ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – E – The Elephant and the Butterfly (2017) Movie Review

Director: Amelie van Elmbt

Writer: Amelie van Elmbt, Matthieu de Braconier (Screenplay)

Starring: Isabelle Barth, Thomas Blanchard, Judith Chemla, Kristof Coenen, Alice de Lencquesaing, Lina Doillon

Plot: Dour ex-boyfriend Antoine (Thomas Blanchard) returns to his Belgian hometown where he reunites with his ex-lover and the mother (Judith Chemla) of their five-year-old girl, Elsa (Lina Doillon), whom he has never met. Through an unexpected turn of events, Antoine suddenly finds himself left alone to take care of the young, inquisitive and spirited youngster. Produced by the Dardenne brothers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: The Elephant and the Butterfly starts when Antoine (Blanchard) looks to visit his ex-girlfriend Camille (Chemla) who has been raising a daughter Elsa (Doillon), she doesn’t want to speak to Antoine, but when her business meeting occurs, she is left with no other option to leave Elsa with Antoine.

With Antoine left alone with a young child, he does the right thing by caring for her, until he forgets the keys, forcing him to take Elsa back to his own home, waiting for Camille to return, getting to know his own daughter for the first time.

Thoughts on The Elephant and the Butterfly

Characters – Antoine moved away from the town he had with his former girlfriend, now he has returned, he finds himself being asked to first meet, and then look after the daughter he never met. While things with Elsa do go well, his own personal life starts to suffer, though the joys of being a father shine through for him. Elsa is his daughter, the daughter he never met, she is like every 5-year-old, she just wants to explore the world. Camille is Elsa mother and the ex-girlfriend of Antoine, she has made a life for her daughter, but business has forced her into turning to Antoine for help with her for the first time.

PerformancesThomas Blanchard in the leading role is great to watch, he shows the connection a father is first trying to make with a daughter, looking at the time together with such delight, while also showing moments that his character isn’t prepared for parenthood. Lina Doillon is cute as they come as the daughter, she fills the screen with joy at all times.

StoryThe story here follows a man that returns to his home town to meet his daughter, where he ends up having to look after her for a weekend, while her mother is on a business trip. This does show the bond grown between a father and daughter over quick time, it does also show the highlight of the problems between the two adults. It is told in such charm that makes you believe this is done for the right reason.

SettingsThe film does take the father around his local area to spend time with the daughter, it shows us just how close they will become over the short time.

Scene of the Movie – Beach day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sudden ending.

Final Thoughts This is an easy to watch charming movie about building a relationship with a child, after not spending any time together.

Overall: Enjoyable.

Hope’s Legacy (2020) Movie Review

Hope’s Legacy – Enjoyable Family Film

Director: Douglas D Maddox

Writer: Douglas B Maddox, Simon K Parker (Screenplay)

Starring: Dyan Cannon, Taylor Lyons, Allen Williamson, Ken Arnold, Jodi Dawson

Plot: Sometimes hope is all you need, but sometimes it can be hard to find. Faced with the death of her beloved grandmother, Lizzie now focuses on the farm, her horses and three day eventing. With her upcoming marriage to James threatened and challenged by a beautiful girl from James’s past, Lizzy must learn to stand on her own two feet but with Legacy by her side she can do it. It’s a competitive world but she’s determined to make it work in ‘Hope’s Legacy’. Lizzie will need to conquer her bullies and overcome 3 competitions including, show jumping, cross country and dressage with her young horse, Legacy. Her manger, is by her side all the way but her past catches up with her and Lizzie. Lizzie needs to make a choice to stop it all or go for the gold.

Tagline – Sometimes hope is all you need, but sometimes it can be hard to find.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Hope’s Legacy starts when Lizzy Evans (Lyons) loses her grandmother, leaving Lizzy the ranch including the horses, Hope and Legacy, Lizzy isn’t sure whether she can handle it, but with her boyfriend James (Williamson) support, she takes on the ranch, with Linda (Cannon) coming into to help including train her in dressage.

Lizzy’s life takes another turn when James proposes to her with both their family’s not always supporting this decision and the skilled rider Bethany (Reed) looking down on Lizzy taking part.

