Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

Story

Rebellious teens ignore all the rules and get everything they want. Splinter is worried about their safety (rightly so, have you met humanity?) but eventually realizes that he’s being overbearing.

There’s a giant whale mutant chimera in there too.

It very much feels like an 80’s plot with 2020’s slang.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The turtles are extremely authentically teenage boys. My sister-in-law, a teacher, looked a little shell-shocked (pun intended). The antics, limited forward thinking and overthinking had me getting flashbacks to being a teen.

April was great, despite the lazy puke jokes, and I really liked having her be the same age as the turtles.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This dialogue will feel dated by the end of the year. There’s more slang than you can shake a ninja star at.

The penchant for the turtles to all talk at the same time is both relatable and well done, although exhausting to follow. The teasing and quipping felt natural and hilarious. The villain was over-the-top but it worked.

April’s smarts and snark were awesome.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The style of animation felt very dark. The backgrounds were gorgeous and the characters great, but it was a lot of dark on dark on dark.

The music was good and did it’s job, but was nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was interesting and fun, but went from pure pessimism to ridiculous optimism way too quick near the end. It felt like the writers wrote themselves into a corner and decided to just do a big battle.

The 4yo loved it and the 7yo liked it but not a lot.

The rest of the family enjoyed it, but we were all tired by the end.

Score: 0.5

Overall

An excellent TMNT movie with lots of action and for the first time the turtles felt like actual teens. April was a standout character and making her a teen was a brilliant idea. That said, the last act of the movie felt forced and the colour palate was a little too dark.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Anna and the Apocalypse – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film Anna and the Apocalypse.

Story

I have a massive soft spot for musicals and I’m not a huge fan of zombie movies, so this was interesting. The story itself is cookie cutter zombie genre with nothing new to add other than the music.

Score: 0

Characters

The final girl, the best friend, the overbearing dad, the bad boy, the lesbian, the smoochie couple, and the maniacal . It’s a buffet of zombie, YA, and horror tropes.

They might be tropes, but the actors and writers did a great job and managed to balance the psychological horror of zombie with the almost sillness of a musical.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Vacillating from corny to deep and touching, the dialogue does a great job in understanding the characters. There’s more than a few good quips too.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The cinematography in general was okay, the choreography was acceptable, and the gore was well done. My favourite scene happens when the main character doesn’t know there’s been a full apocalypse and is dancing and singing on her way to school with total carnage happening behind her.

The music is excellent and I’ll be humming, “Hollywood Ending” for a long time. Great harmonies, fun numbers, and they work both for a zombie movie or just a high school movie.

Score: 1

Fun

I loved the music, the characters were great, and I enjoyed the movie, but there’s a nihilism to zombie films that just isn’t fun. Nailing the ending to have a little hope but still be dour is hard. There was no hope left in this one.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun film with some excellent musical numbers and great acting, but in the end it’s just another zombie movie with nothing new to add.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie.

Note: I watched the English dub and have been a long time fan of the TV show.

Story

This was a simplified version of the show’s story with minor changes to make it fit in a movie format. Best to think of it as a alternate reality from the show if you’re a fan.

The descriptions and explanations seem fairly straightforward for those who don’t know the show.

The story, however, was very reductive and about the same as any other teen superhero story.

It did flow well and end well so I’ll give it credit for that.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters were fun but unfortunately fairly shallow. Marinette was well developed and definitely the star, but Adrien was underdeveloped and bland.

The secondary characters felt underused and I’m not sure a casual audience would care about them.

The changes to Marinette and Gabriel were effective in making the story more believable.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was quippy and funny, showing that despite the changes, the writers and actors were comfortable with the characters.

There are a few deep lines and what dialogue there is it’s well used.

I feel like the movie could have used more dialogue and less singing.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie was colourful, well animated, and pretty. The action was engaging and often well balanced with humour.

The music was lovely, although the transition from voice actor to singing voice was a little jarring with Marinette and Adrien.

Music, like action scenes, should be developing character and plot in a way that can’t be done otherwise. The songs need to be catchy and do all that. The song were catchy, but only did minor developments. The time could have been better used to develop the characters with dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Fun

We’ve now watched all four seasons available in Canada and we warned the kids in advance that this was a different story. They’ve seen enough Cinderella versions to get that idea. There were a few moments where they would ask why the characters weren’t doing what they would do in the show, but overall they seemed to love it. Lots of giggles in the opening scene with the gargoyle.

