Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A Dozen Summers review

I review the coming of age comedy that's hitting screens in a couple of weeks. Is it any good? Hit the jump to find out!
Hmm, I can't quite fathom the marketing of this film after watching it. I certainly wonder how many people have viewed, and reviewed, it in the last couple of months. Maybe, I'm reasoning, the quotes are from mediocre reviews, and have been taken out of context. Why? Because A Dozen Summers has to be (and I really mean this), the outright worst film I've seen so far this year. I'm being brutally honest with you, and I've never given out a one star review before, but this was bad. As in, bad. Really bad.
Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present, the worst actors in the business....
So, I suppose I should just go through it as I would another film; so, the story. Well, We already hit a brick wall, insofar as there isn't a story. I don't mean there's not a story like Inherent Vice, or The Great Beauty or Holy Motors, I mean there's no story whatsoever. You see, these films had major plot points, and their meandering tales worked to that advantage. A Dozen Summers has a central conceit, 12 year olds hijack the narrators camera and make a movie (I know, it even looks shite on paper). And, you know, even this central conceit is done poorly. There are long stretches of time where the camera and the narrator are absent, only for them to return with a sort of *surprise!*. And in the moments where they do return, it's handled poorly. There's this infuriatingly stupid 'click to teleport/change scene/edit' gimmick that is a cop out for real transitions and just sucks. And ultimately, we don't give a shit about our characters! I mean, 12 year old 'coming of age' story, really? When was the last time a 12 year old came of age? Kenton Hall appears to be so desperate to include his own daughters as the main protagonists, that he has sacrificed the story of his film.

Half - baked film references
The dialogue is a major problem too. You see, Kenton Hall appears to think he's clever. He inserts these film references to the Seventh Seal, the Shining, and others in a non-original; non-smart; and completely ineffective way. The script has no insight whatsoever, and many of the lines feel forced or convoluted (you know, the type of dialogue where you're thinking "nobody ever says that"). And it's true, it just makes the film cringe worthy. Unfortunately for A Dozen Summers, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (a far better coming of age drama) is in cinemas this month, and it's script brims with energy and insight. Also, it's packed with intelligent and witty film references that far eclipse this effort.

Misjudged behavior for 12 year olds...
Now, what about the acting? This is probably the worst thing about the film! You see, Kentons daughters (yes, the leads), are the two worst actors I have ever seen on screen. And I mean ever (yes, I've seen Nicolas Cage). They're stiff and awkward, sprouting terrible dialogue, and then making it even more terrible. From the first line spoken to the last, the emotionless, rambling, cardboard delivery is so plainly obvious it makes you cringe. And, don't get me wrong, the other actors are (almost) equally terrible. Hall seems to have a knack for choosing the worst child actors in the profession, concocting a situation in which every single line is botched and devoid of emotion. And he's not much better either, and, in fact, neither are any of his co-stars. The single best performance in the whole piece comes from Colin Baker as the enigmatic narrator of the piece.

Lastly, but not least, the production values of this film are tantamount to zero - the shots are uninspired, the music cliche, and certain scenes are cocked up so badly, it's insane! For instance, take the 'freeze frame' scene late on in the film. It's clear that all the actors are moving, and it comes off as cheap and boring!

All in all, a dozen summers is a terrible film - with terrible dialogue, terrible acting, a terrible story and terrible production values. Perhaps Hall should stick with the day job.

A Dozen Summers gets 1 star!

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