Thoughts on Hope’s Legacy

Characters & Performances – Lizzy has just finished college and now her life is moving so fast, first getting the ranch from her late grandmother, secondly getting engaged, third getting back into horse riding and finally dealing with trying to fit into the world created, seeing people warn her about the decisions she is looking to make. Taylor Lyons shows us all the uncertainty her character must go through during the film, needing to show us the biggest emotions she must go through. Linda is an old friend of Lizzy’s grandmother, show has returned and offered to help Lizzy on the ranch, she does have a secret about her life, one that Lizzy could help with, as she looks to create a chance for her own granddaughter. Dyan Cannon brings the wise character to the film well through the film. James is the boyfriend of Lizzy that looks to support her through her difficult time, proposing to her along the way. Allen Williamson does well to be the support character Lizzy needs through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that gets left a ranch and is left with plenty of big life decisions at a young age, with loved ones around her to support her prepare for life, earlier than she was prepared for. This is a story that will focus on the idea that life can come at young people fast, it is a sequel that picks up on Lizzy’s life after college, when she was looking to start and now she is given a chance to work in her passion. It shows that sometimes somebody can be left in a position of not knowing everything going on in their own life can make them feel insecure.

ThemesHope’s Legacy uses a lot of family based themes, showing us that family can always be there for each other through the difficult times, with most of the film set in and around the ranch, showing the beauty of the countryside around people.

Final Thoughts Hope’s Legacy Enjoyable family drama, that shows the importance of having people around you in the most difficult part of your life.

The Key to Christmas (2020) Movie Review

Director: Jason Mills

Writer: Jason Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Sadie Silcock, Kiana Passmore, Samriddhi Singh, Sarah Houghton, Katherine Aplen, Camryn Macdonald

Plot: When a disgruntled elf takes over the North Pole, she turns time backwards and Santa Claus begins getting younger fast. It’s up to a loyal elf, a little girl with a magic key, and the now-teenage Santa to save the future of Christmas.

Tagline – Unlock the Holiday Spirit

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Key to Christmas starts when Santa (Osbourne) is on his latest rounds for Christmas, only to discover the labels have been mixed up on the presents, returning to the North Pole, he turns to Winnie (Singh) to take the blame because of her past mistakes.

When Winnie decides to take revenge on Santa for firing her, it is up to a loyal elf Lovey (Alpen) and a little girl Kirra (Macdonald) to save Santa from being taken away from Christmas forever.

Thoughts on The Key to Christmas

Characters – Santa has always relied on his elves to do the work to make Christmas the best time of the year, when he notices a mistakes from the Head Elf, he fires her, leading to her using magic to make him go backwards in time, getting younger stuck away from the home unable to change the events. Winnie is the head elf that gets fired, she isn’t taking this lightly and decides to plan her revenge by sending Santa away and taking over operating in the North Pole, refusing to give out any presents. Lovey is one of the most loyal elves in the North Pole, one that will try to bring Santa back to the North Pole, risking everything along the way.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances, we do have a few actors portraying Santa due to the de-aging side of the story, which will give us different laughs along the way. Camryn Macdonald is good as the young girl caught in the middle of everything. Samriddhi Singh as the elf that wants to destroy Christmas brings us a menacing performance, with Katherine Alpen bring all the joy of Christmas with her elf.

StoryThe story here follows Santa after he fires his head elf, only for the head elf to look to get revenge by making Santa de-age stranded away from the North Pole, with one loyal elf being the only one that can save Santa and Christmas for the whole world. When it comes to Christmas stories it is always hard to find an original one, here we have a new original take on a Christmas film, seeing how an elf turned evil with their desire of power, with the idea that Christmas is now at risk with a de-aging Santa, going through different ages, which will add to moments of humour. We still get the message of Christmas over, being friendly, nice and treating each other with respect too.

FamilyThis is a family film that could be enjoyed by whole family, it has the meaning of Christmas all over it.

SettingsThe film uses two main locations, the North Pole where Winnie has taken over and the everyday world in which Santa finds himself needing to deal with de-aging and it not being Christmas.

Scene of the Movie – De-aging gets good laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The calendar doesn’t come off as clean as it could.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family Christmas movie, it will get laughs and brings us a brand-new original idea for Christmas Movies.

DVD/VOD Release Date:11/10/20

Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery (2020) Movie Review

Director: Brian Shackelford

Writer: Brian Shackelford (Screenplay) Joyce Fitzpatrick (Story)

Starring: Gabriella Pastore, Ja’ness Tate, Carlos Coleman, Diane D Carter, Kim Akia, Donovan Williams, Orlando Cortez, Tim Davidson, Davey Moore

Plot: Two teenage girls of color named Gabby and Lulu, become amateur detectives in their small town of Hidden Orchard, when a new Air B and B in their neighborhood gets robbed. Everyone in town is a suspect, and these young sleuths are determined to find out who did it and why.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Family Film

Story: Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery starts as we meet the two best friends, Gabby (Pastore) and Lulu (Tate) who know their neighbourhood like the back of their hands, which sees them getting an increased number of Air B & B properties in the area.

