Thor: Love and Thunder – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Thor: Love and Thunder.

Story

The actual story was fairly simple and straightforward. There was a lot of humour and a lot of emotion. Sometimes it felt like the flow between scenes was missing something and there were more than a few parts that could have been extended. It felt like they had 6 hours of story and only 2 hours made it to the final cut.

Score: 0

Characters

Somewhere along the way in the MCU, Thor went from slightly oblivious jock / rich kid to a dim-witted fool. Every movie, it feels like he has to relearn how to be worthy and honestly, it’s getting old.

The addition of the Mighty Thor made things more interesting, but I have to say the whole romance was a little meh for me.

I liked the relationship between Jane and Valkyrie and loved the cameos by Sif and Heimdall.

The villain stole the show, however. He was both relatable and if it wouldn’t have killed Thor, I would have been okay with his plan. His redemption at the end through the power of love felt earned and not like a cheap plot trick.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The quips and dialogue were excellent, but the imbalance in tone made some scenes comical or just weird.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Visually this movie was a feast for the eyes. Absolutely gorgeous in every way.

The music was clever and well placed.

Score: 1

Fun

Once I got used to the fact that the movie would be all over the place in tone, I started to enjoy each piece like short films. The last scene with the kids was just so empowering. I loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

The tone is all over the place, the story feels disjointed, the love story was meh, but damn this movie was still a lot of fun. The dialogue and action are spectacular and Christian Bale makes a relatable and fantastic villain.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Zombies 3 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Zombies 3.

Story

Although following the same themes as the first two, it deviates more in story. The overall plot is utterly ridiculous, but in the best way possible. There are a few inconsistencies with the first one (specifically the ages of the characters) but it’s still a fun story. I particularly like how they used the three groups’ tech together.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I like the third movie in these sorts of series. The characters are developed and sure of themselves. Zed is a proud Zombie trailblazer and even without knowing her origins, Addison is a leader and welcomes everyone. The rest of the cast fit really well together.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are a lot of nice nods to classic sci-fi and monster movies. The dialogue leans into the cheesy and series nostalgia, which somehow works really well.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

By far the best filmed of the series, but the special effects aren’t as great as they could be. I liked how much they managed in the first two with little to no budget, but with a massive budget it was a little disapointing.

The music was great, but still not extremely distinctive. I doubt I’ll hear the soundtrack and know right away what it’s from.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a an angst-free and fun movie. It has all the elements that made the first two fun and everyone in the family enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

My favourite of the three, but mostly for the return to an awesome world. It was fun and had some great songs.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Ottawa ComicCon this Weekend

Hello!

JenEric DesignsJenEric CoffeeThe Travelling TARDIS, and Eric Desmarais will be at this weekend’s (Friday the 9th to the 11th) Ottawa Comiccon. at the EY Centre.

We’ll be at booths 2606-2608!

We will have a total of twelve coffe flavours along with our newest flavours Apple Pie and Bavarian Cream.

Hope to see you there!

Éric

Lightyear – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Lightyear.

Story

This was a great concept. A movie about the real Buzz Lightyear. The character is the basis for the toy in Toy Story.

Unfortunately, there are some issues with this sort of story. People are expecting a movie about the cartoonish and silly character. This means that people who only care about Toy Story might be turned off by the science-fiction elements, while people who love science-fiction might be turned off by the the association with Toy Story.

That being said, this is an excellent adventure / science-fiction film with influence and nods to so many other great films.

Score: 1

Characters

The character of Buzz is only changed a little from the toy; his silliness is toned down, but he’s still brash, overconfident, and single-minded.

The rest of the cast, although not as fleshed out, are fun and have rewarding story arcs.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are plenty of references to both Toy Story and classic Sci-Fi. With so much reference material, it could easily have been a quote fest that left people feeling like they missed something. The writers did a great job balancing the quotes and the original story. To a point that they’re great for those that know, but pass over other’s heads.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

I was in awe of the space scenes, and pretty much all the animation. Pixar ups their quality with every movie and I love it. Beyond the animation, the cinematography is fantastic and references so many other great movies. The shot of Zurg’s ship rising from the floor was just like Vader’s in A New Hope, the airlocks look just like those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, there were plenty of others too.

