Dreambuilders (2020) Movie Review

Director: Kim Hagen Jensen, Tonni Zinck

Writer: Soren Grinderslev Hansen (Screenplay) Kim Hagen Jensen (Original Idea)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Robyn Dempsey, Emma Jenkins, Luke Griffin, Tom Hale, Karen Ardiff, Brendan McDonald

Plot: It centers on Minna, a young girl who misuses her newfound ability to create and control other people’s dreams to teach her bothersome stepsister a lesson.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Animation

Story: Dreambuilders starts as Minna and young girl and her father John are trying to remain close in life, with their third member being a hamster called Viggo Mortensen, only John is about to let his new girlfriend Helene and her daughter Jenny a social media addict, who only cares about herself, hates everything about the home.

While Minna is more understandable about what is happening, putting her happy hat on, her limits do get pushed by Jenny’s behaviour. That night Minna accidentally ends up inside a dream factor, where she learns how dreams are made, using this to her advantage to live the life she wants.

Thoughts on Dreambuilders

Characters – Minna is a young girl that lives with her father and pet hamster, they have a close relationship until a new potential stepmom and stepsister move in, she does try to be positive about the changes, until she finds herself caught in the development of dreams, deciding to use them to try and control her stepsister, seeing her own perfect life start to spiral out of control. Jenny is the new stepsister, a social media addict that is glued to her screen and isn’t afraid to be honest with anyone she doesn’t like, she makes Minna’s life difficult shattering the peace she is used to, she does have a reason for acting out, but she doesn’t make it easy for anyone else to be around. John is Minna’s father that has always wanted to do the best thing for his daughter, he does also want to move on with his life, with this latest chapter about to begin. Gaff is the dreambuilder that has been working on Minna’s dreams for years, he reluctantly helps her try to fix her life, finding himself making the same mistakes someone he once admires make.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl that must deal with a sudden change to her life, when her father’s new girlfriend and daughter move in and she learns she can change dreams, to try and make her life get back to how she wants it, learning how difficult this will be. We do get a big life lesson in this film, learn the truth about people before judging them, talk, communicate and you can learn to build on the differences, add in the idea that change is coming in life and you can’t do anything about it, we get the important life lessons across film. The dream side of everything is also entertaining, giving us elements of Monster’s Inc, which is entertaining to see.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy doesn’t hit as hard as it wants to, but the family theme is the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film uses the home setting to show how difficult change can be, along with the imaginative dream world, where the dreams are built, which gives us a factor feeling and shows a creative side to the film.

AnimationThe animation in the film looks beautiful, with how different environments are created through the film.

Scene of the Movie – The rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It seems strange that a parent would just move a new family into the home without the daughter meeting them first.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful animation that is filled with heart, teaching about acceptance of other people and learning how to adapt to change.

Overall: Delightful.

Signature Entertainment presents Dreambuilders in Cinemas nationwide July 4th

Da 5 Bloods (2020) Movie Review

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Melanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser

Plot: Four African-American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen Squad Leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.

Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent

Story: Da 5 Bloods starts as four veterans Paul (Lindo), Otis (Peters), Eddie (Lewis) and Melvin (Whitlock Jr) return to Vietnam to locate the remains of one of their former squad leader Norman (Boseman) who died during the war and the gold fortune they wanted to claim for themselves.

With the four setting out their plan, they must first negotiate with Desroche (Reno) to sell the gold, before David’s estranged son David (Majors) turns up and needs to be put back in his place before the journey.

Thoughts on Da 5 Bloods

Characters – Paul is the leader of the group of friends, he has suffered the most after the war, with him being the closest to the fallen brother, he wants to complete the mission and honour his old friend, even if his estranged son tries to get in the way. David is the estranged son that ends up joining the men in Vietnam, he wants to make sure his dad is ok on the journey, while it also gives him a chance to get closer and have his own adventure in life. Otis has memories off the battlefield in Vietnam, a lost love, a secret he never knew about, the one who adds the connections for the cashing in process for the men. Eddie and Melvin complete the group on the mission, they complete the banter between the men, showing how important their friendship truly is between them all.

PerformancesDelroy Lindo is outstanding in the leading role, coming back to his best like we haven’t seen before. Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr complete the main cast, each shining the in the supporting roles in the film, creating a brotherhood between the men.

