were touched up in the version we have, but the touch ups look worse then the actual practical effects. The original effects are utterly fantastic.

John Williams wrote one of the most iconic themes in film history.

Score: 1

Fun

I first saw this movie when I was in my teens. It was re-released in theatres. It was quite the experience, but watching it at home and seeing the wonder in my kids faces was great.

Score: 1

Overall

Iconic and amazing, this movie captures the wonder and joy of going to the movies in a way that every blockbuster wants to recreate. It has its problems, but it’s a great watch.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Secret World of Arrietty – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2010 film The Secret World of Arrietty.

Story

I found it very soothing and calm but I can see where it could be considered stressful. I remembered just enough from the books and reviews to know nothing bad happened.

The overall story is similar to the book but fairly different at the same time.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are extremely well animated and voiced. They grab attention, even in the slower talky moments.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is cute and I love the term Bean for humans. There’s some interesting thoughts on what it means to be alive and trust.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation is breathtaking and absolutely spectacular. I could re-watch it in slow motion and still not catch all the details.

The music was lovely.

Score: 1

Fun

I grew up reading the Littles and the Borrowers, and although I barely remember them, I still love the aesthetic.

The kids absolutely adored it and the rest of the family loved it too.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a wonderful melding of cultures, with a sweet and fun story. If you liked the books you’ll love the movie. Highly recommended.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Geek Charming – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2011 film Geek Charming.

Story

It’s a teen rom-com where the popular kid has to work with the nerd and they fall in love. I did like the gender-swapped makeover scene.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The female lead almost seems like she’s a bad actress to start with but it turns out that it’s the character who’s a bad actress and she’s nowhere near as shallow or vapid as she seems. This is a hard transition to pull off without seeming fake and the movie did a great job.

The male lead became more accepting and confidant but didn’t have much more development than that.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Sometimes I forget what the 2010’s was like, but this is filled with dated slang and quippy one-liners.

When the movie decides to be serious, it does a great job in those softer moments. Bonus points for explaining relativity in one breath.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The camera work was very early 2000’s Disney channel. The clothes, sets, and everything else were okay but low budget.

The music was acceptable but nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I get irritated watching the characters flinging their cameras while filming and I found the idea that a film club would be all sci-fi a little unlikely. Film nerds tend to look down on the genre.

That being said, the actors did a great job and it was cute. I really liked that this movie showed the world what made him fall in love with her. It was a nice touch and made everything more believable.

Bonus point for having the poor kid showing the rich man Metropolis, a film about the class divide between workers and wealthy land owners.

Score: 1

Overall

A product of its time, it celebrates nerds and love with lots of innocent heart. The actors do a great job with a predictable script.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Beekeeper – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2024 film The Beekeeper.

Story

This was a pretty standard action movie but it did have an fun twist. Following the FBI agents that are trying to catch him was an interesting study in morals, justice, and law. The main character is mostly treated like a force of nature, so much of the character growth is put on the two FBI agents.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The Beekeeper is a natural disaster and is established early as nearly unstoppable. He has no character development after the first twenty minutes.

The FBI agents have significantly more and they’re really the audience stand-ins.

The antagonists are pretty one dimensional but extremely hateable.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Quippy action movie dialogue punctuated with so many F words that the script probably looked like a Jack Torrance manuscript.

The more moralistic dialogue is well done and certainly more than apt with today’s political atmosphere.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Jason Statham still has an impressive skill set and the choreography in this is amazing.

The music wasn’t bad but wasn’t particularly memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a lot of fun. It’s cathartic to watch bad people get what they deserve. I watched this on my own, thankfully, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Score: 1

Overall

There’s a wonderful feeling of joy in watching Jason Statham beat the crap out of fraudsters. The movie is pure action with lots of swearing and a tiny bit of philosophy.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom  – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Story

This felt like less of a story and more like a bunch of set pieces strung together. I’m sensing a theme that Indy has very little agency in his own movies. The hidden cultist plot crosses over into blatent racism.