The music was epic and had just the right balance to be remarkable but not overpower the action.

Score: 1

Fun

The fun you get from this is definitely influenced by your expectations. If you’re expecting the tone and feel of Toy Story, you’ll be disappointed. I went in expecting cheesy sci-fi and was surprised by how much fun it was.

My five and three year old both loved it and sat through the whole thing without complaining. The rest of the family seemed to really love it too.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie is a retro sci-fi with all the best parts from the movies of the genre in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. It’s delightfully littered with Pixar and Sci-fi references and has a fun and heartwarming story.

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.

Mid-Year Review of Éric’s 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

It’s been an exciting six months and by that, I mean blarg. I still find it disturbing how much of the world is convinced the pandemic is over. Hopefully soon, we’ll see a vaccine for infants approved in Canada. Then I will feel much better, but I still am going to continue to be careful. It will be a while before I give up my mask.

Anyway, let’s see how I’m doing with my resolutions!

Writing

1. Write a monthly serial story (Succeeding)

The hardest part about this year’s serial story is not writing ahead. Currently, as of this writing, dealing with carpal tunnel, that might not be a problem. Read from the beginning of the Aetherverse.

2. Write Guise and Dolls Faymous with Jen (Success)

This went famously (haha). I loved writing this story and I’m glad that it’s now vacated that part of my brain that it’s been occupying for the past decade. Unfortunately, a spin-off series has decided to move in.

3. Finish Copper Tarnish (Pending)

Pending health, I have no idea how this is going to go. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it, but if not, I’m not going to risk injuring myself worse over it.

4. Write book 3 of The Gates of Westmeath with Jen (Pending)

Unlike Copper Tarnish, this book starts from scratch/random jot notes, and won’t need heavy line-editing before I start, so I should be able to do this one with dictation software. I hope.

5. Keep Working on FADDS (Succeeding)

I created an entire ridiculously complex module for mixing components that was just way too much. So, I remade it in a simpler way and it seems to be working really well. I’m continuing to tweak and add more monsters as I go. Mostly, I’m just having fun with the system and my players.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

6. Ensure 5+ days of updates (Succeeding)

You may be sensing a theme, but depending on health issues, we may be dropping to four days a week, but not yet, and I don’t know. So we’ll see.

7. Write a movie review each week (Succeeding)

So far, so good. I might need to create a template to copy-paste to make my life easier.

8. Design and release a new flavour and redesign Green Apple (Pending)

Ottawa ComicCon is happening in September. This one will depend on how my health is. It’s not the highest priority; that will be roasting and packing ComicCon levels of coffee.

Personal

9. Read 5 Books (Pending)

Other than books that I’ve written or that Jen wrote, I’m a little behind on this. As in, halfway through the first book. But for some reason, I forsee having more chances to read (if Jen will let me).

10. Be More Patient (shrug)

Honestly, I have no idea how I’m doing on this one. I do know that I’m a terrible injured/sick person. Feeling like I’m letting people down makes me grumpy.

11. Don’t over stress (Failing)

I have developed tools to help me de-stress. Playing ukulele, reading, writing, playing video games, and cooking. The only one of those that I can currently do without hurting myself is reading. Let’s hope this dictation software works and doesn’t add to the stress.

My work is also irrationally pushing a return to the office and that’s still causing lots of stress with an unvaccinated toddler. HURRY THE F UP, HEALTH CANADA!

12. Practice bass or ukulele 2-3 times a week (Failing)

I was doing well with this. I even memorized the Spider-man theme on the bass and wrote a song for the ukulele. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do this for a while.


The good news, I haven’t utterly failed at anything yet and I have a few Successes.

I’m going to take that as a positive and just do what I can for the rest of the year.

How are your resolutions going?

Éric

Uncharted – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Uncharted.

Story

The story isn’t all that original and is best when they’re doing the treasure hunting parts.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Every character is backstabbing and tragic. It’s a little tired by the end, especially when they try to make them seem less bad. Nathan Drake is likeable because he’s the main character and Tom Holland is a sweetheart. The rest are kinda meh.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Fun quips, silly dialogue, and archeological techno-babble is all fun, but other than Drake, no one seemed to have any emotions.

