A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish.

Story

I’ve reviewed more Cinderella movies than any other archetype. This one managed to make it modern and Christmassy without losing the heart of the story.

The major deviations in this were mostly losing the whole secret identity and shoe thing. I like when the prince meets Cinderella before the ball.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I have never had so much cringe or secondhand embarrassment from the step sisters. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing though.

The protagonists were loveable and cute. There was some good flirting and the best friend was amazing.

My credulity was strained when the “king” character was a super nice billionaire.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This had all the cheese needed and a lot of decent flirting. The wordplay was pretty good.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The choreography was fun and the camera work was clean. Everything screamed Christmas.

The music was nice. I was impressed by the catchyness of the songs.

Score: 1

Fun

This was fun. The family seems to have a fondness for Cinderellas. We all enjoyed it and other than the sisters, it wasn’t awkward or angsty.

Score: 1

Overall

If you enjoy modern takes on Cinderella and like Christmas romances, this is a cheesy no brainer. Lots of fun and good music.

Final Score: 3.5 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

Hocus Pocus 2 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Hocus Pocus 2.

Story

It felt like the first closed the book on the Sanderson Sisters, but the sequel uses a clever linguistic loophole (the best kind) to bring them back. The structure of the movie is close enough to the original to have callbacks, but different to be unique.

I’m really impressed with the tighness of the story. There are elements that seem like they were meant as one of gags, but then come back later in a great way.

Score: 1

Characters

The sisters, and Billy, are 29 years older and it show in little things like the timbre of their voices and the way they move. That being said, they are completely beleivable.

The new characters are very much like the first set of kids, except instead of the awkward romance, we have the story of friends who’ve drifted apart. Much less secondhand awkward and more fun.

I also enjoyed the clueless boyfriend who didn’t realize he was a bully.

I liked the evolution of Book from a malevolent force to a loving friend.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue was quipy and a lot of fun. I liked the self awareness of the film.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were beautiful. They were sparing with the CGI and what little they used was well done. (Looking at you Book)

The music was fantastic. I loved the musical numbers and the other music was great. I’m buying the soundtrack if I can.

Score: 1

Fun

This had all the fun of the first with no angst, awkwardness, or child death.

It was fun and spooky in all the right ways. The entire family loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

A new Halloween tradition is here! With all the charm and fun of the first with more songs, more magic, and less awkwardness. In most ways, it’s just as good if not better than the original.

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.

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