Disenchanted – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Disenchanted.

Story

This is a fantastic take on an alternate reality/wish style story. While the first one’s emotion was all tied up in the conflict between “jaded” and “fairytale” love, this one is all about not being happy and finding your place.

Each character is treated to their own character arc and it’s solidly built. The story did feel like it had been developed as a TV show and then shrunk down into a movie and I think some of the emotion and story ideas could have been better served with a longer runtime.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The casting for Morgan was scary impressive. I had to double check that it wasn’t the same actress. Amy Adams made me, once again, wonder why we don’t see her in more musical roles. I also now want to see her play more villains.

The rest of the cast did an excellent job.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Extremely believable, I like that they leaned into the dissonance between the fairytale language and modern day.

I also really appreciated Amy Adams arguing with herself and the Gollum-style camera work.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The scenery and camerawork felt smaller than the first one. The dance numbers smaller but more intricate. It’s a beautiful set and great acting, but shows they didn’t have the budget for massive set pieces.

They thankfully gave Idina Menzel something to sing in this one. I loved the music and I’m glad there was more of it.

Score: 1

Fun

There’s a certain melancholy in this one compared to the first, but it’s somehow more optimistic. Love isn’t a magical uncertain thing, it’s a certainty and the characters never seem to doubt it.

The entire family was glued to the screen and enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

There’s a grandness missing compared to the first, but it still has all the heart, warmth, and magic. The music is excellent and Amy Adams is a fantastic villain.

This was a joyful addition to the first movie and was just as enchanting.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Monster High – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Monster High.

Story

The story started really cliché but had some great moments. It’s not ridiculously great for the story, but it was competent.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are completely different from the source material. That being said, the characters are both entertaining and diverse in a way that I wasn’t expecting.

I like the overall feel of the characters trying to find themselves and the drama of high school. I also appreciate the ND representation along with the gender-neutral character Frankie.

I have to say, I did not guess the villain and I was happy to be surprised. It all fit with hindsight and that’s the best sort of reveal.

Score: 1

Dialogue

I’m going to be honest, I have no idea how teens talk anymore. This felt stilted at times but still fun. The vocabulary and innuendo level definitely geared for younger kids.

There’s a lot of borderline cheesy but empowering dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were colourful and well filmed. The camera work showed a cinematographer who understood monster movies. The sets, costumes, makeup, and special effects were acceptable.

I was impressed by the music. Some of the same people who worked on this also worked of Descendants and/or Julie and the Phantoms. They brought that quality to this.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was a little slow to start but once we got the first song, it picked up. The entire family loved it. The 6yo more than the 3yo, but not by much.

It was a fun boarding school mystery adventure; my wife and I loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

Those that loved the TV show will be incensed at the changes. It uses the look and feel and spins its own story.

Taken on its own, it’s a great monster twist on the boarding school adventure genre. The characters, music, and story are fun with a hopeful message.

Final Score: 3.5 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

Sneakerella – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Sneakerella.

Story

This was a modern take on Cinderella and had a lot of throwbacks to the Disney Cinderella. The story was pretty standard, but included a nice, if awkward, Aladdin twist.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The two mains had a lot of chemistry and the rest of the cast was great. The acting was top notch, I particularly liked his best friend and fairy god-father.

I am a little peeved at the lack of development dedicated to the step-father. He didn’t earn his happy ending by being anything but obtuse. He was still a jerk, just not too big a jerk.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was excellent. It felt authentic to my ear and was quite witty. I liked the puns and plays on classic Disney.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The locations and cinematography were stunning. The dance numbers were cool and everything about it was beautifully colourful.

The music was solid. I won’t be humming the songs, but they were well done.

Score: 1

Fun

Maybe it was knowing how it ends or just not liking the angst, but the second half dragged a little for me. My 3yo was bored when there wasn’t any music and everyone else liked it okay.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun re-interpretation of Cinderella with great Disney Easter eggs and enjoyable songs. The movie doesn’t add much to the tried and true story, but doesn’t really need to.

Final Score: 3.5

Fear Street 1666 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Fear Street 1666.

Story 

This one stands on its own the least. It’s more like a mini movie with a tenuous connection to the conclusion. That being said, both halves were excellent. 

Score: 0.5

Characters

Reusing actors was clever, both for cost and to make us feel like we were connected to them from the first 2 movies. They all did a great job, despite the mishmash of accents.

Score:

Dialogue

This was a mess. Too modern and too archaic all at the same time. The second half was a little better, but leaned too heavily into hammy dialogue.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The first half was grey and a little boring (Pilgrim life?) the second half went perfectly with 1994. The sets were great, but it was all a little blah.

