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

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

Stardust – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2007 film Stardust.

Story

This is a wonderful mish-mash of fairytale stories. I like the concept and the idea. The plot and adventure are great. The romance, however, is bland and uninteresting.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The supporting cast are facinating and all the actors are great. I find the character of Tristan goes from annoying to mildly likeable. Yvaine is basically the same, except that she doesn’t get much development. Again, the romance is the least interesting part.

Captain Shakespeare makes the movie though.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is quick and quippy, but not particularly iconic.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The sets, fight scenes, special effects, and scenery are amazing. Combined with some clever cinematography, it makes the movie worth a watch.

The music is epic and genius. Each character got a theme that is both recognizable without pulling you out of the film.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie is fun. It has adventure, comedy, and action.

The kids were glued to it and the adults loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

A bland romance and mediocre main characters make what should be an epic fairytale adventure mostly forgetful. Thankfully, the cinematography, music, and secondary characters make the movie more memorable.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2008 film The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice.

Story

The story has nice pacing and makes sure to use everything that it mentions, even if it’s really quickly said. The double twist is perfectly set up and will surprise at least a few people. Mildly predictable at times and I do wish they’d had more time for the history that Flynn spouts.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The love interest in this one is the most interesting of the three and Stana Katic plays the role exceptionally well.

The two villains are okay, but the henchmen are funny and quite impressive. I loved the taxi driver who was “cousins” with everyone.

The only character who annoys me is Flynn. He’s whinny and the whole schtick of being afraid of the the love interest was completely ridiculous. We see here the tendencies that start to get on my nerves in the TV show. He’s selfish and doesn’t seem to really care about people.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The quick babble of the Librarian is wonderful, the infodump in the barbershop was very well done.

The jokes and quips were fantastic.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals are significantly better used in this one. The locations are beautiful, but with the subject matter, there’s less massive sfx needed and what they did was prettier and more subtle. New Orleans really adds to the quality and atmosphere of the film.

The music got a little more layered and rich without losing the adventure theme.

Score: 1

Fun

The love story was more believable, the action better paced, the character interactions more fun, and the history and adventure were fascinating. Both kids were glued to the screen and so was I. It’s definitely my favourite of the Librarian movies.

Score: 1

Overall

The strongest of the Librarian movies with plenty of great lines and wonderful sets. New Orleans is beautiful and Stana Katic does an amazing job. A great way to end the trilogy.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2006 film The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines.

Story

This felt a lot more forced than the first one. Instead of well placed foreshadowing, it was extremely trope-ridden. The archeology parts were fun, the love story worse than the first, and the twists were so predictable it hurt.

Score: 0

Characters

Generic Middle Eastern general, silly twist character, dead dad, and almost better than the Librarian archeologist. Again, the only characters I liked were Flynn, Judson, and Charlene. Although Flynn was a little annoying.

Wait, actually, despite the “Noble Savage” trope, I enjoyed Hakeem Kae-Kazim’s Jomo. Especially his wry delivery.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The fighting banter between the love interests was cute but got old fast. The actual archaeology-babble was fun though. The near Spider-man repetitiveness of the “sometimes you need to give up what you want for the greater good” was overdone.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The location shoots were absolutely beautiful when in the wild. Those in the cities had that ridiculous colour filter that American movies love for the Middle-East and Africa. It’s not an alien planet… sigh.

The special effects were better, and less used, but still terrible. The camera work wasn’t as good as the first one and tended to be a little indulgent of the landscape.

The music was fun and I enjoyed the magical pan-flute playing the Librarian theme.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The entire love story really sapped some of the fun for me. I did enjoy it mostly and both kids were enthralled again.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A weak sequel that spends too much time trying to make us fall in love with the love story and not enough with the actual characters making us care about them. It’s predictable and awkward, but has some sights of what this franchise could become.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

The Court Jester – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1955 film The Court Jester.

Story

The story is quite clever and a lot of the humour is based on it being an amalgam of all the constant Robin Hood remakes; something that hasn’t changed much since this movie came out.

