The Exorcism in Amarillo

Watch The Exorcism in Amarillo | Prime Video

Plot Summary

In the middle of nowhere in Texas, a family is seemingly subjected to demonic attacks due to some evil books that they have in their house. Will they be able to fight off the unclean spirits before it’s too late???

Production Quality (0 points)

This awful of a production doesn’t belong in our modern era of Christian entertainment, yet here we are. Cheap video quality and poor lighting are only compounded by bad camera work and weird angles. Audio quality is also horrible, including loud background sounds, a cheap soundtrack, and weird sound effects. Further, editing is extremely choppy due to abrupt cuts and transitions and annoying fadeouts. It goes without saying that the sets, locations, and props are very cheap and limited. With no potential to speak of, no points can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Going from one thing to the next, this narrative has an incoherent presentation that’s full of illogical happenings and things that happen simply because the writers want them to occur. As another installment in the awful Christian horror genre, this film is replete with stupid jump scares and dumb obsessions with demonic activity. The view of spirituality that is espoused is quite childish, which leads to laughably staged and unnatural scenes. Most sequences make absolutely no sense as they are full of riveting activities of daily living, expositional dialogue, wasted time, and ridiculous fake suspense. Most of the run time is spent on characters wandering around and believing in a misogynistic worldview that elevates men over women. Needless to say, there is no positive to note in this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Much like other aspects of this screenplay, the acting is a disaster. All performances are totally blank and dead. Stone-faced line delivery that lacks emotion or conviction has to be seen to be believed. Some lines are even said too soon or too late. In the end, this movie has absolutely no hope.

Conclusion

The Exorcism in Amarillo falls down to the basement of Christian entertainment, harkening back to an era that we should have already closed the chapter on. Instead, poorly funded trains wrecks like this film keep popping up. One day, Christian creators might learn their lesson.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

Found. (Movie Review)

Found | Christian Movies On Demand

Plot Summary

When several police officers find a teenage boy who was raised by elderly people in the Appalachian Mountains, hard decisions must be made, especially since the boy has no living guardians. One of the police officers decides that she needs to take the boy into her home, which changes the family’s life forever.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

In some respects, this production is professional, such as the good video quality and acceptable sets, locations, and props. However, camera work is slightly inconsistent, and the audio quality is uneven, including background sounds, echoes, and loud portions of the soundtrack. Further, there is not much editing present, but there is some slight improvement throughout the production elements that is enough to warrant an average rating.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

At times, this narrative seems interesting due to its believable and authentic characters that are developed with realistic dialogue. Additionally, the Christian message is not too obvious while it’s still present. Nonetheless, there are plenty of concerns to note, such as time-wasting montages that make the central focus of the plot hard to grasp. The storyline feels like a collection of random scenes, and it seems like that the writers naively believe that being raised in remote areas away from civilization is whimsical, causing those in this lifestyle to become more spiritual than people in civilization. As a result, some key subplots are too muted and only referenced by characters rather than being shown to the audience. Several elements are too vague and never full explored although the creators expect one to care about these factors. Also, the narrative seems to sometimes make convenient decisions for the characters even if these actions are contrary to the characters’ motivations. These missteps lead to a rushed and forced conclusion that means nothing to the viewer due to lack of proper build-up. In the end, slight potential that’s drowned out by quite a few pitfalls leads to a meager score for this section.

Acting Quality (2 points)

The acting is actually the strongest aspect of this film as there are few errors in this section. The adult cast members demonstrate authentic emotions and line delivery. However, some of the younger actors and actresses post performances that leave something to be desire, thus bringing down this section’s overall rating.

Conclusion

It would have been better for this screenplay to focus on the pros and cons of civilized vs uncivilized living rather than glorifying one lifestyle over the other. There could have been timely lessons learned from this type of philosophical exploring. However, perhaps in their future projects, this creative team will build upon what they have begun here.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

One Last Prayer (Movie Review)

Watch One Last Prayer | Prime Video

Plot Summary

David is struggling to keep his family together, which causes him to waver between doing things God’s way and the temptation to handle things himself when he can’t afford treatment for his daughter’s rare cancer. Will David turn back to God before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1 point)

As a whole, this production is substandard due to various factors, including shaky camera work. Audio quality is also poor due to an overpowering soundtrack and loud background noises. Sets, locations, and props are also cheap although video quality is acceptable. Further, editing is fairly choppy as some scenes are cut off while other scenes drag on too long. Nonetheless, there is slight improvement with time, so this is enough to warrant a meager score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

The first half of this narrative contains much incoherent meandering, thus lacking focus and purpose and not accomplishing much at first. Despite the otherwise relatable circumstances, characters are generally blank and vanilla due to underwhelming and uninspiring dialogue. Rather than developing characters, time is wasted kicking the can down the road and pushing a patriarchal message. Although Christian platitudes are used to bandage serious problems, the writers employed a surprisingly good use of flashbacks and accurately portrayed the effects of trauma. Nonetheless, better build-up to key scenes is needed to make the impact more significant. In the end, therefore, because of slight potential that is drowned out by other concerns, only a small rating can be awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

For the most part, the acting in One Last Prayer is average. Some instances are overly practiced and muted while other performances have some effort behind them. It seems like certain cast members try harder than others, so the acting is not all bad. The performances tend to improve as the film progresses, leading to an average score.

Conclusion

This screenplay falls in line with a host of other forgettable projects. Nothing memorable connects the audience with the characters, and there are a number of avoidable pitfalls. Hopefully, we will continue to see fewer of these types of movies in the future.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Mayflower II (Movie Review)

Mayflower II (2021) | Full Movie | Rick Borger | D'Arcy Browning | Tree  Browning - YouTube

Plot Summary

Miles and Kate just want to live an average life no matter what the world is doing around them. However, Miles encounters a point of no return when his Christian brother shows him a secret spaceship that Miles’ brother intends to use to evacuate Christians from earth. The goal is for Christians to recolonize Mars with Christianity. What choice will Miles make???

Production Quality (.5 point)

Between cheap special effects, annoying sound effects, and bad audio quality, this production is a real doozy. Background sounds and echoes detract from the viewing experience, and cheap sets, locations, and props don’t effectively represent what they are supposed to portray. Acceptable video quality and camera work keep this section from a score of zero, but editing is very choppy, and all production elements worsen with time. Thus, only a small rating can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In this narrative, the writers used plenty of expository dialogue as to leave nothing to chance about what occurred in the plot. The story in and of itself is very fast-paced by trying to get to certain points, creating unrealistic circumstances, and leaving huge gaps in logic. Also, the persecution premise is absurd, full of evil characters who are bent on destroying Christians for absolutely no reason. Stock conversations do nothing to build characters, and Christian characters are ridiculously perfect conduits of Bible verses. In the end, with tons of off-screen content due to the low budget and a lot of silly coincidences, no points can be awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, the acting in Mayflower II is just as bad as other aspects of the film. Whether yelling, screaming, or mechanically delivering lines, many performances feel phoned in. Emotions are not authentic, and a lot of cast members seem to lack conviction of what they are doing. Therefore, no score is warranted here.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators of this screenplay went into production with an agenda. In the years that we’ve reviewed Christian entertainment, we’ve never seen this successfully work. Doing this should not be the purpose of Christian creativity, and audiences know this, which is why movies like this one will soon be forgotten.

Final Rating: .5 out of 10 points

One Life at a Time (Movie Review)

Watch One Life at a Time | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When a troubled teen is forced to work at a homeless shelter to atone for his misgivings, he doesn’t care about the people at all at first. However, he slowly begins to change as he spends more time around the people at the shelter. Will he change before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

This production is fairly low quality due to loud background sounds, echoes, and a generic soundtrack that drown out other audio. Light and camera work are inconsistent, and special effects are bad. Acceptable sets, locations, props, and video keep this section from receiving no points. However, editing is choppy, thus rounding out a poor effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

One Life at a Time contains one of the stupidest ever portrayals of ‘bad kids,’ which are strawmen. It feels like the writers were very tone deaf and didn’t understand how the real world works, especially when it comes to unrealistic legal proceedings, perfect Christian characters, and young people using social media. In general, all the characters are empty due to mindless and robotic dialogue, and there’s no reason why some of them hate homeless people so much. After weird psychological sequences give way to very steep character arcs as people are fixed too easily. In the end, with no potential, this section receives no points.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

As a whole, the acting in this film lacks conviction. Many cast members don’t really seem to care about what they’re doing. Line delivery and emotions are bland and vanilla. Some scenes contain acting that it a bit too extreme. However, there is a tiny amount of improvement with time, which is enough to keep this aspect of the screenplay from being zero points.

Conclusion

Once again, the JC Films team has demonstrated that they care more about dumping more and more Christian movies onto the market than actually creating quality projects. These creators don’t care about heeding advice and will continue to do what they want at the expense of the reputation of Christian media.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

Coronavirus: Perfect Storm (Movie Review)

Coronavirus: Perfect Storm (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

When a seeming miracles happens during a tornado in West Virginia, a New York reporter is compelled to brave the COVID-19 pandemic to get the scoop. However, what he finds there isn’t what he expected. The reporter will have to come face-to-face with what he truly believes about the afterlife.

Production Quality (0 points)

Between awful special effects and terrible audio quality, this production is a drag on the viewing experience. Loud background sounds, echoes, and annoying special effects are also problematic. Shaky camera work and tight shots are disorienting, and the lighting and video quality are inconsistent. Further, choppy editing ruins things, so all of these factors contribute to a score of zero for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This nonsensical narrative is very trippy and confusing to the audience. The subplots are pointless and empty due to mindless dialogue and meandering conversations. Cardboard-cutout characters are impossible to connect with, and these characters are tossed along in a bizarre story-within-a-story twist that is very mind-bending and generally weird. Wacky afterlife theology is also laced throughout this strange tale. In general, this section contains a lot of outlandish content that contains no potential and thus yields no points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

To top everything else off, the acting in Coronavirus: Perfect Storm is uninspiring. However, the performances are not all bad as they are more vanilla than terrible. There is nothing majorly positive nor negative in this section whether it relates to emotions or line delivery. Thus, with just one point, this aspect of the film is the highest rated.

Conclusion

The JC Films team has also proven that they are willing to make a screenplay about anything in an attempt to harvest quick cash with little upfront investment. This movie is no exception to this tendency. Thus, with no end in sight to this nonsense, there’s little else to say here.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

It’s a Life Worth Living (Movie Review)

It's A Life Worth Living (2020) | Full Movie | Daniel Jeffries | Angela  Roberts Johnson - YouTube

Plot Summary

John is running from his dark past, trying to conceal his demons of substance abuse while living a seemingly normal life. However, when everything falls apart, he has nowhere to turn. Thus, he is forced to look to God for strength to continue on and rebuild.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of It’s a Life Worth Living is acceptable. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are fine. Sets, locations, and props are average or better. The main concerns with this section are the wild editing and disorienting special effects in certain sequences. Sometimes, there are very abrupt transitions that cut things off mid-scene. Thus, a slightly above-par score is warranted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

This narrative is certainly interesting and contains flawed characters. However, the radio-style storytelling is a crutch for actual character development, and this method of plot development encourages large time jumps that are bridged with exposition. The writers tried to cover too much ground in the narrative, and the storyline meanders without much purpose. Despite slight potential, the plot needs lots of reorganization and shoring up. The characters therein are okay but are slightly one-dimensional due to unsubstantial dialogue. Redemption moments are interesting but are unearned due to the weak characters and unclear motivations. The writers’ understanding of substance abuse is okay but incomplete as it makes it seem like that Christian rehab is a magic fix as the protagonist is quickly healed after just a few short steps. Mental health therapy is also viewed in an unrealistic way, and recovery is portrayed as too fast and easy. These shortcomings overshadow the otherwise interesting concepts that are explored in this narrative as well as the non-linear method of storytelling. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, things only get worse with a stupid climax sequence that’s based on childish coincidences, leading to a very ridiculous conclusion. In the end, slight potential is present in this section, but it’s mostly a disappointment.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Despite a few errors among the lead cast members, the main actors and actresses of this screenplay post pretty good performances. However, the supporting cast is quite week in their performances. Some emotions and lines are too over-the-top in certain moments. Although there is a strong beginning in the acting, this aspect of the movie unfortunately worsens with time. Therefore, an average score is warranted here.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators of It’s a Life Worth Living wanted to make an authentic film about substance abuse struggles. However, more research was needed in this area, and story consultation was needed to present the narrative in a more audience-friendly manner. Further, the acting needed shoring up. Nonetheless, with more refinement, this creative team could move on to better things in the future.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Teen Musical: The Movie (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Dr. Alexandra Park just wants to run the community center for the kids, but an evil businessman with unlimited political power wants to tear the building down to build something really important. Dr. Park’s only option to save the center is to host a musical and make money off of the tickets. Thus, she forces the kids she knows to work for free in this show. Will they be able to pull off their scheme in time???

