The Little Mermaid (2023)– JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film The Little Mermaid.

Story

Disney has been calling these “remakes” but they’re really just copies. That might sound disparaging, but I’ve watched and enjoyed more Cinderella, Musketeer, and Robin Hood movies than I can count.

The changes in this are understandable and it shows that the scriptwriters had a deep love for the animated version. I liked the slight change at the end.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Most of the cast made the roles their own. Ariel was amazing and thankfully less whiny. Triton felt more relatable and Eric was less bland.

The actress who played Vanessa was fantastic.

I’m not impressed with Ursula. I thought the actress might try something original, but instead she did a mediocre impersonation of Pat Carroll.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is very similar but just different enough to sound wrong. It’s not normally a problem but sometimes it was frustrating. The modern updates were good, and again it was nice to see Eric have some more screen time and lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were good but the underwater stuff was a little uncanny valley. It was beautiful but felt wrong.

The music was fantastic and Ioved the extra songs.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The beginning was a little slow but after that it went fast. The kids loved it and the rest of the family enjoyed it. It was fun overall.

Score: 1

Overall

A faithful adaptation to the original that hits all the right notes. It’s unfortunate that Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula was only a poor copy of the original’s soul.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

The New Mutants – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film The New Mutants.

Story

With shades of the Nightmare on Elm street series, especially 3, the movie could have done with a little more horror but balanced the characters, story, mystery, and atmosphere.

Score: 0.5

Characters

A good mixture of damaged and interesting characters. I like the dynamics and character growth.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are a few cases of silly dialogue but the movie overall is very self aware and does a good job balancing comic book cheese and genuine emotion.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects were well done and kept much sparser than most X-Men movies. The obligatory big battle at the end was much more impactful because of the restraint throughout the rest of the movie.

The music was epic and creepy at all the right times.

Score: 1

Fun

I watched this on my own and I fully expected to hate it. Most of the later X-Men movies were pretty bad. I’m a big fan of the whole “Breakfast Club meets mental asylum” vibe they had, and the story letting the characters breathe.

I definitely want to re-watch this one.

Score: 1

Overall

A nice change from the usual X-Men movies. This is an atmospheric horror which understands the importance of character development and growth.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Hunters (2013) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2013 film The Hunters.

Story

This is a mashup of Indiana Jones and Spy Kids, but it works. The story beats are predictable but interesting, and the world building was fun.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There are a few times where I think the writers got confused about which brother was which but besides that, they were passable characters. Thankfully the acting was significantly better than the dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There was a lot of useless explaining and some mixed-up lines, along with some strange reasons for doing anything. That being said, at least the writers understood how to write a romance subplot.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The special effects were bad but the locations were nice (Yay BC!). The fight choreography was passable.

The music did its job but wasn’t particularly good.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I enjoyed it but it wasn’t great. The kids got bored a few times.

I usually love when this sort of story mixes myths and reality but the entire made up story of Cinderella’s shoe was frustratingly under-researched and under-utilized.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun take on the archeology/adventure genre but its special effects, terrible dialogue, and poor research take away from the overall enjoyment.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

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

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

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

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

Raiders of the Lost Ark – JenEric Movie Review

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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