The romance is acceptable but contrived and the pacing is a little off in many places.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Most of the characters are well done. The stereotype use of Little People with ridiculously high voices is annoying, but very much a product of its time.

Despite having a woman who is supposed to be a fighter, Jean is pretty useless in the final fight.

I would have liked to see more than a few seconds at the end dedicated to the princess and Griswold’s love story.

And I’ll be honest, I’m still bitter about poor Fergus. He deserved more.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Both the language and the delivery of this movie is amazing. “Get it, Got it, Good” is a staple in our house.

The Jester’s monologue song The Maladjusted Jester, along with all the wordplay, cement this as one of the cleverest movies of it’s type.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie is simple and has some nice visuals, but nothing spectacular. It shows that it was a comedy and not given the budget of a bigger movie. That said, they use it quite well and the sets are nice, the fight scenes amazing, and the choreography fantastic.

I truly appreciate the use of colour in the clothing which was probably done more for the fact that it was a comedy, but is more authentic.

The film score is fun and interesting, but the songs are great.

Score: 1

Fun

I saw this movie with my wife on our second or third date. It’s been a staple in our house for nearly two decades. I love watching this and hearing her laugh.

The kids had a little harder a time sitting still, probably because the dialogue was more elevated and quick on top of the pacing issues I mentioned.

Score: 1

Overall

Despite this movie being dated, especially by it’s treatment of woman and Little People, it is extremely clever, witty, and downright hilarious. A classic of musical comedies and parodies.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Adam Project  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Adam Project.

Story

There’s nothing new here and the plot is pretty bare bones. It’s a little derivative for the time travel aspect, but the writing of the characters’ stories is well nuanced, but none of that will be memorable.

Score: 0

Characters

The actor they got to play a young version of Reynolds is brilliant. He really got the mannerisms and speech patterns.

The rest of the cast is excellent and extremely believable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This was a quip fest with exactly the kind of jokes and turns of phrase you’d expect from Reynolds. It was awesome seeing his younger self match him and even Jennifer Garner got in on it.

The time travel mechanics and rules were well explained and didn’t go too deep.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects were fantastic and they used the forests and lakes really well as a backdrop. The fight scenes were great with little to no shaky cam and lots of humour integrated.

The score was well used and the songs were great.

Score: 1

Fun

Fun is what this movie was all about. Lots of humour, action, and excitement. I was glued to my seat.

The 5yo loved it and the 2yo loved the kid and the action, but got bored at the kissy or talky scenes.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, quippy, action movie with lots of great acting. This is the perfect movie to sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2004 film The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.

Story

This isn’t a new story and the love interest feels forced. The development and details, however, are excellent. Nothing in his quick patter is ever just to make him seem smart; it also adds details and sometimes foreshadowing.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I like Flynn; he’s fun, smart and witty. I absolutely loved Judson and Charlene. The rest of the characters were bland and almost cardboard.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This is my favourite type of cheesy dialogue. It’s smart but never takes itself seriously. The love story dialogue is a little less fun.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects are absolutely terrible. I was working in low quality video production at the time and I recognised the effects.

That being said, the camera angles were great and the non-special effect scenes were beautiful.

The music has a special place in my heart after having watched all three movies and seen the series several times.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The good guys win with style and smarts. What more could you want? Both kids were riveted and the 2yo actually asked questions that were relevant to what was happening.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a low budget archeology / magic movie that remembers to bring the fun and wit. It’s not perfect, but is a lot of fun.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

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

Special Edition of How I Taught my Dragon: Stop-Motion Movie 2021

We offered to let our Dragon (now 5 years old, in Sr Kindergarten) have a day off from virtual school this week if she wanted to create a stop-motion movie.

She, of course, jumped at the chance. I think it was her favourite activity from last year.

So we did the entire project on Monday (October 25, 2021), from writing the script, storyboarding, making the props, recording the dialogue, sound effects, and soundtrack, taking the pictures, and stitching everything together to make a complete stop-motion movie. (Thank you to Éric for all the technical help!)

I’m so very proud of her. She worked very hard.