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

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

The Babysitter: Killer Queen – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film The Babysitter: Killer Queen.

Story

I’m impressed with the continuity of feel from the first one. The story is fairly linear and is more of a chase situation, but everything is well set up and a little surreal like the first.

Score: 1

Characters

I love that my complaints from the first one were dealt with in this one. If it was set up the whole time I’m impressed and if not, I’m more impressed because they must have taken audience feedback.

I found the main guy a little whiny and annoying until he took things into his own hands. The new girl felt very much like a tough on the outside girl with a hard past. She played it well and was surprisingly charismatic.

I’m so glad they brought back the old group of killers. They were so entertaining and Robbie Amell was wonderful again. The younger killers were pretty forgettable and didn’t have the charisma or interest of the others.

The dads were just annoying and I could have done without them.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Lots of surreal cheesyness but nothing particularly great. Again Amell had the best lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The location shooting was great. The desert is always a great place to highten the weird. As a person who’s grown up around lakes and rivers, seeing a river in a desert was unerving.

I liked that continuity of using Queen for the babysitter and the music was well done overall.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie was fun. Once they got to the first twist it was a lot of fun. I think I like it better than the first. The sex scene was weird. I’m glad I wasn’t watching it with anyone who I’d have to explain that it was a metaphor for sex.

Score: 1

Overall

This was an excellent slasher but an even better sequel. The gore is higher, the twists more twisted, and the surreal action more entertaining. If you liked the first one, this is great.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Babysitter – JenEric Movie Review

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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

Bullet Train – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Bullet Train

Story

A fun mix of mystery, action, and absurd comedy; this movie is extremely well plotted. Nothing is wasted even the throwaway gags.

I normally find excessive flashbacks tedious, but it was done perfectly here and even manages to mock itself.

Score: 1

Characters

The absolute strength of the movie is in the characters. They are almost all killers and all of them likable, even those you’re not supposed to like.

The relationship arc between ladybug and his handler is excellent and the emotional journey he goes on is extremely relatable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This is a very verbose movie and I’m totally here for it. I look forward to re-watching it and paying closer attention to the details.

Lots of excellent quips, monologues, and pseudo-psychology; all very entertaining.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visual style is colourful, exciting, and vibrant. The action quick and punchy. The camerawork is excellent, considering it is all supposed to be on a train.

The Japanese versions of American pop songs, along with the score, set a perfect tone for the movie.

Score: 1

Fun

This is a rated R movie and I watched it on my own when the kids went to sleep. It was exactly what I needed to relax. It’s violent, funny, and a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Overall

A fantastic, violent, and funny movie with all the mystery of an Agatha Christie and all the irreverent humour of Deadpool. The actors pull out all the stops and despite the over the top action, the film never feels inauthentic. Seriously, go watch this.

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.

Peter Pan & Wendy – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Peter Pan & Wendy.

Story

I’ll be honest, I’ve never liked the Peter Pan movies. They always feel like growing up propaganda. I get that growing up is important, but this story is one of the biggest reasons that our society equates growing up with giving up childhood things. I think that’s a sad outcome.

All that being said, I liked the changes to the story from the traditional stage play and Disney movie. It’s exciting and fun. Lots of set up and some long monologues slow it down though.

Score: 0.5

Characters

It’s nice to see a Tinkerbell that is not jealous of Wendy and a Wendy that is a capable fighter. Tiger Lily was amazing and wise without being a stereotype. Great to see and hear the Cree language. (Although subtitles sometimes calling it a foreign language was silly.)

Hook and Pan have some great character moments and although there were a few monologues that went a little long, they both had a depth of character that is refreshing. Pan being a normal kid whose emotional maturity stalled was an interesting take.

Score: 1

Dialogue

As I mentioned, some monologues went a little too long. Some of the dialogue came off a little hammy like the actors were reading lines.

Overall it was a nice mixture of time appropriate dialogue and updated text.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The scenery was beautiful. The action well choreographed. It was easy to believe that Pan was an extremely good fighter. The camera work and framing were superb. At times I found it a little dark and maybe a little desaturated.

