Geek Charming – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2011 film Geek Charming.

Story

It’s a teen rom-com where the popular kid has to work with the nerd and they fall in love. I did like the gender-swapped makeover scene.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The female lead almost seems like she’s a bad actress to start with but it turns out that it’s the character who’s a bad actress and she’s nowhere near as shallow or vapid as she seems. This is a hard transition to pull off without seeming fake and the movie did a great job.

The male lead became more accepting and confidant but didn’t have much more development than that.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Sometimes I forget what the 2010’s was like, but this is filled with dated slang and quippy one-liners.

When the movie decides to be serious, it does a great job in those softer moments. Bonus points for explaining relativity in one breath.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The camera work was very early 2000’s Disney channel. The clothes, sets, and everything else were okay but low budget.

The music was acceptable but nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I get irritated watching the characters flinging their cameras while filming and I found the idea that a film club would be all sci-fi a little unlikely. Film nerds tend to look down on the genre.

That being said, the actors did a great job and it was cute. I really liked that this movie showed the world what made him fall in love with her. It was a nice touch and made everything more believable.

Bonus point for having the poor kid showing the rich man Metropolis, a film about the class divide between workers and wealthy land owners.

Score: 1

Overall

A product of its time, it celebrates nerds and love with lots of innocent heart. The actors do a great job with a predictable script.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Bandslam – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2009 film Bandslam.

Story

Beat for beat the same basic story as so many other teen movies. (Could overlap 90% of the plot with Sky High.)

Is is exactly what it says on the tin, a battle of the bands movie. It’s a great formula, but not original or clever.

Score: 0

Characters

Where the story loses points for originality, the characters, and actors, make up for it. They are much better developed then most movies of the same time. The kids and the setting feel real.

Bonus points for not having a full love triangle and not making the surprise twist a “she was the villain the whole time” twist.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is pretentious, but in the way that teens feel about pretention and not an adults forced shallow concept. They talk about music and make real points that is part of the story and character instead of window dressing. There’s an odd honesty to the dialogue that makes it feel real despite trying too hard.

There are also plenty of pithy and funny lines.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

There’s a gritty 1990’s grunge scene camera style that I really like. Mostly it’s a little washed out, but certain colours are extra vivid. It’s a memorable effect that reminds me of old grunge and punk music videos.

The original songs are fun and the overall soundtrack is filled with some great music. I’d love the soundtrack.

Score: 1

Fun

There were the usual angsty/cringy moments where the main dude does the dumb thing, but in this it’s him following his passion not his dick. Doesn’t make it any easier to watch, but the ending and the music make it well worth while.

Score: 0.5

Overall

An essential film in the cannon of the “Battle of the Bands” genre. It’s smart and sweet with fantastic characters, but suffers from a formulaic plot and too much angst.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Story

A very simple twist on “fake dating”, the story isn’t all that exciting or interesting on it’s own and follows the usual YA romance beats.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters and actors in this are extremely compelling. Especially the secondary characters and family. Interesting and make you want more of their story.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue vacillates between the usual precociousness of YA characters and some outright hilarious lines. The heart to heart moments are by far the strongest and hold the movie together with a lot of emotion.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals are the usual Netflix stylised shots. Nothing special.

The music is unmemorable but not bad.

Score: 0.5

Fun

There’s a lot of cringe but love wins out once the characters communicate and there’s some fun scenes in between. It’s not great but it’s not bad.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A perfectly average YA romance with the always fun “fake dating” trope. The humdrum story, visuals, and music are elevated by the sheer charisma of the characters and some excellent dialogue.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

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

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

Turning Red – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Turning Red.

Story

This was a coming of age movie done extremely well. I loved the supportive friends and the music obsession. The family trauma was well done. I’m also amazed that with no real villain they managed to have a marvel-worthy boss fight at the end.

