Geek Charming – JenEric Movie Review

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Damsel – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2024 film Damsel.

Story

A touch of Epic Fantasy and a whole lot of survival horror. The movie tries too hard not to be confusing, and by doing that, it ruins any drama or empathy for the pseudo-twist. The entire first part of the movie, a prologue that over-explains, should have been cut. Everything after that would have flowed and had better emotional impact.

The story is bare-bones and could have pushed harder on the psychological horror. They also introduced the main character’s love of labyrinths which didn’t really lead anywhere.

Score:

Characters

The wet noodle prince, domineering queen, and weird cult like people were okay. Again, if you hadn’t been told what was coming, it could have been eerie.

The movie really survives on the charisma and acting ability of the lead, who is excellent. Special shout out to the step-mother who seriously rocks in her love for her step-daughters.

The dragon was brilliantly voiced.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This was mostly generic fantasy language.

It really shines when the damsel and the dragon are talking at the end, when the damsel is on her own, or whenever the dragon talks.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The dragon design was impressive, a few obvious CGI moments but overall well done. The camera angles, and frantic cuts worked well for the horror style.

The music was good.

Score: 1

Fun

The actress did a great job and despite being predictable, it was fun. I was annoyed by how much the story structure was designed for the reveal that had been blatantly stated at the beginning.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie mixes fantasy and horror but tries too hard not offend fans of either. Because of that, the horror is tame and doesn’t get the chance to really sink in, and the fantasy is pretty bland. If it wasn’t for the quality of the acting, the movie would be bad. As it is, it’s an okay romp with a cool dragon.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Raiders of the Lost Ark – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Story

It’s fascinating watching a story that is completely unaffected by the protagonist. Other than a lot of killing Nazis, he doesn’t do much to alter the end result.

It’s exciting and flows from one set piece to the next really well.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Indiana is tough, charismatic, wise cracking, and fluctuates between genius and fool. As an adventurer, he attracts disaster and does everything with wry wit. As an archeologist, he doesn’t do much but consult experts. I wonder what his specialty is?

Marion is the tough girl who can drink anyone under the table, shoot a gun, and runs her own bar in the tough part of Nepal. She’s also completely defenseless and screams more then my children watching this movie.

Salah is still one of my favourite characters.

The villains are evil Nazis and its nice to remember a time when we as a society were against Nazis.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue in this is iconic and quotable in a way only Harrison Ford and Spielberg can be.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals are good for the time but are showing their age. The cinematography does a great job in its use of shadows.

The music is excellent and definitely big and adventurous. Perfect for the movie.

Score: 1

Fun

There isn’t a lot of cringe (outside the weird classroom scene) and I really enjoy the nostalgia, but after so many other movies, like the Librarian or Stargate, having the protagonists be hyper-competent and smart, it makes Indiana Jones feel a little less special.

The kids liked it and were a little freaked out by the faces melting until we explained how the fx were done.

Score: 0.5

Overall

One of the first archeology adventures and still a fun ride. It’s aged fairly well but the character of Indiana is often more frustrating than not. That’s in part because he’s not too bright and the uncomfortable history of archeology.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Fantasia 2000 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2000 film Fantasia 2000.

Story

Like the first, this isn’t a regular movie and feels more like an anthology with various forms of storytelling. It’s creative and absolutely engrossing. Unlike the original, it’s extremely short; over an hour shorter then the first. The rhythm between the stories wasn’t as smooth.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Again, there aren’t many speaking roles in the stories themselves, but the characters were strong and interesting.

Score: 1

Dialogue

I liked that they re-used some of the original narration and added some celebrities. The part with Mickey looking for Donald was particularly funny. Most of the jokes hold up well for being almost 25.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation is pretty but there are places they used 3D animation and it didn’t age well. The whales at times looked plastic and poorly rendered. When the shorts were traditionally animated they looked fabulous.

The music is great. I recognized all the pieces and loved how they were put together.

Score: 0.5

Fun

It had enough of the feel of the original to be nostalgic and it was a lot of fun.

The kids liked this one better because they say it has less scary parts.

Score: 1

Overall

An attempt to recreate a classic that almost gets there but like it’s runtime, falls short. On its own it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Argylle – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2024 film Argylle.

Story

At first, the story feels insultingly simple and a little over-the-top. Once the twists start coming in, the inconsistencies not only make sense but are quite clever. There’s a lot of little details sprinkled throughout that telegraph the twists but doesn’t feel cheap.

Score: 1

Characters

The problem with Matthew Vaughn, the director, is that his characters are very over-the-top and it often feels forced. I did like that the worlds of fiction and reality merged. The downside to it is that some character stories are obvious early on.

That being said, this movie is filled with actors who ooze charisma and at no point is watching them boring.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Pure cheese that covers up a lot of world building and story. The dialogue sometimes feels like it’s there to be quippy, but it’s always doing three things at once and it’s frankly amazing.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This is a surreal action movie and no one does over-the-top action like Vaughn. It’s so pretty and ridiculous that you can only love or hate it.

The soundtrack is spectacular and the score does everything right.

Score: 1

Fun

Once I remembered what sort of movie I was watching, I greatly enjoyed it. Jen and my mother in-law loved it too. That ice skating scene was so much fun.

It’s fun and clever.

Score: 1

Overall

If you like your spy movies dark, gritty, and realistic, this isn’t for you. This is a big action homage to Romancing the Stone with all the twists, turns, and ridiculousness the director is known for.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Fantasia (1940) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1940 film Fantasia.

Story

This isn’t a regular movie and feels more like an anthology with various forms of storytelling. It’s creative and absolutely engrossing.

Score: 1

Characters

There are a lot of characters and none of them speak, but they are animated to the music spectacularly.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This one is not applicable for most of it but there is the narrator who introduces the parts. He has some cute dialogue.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation is creative, innovative, and very pretty.

The music is iconic and sparked my love of classical music.

Score: 1

Fun

When I was young, my mom bought this on VHS and it had me mesmerized. It was my favourite movie for a long time. (Something my classmates did not understand.)

Other than the science in the dinosaur part, which was dated when I watched it, the movie holds up really well.

The kids say they didn’t like it but were glued to the screen the whole time and completely invested.

Score: 1

Overall

A classic that holds up well because of the timelessness of imagination and music. If you’ve ever loved it in the past you’ll still love it now, and if you didn’t like it before, it might surprise you.

Final Score: 5 Stars out of 5