Wish Dragon – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Wish Dragon.

Story

An interesting re-imagining of the wishing trope. The main character is adorable and actually as innocent as he seems. The dragon is both funny and has an interesting backstory.

The movie does get bogged down by forced awkwardness and ridiculous drama. The story is at it’s best when it’s exploring family and community and at it’s worst when it veers to close to romance.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is adorable and only does stupid stuff because he’s very trusting of the magical dragon.The dragon is over the top and completely out of his depth. The friend is the definition of dutiful and conflicted about it.

The goon villains are cute and scary while the main villain was a nice surpise.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Clever and funny, but not extremely memorable, the dialogue serves its purpose. There are a few good lines, especially the dialogue between the main characters.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie looks very similar to what other top studios are doing, character design looks pulled from Pearl Studios or Blue Sky Studios. There are moments of pure beauty, however.

The music is lovely and really accentuates the story.

Score: 1

Fun

Overall, the movie is a lot of fun. The kids loved it and other than that annoying middle part, it was a joy to watch. I was excited to have a movie all about friends and felt a little betrayed when they played with the possibility of the characters becoming love interests.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful addition to the animated “genie” genre. It is a lot of fun, but sacrifices some depth for awkward humour and a few too many chase scenes. In the end it’s pretty, has a great moral and is fun to watch.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Ever After – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1998 film Ever After.

Story

An interesting twist on the Cinderella story that concentrates more on the meeting and courting before the ball of the lovers. It makes the love story feel slightly more real.

One of the few “realistic” takes on a classic fairy-tale that manages to work.

Score: 1

Characters

The evil stepmother was evil, the prince was handsome, and the Cinderella was spunky and kicked ass. I like that one of the stepsisters was nice.

I’m not super comfortable with the portrayal of the Romani in the movie. Showing them as brigands and thieves with a sense of honour and humour is very cliché and borders on racist.

I adore Da Vinci as an artist, inventor, and plot device but it made me sad that they had to remove a positive female role from the story to have him in there. Couldn’t they have made Gustave’s patron a famous female artist?

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This is a movie with a lot of dialogue and a lot of subtext. It might be a Cinderella story but it takes a lot from modern romantic comedy banter and Much Ado About Nothing.

I’m not sure how quotable it is, but listening to the banter and dialogue is like listening to a good musical piece.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This movie includes some beautiful locations and clothing. It was beautifully shot but everything was marred by a weird blue-green filter. It darkened the movie and made everything look wrong rather than stylish.

The music was lovely and unobtrusive but nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Watching a movie this long with a three year old and a fourteen month old isn’t very conducive to fun. The three year old liked the colours and movement but lost interest in the long conversations that were the heart of the movie.

Despite that, I enjoyed myself and look forward to watching it with them when they’re older.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie manages to strike the perfect balance between love story, fairy tale, and alternate history. It’s romantic and lovely without much to cringe at.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Christmas Setup – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film The Christmas Setup.

Story

Borrowing partly from indie slice of life and partly from Christmas romances, this is an easy to watch mix of the two. There’s a mystery and a little angst, but overall wasn’t too bad. There are two parts that I didn’t like. I hate the trope of forcing a character to go on stage and then they rock it. If someone doesn’t want to do it, they shouldn’t be pressured. The second time it happened the character didn’t even do what they were supposed to.

I did however love the mirroring in the story of the train station and the main characters. That was cute and awesome.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Fran Drescher plays the perfect meddling mother. She’s never hurtful and she’s somehow always respectful. A nice change of pace for this character archetype. The rest of the cast is both pretty and easy to watch. The characters are believable and overall pretty authentic. I really liked the dynamic of the brothers and how they had to work at understanding each other.

I also like that the main couple being gay didn’t add to the drama but still influenced the character’s stories and conversations.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This movie had an interesting effect. I laughed and loved the clever dialogue… but I don’t remember any of it. It was fast and clever and never took itself seriously.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was well shot, the clothes were fantastic, and locations were stunning. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the “Northern Lights” scene that looked pretty fake.

The music was good if not memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was fun to watch. It kept my 18 month old completely enthralled. I’m thinking it was the banter, but it could have been my popcorn. The entire family liked it and I hope there will be more like it in the future.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an adorable Christmas love story that is made all the better by wonderful dialogue and authentic representation. I liked this one and look forward to buying a copy for annual watching.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Princess Bride – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1987 film Princess Bride.

Story

There are two stories going on in the movie. The boy and his grand father and then the main story. Both are extremely simple. Simplicity in this movie isn’t a bad thing; it’s used to shift the focus away from the plot and towards the characters and dialogue.