Score: 1

Characters

The kids in the movie were all stereotypes I remember from my high school. They are, however, well nuanced despite the little amount of screentime.

The overbearing mom with the soft-spoken dad is a dynamic I’ve seen in real life and is nice to see a move away from the idiot/useless father figures.

The aunties gave me flashbacks and made me giggle.

At the heart of it, Mei was both cringingly 13 but extremely relatable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

It was odd watching a Pixar-Disney movie with Canadian accents and expressions; odd but comforting.

A lot of information was given as worldbuilding and came back as important to the plot. The dialogue was fast, frantic and well crafted. I’ll need a rewatch to appreciate the full scope.

Score: 1

Music and Visuals

The songs are perfectly crafted to match the time period and the style of music. It reminded me of sitting in my cousin’s room listening to TLC, Destiny’s Child, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and 98 Degrees. Meanwhile the score was absolutely epic.

The animation is spectacular, as expected for Pixar. The backgrounds and details are wonderful and the character design was spot on.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie’s pace and energy is so perfectly reminiscent of being an early teen that it took me a little time to acclimate. It was great to step into that feeling and world again. I also thought it was fun spotting all the Canadianisms and things that are purely Toronto.

My kids liked it, although the 2 year old found the big panda scary and my 5 year old writhed in secondary embarrassment for most of it.

The most unrealistic thing was that they could get their concert tickets that close to the show and be on the floor.

I can’t wait to rewatch it and see all the little details I missed in the animation and storytelling.

Score: 1

Overall

This movie throws you into the life of a teen and drags you at the breakneck speed of youth. It’s exciting, heartwarming, and extremely poignant. It continues the excellent storytelling that Pixar is known for.

See this movie with an open mind and heart and it’ll transport you to the exotic land of Toronto and remind you what it means to be a young teen.

Final Score: 5 Stars out of 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.

Coin Heist – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film Coin Heist.

Story

The build-up and teen angst were forefront on this movie. Despite the name, there was very little heist. The film was disjointed with too many undeveloped threads. The heist was jumbled and not explained. Meaning we weren’t sure where the mistakes in the heist happened. It felt like it wanted to be a heist movie, a teen drama, and an independent art film all at once.

The ending set up a perfect revenge scenario that would have been a great pay off, but didn’t use it and that pisses me off.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters were boring, stereotypical, and angsty-er than a WB show from the early 2000’s. The acting was passable but it felt like they were as confused about what was going on as the audience.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The only thing more grating than the bad heist dialogue or the teen angst was the annoying trope that was the teacher.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The visuals were close in and pretty basic. There wasn’t anything that was particularly pretty or impressive but nothing terrible.

The music was okay, lots of angst-ridden heist-like music and a good song.

Score: 0.5

Fun

When they were in heist mode (maybe 20 minutes of the movie) it was fun and exciting. Beyond that it was a little boring.

Score: 0.5

Overall

I’m really angry at the ending. If they’d used the extra coins to flood the market and basically devalue them, they could have gotten back at the jackass that caused the entire thing. Instead they melt them down and add them to a statue… sigh.

Score: 1.5 stars out of 5

Bratz – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2007 movie Bratz.

Story

Very basic, the plot doesn’t have much to it. The characters have little time to themselves and even less development. This is the kind of story that is written for middle grade girls by people who don’t understand how intelligent middle grade kids can be.

Score: 0

Characters

Little development, lots of tropes, and very generic but I do have to give it credit for being both inclusive and diverse in it’s cast. They have a deaf character who isn’t defined by his deafness and a bunch of different races.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is what an adult from 2007 thought teens talked like. It’s awkward and so dated. It has a few great insults however.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Visually and musically this movie tries very hard and almost succeeds. It not bad but blah.

Score: 0.5

Fun

It’s not cringy and has some yay moments.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Its not a bad movie. I’ll watch it if it’s on or if my kids insist. Not much to say since there’s not much here.

Final Score: 2 Stars