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 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

The Three Musketeers (1948) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1948 film The Three Musketeers.

Story

There is a fine line between doing the story justice and changing the tone and feel. The changes they made to the story didn’t help anything but get the movie past the censors. Instead of coming off as an innocent boy who falls in love at the drop of a hat, d’Artagnan comes off as an airhead.

There’s also a reason that most movies only do the first half of the book. The rest of it is a little bit of a drag.

Score: 0

Characters

D’Artagnan was terrible and flaky when dealing with women, but when he was sword fighting, he was awesome. All the other musketeers were great and I wish they’d gotten more screen time.

The treatment of the women was possibly less progressive then the novel and extremely predictable.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is mostly quippy and fun, except when it comes to the romance where it’s stilted, awkward, and cringe-worthy.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The filming angles, colours, shots, lighting, and framing are absolutely gorgeous. The fight choreography wonderful and the location shoots splendid.

The music is great and epic.

Score: 1

Fun

An amazing cast which all did a great job. The fighting was fun and the little bits of humour were refreshing, but mostly it was dour. Both kids got bored and so did I.

Score: 0

Overall

A semi-faithful adaptation of the book with not enough humour or sword fighting. Although visually stunning, the changes to d’Artagnan made him unlikeable and the movie didn’t age well.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

Single All the Way – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Single All the Way.

Story

The story is a copy paste from so many other Christmas movies. Instead of an ex or childhood friend, it’s a current best friend, but it’s pretty much the same. Even though the story is basic, the final touches are wonderfully queer.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The slightly neurotic big city agent, the small town ski instructor, the overbearing mother trying too hard, the sensitive nice guy, and the overdramatic aunt. All the stereotypes are there and they added a few extra with the meddling teens and the wise dad.

A lot of Christmas movies feel like they forget about the love part of romance and the love in the family around them. This one didn’t and love was very much central and believable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Oscillating from corny to sweet, the dialogue was perfect for the type of movie. I’m also really impressed at how well the different couples communicated. It would be easy, and typical, to have non-communication caused hijinks. I’m glad they didn’t go that way.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were pretty but generic. The filming was effective and I really liked how they framed the lovey-dovey moments.

The music was pretty good. Lots of Christmas and a few original songs.

Score: 1

Fun

I took particular joy at the teenagers forcing a “There was only one bed” scenario. Obviously the teens are learning their set-up methods from fanfics. I also really liked seeing all the Canadian actors.

My five year old liked it; she really got into the set up. She kept asking why he was going on date with the other guy. My two year old got a little bored.

I appreciated that they avoided angst and awkwardness. I also liked that it was an unabashedly queer and happy story, which is a combination that we need more of.

Score: 1

Overall

This is the happy, queer, and Christmassy movie you’ve been looking for. It’s fun, cute, and honestly really refreshing.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Girl Vs. Monster – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2012 film Girl Vs. Monster.

Story

This is a fairly simple story about facing your fears. It’s surprisingly well thought out with lots of fun throughout. It has aged much better than I expected.

Score: 1

Charaters

When I first watched it I really liked the assistant and the main character. Watching it now, the best friend is seriously the most awesome character. The parents are annoying but understandable and most of the characters are good but a little shallow. The movie could have done with less secondary charters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is often a little bit too much on point and is interestingly already dated. It has some nice layers but its mostly just okay.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie uses its sets, cinematography, and special effects very well. The special effects are cheesy, but the sets are well done and I was impressed with the camera work.

The music was good. It was obvious that they had 2 songs and a small score, but it worked and helped move the plot forward instead of just taking time.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I liked this movie the first time I saw it and still liked it this time. I had both kids snuggling into me during the scary parts and both really liked it. They both got really excited at the big music scene. It also kept both of them interested the whole time without snacks. The day after, the 2 year old asked, “Watch Scary Movie?” which is super cute.

Score: 1

Overall

A good intro to horror adventure movies for kids, few scares but no trauma. With it’s strong message and wonderful soundtrack it’s a great cheesy Disney scary movie.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Chicken Little – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2005 film Chicken Little.

Story

This is three shorts in one poorly transitioned and linked by nothing but characters. Instead of transition scenes to bring us between family drama, baseball, and aliens; we get fat, fart, ugly, and useless jokes.

Score: 0

Characters

Someone threw darts at a board filled with clichés then picked the ones with the best mock-able attributes. I have never seen so many jokes at the expense of the main characters in any Disney movie before.

The parent who doesn’t believe their child trope needs to go away forever.

Score: 0

Dialogue

There was a lot of clever meta-jokes about the genre. From jokes about the movie Aliens, to Indiana Jones, some were clever, others not so much.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

I’m not sure what style Disney was going for, but the visuals are average to mediocre for the time and abysmal for now. The character design was poorly thought out and the scaling was odd.

The music was a lovely nostalgic hit of the mid-aughts.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The urge to scream at the screen was hard to push down. So much about this annoyed me. The kids liked it enough, although the two year old wasn’t all that interested after an hour.

Score: 0

Overall

This is one of the movies people forget is Disney. I think we should just forget it completely. Abysmal jokes with no connections between the sections. Its writing is more concerned with insults both to its characters and its audience’s intelligence.

Final Score: 1 Star out of 5