The movie has aged well in almost every way except the complete lack of diversity and failing the Bechdel test on all counts.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The movie has some of the most iconic characters and the movie is really about them and their journey. Other than Buttercup and Humperdinck, the major characters see growth and resolution.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is quite possibly the most iconic in American cinema. It’s definitely one of the most quoted movies and in my D&D group it competes with Monty Python for quote time.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The scenery is gorgeous as are the costumes. The sets are purposefully simple but still beautiful. The movie has a look that is just borderline cheesy while still being ageless. The sword fighting is exceptional.

The music is lovely, simple but definitely fantasy inspired. It’s very well used in the fight scenes and “Kissing” moments. I was glad it didn’t follow the synth trend of the 80’s.

Score: 1

Fun

I saw this movie for the first time in my twenties and have watched it a handful of times since. It’s extremely fun to watch and easy to enjoy. It really has a little bit of everything.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie isn’t perfect but it’s pretty and a lot of fun. The dialogue is iconic and if you don’t find yourself quoting something from it, I’d be surprised.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars

Introducing Brew 42

Due to the hateful position taken by a certain author, we at JenEric Designs can not morally support them or the world they created.

All Harry Potter crochet will be discontinued.

50% of all sales of remaining stock (including a beautiful Hufflepuff inspired scarf) will be donated to the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).


Hello Coffee lovers!

I’m proud and excited to introduce our newest flavour: Brew 42. It’s a medium roast unflavoured coffee which which will make you a really hoopy frood.

Enjoy it soon on JenEric Coffee and Crochet!

Enjoy!

Éric

Consume Media Critically

Due to the hateful position taken by a certain author, we at JenEric Designs can not morally support them or the world they created.

All Harry Potter crochet and coffee will be discontinued.

50% of all sales of remaining stock (including a beautiful Hufflepuff inspired scarf) will be donated to the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).

Use code BTLM for 15% off your entire order until Midnight June 14th.


Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Consuming media critically is something that I encourage everyone to do. You can love a story and still admit its faults.

I firmly believe that once a story is out in the world it not longer belongs (metaphorically and spiritually, not legally) to the creators. I wrote about this from a creator’s point of view in Your Stories and Characters don’t Belong to you. Get over it!

When you consume a story and love it, you take from it what you need. Once the story is out there and communities build around them, the entire world of it changes and grows. The fans fundamentally change the story, usually for the better.

That being said, it’s important to listen those who are hurt by the things we consume. To look at the negative aspects and accept that they can be hurtful. If someone says they are hurt by something, we must listen and learn from that.

Harry Potter is filled with racist, homophobic, classist, pro-slavery, colonialist, and antisemitic themes. I’m sure there are other things in there that I haven’t noticed. It’s also filled with messages about the power of love, found family, doing the right thing, and standing up against oppression. Nothing is perfect. It’s your responsibility to decide if the good outweighs the bad.

We plan on keeping our Harry Potter books and making sure we explain the faults to our kids. However, we gave away our Marion Zimmer Bradley books and I refuse to read Lovecraft. You need to decide on your own balance.

If the Harry Potter universe is important to you, if you have fond memories of waiting in line for the books, if you smile when you hear the words Mushroom and Badger close together, or if your life was influenced for the better by these book; those memories and events are still good and valid. As much as the creator influences the work, so do the consumers. Don’t allow the author’s misguided hateful views to dim the positive that the books have done.

If you still love the world and still want to consume things about it, I recommend looking into fan fiction, fan art, and other creators that have played with those worlds.

Art by the talented itsnucleicacid on DiviantArt.

Consume responsibly,

Éric

Long Haul

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Trump said something about having everything open by Easter. Even before that, people were talking about returning to normal.

I heard about the Virus in the end of January while on vacation at Disney. I’m ashamed to say that I thought people were overreacting. Then I got sick.

Baby Pegasus got something at the end of our trip to Florida and then sneezed into my mouth. Yum. I’m not sure if it was the virus or another Covid that’s flying around there, but it matched all the symptoms. Who knows. Either way, it was the worst sickness I’ve had outside of severe food poisoning.

By the end of February, I was starting to get worried. By the time the lockdowns started, I realized this was going to be a while.

Every week, news sources are talking about when things will go back to normal. People who saw the horrifying inequality in our society want us to do better then normal.

I’m convinced this will be a long haul. This will become our normal for a while. I’m hoping that by Christmas we will have a viable cure or vaccine. But I don’t expect the threat to go away until the end of 2020.

Now just because the Virus is still around, doesn’t mean that those who have their own best interest in mind aren’t going to push to reopen society. We will see those that believe humans are a commodity pushing for a return to capitalist normal.

We will see things normalized that should horrify us before this is over. Governments will push too far, corporations will push eugenics, or immunity cards, and worst, our friends and neighbours will start to believe the arguments.