The music tied in well with the other two, but didn’t add anything interesting.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was interesting and I was really happy to finally get the answers, but it felt like two short stories. I think actually splitting it into two movies might have made it feel less rushed.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The last part of the series suffers from needing to tie up story points while struggling to tell its own stories. This one really should have been split into two.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Fear Street 1978 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Fear Street 1978.

Story 

This is my favourite of the three. It feels like a good old-fashioned slasher with an added supernatural twist. The framing narrative of the other movies doesn’t intrude as much.

Score: 1

Characters

The younger versions of the characters from the first movie were perfectly cast. The surreal feeling of the trilogy shines here.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Definitely felt off, but not as bad as 1994. I found despite the supernatural elements, the dialogue was delivered pretty well.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This felt oddly undersaturated compared to the other two. I liked the predominance of red in the caverns though.

The music was a lot of fun and felt like a nod to Supernatural.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I liked this one a lot. It was exciting and fun. I enjoyed the camp hijinks and the off-kilter world.

Score: 1

Overall

The strongest of the trilogy, it could stand on its own. The characters are fun and I love the mixture of lore, supernatural, and good old-fashioned slasher.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Fear Street 1994 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Fear Street 1994.

Story 

This feels like a Fear Street book but with a little more gore. The end sequence of the movie in the grocery store felt like a way of killing off some characters, since they had an ambulance and could have driven around. It’s also not a complete movie.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I really liked the main three characters and even some of the secondary ones. They were all a little nylistic but that made sense with the setting. The actors were great.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Everything sounded a little too modern for my liking. It didn’t sound like the right time period. Beyond that the dialogue was a little awkward and tried to hard.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

Dark and aesthetically perfect for Fear Street and 1994. I like the background details that were nods to the books and other horror movies.

The music did its job well.

Score:

Fun

This was a lot of fun to start with, but I got frustrated at the characters quite often. The fact that they didn’t use the ambulance instead of the store annoyed me.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun throwback to the books, but the characters do some really dumb things. I enjoyed it, but it feels unfinished without the rest of the series.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Story

A rare sequel which is more coherent and better all around. Possibly the best video game themed movie of all time, it both relies on and mocks the usual tropes.

Score: 1

Characters

The main five actors do a phenomenal job at being the kids. It’s mostly believable and impressively detailed. Jack Black is amazing.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The problem with trying to capture the dialogue of teens is how quickly it changes. The dialogue already sounds dated after just five years. Although the quips, jokes, and overall tone is well done.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie looks great and I greatly appreciate that they didn’t try to animate it like a video game.

The music is haunting and exciting all at once.

Score: 1

Fun

The five year old found it a little scary, but she loved the action and humour. It’s nice to see her starting to appreciate word-based humour more.

The rest of us enjoyed it as much as the first few times. I particularly appreciate that the humour around Jack Black’s character was so wholesome.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful adventure that balances action, humour, and character development for a near perfect movie.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Lost City – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Lost City.

Story

I love absurdity in my movies, however, it doesn’t often lend itself well to properly exploring human emotions and relationships. I’m in awe at the balance between groundedness and absurdity in this film. As a romantic comedy with an archeological adventure twist, none of the many parts failed to work. If anything, they worked perfectly together in a way that I would love to dissect.

Score: 1

Characters

The characters (except Brad Pitt’s Jack Trainer) start as caricatures, but with every scene, layer on emotion and depth. Although a completely new story, watching this cast in a romantic comedy felt like a new album from your favourite band; comfortable, but still exciting.

Score: 1

Dialogue

I’m not a fan of bodily function humour or crude humour. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of this film’s laughs were dialogue and banter-related. It was both intelligent while still throwing in the occasional dick joke.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Tropical islands, volcanoes, ancient temples, and archeological digs are hard to screw up as a backdrop. The movie uses its special effects sparingly and the location very well. There were only one or two instances of green screen that didn’t look quite right.

The music wasn’t in your face, but definitely accentuated the action and was instrumental in one of my favourite jokes.

Score: 1

Fun

I’ll be honest, a movie about a writer is an easy sell for me. However, it’s really easy to screw it up and there are very few of them that I consider any good. This managed to have everything in it that I like and none of the whiny writer stuff. I also really appreciated the archeological twist and that it wasn’t reversed.

I do take offence to the villains categorizing romance as porn, but the positive portrayal from other characters more than made up for it.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an action-packed, witty, and extremely fun take on the romantic comedy genre. Despite following the genre’s standard tropes, it felt fresh. If you enjoyed Sandra Bullock in anything from the 90s or aughts, you’ll love this.

Final Score: 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.