The music was epic and perfectly timed. I liked the mixture of the Disney animated movie soundtrack with the new orchestration.

Score: 1

Fun

I enjoyed the film, but the longer monologues seemed to bore the 3yo. The 6yo loved it, but seemed confused at the Hook and Pan friendship.

The rest of the family seemed to love it and that’s saying something since my MIL and SIL are both big fans of the book.

Score: 1

Overall

A film that both respects it’s source material and updates it in interesting ways. Fun action with fun characters. If you like any Peter Pan stories, you’ll love this one. A Disney update that is definitely worth the watch.

Final Score: 4 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

Tomb Raider (2018) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film Tomb Raider.

Story

I haven’t played the games, but I assume there are some common elements from the stills and trailers I’ve seen. The story isn’t what I expected; I expected a puzzle archaeology movie and got an action movie.

All that being said, the story was pretty good. I wish they’d spent less time with the island action scenes and more with the tomb or puzzles.

My major issues is that it started action / intrigue and the tone switched to horror action once it reached the island. That would work for a book or TV show, but for a movie it felt disjointed.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I have to give credit to the actress because we learn almost nothing about Lara the entire movie other than she’s smart, gets back up, and is very curious. Any urge by the audience to care about the character is due to the charisma the actress brings to it.

The bad guy was perfectly cartoonish and the dad was okay. I liked the captain.

The CEO of of Croft Corp reminded me of Nina Sharp in Fringe played by Blair Brown.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Not super quippy, but very well paced. There’s a lot of mythology and they space it out really well. I also liked that the few puzzles that Lara solves are thought out in dialogue.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Everything in this movie was stunning. Filming was amazing, lighting spectacular, and action just wonderful.

The music was intense and well composed. There were a few times that it was a little early for the scene, which didn’t work for me.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I loved every moment of it, but I regret watching it with the kids. It was a little scarier and more violent than they should be watching. However, that’s on me.

My wife liked it, but found it a little exhausting.

Score: 1

Overall

A roller coaster from start to finish. The tone goes from action to horror, but the cinematography is spectacular. A fun action movie with lots of thrills.

Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Spider-Man: No Way Home – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Story

There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad in this one. The hopefulness of Spider-man is challenged, but shown to be worth protecting. Spider-man doesn’t kill his enemies was a theme in the older films, but he also didn’t save them. Saving them in this one helps affirm the joy and hopefulness of this Spider-man. I love the concept.

I hate that they had to, once again, kill a strong female character to move the plot and motivate the hero. It’s old, it was old a long time ago.

Another thing that’s old and really annoying is the forgetting spell. I hated the soft reset of Gamora in Avengers, and I hate it here. It makes everything from the previous movie feel cheap. It feels like they had to have it so that Strange wouldn’t go ask Peter for help in the next movie.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I absolutely loved seeing the two older Spider-men. It made my elder millennial heart happy to see them and see them work through some of their trauma and issues. Felt, oddly, like coming home.

I adored the character development and redemption for the villains. When Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock called Peter, “Dear Boy,” I cheered. I’d forgotten how absolutely brilliant William Defoe was as Norman Osborne.

M.J. and Ned are great characters and I really liked watching them work with Peter. Unfortunately, most of their development and interactions now don’t matter. That pisses me off.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This was surprisingly heartfelt and perfectly quippy. Bringing back the Great Power speech was well done. I loved all the in-jokes and all the dialogue between the main trio.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Absolutely stunning special effects, camera work, and fight scenes.

The music didn’t just elevate the scenes, it also punched up the nostalgia perfectly.

Score: 1

Fun

I’ve been a fan of the Spider-man movies for twenty-one years and this brought all the feels and brought me back to summer 2001 when I watched the first movie more times than I can count at a discount second run cinema.

The kids liked it mostly (the 2yo got bored during the talky bits) and the rest of the family geeked out with me.

I was ridiculously annoyed at the loss of character interaction and growth due to the memory loss spell.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Lots of hope, thrills, excitement, and nostalgia with a big heap of fun. This is a Spider-man film for those who love Spider-man films. It’s marred by some tiresome tropes and leaves us in a frustrating place for the next one, but overall it’s a lot of fun.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5