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#OnTheBigScreen: 'The Witches', 'The Secret: Dare to Dream' and 'Dreambuilders'

The Witches, The Secret: Dare to Dream and Dreambuilders open in South African cinemas this week.

The Witches

Reimagining the beloved Roald Dahl story for a modern audience, Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heart-warming tale of a young orphaned boy (Jahzir Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Octavia Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway) has gathered her fellow witches from around the globe - undercover - to carry out her nefarious plans.

Mixing the fun and fantasy elements of the story, such as transforming the witches from glam to gruesome and cute kids to cuddly mice, were a big draw for Zemeckis in taking on the project, but he also responded to the underlying humane themes at the core of the Roald Dahl story.

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the screenplay was crafted by Robert Zemeckis and Kenya Barris (TV’s Black-ish, Shaft) and Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water).

Read more.

The Secret: Dare to Dream

This romantic drama is based on the groundbreaking 2006 book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which went on to become a global phenomenon, empowering millions to lead happier and more fulfilled lives.

Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is a hard-working young widow, continually struggling to make ends meet in rural Louisiana while raising three children - Missy, Greg and Bess. Miranda is dating Tucker (Jerry O’Connell), whose wealthy family owns the local restaurant where she works. Tucker is in love with Miranda and expresses his affection for the widow and her family through acts of generosity. Miranda, though she cares deeply for Tucker, prefers to maintain her independence and is not quite ready to fully commit.

Before long, a mysterious man named Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas) suddenly appears in Miranda’s life to fix her house in the aftermath of a terrible storm. As she gets to know him, the handyman begins to grow closer to Miranda and her family, and he shares his philosophy of believing in the power of the universe to deliver what we want. However, Miranda soon discovers Bray carries a secret connection to her past.

Directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama), the screenplay was crafted by playwright, TV and feature writer Bekah Brunstetter, who used the book as source material for her screenplay.

Read more. 


This Danish animation film Minna’s life is turned upside down when her dad’s new fiancée Helena and her daughter Jenny move in. Her new stepsister Jenny turns out to be horrible and Minna is frustrated. She wants her gone! One night, Minna discovers a world behind her dreams in which the dreambuilders create our dreams on theatre stages and finds out how to manipulate Jenny’s dreams.

But interfering with people’s dreams has dire consequences and when Minna goes too far one night, Jenny can’t wake up any more. Minna must enter the dream world one final time to face the dreams she has created in order to save Jenny and her new family.

Read more about the latest and upcoming films.

About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit

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