Bennett’s Song (2018)

Director: Harley Wallen

Writer: Nancy Oeswein (Screenplay)

Starring: Tara Reid, Dennis Haskins, Harley Wallen, Calhoun Koenig, Aphrodite Nikolovski

 

Plot: Two very unique families on a collision course find laughs, music, and love, and a few answers about what it means to be an American family in the 21st century.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming, Sweet and Heartfelt

 

Story: Bennett’s Song starts when Cole (Wallen) takes his daughter to a dentist, the new dentist Susan Song (Nikolovski) only for a small spark between them which leads to few dates. Both have their own stories to why they are single and a secret they believe would scare most partners off, they both have 7 kids all adopted from different cultural backgrounds.

When the two decide to take a big step they must learn to cope with the problems modern day world has to offer, including the rule abiding neighbour Stevie Hawkins-White (Reid) all while we wait to see if ambitious young musician Pearl (Carlini) who dreams of heading to music camp.

 

Thoughts on Bennett’s Song

 

Characters – Cole Bennett is a former cage fighter, retired to be with his family, he lost his wife to cancer and opened a gym using his name to make an impact, he has seven of his own kids that he teaches the best things in life. When approaching dating he is nervous and stutters over all his worlds which only add to his good guy image. Susan Song is a specialist dentist with big reputation for her ability to deal with disabled children. She also has seven kids of her own always being worried any man wouldn’t want the baggage that comes with that. The two understand each other’s lives bringing them together to build a bigger family that knows how to support each other because of the love they want to share. Pearl is the daughter that we focus on the most, she is aiming for a big career in music needing to find a way to prove herself to a committee. We do have another 13 kids from a range of ages we could talk through here, each does get a moment in the film.

PerformancesHarley Wallen takes the lead role and directing duties on this film, he does give us a realistic approach to how each moment his caring character deals with each situation and the nervous behaviour for asking for a date seems like something we could all understand. Aphrodite Nikolovski in the leading lady role is great too we see how she makes her unsure about relationship comes through strong. With the kids they are good with Calhoun Koenig showing off her singing skills.

StoryThe story here focuses on two people that fall in love, only they have 7 kids each, each kid is from a different cultural background and has been raised to believe and follow dreams. The families become one and we get to see the problems life throws at them as they get used to the doubling of numbers. Now the story could easily have played out as a sitcom series because of the number of issues they go through and always find a positive way to learn life lessons, this does give us the only negative of the film, certain issues the family go through needed times to be looked at because they tackle true life issues a family like this would go through. If you do want to see a family dynamic that you would have never seen in such numbers, this is the one for you to be seeing.

Comedy/Family/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from the different family laughs each different kid has a moment that makes them funny be it cuteness or trying to be overly confident. The romance shows how two people can just walk into each other’s lives and change it for the better even after heartache. The family side of the shows us just how people must learn to respect each other no matter where they have come from.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings feeling like an everyday situation this family could be living in, I do feel we could have learnt or seen more of the size of the new house together though.


Scene of the Movie –
The music performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very hard to keep up with most of the kid’s name.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that shows us just how important teaching people life lessons the right way is, the get laughs and beautiful music performance that is the true highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Family film to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – J – Journey to Dinosaur Island (2014)

Director: Matt Drummond

Writer: Matt Drummond (Screenplay)

Starring: Darius Williams, Kate Rasmussen

 

Plot: A vacation becomes the adventure of a lifetime as a boy finds himself stranded in a world filled with ghost ships and prehistoric creatures. He embarks on a journey that will change his future forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Educational Dinosaur Movie

 

Story: The Journey to Dinosaur Island starts as son of a palaeontologist Lucas (Williams) is on a holiday of a lifetime when his plane has complication leaving him to awaken on a mysterious island with Kathryn (Thompson) the only human on the island that is inhabited by dinosaurs.

As Lucas learns about the island from Kathryn the two must figure out what is causing the strange time events which seems to bring people from different time eras, objects to the island that time seemed to have forgotten.