Score: 0.5

Visual and Music

It’s a little too obvious that the movie was built around the visuals and the fight scenes. It’s gorgeous and beautiful to look at.

The music is fantastic and has wonderful references to the game.

Score: 1

Fun

The treasure hunting was fantastic, but the character moments mostly fell flat. It frustrated me that no one corrected the “found gold” narrative when it was obviously gold belonging to the natives.

Score: 1

Overall

A visual spectacle with little to no plot that is completely carried by the charisma of Tom Holland. The treasure hunt is exciting and the puzzels interesting. It’s fun with great action scenes, but not super memorable.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5

Better Nate Than Ever – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Better Nate Than Ever.

Story

This is a combination of musical, kid running away, and trying to reach your dream. It’s fairly predictable but lots of fun. I liked the friendship and I really liked the casualness of his sexuality.

I do feel there should have at least been a little bit of dialogue about him running away between him and his parents. They should have at least admitted that they pushed him to run away with their disregard for his dreams.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I didn’t like the parents. I found they were, as usual for an American movie, too focused on the sports star and too dismissive of the younger son. I also found the line where the dad is justifying Nate sleeping over at a girls house a little ridiculous. He says that’s it okay because, “Nate is different.” That works if they’ve had a talk about his sexuality, but if the dad is just guessing, that’s a dangerous line of thought. We bisexuals exist and there are a lot of boys who look or sound gay and are somewhere else in the spectrum.

The dynamics between the best friend and Nate are great and I love the aunt. The brother’s growth is well done.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was pure Broadway fan with a few explanations for those who didn’t know. It was clever, witty, and quick while still being hopeful and naive. I loved it.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was excellently framed and shot, making perfect use of the camera without being too static. The sets and locations were a great mix.

The music was perfectly picked and the musical numbers were a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Fun

This is a feelgood movie with lots of hope and talent. My 2yo was glued to the screen and my 5yo was writhing on the floor in second-hand embarrassment (she really doesn’t like movies where kids lie to their parents.)

The rest of us had big grins on our faces most of the time.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, exciting, and musically filled film with lots of heart. I hope that the matter-of-fact treatment of sexuality is something we’ll see more of in the future.

This movie will make you smile and want to get up and dance. It almost made me want to audition for something.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Adam Project  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Adam Project.

Story

There’s nothing new here and the plot is pretty bare bones. It’s a little derivative for the time travel aspect, but the writing of the characters’ stories is well nuanced, but none of that will be memorable.

Score: 0

Characters

The actor they got to play a young version of Reynolds is brilliant. He really got the mannerisms and speech patterns.

The rest of the cast is excellent and extremely believable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This was a quip fest with exactly the kind of jokes and turns of phrase you’d expect from Reynolds. It was awesome seeing his younger self match him and even Jennifer Garner got in on it.

The time travel mechanics and rules were well explained and didn’t go too deep.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects were fantastic and they used the forests and lakes really well as a backdrop. The fight scenes were great with little to no shaky cam and lots of humour integrated.

The score was well used and the songs were great.

Score: 1

Fun

Fun is what this movie was all about. Lots of humour, action, and excitement. I was glued to my seat.

The 5yo loved it and the 2yo loved the kid and the action, but got bored at the kissy or talky scenes.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, quippy, action movie with lots of great acting. This is the perfect movie to sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Turning Red – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Turning Red.

Story

This was a coming of age movie done extremely well. I loved the supportive friends and the music obsession. The family trauma was well done. I’m also amazed that with no real villain they managed to have a marvel-worthy boss fight at the end.

Score: 1

Characters

The kids in the movie were all stereotypes I remember from my high school. They are, however, well nuanced despite the little amount of screentime.

The overbearing mom with the soft-spoken dad is a dynamic I’ve seen in real life and is nice to see a move away from the idiot/useless father figures.

The aunties gave me flashbacks and made me giggle.

At the heart of it, Mei was both cringingly 13 but extremely relatable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

It was odd watching a Pixar-Disney movie with Canadian accents and expressions; odd but comforting.