Production Quality (1 point)

There is much to be desired in this production. Between inconsistent camera work and video quality, the viewing experience is difficult. Audio quality is also poor, including background noises, echoes, and a cringeworthy singing soundtrack. Also, overdubs and lip syncing are very obvious, and sets, locations, and props are very cheap. Further, editing is choppy, and despite some improvement throughout, this section doesn’t break the average line.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As this narrative jumps all over the place, the audience is assaulted with tons of empty characters and cardboard content. Plastic expository dialogue serves as a crutch to bridge the plot jumps. The villain character is totally ridiculous, and the out-of-left-field suspense elements that come with him are unrealistic. It’s too far-fetched to assume that the level of violence that is brought in by this absurd villain would actually occur in this situation. Besides this, the story is full of other cheesy clichés and constructs, such as the formulaic narrative structure of using a musical event to save a struggling organization. With so many things happening, all leading to a predictable conclusion, there’s no potential in this aspect of the film.

Acting Quality (1 point)

When you combine awkward acting with terrible singing in a musical, you have a disaster on your hands. Emotions are very manufactured throughout the movie, and the performances are overall too scripted and stiff. Despite slight improvement with time, this section doesn’t reach the average point.

Conclusion

This screenplay is just a mess, and this is exactly what we should not longer see in Christian entertainment. Teen Musical is nothing short of a disaster, which many musicals end up being. Hopefully, one day soon, we won’t have to keep wading through these murky waters.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Good Friday [2020] (Movie Review)

Good Friday (2020) - Movie | Moviefone

Plot Summary

Lucas Cole is a high-power prosecutor who’s currently under political pressure to make a local scandal go away. Lucas wants to do his job but can’t shake the feeling of betraying an innocent victim. Lucas is also struggling with being a single dad to his son. Before he knows it, Lucas finds himself caught up in a complex scheme of local politics with little room for error. Will Lucas be able to get out in time?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Though this creative team is largely unknown in the Christian entertainment world, the production of Good Friday is very professional. There are very few errors to note. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all good. Sets, locations, and props are on par with industry standards. The soundtrack is intriguing, so the only minor concerns to note relate to confusing editing. Nonetheless, this isn’t enough to prevent this section from receiving a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

It’s very surprising how complex the characters of this film are. Via superb dialogue, the characters’ motivations and personalities are well-constructed. The writers refrain from painting any one character as all good or all bad, which is a difficult feat. The narrative contains a very realistic and interesting exploration of the complications relating to local politics and legal concerns. However, this section is not without its flaws. Some scenes seem unrealistic, such as over-the-top negotiations, deals, and threats that appear out-of-place for the situations. Also, the plot jumps all over the place, trying to cover too many things at once. The many storylines and asides become confusing as the characters are shuffled from one things to the next. At times, the characters only do what the writers want them to do without having good reasons for acting in those ways. Despite the excellently subtle Christian messaging and flawed characters, this narrative has a really abrupt conclusion that makes no sense at all. Thus, with obvious potential that is left untapped, this aspect of the screenplay can only receive a below-average rating.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The acting is actually the strongest aspect of this movie. The performances are very strong with little to no problems. Emotions are believable, and line delivery is on point. Thus, a perfect score is awarded here.

Conclusion

Good Friday joins a group of Christian entertainment that almost made it to the next level. However, a collection of small issues held this film back from being all that it could have been. Nonetheless, this creative team certainly has potential for the future, so it will be interesting to see what they offer next.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Promises to Keep [2020] (Movie Review)

Promises to Keep (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Jonathan and Evelyn were engaged when they were young, but mistakes drove them apart. Now that they are both older and widowed, they have come back into each other’s lives because their children have fallen in love. Will they be able to heal the old wounds while looking to the future???

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Despite a mostly acceptable production, including fine video quality and camera work, the beginning of this film is quite rough. Audio quality leaves something to be desired, such as an in-your-face soundtrack. Flashbacks have an unnecessarily weird quality to them. Also, sets, locations, and props are slightly limited. Further, editing is incredibly choppy and disorienting. However, there is some improvement as the production goes on, which is enough to warrant an average score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Throughout this narrative, there is a generally odd tone as the writers try very hard to force their specific doctrines onto the viewers, which include some very unusual beliefs about Christian behaviors. As such, the dialogue is very obvious, creating perfect characters that are inaccessible as they spout Christian platitudes at the other characters. Besides this, some of the characters make really weird decisions for no reasons at all, and in general, events occur simply because the creators wanted them to happen. The “bad” characters are ridiculous stereotypes while the “good” characters push the lie that becoming more religious fixes all one’s problems. Nearly every scene is either about imposing the writers’ worldview or an exploration of edgy content. Basically a long monologue of propaganda, this plot has no potential and is thus awarded no points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

The acting in Promises to Keep is very sub-par. The performances are quite matter-of-fact, including overly practiced and forced emotions. Some scenes have over-the-top drama, such as yelling and screaming. Though line delivery is mostly acceptable, this isn’t enough to keep this section from receiving a low score.

Conclusion

As has been said many times before, when the creator of a screenplay intends to push propaganda in their movie, there’s no way that the film can ever be good. Two main goals of Christian entertainment should be to invite the audience to think and to responsibly present the writers’ worldview without shoving in down viewers’ throats. It’s unbiblical and un-educational to force agendas on audiences, which is why the reputation of Christian media is so poor today. The only way to fix this problem is to focus on quality over quantity as we move forward.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

Mary 4 Mayor (Movie Review)

Mary 4 Mayor — Home Theater Films

Plot Summary

Mary Parsons is tired of the way her family has been torn apart by her father’s obsession with his mayoral work. To make matters worse, her father begins making governmental decisions that negatively impact Mary’s life. She’s fed up with this and decides to run against her father in the upcoming mayoral race. What she discovers is that everything is not as it seems, and she has a lot to learn about life.

Production Quality (2 points)

In this film, Corbin Bernsen and his team mostly upheld their tradition of professional productions. There are very few errors in this section as there is good video quality, camera work, and audio quality. Though the soundtrack is dumb and generic, which detracts more than it should, the sets, locations, and props are well-constructed. There are also a few slight editing concerns, but these could relate to narrative issues. In the end, this production is at least above-average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Consistent with Bernsen’s past tendencies, Mary 4 Mayor is an out-of-the-box plot idea that has good themes and relatable messaging without being too in-your-face with the Christian elements. Portraying a true-to-life family experience with authentic characters and dialogue, Bernsen finds some success with his trademark quirkiness that’s actually truly funny at times. However, other times, the comedy feels overly engineered or half-hearted. Unfortunately, the characters feel like that they could be a bit deeper, but their full development is short-circuited by extraneous content that crowds out the runtime. Sometimes, coincidences randomly happen simply to suit the needs of the story, and in other instances, the narrative aimlessly meanders to hit certain points without properly building up to these events. The first half of the screenplay contains too much wasted time, but there is a really good twist in the middle of the plot that is very thought-provoking. Nonetheless, some occurrences move too fast due to lost time, thus taking away from the chance for natural development. As a result, the climax is quite rushed and silly even though it does contain some effective payoffs. Therefore, due to all these factors, this section is a mixed bag that receives an average score.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The strongest aspect of Mary 4 Mayor is the acting, which is very professional with few, if any, errors. Each cast member seems comfortable in their respective roles. Line delivery and emotions are believable and realistic. Thus, a rare perfect score is awarded here.

Conclusion

In this movie, Corbin Bernsen successfully offered an authentic relevant message about the political problems of today. However, Bernsen continues to hover next to greatness without taking that next step into the truly meaningful. He still can’t seem to decide where he’s committed to satire and comedy in his films. He has also failed to consistently focus on central themes. Mary 4 Mayor would have benefitted from deeper characters, which would have required elimination of extraneous story elements. Character arcs needed to be more effectively developed to prevent the arcs from being too steep. These small changes would have likely given Bernsen his fist Hall of Fame screenplay. Nonetheless, we’re only left wondering what could have been.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Discarded Things (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Grace Wyatt felt like she had finally buried her past by becoming a successful professor of music. However, her husband’s untimely death sends her back into a spiral of addiction and bitterness. Once Grace is able to recover, she’s assigned to live as a volunteer at a house program for troubled teens. Though Grace initially clashes with the leadership decisions of the program, she eventually finds her niche helping the teens find their voices. Nonetheless, Grace has no idea that she still has to make peace with her past to move forward in life.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a whole, the production quality of Discarded Things is professional…at least it gets there eventually. In the beginning, there’s a driving soundtrack that doesn’t always fit the mood although the score is still intriguing. There are also some background sounds and sepia tone flashbacks. The editing is sometimes choppy, cutting off scenes for no good reason. However, all productions elements improved in the latter two-thirds of the film, offering good video quality and camera work. Also, sets, locations, and props are professional. The improvement is good enough to warrant a high score in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The creative team behind this screenplay really had a lot going for them as they demonstrated a strong understanding of how hidden church problems and childhood trauma can affect people for their entire lives. This narrative contains an excellent portrayal of fundamentalist legalism and its consequences, and this is done via a good application of flashbacks that provides believable reasoning for character motive. However, Discarded Things has a rare problem: it’s too short. The fact that so much content is squeezed into this movie creates various issues, such as too-obvious dialogue. The writers rushed through important sequences, using montages as a crutch and implying that substance abuse rehab is a really easy fix for people. Platitudes are also used to quickly solve problems. It’s very evident that too much is being covered in this linear plot with the limited amount of time that’s been allotted. There are many complex and interlocking storylines that we barely get time to explore, and this lack of development causes some otherwise meaningful events to occur without proper buildup, thus making them empty and meaningless. Though most of the conversations are good, the characters are under-developed, but their major potential can still be seen. There are obvious themes throughout the narrative that slightly tie everything together, but the conclusion of the film is quite cheesy. In the end, this section is a mixed bag that could have been so much more than this.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

Despite a few moments of cast members over-acting and being a bit too dramatic, the acting is still very strong in Discarded Things. Karen Abercrombie appeared comfortable in her role, and Cameron Arnett is always a standout. This particular role for Cameron was perhaps his best to date. In the end, the acting is quite good, earning a great score.

Conclusion

This screenplay likely would have worked better as a series that blended what the protagonist learned from rehab with what she taught the teenagers. In this current form, this was too much content to cram into one movie, and this was a rare instance where we actually need to see more of these characters rather than less. We need to observe their journeys so that the payoffs don’t feel cheap due to lack of proper buildup. However, on the whole, some viewers will enjoy Discarded Things in its current state, and this film overall demonstrates huge potential for the future.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points

Acquitted by Faith (Movie Review)

Watch Acquitted by Faith | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Benjamin Stills’ life is forever changed when he’s responsible for a texting-and-driving accident that puts a little girl in the hospital. Benjamin is a high-power lawyer with a lot of workplace pressure, but this event sends his life spiraling out of control. Will he ever be able to regain his footing and return to the faith that he left behind before it’s too late?

Production Quality (2 points)

This film contains a professional production with only a few errors to speak of. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all in line with industry standards. Sets, locations, and props are professional and well-constructed. The main concerns in this aspect of the screenplay relate to weird special effects and editing. It’s unclear why these special effects were even needed as they make for an odd experience. Further, some scenes end very abruptly with no warning. Thus, due to more good than bad, an above-average score is warranted in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Acquitted by Faith contains an intriguing narrative although there are many subplots to keep up with. The characters therein are realistic and flawed, developed through authentic dialogue. Due to the large amount of content, many scenes can be a bit rushed even though some sequences waste time when there’s no time to be wasted. The more the story progresses, the more hasty the progression of the narrative becomes. There are many interesting asides and complex characters that could have had creative backstories, but we never get the chance to fully explore them because of the many tangents and subplots. These concerns make the story better suited for a series. It’s a shame that this movie is too bloated because is contains a good subtle Christian message. In the end, due to a generally mixed bag, this section receives an average rating.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in Acquitted by Faith is quite good. There are only a few over-the-top performances, but for the most part, the cast members deliver believable performances with good line and emotional delivery. Near the end of the film, the acting becomes nearly perfect, which leads to a very high score for this section.

