Adrift [2015] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When a giant hurricane threatens a non-disclosed area, everyone must take refuge in a high school gym that has been converted into a shelter.  Several trouble characters take shelter there and interact with each other in different ways.  A young mother with an unplanned pregnancy has nowhere else to turn.  A drug addict tries to steal from other people in order to get her fix.  However, there are also some Christians there who want the others to be saved, even the diabetes one of them has threatens his very life.  Who will be able to survive the deluge?

 

Production Quality (1 point)

Much like their past attempts at production, Adrift is a rough one for the Cross Wind team.  While the video quality is finally okay and the audio is at least average, there are too many weird and loud sound effects throughout, as well as too many background noises and parts with loud soundtrack.  Camera work is a positive, however, even though the film is constantly interrupted by generic, low quality news broadcasts.  The sets, locations, and props are very uninspiring as they are mostly limited to a handful of rooms and a bunch of stock storm footage that doesn’t have any continuity.  Editing is thus an issue as this film demonstrates why you should never make a ‘disaster’ film when you have such miniscule resources.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

The ‘disaster’ premise of this film is so vague that if it were about a bunch of random people sitting around talking, you wouldn’t really know the difference.  The storm takes place largely off-screen and in those annoying news broadcasts.  The concepts and locations of the story are very non-specific and disingenuous, and it hardly seems like a storm is going on at all.  In keeping with Cross Wind habits, the characters of this film only represent the issues they are supposed to represent rather than real people.  While Torry Martin provides some dialogue relief at times, it’s not enough to save this film from itself.  The comedy therein in too forced and cheesy, thus making the film impossible to take seriously, besides the fact that time is wasted on the dumbest asides.  Essentially, Cross Wind still hasn’t found the plot creativity they desperately need.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Outside of Torry Martin’s usual fine performance, the other cast members are awkard and stiff.  Like other Cross Wind films, the actors and actresses are mostly unnatural and overly practiced in their line delivery and emotions.  However, there are some okay moments that keep this section from being nothing, even though this is not enough to right the proverbial ship.

Conclusion

What more is there to say?  Cross Wind still needs some serious upgrades across all categories.  Unfortunately, bringing in Torry Martin wasn’t enough to save them from themselves.  If they mean well in their films, it is impossible to tell as they continually portray people in embarrassing fashions.  Perhaps one day they will finally find what they are looking for.

 

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

 

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Holly’s Story (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Holly is a popular Christian teenage girl, but she has a much older boyfriend named Chad whom grows much too close to.  The end result is an unplanned pregnancy for Holly, and her parents become livid over this.  They allow her to go in for an abortion in order to salvage their reputation at church, but the procedure causes Holly to descend into depression and poor self-worth, which then leads her to begin doing drugs with her neighbor.  Will she be able to get out of the spiral of guilt and shame before it’s too late?

 

Production Quality (1 point)

Though the production of Holly’s Story is still bad, it’s an improvement over other Cross Wind films like The Saber and In the Mirror Dimly, believe it or not.  The positive elements include fine camera work and okay sets, locations, and props.  However, there are also plenty of negatives to note here, including blurry video quality that makes the movie look very archaic and poor audio quality that consists of a generic soundtrack, some obvious overdubs, and distracting outside noises.  There are also some bouts of poor lighting.  Further, the editing is basically non-existent.  In short, Cross Wind productions still suffer for low quality.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

While this story depicts unfortunately realistic circumstances, once again, the characters are simply pawns in the plot’s obvious message-pushing agenda, even though we do agree with their worldview.  However, the dialogue is very strange to the point of being programmed with talking points, which in turn crafts strawman characters that depict a mindless portrayal of people.  In other rousing storyline centered on a social issue, Cross Wind continues to demonstrate an out-of-touch with reality feel to their films, even though this is a rare look at post-abortive syndrome and post-abortive counseling in Christian film.  While these are highly important issues that would otherwise make a good plot, they are completely bungled—AGAIN—in a Cross Wind film.  Thus, this is another completely wasted idea.