Score: 0

Characters

This was Indiana Jones in his element. He spoke the language and knew the history. It was nice to see him seem intelligent. Short round was adorable and Willie was loud. I liked the relationship and emotion between Indy and Short Round.

The rest of the cast was a weird combination of Bond rejects and random cultural clichés thrown at the screen.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue runs from absolutely ridiculous to quippy and fun. Not much is actually deep or meaningful.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Other than a few abuses of blue screen, it really paid off for them to film on location. Absolutely gorgeous scenery. The action set peices are a little over the top, but that makes them fun.

A lot of the music from the first is reused but remixed wonderfully. The darker tones of the temple scenes are well done.

Score: 1

Fun

I enjoyed the movie for nostalgia and because it’s a fun romp. The cultural nonsense is weird and led an entire generation to think that Indian food included chilled monkey brains and live eels.

What the hell was up with the Voodoo doll? That’s not Indian but West African. I think they’d have been better off saying it was a British demon cult.

The kids liked it but said it was scary. (Probably didn’t appreciate the constant pausing for me to rant.)

Score: 0.5

Overall

With elements that made the first one a great movie, this one fails to do anything but string together some impressive action scenes and wildly insulting cultural fabrications.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Wish – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the  2023 movie Wish.

Story

There were two movies going on, the first half and the second half. The first half is a meandering mess and the second half is halfway between a revolution and some overly saccharine idealized version of Disney.

Score: 0

Characters

While the main character and the king both get some good developement, the rest of the cast don’t, and that’s too bad because they were interesting.

I loved the goat and the star (the nose booping was cute).

Chris Pine ate up this role and was fantastic. I hate that they made a relatable villain who could be redeemed and chose to make it impossible for him because of “magic rules”. It took away his agency. I prefer my villains leaning into evil instead of being trapped in it forever because they read a book. (Good message there, Disney.)

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There were a lot of great Disney callbacks and inside jokes. Beyond that, most of it was okay but not amazing. The best lines belonged to the villain and the goat.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Normally I love Disney’s innovation but the characters in this look like a made for TV animation from a decade ago. The backgrounds are spectacular though.

The score is a great homage to older Disney films but the songs are paradoxically catchy and forgettable. Like someone who was trying really hard to write a Disney song instead of a Wish song.

Score: 0.5

Fun

When we watched the movie, it had a weird stuttering in the video when it panned or zoomed. It bothered me enough to play with my settings before I realized it was the movie. It wasn’t fun for me.

The movie itself was fun but not engrossing. I liked the ending enough.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The most forgettable Disney movie since Black Cauldron (although I haven’t seen Home on the Range). It’s not a bad movie but it tries too hard to be a Disney movie and forgets that each has their own special magic.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

The Princess – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Princess.

Story

A standard action movie with fantasy elements. It’s not complicated, but the story is mostly shown in quick flashbacks that gives the watcher a break from the action without getting bored.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Trope-ridden with an awkward hint of orientalism. These are the characters you’d find if this movie was made in the 80’s.

That being said, it’s fairly well acted and the fights are believable. I was impressed with the main character’s physical presence and believability considering she’s 5 foot 4. I do wish someone would have taught the main character to hold her breath underwater so that we didn’t get so much gasping and heavy breathing.

The villain was deliciously evil in a very unambiguous way and it worked.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is all sorts of action movie cheese. There’s a lot of repetition about fighting from the heart and other Mr. Miyagi-style lines.

The actors deliver the lines with charisma and really commit, which makes the lines less cringy.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The choreography, special effects, and cinematography are all excellent. With this much action, it’s sometimes hard to make it distinct and not get boring.

The music is modern and very rock. It fits really well with the tone. The score is also perfect.

Score: 1

Fun

This was a cheesy action movie with all the right moves. I was concerned about the main actress since she’s mostly done rom-coms, but she was convincing and kickass.

It’s a little bloody and way too violent for the kids though.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an action movie which doesn’t just embrace fantasy tropes, it revels in them. It’s not a thinking movie but it also doesn’t spoon-feed you the plot. If you like action fantasy movies and don’t mind some gore, this is a great choice.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5