Conclusion

This screenplay is perhaps the closest that Kevan Otto has ever come to the Hall of Fame, but it wasn’t due to his solo efforts. Acquitted by Faith was clearly a collaboration, but it still missed the mark due to inconsistent production elements and a bloated narrative. Nonetheless, this movie deserves a remake that reorganizes the concepts therein and presents them in a clearer fashion, perhaps in series form. With the consistent funding that Kevan Otto can get, it’s time to start saving some of the money to put toward fewer projects. Maybe then he’ll finally break through.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points

Cross Purposes (Movie Review)

Cross Purposes (2020) | Trailer - YouTube

Plot Summary

When an overconfident man who wants to be a medical student at a prestigious school is forced to complete an internship that he doesn’t care about, he has no idea what’s in for him. He’s determined to not care about any of the patients, but he can’t help but grow close to a teenager with a terminal brain tumor. Before he knows it, the intern is trying to determine the meaning of life although he didn’t used to care.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Cross Purposes offers an acceptable production with very few errors. Some of these pitfalls include some slight audio and editing concerns. For instance, there are a few distracting background noises, and certain scenes drag on too long. Nonetheless, this production team did good with what limited funds that they had. Video quality, camera work, and lighting are all above average. Sets, locations, and props are well-utilized. Thus, will very few problems to highlight, this section receives a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The writers of this film, for the most part, were committed to crafting believable characters. However, because there are so few characters, they needed more deepening than they were given. It was good that the creators focused on the main idea of the screenplay without getting sidetracked, but doing such requires intense storytelling. Dialogue and conversations needed to be more than average to pull off this feat. As things are, the character arcs are a bit too steep, and the motivations and personalities of the characters are undeveloped. Elsewhere, it’s clear that the writers did some medical research, but some aspects of the narrative are slightly unrealistic. In the end, Cross Purposes has good messaging without being too forceful, and many audiences will enjoy this brief plot, so a meager score is warranted here.

Acting Quality (2 points)

It’s clear that the creative team behind this movie were definitely trying to make an effort, and this fact is evident in the acting. As a whole, the acting is either standard or a little bit better. Line delivery and emotional delivery are mostly on-point. Although some performances fall a bit short due to some forceful moments, there’s enough positive in this section to award an above-average score.

Conclusion

The team who produced this film, like many newer creators, has lots of potential for the future. Offerings like Cross Purposes, among others, provide hope for the future of Christian entertainment. Now, if those who make good things on small scales would collaborate with each other, pooling their expertise and resources, we would really have something to behold.

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

The Wager [2020] (Movie Review)

The Wager (2020) | Trailer | Cameron Arnett | Jim Gloyd | Bishop Stevens |  Ty Sheldon | John Wells - YouTube

Plot Summary

When Brucie loses some kind of supernatural wager with a spiritual being, Brucie is allowed to retrace the steps of his life to see how it happened and how things could have been different. Through mind-bending and reality-defying methods, Brucie criss-crosses through time to see his life in hindsight. Will be able to make the right choice before it’s too late?

Production Quality (2 points)

As a whole, The Wager has a fairly good production despite a lot of loud background sounds. Even still, the soundtrack is very interesting and seems too advanced for this film. Lighting is a bit inconsistent, but video quality is stable throughout. Sets, locations, and props are on par, and editing is acceptable. Thus, this rounds out an above-average section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Despite interesting character backstories, very generic dialogue consistently overstates the obvious in this narrative, thus causing the characters to be too cardboard and generic. Very expository conversations leave nothing to chance, spoon-feeding the viewer with a very pushy Christian message. Random and disconnected scenes cause the plot to lack concrete themes or purposes; silly coincidences and convenient turns also make for a frustrating experience. Large time jumps confuse the audience, as do trippy psychological sequences that lack sense and only waste time. Although this movie is full of hit-and-miss story presentations due to a meandering, stream-of-consciousness narrative, there is actually a grain of potential somewhere in this screenplay. Aside from all the clutter, several key concepts that are explored in The Wager have the ability to be great. However, the film continually gets in its own way, so only a small score can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Although there are some good performances among this cast, many of the scenes come off as very scripted and overly practiced. Emotions and lines are a bit forced and stilted at times. However, Cameron Arnette is always a standout actor, and as a whole, all the cast members improve with time. Thus, this is enough to warrant an average rating in this section.

Conclusion

In the end, The Wager is full of wasted ideas that need restructuring and repackaging. It’s clear that this creative team wanted to go in a certain direction, but they forgot to let the viewers in on where the movie was actually headed. Mind-bending psychological trips don’t exactly engage the audience or help the watcher connect with the characters. Therefore, this screenplay is an opportunity for the creators to reflect on what they want to convey in the context of film and apply these findings to future projects.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Fearless Faith (Movie Review)

Watch Fearless Faith | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Colton is a police officer who’s haunted by the trauma of witnessing his former partner get gunned down in a crossfire. Now, Colton avoids all things relating to God even though his wife wants him to come back to the faith. However, circumstances begin to change Colton’s heart as he’s forced to face the past that he’s been running from.

Production Quality (2 points)

Although this production is mostly above-average, it still has some unnecessary pitfalls, such as odd zooms in the camera work and some strangely blurry video quality in certain parts. Action camera work is inconsistent, and the soundtrack is a bit loud at times. Also, flashbacks tend to be disorienting, and the editing has a lot of quick cuts and transitions, but all aspects of the production generally improve with time. This include better video quality, audio quality, and camera work in the second half of the film. Sets, locations, and props are relatively stable throughout. In the end, this mixed-bag section does enough to warrant this score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Fearless Faith is based on a very valid and worthy idea that needs to be explored in entertainment: law enforcement trauma. However, this concept is presented with stream-of-consciousness storytelling that lacks focus or overarching themes. Average conversations don’t do enough to develop the generic characters although there is a lot of missed potential to have better dialogue. The perfect Christian characters and racial stereotypes don’t do much to help the cause of the narrative. Religious platitudes and lack of continuity are only compounded by wasted time and plot jumps. Despite dry humor and sarcasm that could have made for interesting experience, unrealistic coincidences happen just because the writers need them to. Even though the ending does a somewhat good job of bringing everything together, characters are fixed way too easily, and the conclusion isn’t properly set up. There are no meaningful payoffs because a majority of the storyline is just kicking the can down the road to get to an unearned high point. The climax falls flat where it could have soared because it lacks effective build-up, and personal tragedies aren’t exactly treated in a serious fashion. All of this is to say that Fearless Faith had the potential to be a truly interesting movie, but this section’s low score holds it back.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in this screenplay is average. Surprisingly, Jason Burkey may have found his niche in this film as he demonstrates pretty good performances with dry humor and sarcasm. This role doesn’t require him to go too far beyond his abilities, which actually works. Elsewhere, there are no obviously glaring errors in this section except for some annoying yelling and screaming. In certain pivotal scenes, the acting can tend to be unnecessarily blank and not present. In the end, this aspect of them movie rounds out an okay effort.

Conclusion

Fearless Faith had a lot going for it since it was written by real law enforcement officers who know what it’s like in the real world. This creative team put forth a pretty good project in Beautifully Broken, but Fearless Faith seems to lose some of this progress. A disorganized narrative derailed most of the potential in this screenplay, and a handful of concerns in production and acting didn’t help either. Next time, however, this team can hopefully learn from their mistakes and seek better counsel in their plot development.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

God’s Fool (Movie Review)

God's Fool (2020) | Trailer | Scott William Winters | Nathan Clarkson |  Laura Orrico - YouTube

Plot Summary

Frank grew up with a privileged life, but it means nothing to him. He’s tried to fill the hole in his soul with all kinds of vices, but nothing helps. Thus, when Frank meets a Franciscan friar one day, Frank’s life changes forever as he learns about the Franciscan order’s philosophy of life. Frank commits himself to live this life but finds it harder than expected as many oppose his new faith.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, God’s Fool has a pretty good production, including good video quality and audio quality. The soundtrack is quite intriguing, but the camera work is a bit inconsistent. Lighting is aligned with industry standards, and sets, locations, and props are acceptable. This section’s biggest drawback is its terrible editing as the film is presented in a very choppy way. Nonetheless, an above-average score is still warranted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Despite being based on an interesting idea, this plot meanders all over the place with no focus. One random thing happens after another, including a wild 800-year time jump after an extended prologue that seems initially disconnected from the main narrative. Stream-of-consciousness storytelling leaves the movie lacking a central focus. As a result, the characters are hard to relate to, and even though some dialogue sequences are interesting, it all needs to be deeper. The characters’ struggles are very detached and hard to relate to. While many conversations bring up good points, the back-and-forth interactions are poorly presented, causing the audience to be flooded with ideas without helping them feel the conflict. In general, too many events occur in this plot, and the “bad” characters don’t have good reasons for their actions. Although this narrative explores realistic church corruption issues, it’s all too detached and vague, leaving the viewer without meaningful impact. Thus, due to a small amount of potential, only a small rating can be awarded in this section.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the performances in God’s Fool come off as staged and overly measured. Emotional and line delivery are clinical and generally lack conviction. Accents are not culturally accurate, but costuming is authentic. Nonetheless, despite these shortcomings, the acting does improve with time, which is enough to warrant an average score here.

Conclusion

It’s clear that the creators of this screenplay meant well in what they were doing. They are trying to present an honest look at modern-day Christianity. However, convoluted storytelling and uneven acting detract from the film’s potential. A more focused narrative would have gotten the presentation off on the right foot. Perhaps, in the future, this creative team can build upon what they have done here to improve their craft.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Romance in the Outfield: Double Play (Movie Review)

Review: Utah-made 'Romance in the Outfield: Double Play' strikes out in the  rom-com department — The Movie Cricket

Plot Summary

Kenzie and Tyler used to be in love, but after their falling out, they haven’t spoken for years. However, a string of coincidences has now thrown them back together, and they’ll have to decide what they’re going to do about it. Also, Tyler’s sister has her own relationship issues to sort out.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

For the most part, this film’s production is acceptable, including fine camera work and good video quality. Lighting is okay throughout, but there are some background echoes along with an inconsistent soundtrack. Sets, locations, and props are somewhat limited in scope, but the editing is at least average. As a result, these factors produce a run-of-the-mill score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As a sequel to a movie that no one can remember, Romance in the Outfield: Double Play expects the viewers to understand what’s already happened in this narrative. However, this is poorly communicated, leaving the plot purposeless. It feels like every scene is constructed to happen just because the writers want them to, therefore producing blank characters with vanilla and cardboard dialogue. Lots of time is wasted on long and meaningless sequences that use the characters as pawns in a stupid romance agenda. Ridiculously fake conflicts fuel the romantic tug-of-war, and extremely convenient situations force strangers into baseless relationships with each other. The most absurd romance tropes are presented in the most infantile ways until the story mercifully ends, leaving the audience without anything substantial or useful. Thus, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

On the whole, the acting in this screenplay seems unsure although it’s not all bad. Oftentimes, line delivery is too muted, and the emotions are quite mechanical. With nothing truly dynamic yet some potential, only a point is warranted in this section.

Conclusion

Romance in the Outfield: Double Play is essentially a follow-up just for the sake of it. There was nothing in Pitching Love and Catching Faith that justified a sequel, especially when the sequel just rehashed the same narrative while still somehow leaving the audience mostly in the dark as to what the first installment was about. This failure was difficult to pull off, but this creative team did it effortlessly. In the end, a lack of effort is this film’s biggest downfall and the reason why it didn’t need to exist.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

Why Me? [2020] (Movie Review)

Image result for why me josiah david warren

Plot Summary

All Slater wants to do is goof off while living a life of luxury, but when he’s suddenly forced to be the guardian of his younger siblings due to his parents’ untimely death in a car accident, Slater’s entire world is turned upside down. He desperately tries to find full-time help for his siblings while he messes around with his girlfriend, but things never work out. Then, one babysitter seems to change everything for the family, and Slater has no idea what to do.

Production Quality (.5 point)

As another ridiculous Strong Foundation production, Why Me? has uneven audio, as shown by a very loud soundtrack and loud background echoes. Despite acceptable video quality and camera work, the sets, locations, and props are cheap. Also, the editing is terrible; some scenes suddenly cut off with no warning. There are zero transitions yet very obvious continuity errors. With an overall low-quality feel, this section is another failure for this team.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Full of ridiculously contrived situations and childishly contrived situations, this plot is incredibly juvenile. It lacks purpose and has some of the most absurdly forced comedy sequences ever. The choppy story presentation makes the movie feel like a bunch of random scenes that are poorly strung together. These problems don’t even include the incredibly awkward characters that are pariahs of millennials. The absurd message-pushing about how dumb young people are is incredibly annoying. What’s more, none of the characters seem to have appropriate emotional reactions to life crises like family deaths. Further, after tons of occurrences happen throughout the narrative that lack lead-ups or explanations, it just suddenly ends and leaves the viewer wondering why they just wasted their time on this drivel.

Acting Quality (1 points)

Per usual for the Strong Foundation team, this screenplay’s acting is just bad. Emotions are over-the-top, and line delivery seems mostly unserious. There are lots of awkward performances, and a few cast members are extremely robotic and practiced in their acting. Despite the fact that one of the lead actresses is a standout, it’s not enough to save this disaster from itself.