My greatest fear is going to be having to choose between the health of my family, friends, and myself, over having to go back to work. I’m really hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Now let me be positive. At least in the short term this will mean a greater respect for those that are working hard everyday. Those that work at grocery stores, hospitals, restaurants, sanitation, and all the other essentials services.

In the long run, I expect better respect for the importance of health care and minimum wage. The need to make internet an essential and affordable service and the need for being prepared for this in the future. I also really hope we see the quick death of the anti-vaccine movement.

 Uncertain future. Illustration: Chris Riddell

We have lived through 3 major viral pandemics in the past twenty years (5 if you count Ebola and HIV); this is going to happen again. If we’re lucky, it’ll be a strain of something we have a vaccine for and can adapt fast but I predict this isn’t the last major shutdown of our times.

In these darker times, it’s important for us to remember three things:

  1. All life has value; no one should be defined by the amount of money they can make for others.
  2. Don’t give in to hate.
  3. Life will change after this and it’s up to us to make sure it’s for the better.

Stay home, wash your hands, and be kind to one another.

Éric

Dear Pegasus and Dragon – Disney 2020

Hello My Mythical Brood,

We recently came back from a two week vacation in Florida. We rented a house, with Grannie and Granddad, and visited Disney World, A LOT.

Pegasus, you started teething not long before and kept us up at night. (Mum and I mostly.) You fell asleep on rides and mostly seemed confused as to why we were standing around and not letting you crawl. When you weren’t annoyed you spent the time smiling at people and making their hearts melt. You have a way of looking at people, with your big blue eyes, like you’re judging them and then releasing a massive smile. It makes anyone caught by it ridiculously happy.

Dragon, you will probably not remember this trip. At 3 you’re still very young, but if you do I hope you remember the joy and excitement you felt on the rides. The first time you took a rollercoaster, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the fireworks started as we were climbing. It was beautiful. I’ll always remember how you would get super excited to meet a character and then completely freeze, and the smile you would have every time you saw something exciting.

The two of you had your ups and downs (Same with us). Some days were harder then others but you did great being dragged around the parks and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

I also hope you remember the quieter times at the house talking and playing with Grannie and Granddad. Without them, this trip would have been impossible. They are truly remarkable helping with you and everything else required in a big trip. We don’t always agree on everything, but I wouldn’t have wanted to take this or any Disney trip without them.

In the end, Pegasus and I got a cold but years from now I hope we’ll remember the good things.

I had a wonderful time with you, Mum, Grannie, and Granddad.

I love you both very much,

Papa

Dear Pegasus – 6 months

Dear baby Pegasus,

You give fantastic hugs.

You’ve been around for just over 6 months and you’ve been a great baby. You love to sleep (except this past week), you eat well, and you are the smiliest child ever.

I’m amazed at how long you are willing to play by yourself (mostly) and by how alert and resourceful you are.

You’re moments away from crawling and that sometimes frustrates you or makes you fall on your face. It’s adorable and a little funny.

The past week you’ve thrown your sleep schedule out the window and decided anything goes. A few nights you refused to sleep before 3 in the morning. It was hard, especially that your sister had a cold/flu thing and really needed the sleep.

I’m sorry for having been a little less than patient. It never lasts because you turn that darling smile on me and I melt.

Before you were born I was worried that I didn’t have room to love you as much as I love your sister. I was very wrong.

I love you so much little Pegasus!

Your Papa

I can’t remember if I’ve done this

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m Bisexual… I have no idea if I’ve ever officially come out. It’s not something I talk about a lot unless I see Jason Momoa…

I’ve been attracted to all genders for as long as I can remember. The few same sex relationships I saw I could never understand why people made a big deal about. It wasn’t until I got older and people started to use Gay as a slur that I realized I wasn’t the norm. I didn’t have a word for what I was until university when I met other people in the LGBTQ+ community.

It wasn’t a positive interaction. I was told I was just confused and couldn’t choose a side. That I should come back if I decided to be gay. (Yep, a gay man actually told me that.) It wasn’t until I met some really good friends in my mid twenties that I realized I wasn’t just confused. Then I saw Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and it was great to see a character like me.

All that to say, if I hadn’t told you… I’m bisexual and to me that means I can be attracted to anyone, regardless of their gender.

For pride month, the wonderful Cait Gordon wrote an awesome tweet about me:

For #PrideMonth, I want to shout out some awesome books and authors. @EricDesmarais‘ YA series is based in a town called Baker’s City with Elizabeth Coderre solving paranormal mysteries in a Sherlock-esque sort of way! Book 2, Sign of Faust is an Aurora Award nominee! #AmReading pic.twitter.com/E6fX5368Dw— Cait Gordon 👽🍰♿️ (@CaitGAuthor) June 11, 2019

Thanks Cait!

And to everyone out there still trying to understand themselves, you’ll get there and there are people like you out there. Be brave and find friends who support you.

Later Days,

Éric