The adults enjoyed it as well. This was fun and low angst.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun movie which suffers from watering down the world for a new audience and trying to force the story into a standard superhero format. Despite being an easy watch, its secondary characters are as forgettable as the songs.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Story

A very simple twist on “fake dating”, the story isn’t all that exciting or interesting on it’s own and follows the usual YA romance beats.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters and actors in this are extremely compelling. Especially the secondary characters and family. Interesting and make you want more of their story.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue vacillates between the usual precociousness of YA characters and some outright hilarious lines. The heart to heart moments are by far the strongest and hold the movie together with a lot of emotion.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals are the usual Netflix stylised shots. Nothing special.

The music is unmemorable but not bad.

Score: 0.5

Fun

There’s a lot of cringe but love wins out once the characters communicate and there’s some fun scenes in between. It’s not great but it’s not bad.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A perfectly average YA romance with the always fun “fake dating” trope. The humdrum story, visuals, and music are elevated by the sheer charisma of the characters and some excellent dialogue.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Story

There were elements that worked and it was interesting to see Ant-Man as a lead in something epic, but it wasn’t the right story for him.

That being said, it felt like the main story was ripped straight from early science fiction and specifically from the old Flash Gordon serials.

Score: 0

Characters

There were two sets of characters and it felt like they were in very different movies. Janet and Hope were in an epic fantasy, while the rest were in a YA portal fantasy comedy. The character development was all over the place and felt disjointed.

I did like the story arc with Darren/M.O.D.O.K., and the secondary characters were fascinating.

Points for avoiding useless romantic drama, but they lose points for having no idea what to do with Hope, again.

Bill Murray’s character was an unsympathetic clone of Lando.

Kang was BORING. The infodumping speeches and mediocre threats were the worst part of the movie.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Like the rest of the movie, it felt disconnected. The epic fantasy prose of Janet, Kang, and most of the rest of the cast were uncomfortable juxtaposed with Scott, Cassie, Darren, and Hank’s quippy superhero dialogue.

There are times it worked, like with the goo man who wanted holes, but overall it wasn’t great.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie’s visuals were absolutely engrossing. I loved all the details, races, and weird shit everywhere. It was a wonder to watch and so much fun.

The music was well done and didn’t take itself too seriously, but fell into the same problem of feeling like Ant-Man music in an Epic Fantasy movie.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie was surprisingly chill for all its over the top drama. It was a lot of fun to watch and I can see myself rewatching just for the visuals. The kids were glued to their seats and most of the adults liked it.

Score: 1

Overall

The weakest of the three Ant-Man movies, mostly because it wasn’t an Ant-Man movie but a vapid copy of Flash Gordon with Ant-Man and company. The story is messy and disjointed with elements that shouldn’t go together being forced to interact. The villain is one of the blandest most boring villains in MCU history.

The visuals however, were ABSOLUTELY fabulous and Paul Rudd is hilarious, both of those make the movie way better than it has any right to be.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Zoom: Academy for Superheroes – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2006 film Zoom: Academy for Superheroes.

Story

The story works. It’s a nice mix between superhero and underdog sports movies. It has a lot of awkward moments and more than a few scenes that could have been cut or replaced.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Yikes is Jack an asshole. Seriously, he comes shy of insulting everyone but racial minorities (and that’s probably because there are none in the movie). His turnaround from asshole burnout to father figure is not believable and neither is the love story.

Thankfully, the kids are fantastic and bring the emotional heart to the film. The secondary characters felt a little out of place and there just for gags.

The little girl acted a lot younger than my 6yo does.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Lots of ableism, racism, sexism, and just meanness. There are a few good jokes, but the movie doesn’t balance it’s slapstick, seriousness, and heart very well.

The little girl had some of the best lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects look cheesy but still hold out pretty well. Lots of nice practical effects and I liked the comic book style of filming.

The music was so mid 00’s that it was nostalgic. I kinda want the soundtrack. It’s dated but not in a bad way.

Score: 1

Fun

It’s hard to like a movie when the main character is so unlikeable. The 6yo and 3yo loved it and ran around the house pretending to be Zoom or Princess.

I did enjoy the obvious twist with the scientist girl.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Despite Tim Allen’s thoroughly unlikeable character, the movie is fun and exciting with a few surprises along the way. Great movie for kids and for those who have fond memories of Smash Mouth.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Gunpowder Milkshake  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Gunpowder Milkshake.

Story

Hyperviolent with just enough emotion that you know it’s there. A classic style action movie. It’s not deep but it does have heart and a nice theme about found family.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Stoic, sarcastic, and deadly. The characters are barely two dimensional and only work through the immense talent of the actors.