Conclusion

In 2020, Strong Foundation Films was still making garbage like Why Me?, thus continually making a mockery of Christian entertainment. They continually release unnecessary additions to the market like this one and contribute to the field’s damaged reputation. Thus, in 2021, we’re still saying the same things about movies like this one. Until projects like Why Me? cease being funded, things won’t change much for Christian movies.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

2020 Box Office Revolution Entertainment Awards

Every year, movies and series are released, and cast members show off their talents.  Writers and directors showcase their creativity. Films and series are separated into roughly three groups: the truly talented, the potentially great, and the others.  At Box Office Revolution, we believe it is our prerogative to annually recognize those entertainment creators and players who have the ability to bring revolution to Christian entertainment.

I Still Believe Review: Christian Rock Biopic Tells Jeremy Camp's Tale |  IndieWire

Staff Choice Movie of the Year: I Still Believe

Runners-Up: Home Sweet Home, Lost Heart, Small Group

I Still Believe' Review - Variety

Reader’s Choice Movie of the Year: I Still Believe

Runners-Up: Home Sweet Home, Small Group, Lucy Shimmers and the Prince of Peace, Switched, Selfie Dad, Our Father’s Keeper, Love Me, The Job

Josh PERRY : Biography and movies

Staff Choice Actor of the Year: Josh Perry

Runners-Up: Sterling Hurst, DJ Perry, KJ Apa

Sarah Kim - IMDb

Staff Choice Actress of the Year: Sarah Kim

Runners-Up: Britt Robertson, Natasha Bure, Emily Dunlop

UTA Signs 'I Can Only Imagine's Andrew & Jon Erwin And Kingdom Story  Company – Deadline

Staff Choice Directors of the Year: Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin

Runners-Up: Juan Mas, Jesse Low, Matt Chastain

Lesley Ann McDaniel (@LesleyMcDaniel) | Twitter

Staff Choice Writer of the Year: Lesley Ann McDaniel

Runners-Up: Jon Erwin, Jon Gunn, DJ Perry, Matt Chastain

Why It's Better Not To Know Who Jeremy Camp Is Before Seeing I Still  Believe - CINEMABLEND

Staff Choice Soundtrack of the Year: I Still Believe

Runner-Up: Home Sweet Home

Lost Heart (Movie Review)

Lost Heart (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Hannah is a country music star who loses her cool during an interview due to sensitive questions about her past. This prompts her to take time off from the show business, but her father’s sudden death forces Hannah to return to the hometown that she wants to avoid. There, she has to confront the darkness of her past and come to grips with what her choices have done. Hannah wants to run from God, but He won’t give up on her.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

The Collective Development team has come a long way with production quality during their time in the field. Lost Heart is an example of continuing improvement, which is all we really ask of entertainment creators. As such, there are few errors in this section. Video quality, audio quality, and camera work are all professional. Though the soundtrack is a bit generic at times for a music-themed film, the sets, locations, and props are well-constructed. The editing is overall fine with a few minor errors. In the end, this is all deserving of a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Much like Wild Faith, Lost Heart has a high amount of potential in the plot category. It includes a realistic portrayal of entertainment life, which is supported by a very effective use of flashbacks to establish character motive and experiences. This is coupled with a surprisingly realistic view of small towns and hidden family problems within them. Despite the many interesting concepts explored in this narrative, it’s almost too much for one story, making it hard to focus on one thing. Lost Heart feels more like a series than a movie and has the authentic and believable characters necessary for such a venture. They’re crafted with great dialogue that helps the audience to connect with them. However, this section isn’t without its downfalls. Convenient turns and coincidences help important plot points get unnecessarily kicked down the road, and sometimes, things happen in the narrative simply because the writers wanted them to. While the story’s conclusions are good, they seemed to be arrived at in unnatural ways. It’s good to write the ending before the beginning, but it has to be properly set up with logic and reason. Unfortunately, Lost Heart loses more and more focus as it goes, leading to a climax scene that’s a bit over the top and unbelievable. This nosedive in the screenplay’s second half kept it from being placed on the Hall of Fame, but this area of the film still warrants a good rating.

Acting Quality (2 points)

In the film’s beginning, the acting is a bit raw. Emotions seem forced at times, and some of the yelling and screaming gets annoying. It would have better if these performances were more subtle and natural, but as a whole, the acting does get better as the movie goes on. There are many good cast members with DJ and Josh Perry being standouts. In the end, this area justifies an above-average score, which rounds out another screenplay that could have been much more.

Conclusion

Lost Heart is another high-potential idea from the Collective Development team. However, like other projects, this one just doesn’t make the cut due to a handful of small yet avoidable errors. This committed group of creators has progressively improved since their former days, which is rare in this business. Nonetheless, they seem to have plateaued and need stronger narrative outlining to help push them across the finish line. Bringing better storytellers into their fold will help them to finally achieve the next level.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points

Lucy Shimmers and the Prince of Peace (Movie Review)

Lucy Shimmers and the Prince of Peace | 2020 | Scarlett Diamond, Vincent  Vargas, Adam Hightower - YouTube

Plot Summary

Lucy Shimmers is dying of a terminal illness, and her parents are at a loss. Nonetheless, Lucy doesn’t view death as the end and wants to do everything she can do to make the most of her short time left. Thus, she decides to follow the dreams that she believes God has given her and reach out to other patients at the hospital, even those no one else cares about.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

This film’s strongest area is its professional production, which is demonstrated by great video quality, camera work, and use of sets, locations, and props. The audio quality is acceptable despite a generic soundtrack and some loud background sounds. Similarly, the editing is good although there are a few minor continuity errors. In the end, however, these concerns are small and don’t prevent a high score from being awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

The plot Lucy Shimmers is actually based on some fairly authentic characters who are built via intriguing dialogue and conversations, but this area could still be deeper than it is. One detracting aspects is the unusual magical elements of communicating with dead people, which the narrative relies on when it needs to. Also, the story seems to kick the proverbial can down the road trying to get to a certain point by spending time on wasteful montages rather than developing the characters further. This inefficient use of scenes is only compounded by some unrealistic HIPAA violations and ‘bad’ characters who seem too vindictive for no reason. Other implausible occurrences happen just because the writers want them to, and some character actions need better justification besides the desire to reach predetermined conclusion. As a whole, the plot seems to become more unrealistic as it goes, leading to a rushed finish that’s almost interesting because it’s different. Nonetheless, it leaves too many unanswered questions and wastes the potential that this movie had to present an out-of-the-box idea using mostly accessible characters and their struggles. Therefore, with some small positive that’s short-circuited by a lot of unforced errors, only a small score is warranted here.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting in Lucy Shimmers is above average. Despite slightly muted emotions, the line delivery is believable. Some performances seem overly practiced, but others are spot-on. The acting tends to improve with time, allowing the positive to outweigh the negative and warrant a good rating for this section.

Conclusion

Screenplays like this one clearly mean well and want to offer an authentic message. However, with the market being saturated with these types of films, it’s hard for new ones to make an impact. Because of this overcrowded genre, movies like Lucy Shimmers have to go above and beyond to set themselves apart, which can be done through deep character development. Only then will they be able to truly make a difference.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

We Three Kings [2020] (Movie Review)

We Three Kings (2020) | Trailer | Rebecca St. James | Michael W. Smith |  Nise Davies - YouTube

Plot Summary

The Fay children have had a hard time ever since their mother died, but they can’t wait for their Uncle Henry to arrive for Christmas. He’s trying to add a scandalous new song to the church’s hymnbook despite the resistance he’s getting. The oldest Fay daughter is trying to organize the local Christmas pageant at church, which is what her mother used to do. Will everyone be able to accomplish these things in time for the holiday?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a whole, We Three Kings sports a professional production. This is shown by good video quality, camera work, and audio. Historical accuracy is also a big plus, as seen in the authentic sets, locations, and props. Essentially, there are no real errors in this section except for some minor editing concerns. However, this appears to be partially related to the plot. Thus, a high score is granted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, it’s hard to follow this narrative at the beginning due to its substantial time jumps. This, combined with Shakespearean dialogue, hurts character development, making them seem very stiff and stilted. Scenes go from one thing to another without clear connection or direction, and conversations seem to go in circles and talk about the same things all the time. Because of this, it’s hard to connect with the cardboard cutout characters who never seem to have normal human reactions or emotions. For this reason, it’s unclear why should we care what these people are doing or going through. Therefore, despite the good use of source material, there’s hardly any potential in this plot, which is insufficient given that the story’s framework was already written for the creators.

Acting Quality (1 point)

To fit with the Shakespearean characters, the acting in We Three Kings is very theatrical. Many performances are too stilted due to overly practiced and enunciated line delivery. Additionally, emotions come off as mechanical and robotic. However, some of the acting is acceptable, and the historically authentic costuming is a plus. Nonetheless, the singing leaves something to be desired, which leaves this section with a meager rating.

Conclusion

Many more film makers need to be adapting historical accounts, but this movie is an example of how even that approach can go wrong. Taking shortcuts with writing and acting can easily derail even the best source material. Having a good idea isn’t enough; screenplays are very complex things that require a lot of effort and collaboration. Perhaps, one day soon, the Christian entertainment factory will finally produce quality over quantity.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

Miracle on Christmas (Movie Review)

Amazon.com: Miracle On Christmas: Erin Bethea, Jason Burkey, Brett Varvel,  Micah Lynn Hanson, Kimberly Cruchon Brooks, Thomas Bonifield: Movies & TV

Plot Summary

Mary isn’t having a good holiday season: it’s been a year since her dad died, and now, Mary’s husband, James, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Nonetheless, Mary wants to hide this from her mother and siblings, who are coming over for Christmas. On top of it all, James brings a total stranger, Harry, to the celebration. However, Harry turns out to be more than anyone thought and offers new hope during the hard times.

Production Quality (2 points)

At the very least, Miracle on Christmas meets the minimum requirements for modern productions. There aren’t many concerns to note here, and this section has many positives, including good video quality, camera work, and audio quality. The generic soundtrack leaves something to be desired, however, but the sets, locations, and props are acceptable. The main issues in this area pertain to continuity errors, cheesy special effects, and sparse editing. These seems to be evidences of a thrown-together creation, but this part of the film is still above average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Using a stream-of-consciousness style of storytelling, this plot presents one thing after another without much continuity between scenes. It’s also hard to connect with characters as many conversations go round and round without accomplishing anything, and dialogue is generally inadequate at building characters. It goes without saying that the angel character is very creepy and overly focused on even though it’s unclear why he even needs to be there except to unnecessarily complicate matters. With no clear themes or central focus, this narrative is essentially a bunch of random scenes strung together, and it’s difficult to feel like the happenings are realistic. While the storyline drags on and on without proper payoffs, time is wasted on useless musical montages, angel monologues, and juvenile animations that accomplish nothing. Therefore, with no potential, zero points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Although the acting of Miracle on Christmas isn’t all bad, there are many instances of very awkward acting. This include over-the-top and forced emotions as well as overdone line delivery. Several cast members are trying way too hard to either make themselves known or be very theatrical in their performances. Thus, this section rounds out an overall underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Kevan Otto continues to randomly release low-quality screenplays without warning and without justification. This movie is just another installment in a long line of disappointments that further damage the reputation of Christian entertainment. With no clear direction or purpose, there’s really no reason why Miracle on Christmas should have been made, making it another example of why people continue to be suspicious of Christian creations.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

The Gift of Christmas [2020] (Movie Review)

The Gift of Christmas (TV Movie 2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

After George and Allen Barnett went across country to fulfill their father’s dying wishes, both brothers came back changed men. For the holidays, George asks him brother for a favor: bringing home the prodigal daughter of George’s friend. As such, Allen and the woman embark on their own cross-country journey of good deeds, learning a lot about each other along the way.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the production in this film is average. This is due to clear video quality yet inconsistent lighting: some shots are either poorly lit or overly lit. Camera work and audio quality are acceptable except for some background echoes, and a generic soundtrack sometimes covers up other sounds. There are also some obvious overdubs and continuity errors that seem avoidable. Further, the editing is passable, but some scenes linger too long. Thus, due to the mixed bag, a middle-of-the-road score is warranted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Much like its predecessor, The Good Journey, The Gift of Christmas fails to adequately engage its audience. This is due to cardboard characters that are built with expository dialogue rather than the deep conversations that are needed to support a character-based plot. Vague and blank sequences don’t offer much interest, and many scenes simply waste time. Some concepts seem under-explained, and the overall messaging teaches that simply going to church fixes everything. Despite some slightly interesting ideas that are very slow to develop and somewhat aimless, the narrative wanders around until everything is magically fixed in the end. It’s hard to believe the resolutions, and it makes matters worse that the vague story doesn’t hold the attention. Hence, with no tangible potential, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

The acting of this is fairly vanilla. There aren’t any particularly bad performances to point to, but no standouts can be found either. At times, the emotions and lines are robotic and stilted. However, other times, the acting is acceptable. Thus, this run-of-the-mill section rounds out an overall underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Did anyone really ask for a sequel to The Good Journey? Many audiences never even knew that the first movie existed, much less a Christmas installment. These two screenplays are the perfect example of making entertainment just for the sake of it. Some slightly interesting ideas were included, but nothing was enough to truly engage the viewer. Half-hearted attempts are still hurting the field’s reputation, which means we still need quality over quantity.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

The Greatest Gift Ever Given (Movie Review)

The Greatest Gift Ever Given (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Paul Hanson just wants to close a business deal before Christmas so that he can make the money that his family needs. However, one thing after another begins to go wrong on his business trip, and Paul becomes more and more angry at God. He’ll have to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas in order to move forward with his life.