The two girls decide to start their own investigation into the robberies in the neighbourhood, involving the number of Air B & Bs, this will see them talking to everyone in the neighbourhood and learning more about the residents, things they didn’t know before.

Thoughts on Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery

Characters – Gabby is dealing with adapting with a new stepmom in her life, she has a photographic memory which helps in how the two are investigating the case. Lulu is the best friend of Gabby, she wants to lead the investigation into the robberies, pushing Gabby into using her skills more often than not. The two best friends have excellent chemistry and have worked together for most of their young lives. We do meet a host of residents of Hidden Orchards, everyone is a potential suspect, with the girls knowing details about them all, needing to get to know more as they look to solve the crime.

PerformancesJa’ness Tate and Gabriella Pastore are great together, they make us believe they are best friends, with every interaction between the two feeling natural. The rest of the cast are strong through the film, bringing their characters to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows two girls that decides to work together to solve a spring of robberies in the area, which sees them putting together the clues, looking into the suspects from their neighbourhood. This does play into the amateur sleuth detective movies, with kids wanting to solve the crimes in the neighbourhood, we rely on the chemistry of the two leads to carry the story, with their determination being the reason everything could get solved. We might not get too involved with the crimes happening, but we are also focusing on friendship over anything else here.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to show us how the neighbourhood is close and still manages to have secrets.

Scene of the Movie – Tanisha and Tyrique Watson are scene stealers in the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more of the crimes.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable family film that shows the importance of friends, while trying to solve a neighbourhood crime, with excellent chemistry from the two leads.

Overall: Enjoyable Family Film.

Horse Camp: A Love Tail (2020) Movie Review

Director: Joel Paul Reisig

Writer: George Saunders (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Karn, Jason London, Jo Ambrosia, Kristin Mellian, Teri Lee, Kristen Ryda, Rachel Sowers

Plot: It’s a new year at summer horse-riding camp but everything is different this time—a new head counselor, new friends to make, and to spice things up, the ranch hand (Richard Karn) has a crush on the head riding instructor (Terri Lee)! When he is too nervous to reveal his feelings, the campers put competition aside and rally together to help him win over her heart while building friendships that will last a lifetime.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Coming-of-Age 101

Story: Horse Camp: A Love Tail starts as we see Kimberly (Ambrosia) return to a horse camp Black River Ranch, one of the most prestigious ones for young women. She wants to reconnect with the old friends, only they barely remember her, to add to the drama the head rider Stacy (Ryda) finds herself replaced by Bonnie Lightyear (Lee) a rider with a huge amount of experience.

As the summer continues, the girls get to learn the valuable life experiences they needed to learn about at the life as they look to step into adulthood.

Thoughts on Horse Camp: A Love Tail

Characters – Kimberly is returning to horse camp for the first time in years, she wants the friendship to once had with the other girls and doesn’t take long to fit back in. Riley is the popular one who believes she is better than the rest of the girls, she learns quickly how to enjoy herself with the other campers. Jerry works on the camp and falls for the new experience trainer and needs the campers to help him make his move, Bonnie is the experience rider that is one of the best in the world, she is her to teach not only the instructors but the campers, while catching the eye of Jerry. Stacy is the social media celebrity that has been waiting for the chance to be head rider, not happy about it, but learns from Bonnie through the summer. One of the few weaknesses of this film is the pure number of characters we do meet, we have too much going on with the different characters certain characters don’t get to see the growth they require.

PerformancesWe have a big cast in this movie, nobody stands out above the rest of the cast, while nobody looks out of place, everybody in the film is good through the film and showing us the different problems they are facing and chemistry they have between themselves.

StoryThe story here follows the members of a prestigious horse camp, from the owner, counselors, instructors down to the campers as they spend the summer here learning about life and finding directions in their own lives. This is a nice tale about learning who you are in a location that encourages people to come together in life, through summer camps. We do have a lot going on with the pure number of characters we have, which doesn’t always give all the characters enough time to shine. We do get the overall lesson about doing the right things in life, learning to better themselves for the future.

SettingsThe film is set entirely on the horse camp, it shows the location everyone will be spending the summer away from the busy life.

Scene of the Movie – Learning the lessons.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do have too many characters who could get lost in the shuffle of the story.

Final Thoughts This is a good coming of age movie, it does show us just how important life can be for everyone around you, even if we do end up with a couple too many characters.

Overall: Enjoyable coming of age story.