Thor: Love and Thunder – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Thor: Love and Thunder.

Story

The actual story was fairly simple and straightforward. There was a lot of humour and a lot of emotion. Sometimes it felt like the flow between scenes was missing something and there were more than a few parts that could have been extended. It felt like they had 6 hours of story and only 2 hours made it to the final cut.

Score: 0

Characters

Somewhere along the way in the MCU, Thor went from slightly oblivious jock / rich kid to a dim-witted fool. Every movie, it feels like he has to relearn how to be worthy and honestly, it’s getting old.

The addition of the Mighty Thor made things more interesting, but I have to say the whole romance was a little meh for me.

I liked the relationship between Jane and Valkyrie and loved the cameos by Sif and Heimdall.

The villain stole the show, however. He was both relatable and if it wouldn’t have killed Thor, I would have been okay with his plan. His redemption at the end through the power of love felt earned and not like a cheap plot trick.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The quips and dialogue were excellent, but the imbalance in tone made some scenes comical or just weird.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Visually this movie was a feast for the eyes. Absolutely gorgeous in every way.

The music was clever and well placed.

Score: 1

Fun

Once I got used to the fact that the movie would be all over the place in tone, I started to enjoy each piece like short films. The last scene with the kids was just so empowering. I loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

The tone is all over the place, the story feels disjointed, the love story was meh, but damn this movie was still a lot of fun. The dialogue and action are spectacular and Christian Bale makes a relatable and fantastic villain.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Story

The story relies on the trope that women are irrational and incapable of seeing reason when it comes to their children. It heavily implies that women are weak-minded and easily corrupted.

Beyond that, it’s a paper-thin plot that barely holds together the action scenes.

Score: 0

Characters

With the emotional depth of an 8 year old, the main characters do everything that makes you want to scream at the screen… which I did several times.

I liked Wong, and when she was allowed to do anything, America was pretty cool.

The only reason this movie had any charisma is because of the calibre of the actors.

Score: 0

Dialogue

Trite, repetitive, and borderline nonsensical. The film’s dialogue lacks depth or purpose.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

Wow, this movie was pretty. The fights scenes are expertly done, if a little gruesome, the scenery fantastic, and the effects brilliant.

The absolute best part of the movie is the music. Danny Elfman shows that he’s still one of the best composers in film.

Score: 1

Fun

I was ambivalent to Scarlet Witch until WandaVision and that show really did a great job at developing her character. Unfortunately, none of that depth or heart was in this movie. She was a cartoon Karen turned monster.

There were some amazing action scenes and some of the secondary characters were fun. I look forward to seeing America Chavez written by someone else.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The superhero genre has matured a lot in since the early aughts, I can’t say the same of Sam Raimi’s portrayal of them. The movie lacks any understanding of human emotions to the point of being condescending. The music and action scenes redeem it a little, but it’s one of the worst MCU films.

Final score: 1.5 Stars out of 5

Semi-Coherent Ramblings

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last night, between Pegasus waking up several times (it’s been a while since he’s done that), insomnia, stress dream, and a couple of days of really bad allergies; I didn’t sleep well.

I’m a little grumpy today. Mumble mumble mumble. So I apologize for today’s disjointed post and possible incoherence.

Jen and I’s newest work in progess is going well. I love being able to plan and geek out about stuff with her as we write. Even if it means we don’t get to bed at anything related to a reasonable hour. I’m planning on writing a song for it and I’m terrified I’ll screw it up.

I read up on the plot, deaths, and story of the new Doctor Strange movie and I have to say it sounds pretty tedious. I loved WandaVision and from what I’ve read, it undoes a lot of the character progression of Wanda and falls into the “hysterical woman” trope that Marvel comics love so much. It’s a good thing Marvel releases so many movies because there are more and more of them that I don’t like.

I’m just waiting for a large bag of dirt that comes in on Friday and I’ll be able to plant my garden. Every year I say I won’t garden, and every year I do. I love the idea of growing my own food. Unfortunately, I only have a green thumb with the help of a marker.

Shamelessly cute photo of the kids.

Jen and I are prepping two manuscripts for submission and it’s a little stressful, but fun. Both are related to Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers (Pre-orders now open at your local bookstores for September 15th) and that makes it awkward for our publisher. They have to judge the quality, but also have to decide if it’s financially worth publishing a sequel and story collection without having any sales data. You could make their decision easier by pre-ordering it. 🙂

I’m not good at this whole publicity thing. I need to improve my ability to get people interested about my books. They are awesome, but if you don’t read them, how do you know you want to read them? Jen has all sorts of exciting ideas that are great.

I think I’ve rambled enough for today.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Venom – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film Venom.

Story

I was surprised at how predictable the movie was. It felt like an older 2000’s or even 1990’s superhero movie. Overall, it was less than I expected but I did appreciate the humour and transparent stand-in for a few real life billionaires.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The actors were significantly too good for these roles as written and it made them look bad. The script was ham and the actors played into it; some in a good way and others not so much.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The banter between Venom and Eddie is a lot of fun, but the majority of the plot dialogue is boring and trite. The love story was disinteresting and even the considerable skills of Michelle Williams didn’t save her from being a cliché.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were okay but not amazing. The fight scenes, especially the bike chase, were impressive.

The music was okay and did was it was supposed to do, but wasn’t memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I watched this one on my own and I think that was for the best. The kids wouldn’t have liked it and my wife would have gotten annoyed.

It was entertaining, but not enough to make me not want to look at my phone.

Score: 0.5

Overall

It’s a semi-competent superhero origin story. It spent too much of its runtime on a derivative plot when it should have concentrated on the Odd-Couple style shenanigans of Venom and Eddie.