Production Quality (1 point)

Like we’ve said many times in the past, poor production quality is no longer acceptable in 2020. However, The Greatest Gift Ever Given has this same problem. Though camera work and video quality are fine, audio quality is consistent. One example of this is the never-ending cheap soundtrack that rarely fits the situation. Elsewhere, sets and props don’t adequately represent what they’re supposed to portray, and locations are generally cheap and limited. Further, there’s basically no editing, which rounds out an overall underwhelming effort in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Despite being a relatively short movie, many of the narrative’s conversations repeat over and over again like the writers just wanted to fill time with copied statements. Generic boring sequences waste time, and riveting activities of daily living bore the audience. Due to bland and unoriginal dialogue, characters lack substance or depth, swept along in a plot that makes things unnaturally happen because the creators want them to. However, despite these problems that make the story’s first half seem useless and cause the viewers to lose interest, some interesting concepts introduced in the second half, which is too late. This creates wasted potential because there was something good here that could have been further explored if done the right way. The plot’s writers obviously meant well but needed a lot of guidance on follow-through and presentation. Thus, despite some slight positive, the negative drags down this section too much to warrant any points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

As a whole, the acting in this film is vanilla. Sometimes, the cast members try too hard, but they are otherwise very regular and standard in their performances. Line delivery and emotions are a bit uneven and unsure at times, and some scenes feel very staged, but it’s not all bad. There are a handful of positive moments that keep this section above water.

Conclusion

It’s evident that this movie’s creators really meant well and had a pretty good message to offer. However, this is never enough. It’s easier to write than to make a full screenplay that’s quality. Perhaps a short film would have been a better option for The Greatest Gift Ever Given since this would have reduced the budget and provided better focus for the main ideas.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Our Father’s Keeper (Movie Review)

Our Father's Keeper (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

When David Roberts is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the entire family is forced to adjust. Two of his sons are at odds with each other due to the fact that one of them has a checkered past. David’s wife is forced to take a job to make ends meet. Thus, the already-strained family is pushed to the limit when David suddenly goes missing just before Thanksgiving. This forces the family to work together in order to find David before it’s too late.

Production Quality (2 points)

In keeping with the recent trends of Christian entertainment, Our Father’s Keeper has a professional production quality. This is shown by good video quality and camera work. The soundtrack is a bit generic, however, and the audio has some moments that could be better. Nonetheless, sets, locations, and props are well-constructed and well-utilized. Perhaps this section’s biggest downfall is its choppy editing, which includes premature cutoffs and abrupt transitions. Moreover, despite the negatives, this production does enough to warrant an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

This film presents a very very intriguing story of the mental decline that can come about due to Alzheimer’s disease. It contains fairly realistic and accessible characters who are based on average or better dialogue. Many of them have, at minimum, partially developed personalities and motivations. However, at times, the narrative gets side-tracked on useless tangents, such as one too many side characters. Despite its creative undertones, the plot needs more fleshing out for tighter story telling. Elsewhere, there’s good subtle Christian messaging that restrains itself from being either heavy-handed or vague, but the main themes, which are very thought-provoking, come up a bit late in the game. At times, things occur that are too convenient for where the writers are trying to steer the story, and some scenes tend to fill time instead of doing something useful. This leads to a slightly rushed ending that tries to fix problems without good explanations, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that there’s plenty of potential in this screenplay.

Acting Quality (2 points)

One of this movie’s highlights is an excellent portrayal of tragic mental decline through the mode of acting. This is very difficult to pull off without being cheesy, but Craig Lindquist does well with this. While some cast members try too hard to force lines and emotions, most of them are either average or good in their performances. Despite inconsistent makeup work, there are many bright spots in this section that garner an above-average score.

Conclusion

Our Father’s Keeper is another film that needs a remake because of its high bar of potential that wasn’t adequately met. The raw creativity of this narrative was enough to set it apart from the run-of-the-mill noise with Christian entertainment, but a handful of errors kept it from being all that it could have been. Hopefully, in the coming days, this type of movie will be the worst that the Christian market has to offer. We look forward to seeing what this production team has planned next.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland (Movie Review)

Movie – The Farmer and The Belle

Plot Summary

Belle Winters is a model who’s been told that she’s aging out of the business. Thus, she decides to revisit a place from her childhood to find the secret to true beauty, which she believes was found on a bracelet she left behind. However, when she returns, she once again crosses paths with the pen pal she thought forgot about her. In seeing him again, what Belle finds is unexpected.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Despite being average, The Farmer and the Belle isn’t quite good enough for a 2020 production. Video and audio quality are good, and sets, locations, and props are acceptable. However, camera work is randomly shaky at times. The generic soundtrack is sometimes too obvious for the situations it’s played in. Editing is quite choppy as some scenes cut off prematurely. Nonetheless, there’s some improvement as the film goes on, but it’s still just run-of-the-mill.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Surprisingly, this plot begins with good attempts to develop character motive via a flashback prologue. Though the often-expository dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, there’s actually a basic narrative focus, including obvious themes albeit slightly juvenile ones. The tongue-in-cheek comedy is sometimes funny and sometimes not. At times, things happen simply because the writers want them to, and convenient turns transpire simply to suit the story’s purposes. The middle of the plot wastes a lot of time, seemingly kicking the can down the road, and a few sequences seem too staged and forced to exist. Overall, there is some potential in this section, but the contrived nature of the narrative and the lack of strong characters holds it back from being all that it could be.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Due to the back and forth nature of this section, the final score comes out as average. At times, the acting is professional while other times, it isn’t. Line delivery and emotions are overall inconsistent. Some scenes are more dramatic than others, but it’s not all bad. In the end, this mixed bag caps off an mostly underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Movies like Saving Santaland are neither bad enough to be remembered nor good enough to be upheld. In the end, this screenplay is likely to fall into the same bin with other forgettable Christmas offerings that clamor for the attention of audiences. It’s definitely possible that holiday films are more likely to be viewed, so why not give the watchers something to remember rather than forget?

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

When We Last Spoke (Movie Review)

When We Last Spoke" Official movie sizzler! - YouTube

Plot Summary

Evangeline and Juliet, once they were abandoned by their mother after their father was drafted into the Vietnam War, were raised by their grandparents in a small Texas town. However, the sisters always wondered when they would see their mother again even as she sent them gifts and letters. As time went on, the two sisters grew apart due to various circumstances and family secrets. Now that they’re adults, will they be able to reconcile their differences to help their family?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

It’s no surprise that a well-funded film like When We Last Spoke has high production qualities. Video, camera work, and audio all meet industry standards. The sets, locations, and props demonstrate attention to historical detail, which is important for a period drama. The soundtrack is mostly average but fits the time period. The only flaw to note here is the somewhat choppy editing, but this seems to be a consequence of the plot. Therefore, a high score is warranted for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Despite having source material, When We Last Spoke has one of most bizarre story presentations of recently released works. The past and present narratives are often blurred as the writers push one thing after another on the audience. As a stream-of-consciousness plot, it feels like a collection of disconnected and completely mindless scenes, most of which lack clear direction or purpose. There’s an unusual amount of unnecessarily edgy content that’s explained away in strange manners, and whatever Christian message was supposed to be portrayed is extremely vague. In attempts to create so-called twists, the viewer is purposely led in one direction only to be taken in another, thus making them feel extremely forced and shoehorned. In what’s supposed to be a character-based story, dialogue and conversations are basically meaningless, doing nothing to adequately develop the characters but instead wasting the audience’s time. Because of various problems and no real potential, this area can’t be given any points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

There are some moments of good acting in When We Last Spoke, and some cast members are better than others. However, there are some instances of uneven line delivery and generally unsure performances. Elsewhere, obnoxious and shocking emotional outbursts mar certain scenes. Despite a dose of positive, this section is overall below average.

Conclusion

This film is just another well-funded and heavily publicized creation that’s gone down the tubes. At this point, Christian audiences are growing tired of being told that screenplays are good only to be disappointed by them. There’s little patience left, and the number of consistent viewers is ever-shrinking. Just because you have money and recognizable cast members doesn’t mean your movie is automatically good. The funding for When We Last Spoke could have been used to bring an actually transformative book to the big screen, but instead, we just have a waste of time.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

Skydog {Lifestone Velocity} (Movie Review)

Skydog - Crystal Creek Media Crystal Creek Media

Plot Summary

Josh never knew that his father was killed in the line of duty as a CIA agent nor that his mom and her boyfriend are also CIA agents. However, these secrets are revealed to Josh, along with his real name, Colt Lifestone, when his mother goes missing in action. The CIA is trying to track down biochemical weapons that a rogue terrorist group has seized with the help of a corrupt CIA agent. Thankfully, however, the CIA is in need of a few willing teenagers to help them find the turncoat before the bio weapon is released on the whole city!

Production Quality (.5 point)

In 2020, Crystal Creek Media still hasn’t improved their production quality. Skydog (formerly known as Lifestone Velocity), sports weird video quality and poor lighting in some scenes. In keeping with previous trends from this production team, the audio of this film is all over the map, including a generic soundtrack that sometimes cover up other sounds, background noises that distract the viewers, ridiculous sound effects that are added on top of the video, and overdubbing that’s extremely obvious. Elsewhere, special effects are horrible, and camera work is wild. Sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited; all of the aforementioned production elements don’t adequately portray what they’re supposed to represent. To cap things off, the editing is terrible…some scenes prematurely cut off with no warning while others drag on for no reason. In the end, despite some slightly improvement as the movie goes on, this section is just another failed effort from this team.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

During the screenplay’s opening twenty minutes, so many things happen that the audience becomes very lost on what the narrative is actually about. The plot needs to pick a lane and stay in it as it’s trying to do tons of things at once, such as vague government agency stuff that’s hard to follow and is likely not very accurate to real life. With many characters to keep up with, it’s hard to relate to any of them, especially since some of them do odd things without legitimate reasons. Bland and vanilla dialogue depersonalizes them, and a convenient lack of communication between some characters allow certain things to occur that wouldn’t otherwise. On this note, the story often decides what needs to happen and forces it to take place without logical reasons. Lacking focus or purpose whatsoever, Skydog is full of the most ridiculous action scenes and outcomes, including outrageous things that the extremely cheesy villains get away with in broad daylight. Also, it’s unclear why the CIA would ever trust teenagers with government secrets, which demonstrates a lack of understanding of how things actually work in the real world. Therefore, due to many unforced errors and absurd elements, no points can be awarded in this category.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Like other acting performances from this team, many of the cast members in Skydog are trying too hard. This produces robotic and cardboard emotions as well as stiff and stilted line delivery. A lot of the scenes seem overly practiced with certain performances coming off as really strange. However, despite poor injury acting, this section isn’t all bad. There are some acceptable elements, but they aren’t enough to save this film from itself.

Conclusion

Much like previously unsuccessful offerings from this company (Creed of Gold, Unexpected Places, Courageous Love, The King’s Messengers, A Horse Called Bear), Skydog is just more of the same from Crystal Creek. They’ve never significantly improved throughout their tenure in Christian entertainment, which is unacceptable from a group that consistently puts out content. At this point, it’s unfortunately unclear where this team is headed, but we don’t have high hopes for their future.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Love Me [2020] (Movie Review)

Watch Love Me | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Reggie and his friend Sam live in a tent and run a soap-making business. Sam makes the products while Reggie tries to sell them door-to-door. One day, Reggie happens to visit Charlotte, who loves butterflies and won’t go outside without her headphones due to sensory overload. Without Charlotte’s brother knowing, she and Reggie fall in love and begin to date. Will the two social outcasts be allowed to have a life together?