StoryThe story here follows four former Vietnam war soldiers that head back years later to honour a fallen soldier and find the treasure they left behind. The story is filled with the flashbacks between the time in the war and modern day, showing how the unity between the men is still strong all these years later. We do get news clips to fill in the information that you might not understand from only learning basic history towards the Vietnam war. The tone of the story is very interesting too, because we start with the first 30 odd minutes, with the idea this could be a reunion with a serious side, that might have laughs along the way. This does drastically change when we see the affects the war had on Paul and the journey side of things, with the story continue to shift in tone through the film, which is a delight to see, with the moments of joy and intense moments both shining through.

WarThe film uses the war film to show how soldiers would have constantly been affected by the horrors they experienced long after leaving and how both sides will still be living in the haunted memories of people they lost in the war.

SettingsThe film does use the setting exceptional well too, with the opening in the big city where everything has moved on since the war, before returning to the jungle to see how this environment will continue to change Paul, after his previous experiences in the war.

Scene of the Movie – Reflection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is longer than it needs to be.

Final Thoughts This is a performance heavy movie, that does show us the unity of brotherhood from war in a way that only Spike Lee can, showing a new light on the soldiers that would have been forgotten in time.

Overall: Best Performances of the year.

The Departure (2020) Movie Review

Director: Merland Hoxha

Writer: Merland Hoxha (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Briddell, Kendall Chappell, Olivia Lemmon, Austin Lauer, Grant Wright Gunderson

Plot: Before leaving Los Angeles to start a new job in New York, Nate, with the help of his best friend John, devises a wicked plan to test his girlfriend’s loyalty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Relationship Drama

Story: The Departure starts as John (Lauer) finds himself in the middle of an awkward date with Amber (Lemmon), which is filled with miscommunication, his best friend Nate (Gunderson) is offered a management promotion across the country, just after he has arranged to move in with his girlfriend Jessica (Chappell).

Before going to New York, Nate turns to John to see just how loyal Jessica is, asking him to try and seduce him, which only leads to the relationship being tested.

Thoughts on The Departure

Characters – Nate is just getting ready to move in with his girlfriend when he gets pushed into taking a job in New York for six months, unsure about his girlfriends relationship with a co-worker, he pushes his best friend to try and seduce his girlfriend to prove she is loyal. Jessica is the girlfriend that is excited with the idea of moving into together, she is happy even after knowing she will have to wait 6 months for him to return. John is the best friend of Nate, he is trying to get involved with Amber, only to get pushed into trying to seduce Jessica, he reluctantly follows through, which only leads to more problems between everyone involved.

PerformancesAustin Lauer, Grant Wright Gunderson and Kendall Chappell are all strong in the leading roles of the movie, they show us the difficult decision they are going through as characters.

StoryThe story here follows a man that decides he would like to test his girlfriend’s loyalty before moving away, by asking his best friend to try and seduce her, only for things to get complicated between all sides involved. This is a story about trust and trying to figure out who is in the right with decisions in lives. We do see things getting complicated quickly and we are left wondering who is in the right through the whole situation. We might not get involved in everything to the levels we could, but it does show us that people can change, make mistakes and realize they are in a better position without people in their lives.

SettingsThe film is in LA, which shows how the three main characters have lives that could shatter in one moment or decision.

Scene of the Movie – The final chat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Amber doesn’t seem to get enough screen time.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting relationship drama that shows us how loyalty can be ruined by a strange decision about loyalty.

Overall: Interesting Drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – D – The Darkest Minds (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Writer: Chad Hodge (Screenplay) Alexandra Bracken (Novel)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, Harris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Skylan Brooks, Miya Cech, Gwendoline Christie

Plot: Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.

Tagline – Together they will change everything.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Potential That Misses

Story: The Darkest Minds starts with a mysterious disease that swept across the country killing most of the young population, the survivors seemed to change too, with Ruby (Stenberg) being one of the children taken to the camps, separated by colours depending on the skills in the minds.

After a test shows that Ruby is an Orange, meaning she is more dangerous than the rest, Cate (Moore) breaks her out of the prison, with her powers being mind control. Learning Cate might not have her best interest in mind, Ruby escape a joins three fellow children Liam (Dickinson), Chubs (Brooks) and Zu (Cech) as they search for safety.