Score: 0

Dialogue

Lots of quips, snark, and wonderful banter. The dialogue does double duty in needing to express the subtleties that the characters themselves don’t.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The style reminded me of a more colourful Sin City with a little of the surreal aspects of Sucker Punch. Overall, it has beautiful cinematography, sets, costumes, and action. The action is absolutely superb. Loved the car chase in the parking garage.

The music was a nice combination femme rock and instrumental action music.

Score: 1

Fun

I wasn’t sure what to expect and wanted something exciting and easy to watch. I wasn’t disappointed. I can see this being a comfort watch for me. Jen wasn’t as big a fan of the gore and extreme violence. The kids were in bed and did not watch, thankfully.

Score: 1

Overall

An excellent hyperviolent action movie with all the music quips and fights that make the genre fun to watch. The actors in this are at the top of their game and killing it (literally and figuratively.)

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Falling for Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Falling for Christmas.

Story

The second Netflix Christmas movie with a sexy single dad and a cute kid. The story was cute, but very cookie cutter with almost nothing new or unique.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters should have been bland and extremely cliché, but the acting saved the roles. The two leads did a great job as selling their characters and bringing heart to them.

The rest of the cast did well too.

Score: 1

Dialogue

At times it felt forced and a little cheesy but overall it wasn’t bad.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

I have to say I was impressed to see a movie take place in winter and be able to see their breath. This was obviously filmed in a cold location (Utah) and it gave it some authenticity that a lot of other movies miss. That being said the transition and establishing shots were overused.

The music was nice, but I was really disappointed to not see a proper duet between the two leads. They’re both accomplished singers afterall.

Score: 0.5

Fun

It was predicable, cheesy, and borderline satirical, but it had charm. The entire family watched and didn’t get bored. It’s a low angst lovely movie.

Bonus points for the positive portrayal of consent.

Score: 1

Overall

It might not be the most original or the biggest budget, but it’s charming and succeeds on the charisma of the leads. If you need a nice Christmas romance with low stakes, this is for you.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Under Wraps (2021) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

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

Story

This is a cute Halloween story. There are a lot of errors in Egyptian history and I’m not sure what the point of the 3-day pass for the movie was. It seemed odd and without any reason. That being said, I liked the jab at grave robbing.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Although the characters were awesome and I really appreciated the diversity, I found there was a lack of depth. They just felt very YA written by someone who’s only seen kids in movies.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There were a lot of great wisecracks and gags. I really liked the play on words with the word Mummy.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Excellent makeup and good acting combined with some genre savvy camera angles make this a fun movie to watch. It uses the practical effects well and limits the cheesy digital effects.

The music was okay, but I would have liked to hear more of Thriii’s “Calling all Monsters”.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a nice throwback to the kids monster movies of my youth. I liked the nod to Zombies (the Disney channel movie series) with the costumes in the background, and the awesome dancing. The whole family liked it and now the kids are pretending to be mummies and zombies, so yay?

If I have one gripe… Honey doesn’t work that way. Also it felt a little disjointed at times and I had a hard time not checking my phone,, which isn’t a good thing.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun if shallow Halloween movie. It has some great scenes and fun moments.

Final Score: 3 stars out of 5

Clueless – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1995 film Clueless.

Story

The story is pretty faithful to what I vaguely remember of its inspiration (Emma by Jane Austen) with more slang and 90’s aesthetic than a you can shake a brick-sized cell phone at. It’s cringe and nostalgia all in one, but at its core, it’s sort of sweet.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are mostly nice to each other, which surprised me. I expected mean girls level fighting. So they’re not mean, but they really are clueless. Completely privileged and so very young.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There’s a lot of iconic slang in this and lots that I think they invented, but there’s a lot of what was terrible about the 90’s. Diet culture and disordered eating is laced throughout, homophobia, classism, and more than a little racism. Some of which is shown to be bad, but a lot of it is shown as normal.

I did really enjoy how the characters said dumb things smartly and smart things in a valley accent.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

There’s a little weird shaky cam at the start and some strange angles, but overall it’s pretty well shot and each frame has a lot of information it in.

The music is pure nostalgia and I loved it.

Score: 1

Fun

I both enjoyed and cringed at this movie. I think I would have loved it when I was a young teen, but now I see all the problems and roll my eyes at the drama of youth. (Whippersnappers!)

I did like the overall story though, and despite my angst, it was fun.

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a dated classic that encapsulates everything that was wrong with the 90’s and captures its innocence.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5