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  Dozen Summers, A Where's Yer Schwarzenegger And DeVito Now?
Year: 2015
Director: Kenton Hall
Stars: Scarlet Hall, Hero Hall, Kenton Hall, Sarah Warren, Colin Baker, Ewen McIntosh, David Knight, Holly Jacobson
Genre: Comedy, Drama, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is the story of two little girls who our narrator (Colin Baker) will introduce us to as they started today like any other ordinary morning, unaware of the turn of events around the corner. Their mother took them to school and they kissed her goodbye, but just as they went to leave, another pair of sisters Maisie (Scarlet Hall) and Daisy (Hero Hall) interrupt the narrator and ask him what the hell he's doing. Is he filming kids? Does he have permission to do that? Maybe if he's not on some kind of register now he will be soon, behaving like that. The narrator blusters and protests this is entirely innocent, but it's too late, the twin siblings have taken over the movie: this will be their story now.

Well, here's a dilemma. A Dozen Summers was a tiny budget comedy that garnered a cinema release thanks to the Herculean efforts of its writer and director (among other duties), Kenton Hall, to have it seen by a wider audience. You could describe it as a labour of love, though there are few films that are not, but it was clear as a doting father he truly wished to transform his daughters into movie stars, and that in itself was very sweet as not every parent has the resources, never mind the time, to devote to realising such a dream. The fact that he got the results completed and distributed was admirable, and it received some kind reviews.

Mind you, if you send a reviewer your movie they are disposed to find something positive to say about it, unless they are some coldhearted budding John Simon type who relished stomping over everyone's hopes and ambitions. So while there were good things to highlight here, with its ADD approach to storytelling where the plot would continually be distracted by comic asides or movie parodies which at least kept the mood lively, it was difficult to get away from the fact that it did come across as... unavoidably amateurish. Sure, it had a puppy dog charm that sat up and begged to be liked, but this did look distinctly like the home made contents of someone's YouTube channel that had been cut together to make a feature length compilation.

Not helping was that while the adults were professional enough, Kenton Hall being an actor in real life and not in his daughters' home movies, the kids were barely adequate, with every line delivered in much the same near-monotone: maybe it was the accent, though at least one juvenile performer (David Knight) was notably more accomplished than the others, and the girls' pint-sized, would-be nemesis (Holly Jacobson) offered some nuance as the troubled bully (she apparently did her own stunts, too). The effect was less capricious than meandering, with dad jokes aplenty, and the overall feeling this would mean most to the performers rather than the audience, the injection of sentiment near the end a stumbling block after the frippery of before. Which is why it was a dilemma to find fault in it, you didn't want to break any hearts, but you would hope that constructive criticism might compel them to improve for their next project because there was promise here, it just needed more time to gestate. If nothing else it was proof of the benefits of the power of positive thinking: here was one family who wanted to make and distribute their own movie, and they absolutely did it, by Jove, getting a lot of critical and audience pats on the head as a result.

[On the DVD is a featurette about former Doctor Who Colin Baker in the studio, and the trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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