Production Quality (1 point)

In usual Faith House (Inspiriter) style, camera work is shaky in Love Me, sometimes zooming in during shots. Audio quality is all over the map, include a very loud and shocking soundtrack, cheesy sounds effects, and annoying background sounds. Video quality is acceptable, but lighting is sometimes poor. Sets, locations, and props are cheap, and editing is fairly choppy. The only saving grace here is that the production quality tends to improve with time, but it’s not enough to keep this section from being subpar.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Of all the ridiculous films previously put out by this team, Love Me actually centers around an interesting idea: how special needs adults are treated in our society. It’s actually Inspiriter’s best idea ever and has the most potential of anything they’ve ever come up with. However, like many intriguing concepts in Christian entertainment, some of the good possibilities are wasted on frivolous scenes, like pointless musical montages. Dialogue is passable, though, which helps the characters become more accessible and less over-the-top. This narrative unfortunately lacks central focus and purpose, and it would have been good to see more backstory from the characters. Also, the conclusion is very abrupt and lacks logic as it depicts on character changing their mind for no particular reason. This alteration is only invented to unnaturally fix the story’s conflicts. Therefore, due to slight potential but inadequate presentation, this section only receives a meager rating.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

Although not perfect, the perennial FaithHouse cast members that once again appear in this movie actually found their acting niches in Love Me. Their performances are mostly authentic, despite some mumbled lines, and demonstrate realistic emotions. As such, this is the screenplay’s strongest area and makes us wonder if Inspiriter has finally hit their stride this late in the game.

Conclusion

Imagine if FaithHouse/Inspiriter had saved all the money from their previous absurd offerings and put it toward this film, which is the one interesting idea they’ve put forth. What if they took a quality over quantity approach, beginning with a raw character-based drama with subtle Christian messaging? Unfortunately, we may never know, but this is definitely a lesson for future creators: don’t settle for less because one good movie is always better than ten bad ones.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Sweet Sunshine (Movie Review)

Sweet Sunshine' movie: Arizona-made film streaming on Amazon Prime

Plot Summary

TJ Millhouse was a poor farmhand with a fleeting dream of being a recording artist. However, this dreams seemed to die along with his sister in a tragic car accident, but a local talent scout accidentally discovers TJ’s songs and brings him in to record some more. Before TJ knows it, he’s super famous, but this fame comes crashing down when he’s suddenly afflicted by an unknown medical condition that prevents him from singing. Will he ever be able to recover?

Production Quality (1 point)

In keeping with most Faith House/Inspiriter productions, Sweet Sunshine leaves something to be desired in this category. Though video quality and lighting are fine, there are too many background echoes and sounds. Camera work is acceptable, and the soundtrack is back and forth. Sets, locations, and props are passable but could be better. The worst element of all that drags down this section is the extremely choppy editing. Some scenes drag on for no reason while others are abruptly cut off. Thus, with little dynamic and too much negative, a low score is all that can be offered here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Despite some slight attempts to establish character motive in this plot, most of the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. While one personal tragedy after another strikes in this narrative, some characters seem unaffected by these circumstances, which makes them feel like cardboard cutouts. Silly coincidences fuel the story’s progression as things unnaturally happen because the writers what them to. This shows just how weak the premise is. What’s more, incredibly disconnected subplots and wild time jumps leave the viewer very confused. Stupid and pointless scenes waste tons of time, and the screenplay can’t decide what it’s actually about. The Christian message is extremely vague, and there’s some bizarre edgy content that’s very unnecessary. It all concludes with a ridiculous ending that magically fixes the invented medical problems with no explanation. Basically, Sweet Sunshine is just another lame Faith House offering.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

For the most part, the acting of this film is stock. Line delivery is acceptable although some lines are mumbled. Emotions are a bit blank, but it’s overall enough to produce an average score for this section. This rounds out an unacceptably low quality effort for 2020.

Conclusion

What’s with Faith House’s (now Inspiriter) weird obsessed with off-the-wall medical tragedies and concepts in their movies? Before All Others, Desert Redemption, A Calling of Courage, So Help Us God, and A Time for Heaven are examples of this. Now, Sweet Sunshine joins these ranks with a nondescript voice condition that can be magically healed for no reason. Inspiriter is wasting their good platform as a direct-to-Amazon-Prime independent creator. People are watching their offerings, but the films are only further contributing to the bad reputation that Christian entertainment has. Audiences want easy-to-access movies, but quality definitely matters.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

Small Group [2020] (Movie Review)

3 Things to Know about Small Group the Movie

Plot Summary

R. Scott Cooper is a struggling documentary film maker, but he gets a big break when an investor pays him to move his family to Georgia and go undercover as a local church member. While in disguise, Scott is supposed to record everything he sees using a special pair of glasses. However, halfway through the assignment, Scott and his wife begin to change their minds about the scheme as things in the small group aren’t what they thought. Will they have the courage to do what’s right before it’s too late?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a 2020 production, Small Group‘s is nearly flawless. Video quality, audio quality, and camera work are all on point. The sets, locations, and props are well-funded and well-utilized. There are no lighting problems, and the soundtrack is acceptable. The only thing keeping this section from being perfect is the poor editing, but this is likely a byproduct of a bloated plot. Hence, this section receives a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Despite a somewhat forced premise, this narrative has a surprising amount of potential, starting with the mostly realistic portrayals of people in churches. Some comedic scenes are actually funny due to pretty good dialogue, and the writers raise a lot of legitimate points about institutionalized churches. Nonetheless, the storylines struggles with being more than just a collection of funny sequences that are strung together without specific focus. The ‘villain’ is a total strawman, and certain things happen because the plot requires them to, causing the characters to be swept away in the circumstances and hitting on all the expected points. Although there are too many characters and subplots to adequately focus on in one film, some scenes occur for no reason at all except to fill time. Trying to do everything at once causes the narrative to leave behind a lot of unfinished ideas; it feels more like a series than a movie as some elements come completely out of left field and don’t fit with the overall purpose (if there is one). The sheer amount of content in this story is overwhelming for the audience, and some humor is just ridiculously obnoxious. However, though the ending sequence is rushed and tends to magically fix its problems via unrealistic coincidences, the conclusion is better than the beginning if you make it there. Therefore, this sliver of potential, in addition to pretty good characters, keeps this section from being zero.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

Much like its production, Small Group‘s acting is actually quite good. Though some cast members tend to have overdone lines and emotions, all performances get better as they go. As a whole, this section exhibits a lot of professionalism and rounds out a big mixed bag.

Conclusion

This screenplay’s central problem is that it can’t decide if it’s about hidden problems within the American church, quirks of American churchgoers, ministries and corruption in Central America, and people doing silly stuff together. Surprisingly, despite the jumbled plot, there’s actually hope for Small Group…in series form. There’s simply too much going on here to make a less-than-two-hour film. Had a series been made instead of a movie, this idea would have had more room to authentically develop. As it is, based on its heavy marketing push, Small Group unfortunately feels like another Christian entertainment cash grab.

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

Heavenquest: A Pilgrim’s Progress (Movie Review)

4 Things to Know about Heavenquest: A Pilgrim's Progress

Plot Summary

Vangel was a judge in the Kingdom of the South, but when he was wrongly accused of treason against the king he worked for, Vangel is sent for punishment. However, he escapes this fate and meets up with another fugitive; together, they run into a mysterious man named Elder who tells them that they can be set free if they make it to the Kingdom of the North. Through many perilous circumstances, they battle their way to freedom at all costs. Will they be able to cross the border before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Unfortunately, fantasy productions in Christian entertainment almost never fare well, and cheesy special effects combined with obvious CGI elements are usually the leading culprits. Heavenquest isn’t an exception to this tendency as its sets, locations, and props don’t adequately portray what they’re supposed to portray. Camera work is often shaky, especially in action scenes, and the film is replete with very trippy and dizzying sequences that confuse and overwhelm the viewer. Video quality is clear, but lighting is inconsistent. Despite an interesting soundtrack, it’s sometimes too loud. There are many quick cuts and transitions throughout, but there is actually some production improvement throughout, which is enough to grant an average score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

After completely dropping the audience in the middle of narrative nowhere, Heavenquest consistently introduces concepts that fly over the head of the viewer. These elements seem designed with purposeful vagueness even though they include intriguing psychological aspects and artistic perspectives. It seems like the writers were trying to tell something profound but never got around to explaining it. Nonetheless, it’s hard to follow the plot’s progression as random things happen. Some sequences are total wastes of time and accomplish nothing, only wasting valuable opportunities to develop accessible characters and help audiences understand what’s actually going on. As they are, the characters are difficult to connect with due to detached and cryptic dialogue although they have some potential. The villains are very cheesy and mainly serve to include unnecessary language and edgy content. Often, things in the story happen because they need to rather than naturally developing. Besides the disorienting nature of the movie, its allegory seems a bit off at times and not completely congruent with the faith. It seems to adopt unusual theological stances, and its flat ending leaves everyone empty-handed. Thus, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Some acting in Heavenquest is acceptable, but for the most part, the villain cast members post over-the-top performances. A portion of the acting seems unsure or awkward while other parts demonstrate overly practiced emotional and line delivery. Further, makeup isn’t all that it could be, which rounds out an overall average section.

Conclusion

This film joins other similar ones (such as The Adventures of Chris Fable and Heaven’s War) in presenting poorly constructed CGI fantasies. Relying too much on visual effects and allowing the storyline to fall by the wayside, Heavenquest‘s creators either never figured out why they wanted to make this movie or never properly communicated this. After all the hype surrounding the movie, Christian audiences were left with another disappointment that will contribute to the growing discontent with the field. Hopefully, however, future offerings won’t commit the same errors.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Tulsa [2020] (Movie Review)

Tulsa (2020)

Plot Summary

Tommy is a troubled ex-Marine with several substance abuse problems, but now, Tulsa, a girl in the foster care system, is claiming that Tommy’s her father. Thus, Tulsa’s social worker decides to go against her superior’s advice and forces Tommy to take Tulsa on a trial basis. Tulsa wastes no time trying to reform her alleged father so that he’s ready for the home visit. Will Tommy be able to turn around his life before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1.5 points)

The beginning of this 2020 production is rough, including shaky camera work and inconsistent audio quality. The video is consistently clear, but the lighting tends to go back and forth. While the soundtrack is interesting, it sometimes is shocking in the way it’s introduced. Editing also leaves something to be desired as it’s choppy and discombobulated. However, there’s enough improvement in the second half of this film to justify an average score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

It seems like the whole point of Tulsa is to get to a certain point that the writers wanted to get to, but to do so, they move very fast and commit a number of errors. An entire subsection of problems relates to violating reality for the narrative’s sake. For instance, the foster care system is portrayed in unrealistic ways in this movie. Some characters bend rules to make things happen, and there are a lot of seemingly purposeful ethical problems that have to occur for the plot to reach its forced conclusion. Besides these unforced concerns, the story generally meanders without purpose, filled with blank scenes that waste time and add no value. It sometimes seems like things keep going in circles just to fill time, which doesn’t justify a nearly two-hour runtime. The titular character is basically perfect, but her co-lead makes random decisions without logical reasons, and he suddenly changes for no reason. Though unexpected flashbacks suddenly appear in the screenplay’s second half that provide potential for character motive, they’re too little too late. There are not a few unearned dramatic moments, and unexpected things sometimes happen just because the writers’ agenda needs them to take place. Whatever they were trying to convey is lost in translation and poorly communicated, leading to a rushed conclusion that leaves the viewers empty. Hence, Tulsa joins a long line of forgettable Christian films.

Acting Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the acting is actually the strongest aspect of this movie. Despite some portions being unsure, other parts are fine. Line delivery and emotional performances are mostly believable and on point. However, it’s not enough to lift Tulsa from the basement.

Conclusion

It’s 2020, and low quality Christian entertainment continues to be a mainstay in the field. We’re long past the days where generic inspirational movies with passable productions and casting can be the market standard. It’s time for the next generation of film makers to turn the arena on its ear by doing something different. When the right people allow God to correctly apply their talents, things will finally begin to change.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

Switched [2020] (Movie Review)

New Movie Alert: Switched (Christian version of Freaky Friday):  ohnotheydidnt — LiveJournal

Plot Summary

Cassandra Evans is tired of being bullied by Katie Sharp, a popular social media figure in her school. One day, after a particularly bad episode of mistreatment, Cassandra prays that Katie will know what it’s like to walk in her shoes. Surprisingly, the next day, the two girls wake up having switched bodies with one another. The only way they’ll ever be able to get back to normal is to work together and learn how they need to change their old ways.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a 2020 film, Switched does what it has to do in the production category. Professionalism is showcased with great video quality, camera work, and audio quality. Despite a somewhat generic soundtrack, the sets, locations, and props are well-constructed and well-used. There are no negatives to point out in this section save for some slight editing concerns. Nonetheless, this isn’t enough to prevent a high score from being awarded.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

In addition to the really worn-out concept of body switching, the heavy-handed and obvious dialogue does nothing to help matters. If you must use a derivative of this premise, the characters have to be good enough to showcase noticeable changes, but in Switched, this doesn’t happen. Although they aren’t the worst characters and actually have some potential, more time was needed prior to body switch to actually develop them as believable people. Some improvements are made to dialogue as the film goes on, and realistic high school issues are explored, albeit in slightly over-the-top ways, such as the cheesy portrayal of “bad kids.” It’s hard to see past the issues the characters are supposed to represent and relate to them as people. Also, the Christian messaging feels a bit forced and shoe-horned at times. Besides these problems, there’s an entire sub-category of errors that are created by the body switching elements, such as characters obviously acting inconsistent with their true selves without drawing suspicion from others. Some scenes defy logic when characters brush off the odd behavior of the central figures, and too many coincidences occur to make things happen that the plot wants to take place. Themes tend to get lost throughout the narrative, and a vague passage of time confuses the audience. Unfortunately, a good point made by the conclusion and a demonstration of how the two protagonists organically changed is washed over with mistakes and a convoluted story presentation. Hence, a small score is warranted here, but not much more.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

In a body switching screenplay, if it must exist, the reverse acting has to be really good. However, in Switched, this isn’t the case as everyone seems generic and carbon-copy in the movie’s first half. Nonetheless, the acting does tend to get better, at least in the areas of emotional and line delivery. For the most part, with a few exceptions, the cast members do the best they can with what they have, which earns this section an average score.