A lot of information was given as worldbuilding and came back as important to the plot. The dialogue was fast, frantic and well crafted. I’ll need a rewatch to appreciate the full scope.

Score: 1

Music and Visuals

The songs are perfectly crafted to match the time period and the style of music. It reminded me of sitting in my cousin’s room listening to TLC, Destiny’s Child, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and 98 Degrees. Meanwhile the score was absolutely epic.

The animation is spectacular, as expected for Pixar. The backgrounds and details are wonderful and the character design was spot on.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie’s pace and energy is so perfectly reminiscent of being an early teen that it took me a little time to acclimate. It was great to step into that feeling and world again. I also thought it was fun spotting all the Canadianisms and things that are purely Toronto.

My kids liked it, although the 2 year old found the big panda scary and my 5 year old writhed in secondary embarrassment for most of it.

The most unrealistic thing was that they could get their concert tickets that close to the show and be on the floor.

I can’t wait to rewatch it and see all the little details I missed in the animation and storytelling.

Score: 1

Overall

This movie throws you into the life of a teen and drags you at the breakneck speed of youth. It’s exciting, heartwarming, and extremely poignant. It continues the excellent storytelling that Pixar is known for.

See this movie with an open mind and heart and it’ll transport you to the exotic land of Toronto and remind you what it means to be a young teen.

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.

Éric’s 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello 2022! (Glances around nervously)

2021 was a surreal year, both because I finished writing 4 books and because it started to sink in that this whole pandemic is going to last longer than I expected.

Here’s to hoping 2022 is better.

My resolutions are not breakable promises, but goals that I hope to achieve.

Changing the Outlook Heart and Brain Comics The Awkward Yeti

Writing

1. Write a monthly serial story

It’s going to be my 9th year in a row doing this and I’m really excited for this year’s story. Get ready to see the beginning of the Aetherverse.

2. Write Guise and Dolls with Jen

After over a decade of waiting, I’m finally going to write this one. Jen’s going to help me and I can’t wait. This will be a more complicated book for us than those we’ve written before because we don’t have an outline in advance.

3. Finish Copper Tarnish

I started this book in November 2016. It’s time to finish it and get the darned story out of my head.

4. Write book 3 of The Gates of Westmeath with Jen

This is super ambitious, but we managed it last year so I’m hoping.

5. Keep Working on FADDS

I’m loving this system and I think it’s a few years (at the rate I’m going) before it’s ready to submit. I’d like to do a cleanup of the monster rules and maybe a reread of the spelling and grammar, but as long as I’m adding stuff, I’m good.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

6. Ensure 5+ days of updates

I’m going to do my best to keep our 5 day a week schedule. We’re in a nice little groove, so I think it’ll go okay. If things change, I’ll let you know.

7. Write a movie review each week

I’ve managed it two years now and I think it’s feasible to do it again. People have told me they like the reviews, so I’ll continue.

8. Design and release a new flavour and redesign Green Apple

In theory, Ottawa ComicCon is supposed to happen in September. I’m not sure what this or future variants will mean for events, but I need to get ready. I’d like to get these done and roast appropriately.

Personal

9. Read 5 Books

I failed miserably at this last year. I’ve lost my dedicated reading time and I need to find another. I love reading and I miss it.

10. Be More Patient

Every year I get a little better and I’m trying really hard not to yell as much. Hopefully I can keep getting calmer and move more towards gentle parenting.

11. Don’t over stress

This will probably be a fail but I need to learn how to destress. I have minor depression and when I spiral I get very stressed, defensive, and insecure. It’s not fun and I need to learn when it happens and treat it like a health issue instead of noticing after I get snippy with my wife.

Beyond that, I also don’t react well physically when I get stressed and I need to learn how to destress for my health.

12. Practice bass or ukulele 2-3 times a week

I got a beautiful Kala U-bass for Christmas and need to use it. I’m hoping for daily, but that won’t happen. I love making pretty noises and I know it helps me destress.


So after 4 years of slowly getting worse at my resolutions, I have made this ambitious list. Let’s hope I can do it and no matter what, I know I’ll have something to show at the end.

I wish for you all you need to complete your resolutions.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric