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

Zombies 3 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Zombies 3.

Story

Although following the same themes as the first two, it deviates more in story. The overall plot is utterly ridiculous, but in the best way possible. There are a few inconsistencies with the first one (specifically the ages of the characters) but it’s still a fun story. I particularly like how they used the three groups’ tech together.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I like the third movie in these sorts of series. The characters are developed and sure of themselves. Zed is a proud Zombie trailblazer and even without knowing her origins, Addison is a leader and welcomes everyone. The rest of the cast fit really well together.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are a lot of nice nods to classic sci-fi and monster movies. The dialogue leans into the cheesy and series nostalgia, which somehow works really well.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

By far the best filmed of the series, but the special effects aren’t as great as they could be. I liked how much they managed in the first two with little to no budget, but with a massive budget it was a little disapointing.

The music was great, but still not extremely distinctive. I doubt I’ll hear the soundtrack and know right away what it’s from.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a an angst-free and fun movie. It has all the elements that made the first two fun and everyone in the family enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

My favourite of the three, but mostly for the return to an awesome world. It was fun and had some great songs.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Zombies 2 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Zombies 2

Story

I hate stories where the character tries too hard to be something they’re not. That being said, it’s a fantastic commentary about trying to pass and mask in society.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I hate how far Zed goes into trying to not be a Zombie, but I also understand it. I like that Addison’s optimism and willingness to trust is treated as a good thing and not a flaw. The werewolves were fun and overall I’m impressed with how distinct and memorable they are.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

A lot of the same is covered in this one as the first, but overall the dialogue is solid and well done.

Score: 1

Music and Visuals

The musical aspects are great and really showcase the actor’s voices, but I still feel that it’s missing something. It’s not a distinct sound.

The visuals are good and choreography great. I like the understated use of special effects.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I understand why it was important to the plot to have the two main characters explore their personalities and backgrounds while questioning what they want to be, but it was frustrating to watch. Especially the Zed story.

Score: 0.5

Overall

You’ll be singing, “Like the zombies do” for a long while. It’s a worthy successor to the first and does a great job at integrating a werewolves, but overall it’s not as much fun as the first.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Zombies – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film Zombies.

Story

A cute, if formulaic, take on a traditional teen drama. I like the twist of it being Zombies instead of cliques and the obvious parallels to racism and race relations.

The love story is actually cute and avoids a lot of the cringe and creepiness of the genre.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Zed and Addison are chipper, optimistic, and still a little flawed. Despite the majority of the characters being copy-paste tropes, the actors’ story makes sure to give them more depth than you’d expect from this type of movie.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Despite being a little on the nose and cheesy, it’s quite effective at what it does. The messages and banter come through cleanly without too many explanations to bog down the story.

The fourth wall breaking was a little jarring the first time, but worked well overall.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The cinematography is quite clever and obviously influenced by previous musicals. The choreography is clever and fun.

The music is good and hits all the Disney Musical beats, but is missing a little something to make it amazing.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Singing, dancing, and charming zombies is something that borders the absolute absurd but somehow works. The kids loved it and the rest of us found ourselves bopping to the music.

Score: 1

Overall

A worthy successor to the post millennium Disney musicals. It’s catchy, fun, and ridiculous. If you enjoy musicals or teen movies, you’ll enjoy this one.

Finals Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Better Nate Than Ever – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Better Nate Than Ever.

Story

This is a combination of musical, kid running away, and trying to reach your dream. It’s fairly predictable but lots of fun. I liked the friendship and I really liked the casualness of his sexuality.

I do feel there should have at least been a little bit of dialogue about him running away between him and his parents. They should have at least admitted that they pushed him to run away with their disregard for his dreams.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I didn’t like the parents. I found they were, as usual for an American movie, too focused on the sports star and too dismissive of the younger son. I also found the line where the dad is justifying Nate sleeping over at a girls house a little ridiculous. He says that’s it okay because, “Nate is different.” That works if they’ve had a talk about his sexuality, but if the dad is just guessing, that’s a dangerous line of thought. We bisexuals exist and there are a lot of boys who look or sound gay and are somewhere else in the spectrum.

The dynamics between the best friend and Nate are great and I love the aunt. The brother’s growth is well done.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was pure Broadway fan with a few explanations for those who didn’t know. It was clever, witty, and quick while still being hopeful and naive. I loved it.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was excellently framed and shot, making perfect use of the camera without being too static. The sets and locations were a great mix.

The music was perfectly picked and the musical numbers were a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Fun

This is a feelgood movie with lots of hope and talent. My 2yo was glued to the screen and my 5yo was writhing on the floor in second-hand embarrassment (she really doesn’t like movies where kids lie to their parents.)

The rest of us had big grins on our faces most of the time.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, exciting, and musically filled film with lots of heart. I hope that the matter-of-fact treatment of sexuality is something we’ll see more of in the future.

This movie will make you smile and want to get up and dance. It almost made me want to audition for something.

Final Score: 4 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

Encanto – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Encanto.

Story

I was expecting a completely different story structure and was pleasantly surprised not to have another fetch quest Disney movie. Well crafted and put together, everything flowed from one scene to the other. I look forward to rewatching and seeing the foreshadowing.

Score: 1

Characters

At first I was a little annoyed at how stereotypical the characters were, but as the story progressed, I loved that it was explained and used for the story.

Mirabel is an intelligent, flawed, and fantastic character. The rest of the characters were just as good.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue was spot on for sibling and family dynamics. It was, however, overshadowed and often replaced by the songs.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The level of detailing in in every frame is awe-inspiring. Beyond the animation details, the colours, locations, and variety of character models was truly impressive.

The music was the star of the show. Each song told a story and pushed the main plot ahead. Inspired and captivating.

Score: 1

Fun

The physical humour, action, songs, and beautiful animation kept the kids and adults glued to the screen. My vision got blurry with tears a few times, but it was a the good kind. The kids were singing the songs as they went to bed.

Score: 1

Overall

An amazing animated musical with everything to make it a classic. The animation, locations, characters, songs, and humour were all impressive. Definitely worth a watch or ten.

Final Score: 4.5 stars out of 5

Cinderella (2021) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Cinderella.

Story

The story is pretty standard. I liked the additional backstory on the evil step-mother and the addition of a dream for Ella.

That being said, it was very surface level and didn’t add much to the original.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters were fun, but not deep. It was a playful movie with witty banter. I liked that they joked about Pierce Brosnan’s singing.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The best way to describe the dialogue is mildly witty. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. There’s no double meanings or witty back and forths.

Score: 0.5

Music and Visuals

Nearly everything in the movie was anachronistic and it works to bring a sense of whimsy to the film. From the Baritone Sax to the impressive range of styles. It’s all in fun.

I truly appreciated the use of colour after so many colourless period films of late.

The music wasn’t Moulin Rouge level, but was a lot of fun. The duet dance to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect lived up to its name.

Score: 1

Fun

It had a good beat in both the music and the pacing. Little to no awkward moments and the actors could sing. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We had the main song stuck in our heads for the rest of the night.

Score: 1

Overall

Cinderella is a story that’s been told so often that it’s no longer a story as much as an archetype. This movie doesn’t add anything original to the story, but instead re-mixes it with fun music. It’s fun and will have you tapping your foot.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

A Week Away – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film A Week Away.

Story

I’m sure someone thought the name of the camp was a clever joke, but in 2021 we should be beyond to the inherent racism of mocking native languages.

This is a camp movie musical first and a christian movie second, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t all over the place. They at least have the grace to use it for some jokes.

The basic story is as cliched as possible and adds nothing new to the musical, romance, or teen genres. That being said, the movie is obviously paying respect to many of the previous movies that it takes inspiration.

The overall story is mildly pedantic, but overall heartwarming.

Score: 0

Characters

The movie has all the traditional characters from movies in the past; the awkward geek who’s in love, the Troy Bolton bad boy with a heart of gold, and the good Christian girl.

It would have been easy to make these characters bad copies, but instead, through the writing and acting, they made them likeable. The main girl is hyper competitive and still dealing with the death of her mom, the geek is funny and a good musician. The bad guy admits his faults and actually apologizes.

I greatly appreciate that the movie spent time building the brotherly relationship between the two main men.

The lack of Queer characters was glaring and awkward.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Clever quotes and quippy dialogue with lots of double meanings made me happy. There’s a few cringe dialogue moments, but most of it is well done.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were unique. They used a lot of surreal shots that are reminiscent of music videos. I liked it, but it felt jarring when it wasn’t at the beginning of a song.

The movie also used a lot of scenes from movies both in the genre and not (the Mr. and Mrs. Smith scene was a lot of fun.)

The music was okay, I liked it while it was on, but it didn’t make me dash out to buy the soundtrack. I’m particularly annoyed at the use of autotune for a campfire song. (Mostly, the music made me want to rewatch Julie and the Phantoms.)

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a fun movie, but as a queer man with lots of queer friends, I had trouble settling into the fun of it. The complete lack of any form of queer character made me uncomfortable.

It did remind me of some great memories from high school franco camps and I greatly appreciate the lack of massive angst.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie has great respect for other films and treats us to some great non-romance relationships as a bonus, but the casual racism towards native people and lack of queer characters make it hard to believe in 2021.

That being said, it’s a warm and fuzzy camp musical with a talented young cast.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5