 

Thoughts on The Journey to Dinosaur Island

 

Characters – Lucas is the son of a palaeontologist that lives in the present day but finds himself living in the era he likes to study and must work with another trapped person to survive, I do question a lot about this character because on minute he is designed to be the clumsy idiot the next he is the smartest one of the two. Kathryn is from the 1950s, she has been on the island for years and studying it in this time, her character arc starts smart before slowly becoming the damsel in distress.

PerformanceIt would be hard to say anything bad about the young actors, they both seem to be enjoying the film and doing the best they can with what they are given.

StoryThe story is another attempt at The Lost World theory where dinosaurs could still be living somewhere in the world with a twist on the time being everlasting. This does work for a family because the kids can enjoy the story unfolding, it doesn’t become complicated and is happy to leave educational material in the film even if everything is by the books.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiIf you are a fan of dinosaurs this is in fact a fun adventure movie that the whole family could enjoy the film. the sci-fi twist comes from a world that time never forgot where science fiction is steeped in trying to focus on the fact.

SettingsThe island looks beautiful even if it is mostly CGI and this makes for a wonderful setting for the adventure to take place on.

Special EffectsThe special effects are clearly all low budget but are constant through the film and do seem to fit the ideas behind the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is targeted only for kids.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good kids film, it is simple storytelling and dinosaur fans are going to enjoy themselves.

 

Overall: Dinosaur adventure, need I say more?

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – E – Earth to Echo (2014)

Director: Dave Green

Writer: Henry Gayden (Screenplay) Henry Gayden, Andrew Panay (Story)

Starring: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford, Algee Smith

 

Plot: After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help.


Tagline – No one will ever believe our story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Coming of Age Movie

 

Story: Earth to Echo starts as the three friends Tuck (Astro), Alex (Halm) and Munch (Hartwig) are spending their final week together before they are being forced to move for construction of a freeway. They go on one final adventure which takes them into the desert at night following a map which leads them to meet an alien.

The alien is lost and the three must work together to help the lost alien build a ship, so he can return home, this is one adventure the kids will never forget.

 

Thoughts on Earth to Echo

 

Characters – Tuck is the YouTube sensation that makes videos with his best friends, he is the reason why they have the camera in the first place and is looking for the final adventure before their move. Alex is one of the group, he is the one that will always go along for the ride without any pressure put on him. Munch is the one of the group that is always the nervous one that needs talking into going on any adventure. Emma is the one from outside the group that joins the adventure half way through bringing new ideas to stay ahead of the people chasing them. Dr Madsen portrays himself as a construction worker trying to keep a secret away from the world.

PerformancesThe child actors do all give a good performance, the three boys do act like they would be real friends and Ella does help make them feel lightly awkward. Jason Gray-Stanford is harder to watch after seeing him in Monk for years.

StoryThe story here follows four friends as they spend their last night together before being forced to move in different directions following a map which sends them on an adventure to help a standard alien return home. This has the same feeling you would say ET had, the unity between friends, an adventure they could never imagine and facing the reality things in life will be changing for these kids which is out of their control. This is a good coming of age story with the elements of sci-fi throughout.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiThe adventure the friends go on, is a once in the lifetime one and has even more meaning because it was their last night together. This is one the family could enjoy with the sci-fi element of the film shows how the idea of aliens could leave us anywhere.

SettingsThe film is set over one night in one neighbourhood that can be travelled by bike, this keeps us understand the distant the characters will be going.

Special EffectsThe effects here are very good, which should be praised, but the problem is that this is shot like a found footage, meaning the effects should be looking this good.


Scene of the Movie –
Truck sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The camera work is annoying for this style of film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good entertaining coming of age movie that feels like it wants to be ET only to never reaches that level.

 

Overall: Coming of Age 101

Rating

 

 

Robin Williams Weekend – R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna ‘Jojo’ Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.