Final Score: 2.5 stars out of 5

Eternals – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Eternals.

Story

The epic scale and complexity of characters wasn’t well served in the format of a movie. I think it would have worked better as a miniseries. I think some of the characters didn’t get enough screen time to show their motivations and evolution. That being said, I really enjoyed the non-linear aspects combined with the fascinating weaving into history.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There wasn’t enough time for all the characters and because of that, they seemed underdeveloped. They were very well acted and directed.

I think you were supposed to sympathise with all of them, but there were three that I didn’t like even before the twist. Maybe that’s a sign of a complex character.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The humour was extremely well-placed to balance the epic drama that was unfolding and even the info-dumps were very well placed.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Even with our state of the art 4K television, there were a lot of very dark scenes. It ruined the beautiful scenery and shots by forcing us to squint for no reason.

Beyond that, the cinematography was absolutely amazing and the amount of background detail is completely worth a rewatch.

The music was suitably epic and felt coherent with the MCU.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I’m surprised that the kids sat through the entire movie. It was fascinating, but not always action packed or accessible for kids.

I enjoyed it, but it was long. Oddly enough, I do think it would hold up better as 6 episodes. I was never bored though.

Score: 1

Overall

An extremely strong attempt at bringing the epicness of Lord of the Rings to the Marvel Universe. Too many characters and too little time for them to shine hurts the movie, but a brilliant script and excellent acting make it more than worth watching.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Story

The story felt very familiar yet different. It was a wonderful melding of hero’s quest, Chinese action movie, and Marvel origin story. They took a story that could have been grim and turned it into something hopeful and I appreciate that.

Score: 1

Characters

The main character was a little brooding and very quip-y, which I like. I enjoyed the friend who tags along getting their own story arc. The villain was nuanced and interesting.

I think overall the entire cast was fantastic and I wish we could have had more time with them.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Two very well placed, “Oh Shit” moments and lots of excellent banter. The narration and storytelling leaned into the epic LOTR / Crouching Tiger style while the in world dialogue was pure Marvel sass.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The fight scenes were beautifully done, filmed in a more traditional style with pans and freezes that I personally prefer over the jump cuts and shaky cam.

The special effects were perfect and the amount of personality in the dragon, Cthulhu stand-in, and temple guardians was absolutely spectacular.

The music was a little muddled at times, having trouble choosing between brassy Marvel, and strings with Asian influences. I appreciate the more modern music as a counterpoint though.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Exciting and interesting throughout. It hits all my favourite beats for epic fantasy and superhero movies. My 5 year old was riveted the whole way and my 2 year old loved the fights, but got bored at the story parts.

I look forward to re-watching.

Score: 1

Overall

This is the Marvel formula done properly with a hint of classic kung-fu movies. The cast and storytelling is amazing. It has some of the most spectacular creatures and fight scenes in Marvel and I can’t wait to see more of this cast.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Black Widow – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Black Widow.

Story

I was hoping for a story about how amazing Natasha was; instead we got a story that felt like it really needed to knock her down a peg in every fight.

This wasn’t a story about Natasha as Black Widow, it was a convoluted mess of a set up for Yelena to become Black Widow.

Other than being a backstory for a character we don’t know, there are some odd choices. The movie doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be a spy thriller or a superhero movie.

Story: 0

Character

Natasha was not quite as badly written as she was in previous movies, but that isn’t a high bar. The rest of the cast was fantastic and a little cheesy. Yelena was a great character with a lot of fun moments.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

I liked how the characters interacted and the little jabs at the ridiculous dialogue of past movies. The banter was realistic and funny.

This movie has a significant amount of good lines, shade, and throwbacks.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was well filmed, but had a lot of shaking and cutting for my taste. The franticness of the camera often tried to make up for the lack of urgency in the action scenes. Each action scene followed the same script and it got a little boring by the end.

The scenery was wonderful.

The music was okay, but the Black Widow theme was repetitive, loud, and annoying.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie felt like it wanted to be a six part series. There were a lot of decisions that I didn’t like and I felt that Black Widow was again treated like a set piece and punching bag.

My daughter found it a little too violent and scary; my son got bored.

Score: 0.5

Overall

This movie should have been better, putting Black Widow into her spy element, but instead it forgot she was a spy and tried to turn her into an action star without any real triumph. In the end it’s an interesting introduction to the future Black Widow, but not a proper send off for the MCU’s worst treated and written character.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Flora & Ulysses – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 Film Flora & Ulysses.

Story

A very simple mixture of “cute pet” and “superhero origin story” combined with some top notch narration. The story flows well and is pretty solid. It’s a wonderful example of a post-modern plot taking inspiration from multiple other stories. It wasn’t perfect and had some awkward story points and things that weren’t fully explored.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The movie is about the characters more than the plot. The multiple journeys and stories are all very well acted and despite some seriously silly moments, the characters are likeable and grow. As both parents were writers of a sort, I certainly felt for them.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This movie has jokes within jokes and is seriously much funnier than it should be. Some of the lines are ridiculously YA, but overall it’s better written dialogue than many adult movies.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It’s a surprisingly beautiful movie with well thought out cinematographic. The music was suitably heroic with wonderful callbacks to the MCU.

Score: 1

Fun

I went into this expecting another YA insult to cinema like Stargirl. I was not only pleasantly surprised, I laughed harder than I have in a long time. Both kids were glued to the TV and my wife, mother-in-law, and I laughed a lot.

Score: 1

Overall

A heartwarming film with plenty of Easter eggs for any diehard superhero fan. It’s a movie that will keep kids’ attention and keep the parents laughing throughout. A great combination of physical and wordplay comedy along with a fantastic cast make this one of the best comedies I’ve seen in a long time.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5