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

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 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

Raiders of the Lost Ark – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

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

The Holiday Sitter – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Holiday Sitter.

Story

This is the Hallmark Christmas formula at it’s best. I appreciate that they took a little time to show how hard it can be for gay men to date and the trauma involved.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I was worried at the beginning because the main character was a complete ass, but once he calmed down and started to open up about his feelings, he became a lot better. He was actually quite charming and funny when he wasn’t trying too hard to be a jerk.

The handyman next door who just wanted a family was charming and adorable and the two of them had pretty good chemistry.

The kids were cute if forgettable and the rest of the cast was good.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Some of the dialogue was terrible and the only thing that kept them from making the movie unwatchable was the earnestness and quality of the actors.

There are also a few cute quips and lots of family adorableness.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie was well filmed and showed that each shot was well thought out from a framing point of view. It bugs me in these movies when people leave on vacation and they still have food out. In this one his popcorn machine was still filled with popcorn.

Early in the movie the little girl wins a massive quantity of stuffed reindeer toys; from that point forward there are stuffed reindeer in almost every scene and it was a lot of fun looking for them.

The music was standard and did it’s job.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a Hallmark Christmas movie. You should know in advance if you’re into that sort of thing. I thought the romance was fun and the movie was easy to watch with little to no forced drama.

Score: 1

Overall

A nice gay twist on the Hallmark Holiday movie formula with two actors that had great chemistry. It’s cute, fluffy, and warm; everything a holiday romance should be.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Help for the Holidays  – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2012 film Help for the Holidays.

Story

Adorable story that didn’t take itself too seriously. Everything is wrapped up nicely and well explained.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is adorable beyond reason. They manage to make her innocent and full of wonder without infantilizing her.

The kids were adorable and better actors than most, and the love interest was appropriately attractive and sweet.

The actor who played Santa was fantastic and did a great omniscient Santa.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Lots of holiday sweet and lots of optimism. There were several very appropriate confused moments that made for great humour.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The camera work is great, the sets simple but pretty, and the sparse special effects are good.

The music is jingly but forgettable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

If you like saccharine sweet and adorable Christmas movies, this one’s for you. Everyone in the family that watched it loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

Filled with the holiday spirit and lots of adorable charm, if you like your holiday movies with a little more magic, this is a great choice.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Under Wraps 2 – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Under Wraps 2.

Story

They frame the story with a wedding and that structures it slightly differently than the first one. Makes it fresh and keeps the story going. The plot is good and flows really well. The parallels between the mummies and the kids is a little overdone and the messaging a little juvenile, even for a kids movie.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Often times a sequel will manufacture drama by changing a character. They skirted the line with this one, but made it believable. More importantly they solved their issues with good communication.

The kids were fun and the mummies did a great job.

I loved the dads; they were sweethearts.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Lots of clever pieces of dialogue and some really fun moments.

Often felt younger then it should, considering the age of the characters.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Typical Disney TV low budget effects, but the film makers leaned into the classic monster movie practical effects and that made it feel more grounded than bad CGI would have. The camera work was excellent.

The music was okay, if forgettable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a fun movie with lots of exciting moments. Even though it felt a little young, everyone loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun movie and a great sequel. It combines everything that was great about the first one and improves on it.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

See How They Run 2022 – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film See How They Run.

Story

The story tries really hard to be clever and referential while still respecting the genre. It’s not a spoof or an homage, but some sort of clever combination. The great thing is that it works on all levels. Everything is laid out in the intro narration and I was still pleasantly surprised.

Score: 1

Characters

The main detective characters are clichés brought to life. They’d be almost boring if it wasn’t for the quality and charm of the actors. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to the whole cast, which is populated by a checklist of quirky film noir characters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is a combination of period and modern and was a little jarring at times. It was however very clever and well thought out.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The director and cinematographer must have been big fans of Hitchcock and Anderson. It mostly worked as a mashup, but lacked originality and felt a little forced.

The music was strong but unmemorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie was a mystery lover’s good time. All the adults loved it, but the kids found it slow and talky. I will re-watch this one.

Score: 1

Overall

An excellent homage/comedy to the mystery genre, Christie in particular, and a fun movie. Its odd directorial choices are held together by the impressive acting from the leads.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Babysitter – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film The Babysitter.

Story

I like the reversal of the slasher story, making the group of teens the villains and the bullied kid the hero. I also like that despite that reversal, he still takes them out one by one.

Score: 1

Characters

I liked most of the characters. The main was a little whiny and his parents just weird. The villains were pretty bland except for the babysitter and the jock.

The talk at the end between the babysitter and the main character is interesting and hints at her having done this for a long time. This shows how she still feels like that kid despite years of deals with the devil. I’d love to see a retro prequel.

The true scene stealer was the jock. He took genuine glee in murder and his interactions with the main character are closer to a big brother than attempted murderer. It was fun and ridiculous in the best way.

The parents, bully, and girl next door all act a little over the top. Something that works for the killers but makes the world feel dream like and a little silly when it comes from the regular world characters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There’s a lot of cheese and a lot of stilted dialogue. It’s most apparent with the bullies and parents. It’s a combination of weird and surreal that works for the rest of the movie but not the “real life” parts.

I’m not a fan of the girl next door’s seeming indifference to what’s happening. She’s sympathetic but doesn’t seem to process the horror of what’s going on, going straight from sympathy to hornyness without being afraid or worried.

That being said, there’s some funny dialogue and good quips.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The filming is well done and the special effects, despite being low budget, are quite good. I like the framing and cuts but there’s nothing special overall and I feel like it could have paid better homage to cinematography of horror movies past.

The music was effective but not amazing.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a fun movie. Being the only horror fan in the family I watched this alone. I enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun and silly horror which plays with the usual tropes and has some amazing banter and some excellent scenes. It’s mostly hurt by extending the weird surreal feel to the regular world characters and not contrasting them to the killers.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Super Mario Bros. Movie – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Story

The writing was concise and clean. The story was a thin scaffolding for large game set pieces and had little to no substance. I appreciated all the nods to the vast catalogue of Mario games.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Mario and Luigi were fairly bland. The addition of their family felt weird and the fake, and disappearing, accents were jarring. I had my reservations about Donkey Kong being played by Seth Rogen but his iconic laugh was perfect for Kong.

I already knew that Bowser would steal the show and he did. Jack Black did an excellent job. A great surprise was the nihilistic cheerful blue star Lumalee. Absolutely hilarious.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The video game references were great and everything Lumalee said were great. Bowser’s dialogue was good, but the rest was a little forced and juvenile.

This is not a movie that will be quoted outside of Bowser’s lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Visually stunning and impressively colourful. It was great to watch the background and see all the easter eggs.

The original song will be stuck in my head forever and the rest of the score was wonderfully referential.

Score: 1

Fun

This was an easy watch with lots of nostalgia. I’ve been playing mario games since the eighties and this was very faithful to the world.

That being said, I really did find Mario and Luigi to be the weakest part of the movie.

Score: 1

Overall

A fairly inoffensive nostalgia-driven ride that will have gamers pausing every five seconds for the easter eggs, others will enjoy the angst free fair, and kids will be singing “Peaches” for way too long.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5