Conclusion

Mustard Seed Entertainment is usually so close to doing something good. Switched had a lot of potential within it, but it failed to attain all that it could have. Body switching aside, there are worthwhile messages in this film that deserve a platform: the one that isn’t too confusing or cheesy. For future success, this creative team might consider bringing in more talented screenwriters so that their resources can be used on more worthwhile stories.

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points

Home of the Brave [2020] (Movie Review)

Amazon.com: Watch Home of the Brave | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Drew Thomas returns from active duty and wants to get back to normal, but he finds it difficult due to the trauma he experienced overseas. Nonetheless, he goes right back to working for a nonprofit he started with his brother and friends. Before they realize it, their paths are unintentionally crossing with group of local police officers who want to see change come to their city. They must all come to grips with how God wants them to act and react to the difficult circumstances they are placed in.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Home of the Brave has some good and some bad aspects in its production. The video quality and camera work are acceptable, but audio is very poor at times, including loud background sounds and an inconsistent generic soundtrack. The sets, locations, and props are mostly average, however. Possibly one of this section’s worst aspects is the extremely choppy editing, which involves some weird fadeouts and abrupt transitions between scenes. Though this could be due to the large amount of content within the film, this rounds out an overall middle-of-the-road effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

At its very core, Home of the Brave is trying to do way too much at once. It feels like an entire season of a series was crammed into less than two hours as there are many, many characters who seem like they have potential yet crowd each other out due to the sheer number of them. The plot tries to cover too many topics at once, and in doing so, short-circuits any hope for meaningful themes even though there could have been some. Some of the dialogue is actually pretty good and shows a lot of potential, but the narrative is just a long string of scenes and sequences, some of which seem totally out of place and context. Certain circumstances that characters find themselves in seem very staged and contrived only to force the storyline to go in a certain direction that the writers wanted it to go. As such, characters are pawns in the plot, and many scenes are very unnecessary and waste time. There are far too many coincidences throughout the screenplay, and it all leads to a very rushed ending where mostly everything is fixed in unrealistic ways. In the end, although there was plenty of potential in this movie for a thought-provoking story, it got in its own way by biting off more than it could chew.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

For the most part, the acting in Home of the Brave is most okay. It could be a bit better than it is, but it’s not horrible. Emotions and line delivery are a bit forced in dramatic scenes, and many instances are fairly bland. Thus, the mixed aspect of the acting in this film makes this an average section.

Conclusion

This screenplay had a lot going for it, but it needed to be slowed down and planned in a more efficient way. The creators needed to strongly consider turning it into a miniseries so that the full weight of their ideas could have been felt. As such, a remake may be in order. In the end, Home of the Brave can be a learning experience for all movie makers: don’t try to do too much at once.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

Selfie Dad (Movie Review)

Watch the Trailer for Hilarious New Christian Film: Selfie Dad

Plot Summary

Ben Marcus isn’t happy with his life. He always wanted to be a comic, but he definitely doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. However, stuck in a job he doesn’t like and aloof from his family most of the time, one day, Ben suddenly stumbles upon how much money some people make on the UTOO video platform. Thus, he decides to use this as a launching pad for the comedy career he always wanted. Nonetheless, it leads him down a path he never thought he would go down.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a 2020 production, Selfie Dad sports a lot of pluses, including great video quality and camera work. Audio quality is also professional, and the soundtrack is acceptable. Sets, locations, and props are also good. The only minor concerns to note here relate to very cheap special effects (even though there are few of them) and some minute editing issues. However, this production is on the level we would like to see all Christian entertainment possess.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Despite some acceptable attempts at comedy, Selfie Dad is mostly full of failed humor that simply falls flat. While the character backstories are okay, the plot seems to meander around without really finding its actual point, fueled by inconsistent dialogue that mostly just forces the storyline forward. Some conversations are quite obvious with the messaging, including a lot of unnecessarily patriarchal ideals and typical gender stereotyping. A lot of the narrative’s important scenes are overly staged and spoon-fed to the audience, and most of the characters seem to say the same things over and over again just to fill time. Even with this, the passage of time is a bit vague, and things mainly happen just because they need to. With a lot of things going on at once, quite a few scenes feel unfinished and disconnected from the others, which makes it very hard to comprehend what the writing team even wanted to do besides string a bunch of cheesy asides together without a common thread to truly connect them. Further, the story’s model Christian characters are super-perfect, and all the stale conflicts are magically fixed by the film’s unearned musical conclusion, which seems to imply that the movie is much more important than it actually is. In the end, though there’s a small amount of potential in Selfie Dad, there are too many other problems that get in the way.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Another reflection of this film’s modern amenities is its professional acting. As such, there are only a handful of problems in this section, such as some overdone funny acting. However, for the most part, emotions are believable, and lines are delivered well. Unfortunately, Michael Jr. doesn’t post a particularly strong performance as the lead, but Chonda Pierce is good in her unfortunately small role. Other cast members are passable in their performances. Hence, this is an above-average aspect.

Conclusion

In Selfie Dad, one character (ironically played by Karen Abercrombie) hilariously asks another if she’s ever seen War Room. The other character says she doesn’t really like Christian movies. This exchange is absurd on a number of levels. For one, Selfie Dad‘s plot is almost synonymous with War Room: a dad is having trouble at work and never pays attention to his family. His wife is frustrated but is directed by a wise spiritual character to pray for her husband. The husband almost commits infidelity but, due to his wife’s prayers, is seemingly prevented from doing so. The dad gets fired from his job but is able to bond with his kids, including a teenage daughter, over activities they like. The parents reconcile their marriage. As added bonuses, Michael Jr. and Karen Abercrombie star in both screenplays, with Abercrombie playing the wise spiritual character in both instances. Moreover, it’s equally absurd to have a character state that they don’t like Christian films (a legitimate concern) in a movie that isn’t even that good. It’s evident that the creative team is aware of the problems in Christian entertainment, but they basically fell into the same old traps that others have also slipped into. This seems to imply a lack of understanding about the overall problems still plaguing the field. Overall, Selfie Dad is just another prime example of how good funding and marketing aren’t the automatic keys to success in Christian entertainment: the storyline is equally important.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

Finding Grace (Movie Review)

Finding Grace | Home

Plot Summary

Alaska Rose has been a troubled youth ever since her mother left her life. Allie has gotten in and out of trouble, but now that she’s 18, the stakes have risen since a judge has ordered her to complete community service and to avoid run-ins with the law in order to avoid prison. Hence, Allie has been tasked with volunteering at a nursing home, which she immediately hates. However, as time goes, Allie discovers things about herself and about those around her that change her perspective on life.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

All throughout, Finding Grace is uneven in the production department, including some shaky camera work and poor audio quality, such as obvious background sounds and a generic soundtrack. While the sets, locations, and props are mostly okay, some of the lighting in scenes in inconsistent. Also, there is a lack of logical transitions between scenes and quick, abrupt cuts that make for a choppy editing experience. Although there is some improvement as the production progresses, it doesn’t do enough to get past the halfway mark.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

From start to finish, Finding Grace has a mostly typical premise and is based on very stereotypical characters due to vanilla dialogue and predictable circumstances. Most things done in this film have been done and seen before, yet it’s hard to understand what the purpose of some of the characters is. Many of the scenes are very vague and black such that they don’t properly present the story in way that the viewer can clearly understand. This makes it difficult to comprehend the actual point of the narrative and the focus of the plot since it just feels like a random collection of instances strung together for the sake of making a movie. The storytelling is all over the map since some characters have erratic personality changes and lack justification for some of their actions. However, after some sermonizing and meandering, the final third of the film tries to pull itself out of the nosedive by inventing important character motive out of thin air. It’s unfortunate that the idea behind why the characters act the way they do is actually very believable and well-concealed until its reveal since it was completely wasted on a train wreck movie that many audiences will give up on after about twenty minutes. Further, the screenplay concludes with some rather suspect legal procedures, which caps off a wasted effort.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Besides the other concerns with Finding Grace, many of the cast members force their emotional and line deliveries throughout the movie, and many lines actually come off as mumbled rather than clearly spoken. While it’s likely not their fault, a lot of the actors and actresses don’t seem to really understand what type of characters they are playing as they post lackadaisical and disingenuous performances that demonstrated boredom for the whole experience. However, based on the hacked-together script they were given, it’s very difficult to blame them. There is some potential in this section, which keeps it from being zero, but it overall puts the icing on a very bad cake.

Conclusion

While it’s evident that this film’s creators had an interesting idea concealed somewhere in this mess, this was one of the worst possible ways to package it. Even the best concepts can be greatly ruined by bad storytelling, which is the tale of Finding Grace. This fact, combined with the unforced production and acting errors, make for a very disappointing experience and can only be used as an example of how not to make a movie.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

I Still Believe [2020] (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Jeremy Camp didn’t grow up with much, but he always had the love of his family, which is why they supported him in his dream to pursue a music career. When he attended a Christian college to fulfill this goal, Jeremy unexpectedly met Melissa Henning, who he quickly fell in love with. However, as Jeremy and Melissa grew closer together, they embarked on a harrowing and arduous journey into the unknown as Melissa battled cancer. Through the twists and turns, they discovered that God is always present in the midst of suffering and that there’s always a purpose to pain.

Production Quality (3 points)

It’s no surprise that, after the success of I Can Only Imagine, the Erwin brothers and their team have crafted yet another perfect production. I Still Believe hits all the right notes in every aspect of production, including video quality, camera work, audio quality, sets, locations, and props. Many camera angles are creatively artistic, and the soundtrack is a huge plus as it enhances the audience experience in all portions of the film and seamlessly integrates Camp’s music without turning it into a product placement. Further, the editing professional handles a story that is obviously difficult to properly present due to its scope. In short, there is nothing negative to note in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (3 points)

The Erwin Brothers, along with Jon Gunn, have no doubt mastered the art of the biopic as they have wisely chosen to focus their movie-making efforts on adapting real life stories into feature films. Though I Still Believe is a slight departure from the traditional Erwin brand since it zeroes in on a very small collection of characters, there are still no concerns with this storytelling adjustment. This narrative may signal a new era of Erwin creations, but it’s still another installment in their history of reliably quality offerings. In many ways, I Still Believe is almost two different movies as the first and second halves are quite different in tone, but these talented screenwriters correctly applied their God-given skills to weave the source material into a life-changing plot that will resound with many viewers from diverse backgrounds. Based off of real people, the characters therein are very poignant and relatable via realistic and profound dialogue that brings the story to life. Musical montages are responsibly used and don’t encroach upon important conversations that build characters; similarly, creative overlays effectively aid the complex plot presentation. Further, there are clear themes that are used throughout the film and serve to tie the major points together. Essentially, there are no issues to note in this section either.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Once again, in I Still Believe, the Erwin collective proves that they take great care in their casting and acting coaching work. Even though some of the cast members don’t entirely represent the real people they are portraying (which is one of the movie’s only flaws), every performance is professional. Line delivery and emotional delivery are very good as the audience is able to easily experience the characters’ feelings. Though this is a relatively small cast compared to previous Erwin projects and could have been a bit more dynamic, it still shines nonetheless and rounds out another blockbuster hit for the brothers.

Conclusion

Jeremy Camp’s compelling backstory was absolutely worth bringing to the big screen and will no doubt lead to further success for Kingdom Story Company. Despite some slight acting missteps, many viewers will enjoy this film, and it’s likely to leave lasting impact on the Christian entertainment market. However, no matter what, we still highly recommend this film for all Christians and always look forward to future Erwin productions.