Thoughts on The Darkest Minds

Characters – Ruby was a normal child until the event happens, she spends 6-years in a prison camp, where she hides her true abilities, which does make her more dangerous than the rest of the children. She gets discovered, which sees her escape, joining another group of children on the run, her powers will make her a useful for avoiding trouble, but any touch can make her see the truth about people and make them follow her instruction. Cate is the doctor that helps Ruby escape, she has been looking to help children, though she might not be helping in the way Ruby believes. President Gray is the man that commission the prison camps for the children, his son is the poster child for the cure too in Clancy. Liam is one of the children on the run, he has a reputation as a hero for the number of children saved. Liam leads Chubs and Zu to safety, as they both have their own stories of survival.

PerformancesAmandla Stenberg is strong in the leading role, she has had a great couple of years, this might end up being one of her weaker films, but she doesn’t disappoint. Mandy Moore and Bradley Whitford are barely used, which is disappointing, though you feel their parts would have been bigger in a sequel. Harrison Dickinson, Skylan Brooks and Miya Cech do have good chemistry between the four kids on the run.

StoryThe story here follows Ruby who is in a world where children are kept in prison camps, because of a sudden new set of abilities they have gained, she gets broken out goes on the run and learns of a bigger battle going on in the world, where she needs to decide which side of the war she wants to be on. This is a story that falls into the young adult world which wants to build up to franchise, that we most likely will never get, this is just the first chapter where we learn as Ruby does about what is happening in the world, who she can trust or not. The world created is interesting though it is never truly explained, what happened or why, most of which would probably be filled in later in the franchise.

Action/Romance/Sci-FiThe action in the film is filled with an odd looking car chase, a mostly just the powers doing anything to make them control the situation, the romance shows us how the two young adults fall in love for no actual reason. The sci-fi world does show us the world we are in, though we don’t learn the complete truth to everything.

SettingsThe film doesn’t have any distinctively locations, which doesn’t help us understand the scale of the situation.

Special EffectsThe effects do look like they are part of a low budget television show for the most part.

Scene of the Movie – The mall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact that this film is arrogant enough to believe it will be a franchise.

Final Thoughts This is a film that has potential to be massive, it gets caught up in trying to show how big the world could be by only creating first chapter to something much bigger.

Overall: First Chapter of franchise.

Drive Me to the End (2020) Movie Review

Director: Richard Summers-Calvert

Writer: Richard Summers-Calvert (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Summers-Calvert, Kate Lister, Tracey Wilkinson, Claire King, Bhasker Patel

Plot: ‘Drive Me to the End’ centers around Ryan and Sunny, estranged family members who find themselves car-sharing to a funeral in Scotland. With both Ryan dealing with the inevitable death of his mother and Sunny being on the Autism Spectrum, they only have 3 days to feel comfortable in each other’s company while feeling comfortable in their own skin.

Tagline – When driving to a funeral makes life worth living

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: Drive Me to the End starts as Ryan (Summers-Calvert) is preparing to attend a family funeral in Scotland, where his sick mother Louisa (Wilkinson) has arranged for him to travel there with a distant family member Sunny (Lister) a woman he doesn’t know.

The two must set off one of the most uncomfortable car journeys of their lives, as Ryan must learn to adapt to being around an autistic person, something he hasn’t ever done before, as the two spend more time together they become closer and start to enjoy the journey.

Thoughts on Drive me to the End

Characters – Ryan is the self-centred man that is looking forward to a weekend away for a funeral, looking forward to travelling alone, left with no option but to travel with a distant relative, he struggles at first to get to know them, but soon finds himself in a unique friendship position, one he hasn’t experienced in a long time. Sunny is the autistic distant family member who is travelling with Ryan, she does find it hard to get comfortable with him to start with, but soon comes out of her shell, when she feels safe around him. The two get to learn what it is like to be around someone new, someone they aren’t used to being around.

PerformancesRichard Summers-Calvert is involved in everything here, from directing, writing and being a leading man, he is great in the leading role and shows great chemistry with Kate Lister who along with him is excellent in the leading role, the two are great to watch together in the film.

StoryThe story here follows two distant family members that travel to a funeral, where they get to know each other and discovery how two people can get to know each other over one car journey. This is a story about discovering what is it like to meet someone new in life, it does show how someone new could help unlock pain that nobody else can help you release, it does show how people could also be blind to autism and how to act around an autistic person. It is told in a charming and enjoyable way.

SettingsThe film is set on the road for the most part, we do see how the journey is completed with the two becoming friends, hitting major cities on the way up to Scotland.

Scene of the Movie – The hitchhiker.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have learnt a little bit more about what Ryan was like before the journey.

Final Thoughts This is a charming movie that shows the importance of family, friendship and learn about people who might be different to you.

Overall: Delightful.