Tagline – One family. Eight wheels. No brakes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Serviceable Comedy

 

Story: R.V.: Runaway Vacation starts as businessman Bob (Williams) is facing the reality of seeing his kids about to start preparing for their next steps in life, he decides to cancel their Hawaii vacation to take them across country in an RV. Bob must convince his wife Jamie (Hines) and children Cassie (JoJo) and Carl (Hutcherson) this trip is going to be good.

As their journey continues we get the usual series of mishaps along the way as Bob is fighting to keep his job by secretly doing his work while the others sleep, just what else can happen in the family’s adventure.

 

Thoughts on R.V.: Runaway Vacation

 

Characters – Bob Munro is an officer worker always on his boss’s good side, his family is growing up and about to move on with their lives and he decides to take them on a cross country trip to keep his job. Jamie is his wife that isn’t happy about losing the Hawaii vacation but understands he wants to spend time with his family. Cassie and Carl are the children with their own growing up problems that Bob has been ignoring for the most part.

PerformancesRobin Williams is the main star of the movie, he gets to do a watered-down version of his comedy which is serviceable for the film. Going into the supporting cast we don’t get too much that stands out as most of them are playing off what Williams does.

StoryThe story follows a family vacation in an RV which takes them on a series of unfortunate events. The story does feel weak for the family growing dynamic because too much of the movie is focused on the father’s problems rather then looking at how the family needs to come together. This will pass as a comedy level story which is fine and never becomes the importance a lighter comedy could achieve.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy is hit or miss, it is mostly material we have seen before and even with Williams in the leading role, it doesn’t always hit.

SettingsThe film takes us across parts of America which is fine, we get the beauty spots in certain places.


Scene of the Movie –
The reason why the trip happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The weakness of the comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best comedy, it has moments but in the end it will become one that you do end up forgetting.

 

Overall: Forgettable comedy for the most part.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mulan 2 (2004)

Director: Darrell Rooney, Lynne Southerland

Writer: Michael Lucker, Chris Parker, Roger S.H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Mark Moseley, Lucy Liu, Harvey Fierstein, Sandra Oh

 

Plot: While preparing for their wedding, Shang and Mulan are suddenly sent off on a secret mission. Mushu starts to meddle, and a surprise attack by Mongolians doesn’t help either.


Tagline – Saving China was just The Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Warrior to Wedding Disappoints

 

Story: Mulan 2 starts as Mulan and Shang are planning to wed, but before they go through with the wedding the Emperor sends them on a mission to escort his daughters to Mongolia to marry to help keep the peace between the countries. Mushu on the other hand learns that he will lose his place as a guardian of Mulan if she marries, leading him to try and sabotage their engagement.

When Mulan’s previous experiences inspire one of the princess’ to follow her own heart, everything plays into Mushu plans to break the couple up, but this could bring war back to China.

 

Thoughts on Mulan 2

 

Characters – Mulan has gone from fearless warrior to bride in waiting, she does continue to show that women in Ancient China need to learn to be independent but is a shell of the person we met in the first movie. Shang is the warrior due to marry Mulan, their latest assignment causes a rift between them as he must learn that not all missions are important to complete. Mushu is the guardian about to lose his position if Mulan gets married, he sets out to sabotage their relationship.

StoryThe story here follows Mulan and Shang as they are planning for their wedding while going on a mission, if I am honest I just don’t want to talk about this story because it took a fearless warrior in Mulan into a character that just wants to prepare for her wedding. We have lost all the adventure that was in the first one to what is just a relationship drama.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThis is branded as an action movie and has one weak action scene to come, the comedy is mostly a miss but this is more family friendly over the first film.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings as well, but still has good visual temples included.

AnimationThe animation look is good and is the only redeeming good part of this film.


Scene of the Movie –
Nothing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me ruining what Mulan created.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak Disney sequel in the darker days of Disney where they just make rubbish sequels to loved games.

 

Overall: Poor sequel.

Rating