Final Rating: 8 out of 10 points

Home Sweet Home [2020] (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

What Victoria mostly cares about in life is going from one relationship to the next so that she can be whoever she wants to be without having too much commitment. However, when one of her attempts to get a guy’s attention doesn’t quite go as she planned, she stubbornly decides to do whatever it takes to make him ask her out. Thus, she volunteers at the non-profit her prospect, Jason, heads up and finds herself suddenly building a house for a single mother and her family. Little does Victoria know that she’s about to gain a surprisingly new perspective on life that she never considered before.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a whole, Home Sweet Home is a near-perfect example of what a 2020 production should look like for freshman Christian film makers. Not only did they wisely use their budget without over-extending themselves, but they also made sure that key production elements demonstrated good quality, such as video, camera, audio, and music work. The sets, locations, and props are also efficiently used, and overall, there are really no negatives to highlight here save for some minor editing concerns. However, some of these issues can be attributed to the plot; in the end, this is a very solid production effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

From the get-go of this plot, it’s very clear that the writers were inspired by very strong and worthwhile themes of people living behind false exteriors versus being comfortable with who God created them to be. Also, Home Sweet Home isn’t afraid to shine a light on fake romantic relationships that may exist in a Hallmark view of the world as well as the ease of finding identity in “scoring” relationships in the Western world. In doing so, the creators gave a lot of attention to detail to produce a truly funny comedy based on mostly good dialogue. However, while many of the characters are spot-on, some of them, such as the male lead, leave a lot to be desired in the personality and motivation departments because it’s hard to get to know him as a person. Elsewhere, secondary characters and subplots could have been a bit deeper than they are had they been provided with more adequate screentime. To make room for them, some romantic comedy cliches, such as the returning ex-love interest, could have been cut out. In the end, even though the narrative follows a basically predictable progression toward a somewhat forced and convenient ending, Home Sweet Home demonstrates tons of potential for future projects because the writers clearly know how to properly integrate themes into their stories.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Despite the small cast, there are not many acting problems to note in this film. One of the biggest drawbacks, however, is the lack of adequate coaching for the lead actor as he seems lost a lot of the time, but then again, his role isn’t very expansive. Elsewhere, Natasha Bure posts an above-average performance while Sarah Kim is also a standout. In the end, like the movie as a whole, there are just small problems that hold this section back from taking the next step.

Conclusion

The 5×5 Productions team is clearly onto something with this unexpectedly refreshing release. With just a few minor tweaks, Home Sweet Home would have easily made the Hall of Fame. Nonetheless, the themes of this film make it worth your time and give us great hope for the future of this creative team’s work. With a bit more funding and collaboration, they could be going great places with their next project.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points

Assassin 33 AD (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Ram Goldstein and several other genius scientists are working on a top secret project for a multimillionaire named Ahmed. At first, they’re completely cool with being locked in a room with armed guards patrolling the halls, but when they use their super hacking skills to discover that Ahmed is coordinating with government leaders from Muslim-controlled nations to create time travel, they begin to grow concerned. Ahmed intends to use the mystical power of time travel to return to the past and kill Jesus before He’s resurrected so that Christianity will cease to exist! However, time travel is a bit tricky, and when multiple timelines are created due to the tampering, many different versions of the same characters are apparently created. Also, if they don’t erase the extra timelines before it’s too late, they will all converge into an APOCALYPSE! Can Ram and his friends stop this wicked plot before it’s too late?!?!?

Production Quality (-3 points)

Even though it seems like there was a substantial budget spent on Assassin 33 AD, the funding didn’t pay off as it was wasted on extremely cheap CGI and ridiculous special effects that overtake and overpower all other production elements. They have direct connections to the sets, locations, and props and make it clear that this team had no idea what they were doing when they slapped this project together. While there are some notable positives in this production, they are covered up by the myriad concerns created by the CGI and special effects blunders. Also, the editing has a handful of issues, but this could easily be chalked up to having to deal with one of the worst plots in the history of Christian entertainment. Overall, the glaringly obvious negatives throughout this film overshadow any slightly good elements that could be noted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

Where to begin? Assassin 33 AD has achieved the unthinkable feat of being as incoherent and offensive as Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. This is not a title to be lightly delivered, but there plenty of ways Assassin goes further than even Timothy Chey has gone (yet). First of all, the entire premise behind Assassin is totally off-base from the get-go. Messing around with time travel and how it relates to Jesus is an absolute no-no when it comes to story-boarding, so there’s no reason to even broach the subject. Then, to take this a step further and actually make a purportedly Christian film about modern day soldiers being able to shoot Jesus with a pistol in the Garden of Gethsemane is borderline insanity. As if this isn’t enough, to create multiple timelines that both alter Scripture and try to twist biblical history into including the movie’s characters in the actual canon is just the end. I literally cannot comprehend the inanity of this proposition, which by no indication is being done in jest. Besides these glowing red flag problems that are part of the story’s very fabric, there are so many other movie faux pas committed in Assassin that space will likely not permit a full exploration. Nonetheless, here is a very quick rundown: characters are poorly developed via expository dialogue and unnatural lines that are designed to force the plot forward, key plot points are supported by unexplained “science” and convenient technical devices that lack basis in reality or logic, the villains basically stepped out of a conservative fever dream about Muslims taking over the world, wild time jumps are only supplanted by the maddening nature of the multiple timelines created by time travel, basically every character has a minimum of two different versions of themselves (“past” and “present”), some of these copy characters end up having conversations with each other, the protagonists can seemingly do whatever they want in a supposedly high-security facility with armed guards all around them, the Jesus character seems just as confused about what’s going on as the viewers are, etc., etc., etc. Did I mention that the writers took a crazily arrogant creative license to replace Biblical characters (like the thieves on the crosses beside Jesus and the man who fled the Garden of Gethsemane with no clothes on) with modern-day characters from the “future” timelines? This notion is only made complete by the scene where two copy characters (the same cast member) are discussing how the modern-day Bible is changing right before their eyes due to the timelines being altered in the past. Further, as if all of this wasn’t an epic trainwreck, the film’s epilogue completely turns everything on its ear by negating the “past” timeline that set the movie’s events into notion in the first place. Therefore, taking all of this evidence into account, this section is awarded the maximum negative score, and this also affects other aspects of the film.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

The horrid nature of the plot bleeds over into acting and causes this section to suffer even though it may not have been as bad if it were paired with a different narrative. Much of the line delivery is robotic and not earnest, and emotions are hard to believe. Some cast members, especially those who are portraying villains, overplay their roles while others seem bored or confused, which may have been justified. In the end, the major negatives at the core of the project drag the entire thing down into the depths of Christian entertainment.

Conclusion

Assassin 33 AD also receives to honor of scoring a negative x-factor point to round out an effort that joins Saving Christmas as one of the worst films of all time. Whenever a creator sets out to make a movie about how biblical accounts and Jesus’ life on earth in general could be altered via time travel as well as how the Bible could be rewritten based on the changing of previous timelines, they are already way off the road and should entirely ditch the project. Going through with such a travesty raises some serious questions about the true motivation behind its creation. There’s literally no way to redeem this awful concept, so the best thing that can be done is to encourage audiences to stay away from it and to help future film makers avoid these types of monumental blunders.

Final Rating: -10 out of 10 points

The Job [2020] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

At one time, Lance Foster was a successful boxer who could have whatever he wanted, but when he accidentally killed a man in the ring, his life changed forever. He decided to dedicate his life to Christ, but the consequences that were set in motion prior to his conversion continued to haunt him. About to be evicted from his house and divorced by his wife, Lance suddenly finds himself at gunpoint being held up by a desperate man in search of valuables to fix his own mess. However, the two of then form an unlikely bond that leads them both to unexpected results.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a low-budget production, the creators of The Job did mostly well in making the most out of what they had. For instance, video quality is clear, and the soundtrack is quite good. There is some slightly shaky camera work, however, that needs more stability and consistency. For the most part, the sets, props, and locations are fine and are well-utilized despite their limitations. Moreover, there are some instances where the audio quality could be better, and the editing is simply passable. In the end, this is an average production that is a good start for this creative team.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

In a limited plot like this one, deep character development is essential, especially when the characters are confined to just a few sets. This can be done via non-narrated flashbacks and character-building conversations that show their motivations and personalities. However, this is not always done in The Job. for one, the main character is often portrayed as perfect and without flaws; he tends to lecture other characters on how to act without the audience understanding his struggles. While it’s good to explore hard topics and tough life circumstances, we need to see these issues through the eyes of more accessible characters rather than ones we cannot easily relate to. This can be accomplished through more showing than telling and through more personal dialogue and emotional connection than apologetics and witnessing talking points. Although the plot seems to get more interesting in the middle of it, the concept of holding a character hostage in order to witness to them is very difficult to portray in the right way. Some slight character motivations also surface near the end of the film, along with some interesting explorations of family systems, but the quick pace of storyline’s first half, as well as the wasted time near the beginning, reduce their impact. In the end, problems are too easily fixed, including some unrealistic notions about addictions; even though it seems like the writers meant well with this screenplay, there are still a few kinks to work out.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting is likely the strongest section of the film. Though there are few cast members, they do the best they can with what they’ve been given and improve as the movie progresses. Despite being too earnest at times, they overall portray emotions as adequately as can be expected in the situations they’ve been put in. In the end, this rounds out a mostly middle-of-the-road effort.

Conclusion

Due to being a first-time production with a limited budget, The Job puts its best foot forward and is mostly acceptable. However, a more engaging plot made up of more accessible characters would have taken it to the next level. The key is to portray people in a way that demonstrates a familiarity with human tendencies; only then will the Christian message have its fullest impact. This is definitely something to note for future projects.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Peace River (post-production)

Currently in post-production

Writer(s): Benjamin M. Jones

Director(s): Douglas James Vail

Producer(s): Benjamin M. Jones, Margaret B. Jones, Douglas James Vail

Cast: Cazzey Cereghino, Sabastian Neudeck, Virginia Tucker, January Loomis, Trace Carper

Plot summary: Peace River is the story of a young, modern, champion rodeo cowboy and Special Ops soldier who is crushed by war and personal loss and must draw on the cowboy way and a profound faith in Christ to recover the will to live and love of his life.

Princess Cut 2: Hearts on Fire (status unknown)

Status currently unknown

Writer(s): Paul Munger, Sheila Munger, D. B. Hansen, Elizabeth E. Hansen

Director(s): Paul Munger

Producer(s): Paul Munger, Sheila Munger

Starring: Ashley Bratcher, Joseph Gray, Kendra Carelli, Brett Varvel, Kate MacCallum, Ella Dane Morgan, Bill Barrett, Sheilah Munger, Martin Peña, Giselle Torres, Chandler Macocha, Sterling Hurst, Mimi Sagadin, Jeannie Garcia, Joe Bunner, Rusty Martin Sr.?, Rusty Martin Jr.?

Plot Synopsis: Two expectant couples that are best friends face crushing upheavals in their lives which force them to make life-altering choices.

Irena Sendler (status unknown)

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Status currently unknown

Writer(s): Justine Juel Gillmer, Agatha Dominik, Stuart Hazeldine, Rachel Long, Brian Pittman

Director(s): Stuart Hazeldine

Producer(s): Christopher Lemole, Jeff Most, Ewa Puszczynska, Jeff Rice,
Jaron Varsano, Gal Gadot, Gareth Wiley, Tim Zajaros, Marc Platt

Cast: Gal Gadot, more TBA

Plot Summary: This film tells the true story of Irena Sendler, a social worker who also headed the children’s section of Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews. Sendler used her role to enter the Warsaw Ghetto — created by Nazi Germany for the city’s Jewish population — and helped children escape.

Pardoned by Grace (Summer 2021)

Movie about the life of a Michigan City priest films in the Region, Porter County Jail

Expected Summer 2021

Writer(s): Mark E. McCann, Melissa Stamper

Director(s): Kevan Otto

Producer(s): Ben Graham, Scott Highberger, Kevan Otto, Brandon Riley, Tim Warren, Ron Wolff

Starring: Joey Lawrence, Michael W. Smith, Jossie Thacker, Danny Farder, Ben Graham, Chandra Michaels, Tom McElroy, Chad Moseley, Daniel Ball, Roger Welp, Katie Mancuso, Steve Flanigan, Dave Honigman, Ron Wolff, Obi Obisoulstar Uwakwe, Tim Hubbard, Sarah Joanou, Brenda Reiser, Ezra Fontanez, Lindsay Whisler, Elyse Collier, Joe Goehl

Plot Synopsis: This biopic film tells the true story of Scott Highberger, a man who was in and out of jail for a big part of his life. Based on his memoir, the film will cover his 35 arrests, eight felony convictions, five prison sentences, and his path to drug addiction and personal turmoil. The film will end with his new life as an outreach pastor at Road to Life Church’s Michigan City campus who ministers to inmates at Westville Correctional Center.

Quantum (status unknown)

Status currently unknown

Writer(s): Ralph Strean?

Director(s): Ralph Strean

Producer(s): Ralph Strean, more TBA

Starring: TBA

Plot Synopsis: This crowdfunded series will take viewers back in time to Biblical events in history from the perspective of a time-traveling pair from the dystopian future.