Star Wars: A New Hope – JenEric Movie Review

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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

Speculating Canada interviewed Éric

Hello Friends, Fans, and Family,

Speculating Canada is an award winning podcast and interview series that interviews fantastic Canadian and genre personalities.

You may remember a few months ago that Jen was interviewed by the wonderful Derek Newman-Stille. You can see her interview on their website.

Well I (Éric) was interviewed last week. It was a lot of fun, and Derek is a fantastic interviewer, steering my hectic mind in a semi-coherent direction.

Go watch the interview on their website.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

The Secret World of Arrietty – JenEric Movie Review

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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

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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

Springing into life… arg.

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

Everything is currently trying to reproduce and I’m not a fan. My allergies have been really bad, which means I’m extra tired and weak on top of cold-like symptoms. Not fun. But I’ve already written about that: It’s Just Allergies and Allergies, Life, and Writing.

Every year, I try to distract myself from all these allergens by creating more and gardening.

This year I’ve added two planters and I’m planning on growing: beans, peas, zucchini, chives, rhubarb, cherry tomatoes, large tomatoes, pumpkins, dill, lemon thyme, hot and sweet peppers, and rosemary. As if that’s not enough, I’m planning on getting a purple flowering raspberry bush, an elderberry bush, citronella, and as much milkweed as I possibly can.

I’m hoping to grow the pumpkins along a trellis and get little baby hanging pumpkins.

With the fatigue though, it’s hard to motivate myself. I’m trying to do a little each day and try to avoid burning out. I’m so happy that Jen, Dragon, and Pegasus are willing to help.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Travelling TARDIS Nominated for Aurora

Hello friends, family, and fans!

The nominations are up!!!

I’m so proud of Jen, this is her 7th nomination in seven years. It’s the TARDIS’s sixth.

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Thanks to all who nominated. You really made a difference.

Now, it’s onto the voting! You will receive an email on how to download the voters package sometime in mid-May. If not, check the website when you’re logged in, and follow the instructions.

The Travelling TARDIS isn’t part of the package because you can access it for free on this site.

Voting

If you think The Travelling TARDIS is worthy of your vote, voting for the Auroras will be open on June 8th.


Thank you to everyone who nominated and especially to everyone who reads and enjoys our content.

Thank you!

Éric

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

Health Update April 2024

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

I haven’t written an update since January because I’m still waiting on some results. However, there are some things I can tell you.

How’s my body doing

Heart

I wore a heart monitor for three days and despite what the RSV did while I was sick, my heart is back to normal. My heart rate is still a little high but within normal ranges.

Arms

My arms still hurt, pretty much all the time, but it’s manageable with exercise and stretching. I’ve only needed to put muscle cream on my arms once this year.

Face and left eye

Still numb and still having vision issues. It gets worse if I spend a lot of time concentrating or sitting in a computer chair.

Tests

MRI

I did an MRI of my head, neck, and back. I have an appointment with the neuro-etymologist in June. He might talk to me about it or I might have to wait for the MS doctor in July.

I saw the results but it’s in Medical-jargon and I’m not sure. It seems that there’s a UBO (Unidentified bright object) behind my left eye but according to the internet that could be a bug in the test.

It also say that I have no sign of, “demyelinating disease”.

Lastly it says that I have, “Multilevel degenerative changes within the cervical spine causing various degrees of spinal canal foraminal stenosis, worse at the c5-c6.” Which the internet tells me is a “narrowing that happens in certain places around the nerves that come out of your spinal cord”.

But again, this is my quick googling and not anything official from a doctor.

Vision Tests

I have a few repeat tests for eyes in June and a few to test for MS (unscheduled – doctor wanted to see MRI first).

Allergies

I have bad allergies. In 2007 I woke up feeling super weak and forced myself out of bed. The exertion burst the veins in my eyes. I got an appointment with an allergist and was tested and put on shots. They really helped.

After 5 years, I was told that they wouldn’t help me more and that if my symptoms worsened after 5 years to come see the allergist again.

In 2019, my allergies got really bad and I started getting what I call Allergy Attacks. My bowels cramp, and I get weak, and it takes about a week to recover. I didn’t realize it was allergies that caused it until last year.

I really felt it in 2020 but pushed it off.

I finally broke two weeks ago and contacted my allergist. Unfortunately after 10 years you need a new referral.

Long story short, I have an appointment with my family doctor on Wednesday to talk about allergies.

Colds

Last, and certainly most frustrating, are head colds. I’ve now had 4 since January and I’m pretty tired of blowing my nose and coughing.

I feel better today then I have in a while but I’m still sniffling and coughing. The whole thing is made worse combined with allergies. (And no, going outside and eating dirt will not help strengthen my immune system.)

Conclusion

I’m doing okay and I have leads to what might be wrong with me. Hopefully the doctors can narrow it down and I can start treating whatever it is to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

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

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – April 2024

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

I wrote this letter already and it was eaten by a server problem. I’ll do my best to recreate it.

The weather in April, as it is now who knows what climate change will bring, has been pretty erratic in April. Two weeks ago we had a snowstorm and less then a week after we had several days above twenty. It’s interesting to see. Hopefully will have a nice May and summer. I look forward to gardening with you, especially now that Pegasus is old enough to help more so I get two helpers.

The school year has been fraught with sickness. We’ve all caught so many colds I’m not sure I can count them all. Hopefully next year will be better but with Pegasus going to in-person school, I doubt it.

This year has been quite the transition for you, Dragon (also for us), going to school full time, in-person. You’re excelling academically and you have friends. You’ve been dealing with bullying, nothing enough to call the school but its still bothering you. You have a very strong sense of what’s right. That’s a good thing but it means you’re really bothered by what’s happening. You’d think with the amount of bullying I survived in grade school I’d be better placed to help you. Unfortunately, I feel completely out of my depth. If it gets worse we’ll contact the teacher. The only advice I have is to ignore them and not let them see it bothers you.

It’s been a big year for you too, Pegasus. You’re being homeschooled by Mum and you’re doing great. You’re still resisting French but so did Dragon. I worry about how you’ll do at school with other kids. You’ve almost exclusively played with your sister and haven’t really played with kids your age. Hopefully, you’ll adapt as well as she did. You’re in your boundary pushing phase. You’re lying for silly reasons and stubbornly say no for silly reasons. Your sister went through it and it’ll pass (I hope). You’re also chewing your fingernails and putting toys in your mouth again. At this age, your sister was biting so I consider us lucky, however it makes me nervous about sending you out into the world.

Last week was an eclipse. Ottawa only got 98% I think, but we were nervous about the two of you so we watched it on TV. You weren’t super interested and both of you argued that it wasn’t getting darker despite the fact that it was.

There won’t be another total eclipse in driving distance of Ottawa in any of our lifetimes. Maybe we can all head to Disney World in 2045, that could be fun.

I love you Pegasus and Dragon,

Papa