Acting Quality (0 points)

In another repeat sequence, the acting of the film is very unnatural and overly practiced.  There are too many moments of forceful line delivery and downright yelling.  The performances are very much terrible and completely uncoached, as are the poorly portrayed emotions.  Any good idea can be completely derailed by bad acting and casting, as this film demonstrates.

Conclusion

The concept of a character with post-abortive syndrome absolutely needs to be used in another film that actually has an internal locus for quality and has a true to life grasp of how to actually portray real people.  The ways that Cross Wind largely treat their characters is basically insulting to those who have walked through the tough issues they like to talk about in their films.  As Christians, we need to be more in touch with the real struggles of real people, but movies like this one do not demonstrate this fact.

 

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

 

In the Mirror Dimly (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Nicole and her mother are constantly at odds with each other, and Nicole hates that her father left.  Thus, Nicole turns to her friends for support and identity.  However, when they make fun of the way she looks, Nicole goes to extreme lengths to make herself look like the ‘ideal teenage girl.’  Before she knows it, Nicole is trapped in an eating disorder with no way out.  This leads her mother to drastic measures and causes her father to step back into her life.

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

While In the Mirror Dimly is better than the horrid The Saber, that’s not saying much.  Video quality is the only positive aspect to this production.  Otherwise, camera work moves all over the place with no warning, and audio quality is poor, even with the obvious overdubs.  Background sounds are too loud, and the soundtrack is a dumb ‘country’ number.  Flashbacks are unnecessarily black and white, and sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited.  Finally, the editing is very disorienting and confusing.  Unfortunately, the Cross Wind team has very low production standards.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 point)

Much like The Saber, In the Mirror Dimly struggles for any remotely substantial content.  Tons of scenes are wasted on procedural activities of daily living.  The story has no clear purpose as basically all of the dialogue is immature character arguing in the most juvenile ways.  There is a lot of wasted time, along with strange psychological elements.  The premise is basically a predictable city-girl-moves-to-a-rural-area-with-a-horse idea again.  Once again, an otherwise important issue is totally mishandled and ends up being portrayed in an over-the-top and unrealistic way that reflects the writers’ lack of understanding of real problems.  There is a lot of message-pushing as the character as basically pawns in the plot’s clear agenda.  If you’re going to make movies about people’s struggles, please at least attempt to ground your plots and characters in some shred of reality.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Much like other Cross Wind efforts, the acting in this film is as terrible as you can imagine.  Line delivery and emotional delivery are very forceful and unnatural, like it pains the cast members to be there.  Some cast members are especially annoying, and lot of them engage in unnecessary yelling.  This rounds out yet another awful excuse for a Christian movie.

Conclusion

So you want to make a movie about people’s struggles with identity and sin.  Your first task is to learn about real people and how these problems manifest, grow, and heal.  Yet in their films, Cross Wind has demonstrated the exact opposite.  It is very hard to believe that they have a realistic grasp of the struggles of real people, so this sort of film is downright insulting.

 

Final Rating: .5 out of 10 points

 

The Saber [2007] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Cameron O’Connor joins the military as a cadet and uses his computer skills to make a name for himself.  However, he soon finds himself getting into trouble online with internet pornography that gives him an unrealistic view of women.  As he goes deeper and deeper down a destructive path, he gets kicked out of the military and puts his girlfriend in a very dangerous position.  God finally gets his attention and sends him help to turn around, but not before some serious consequences.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, The Saber is basically B-roll footage of outdoor military maneuvers with some other scenes sprinkled into it in order to try to make it some semblance of a story.  There are no good production elements to point out here.  Video quality is bad, and camera work is inconsistent.  Lighting is very odd, and there a lot of unnecessary zooming shots.  Sets, locations, and props and very cheap and limited.  Audio quality is poor, and the soundtrack is often too loud.  This production feels like a documentary, especially with the stiff way it has been edited.  Thus, there is really nothing good to say here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

With the runtime filled with tons of training montages, this ‘story’ wanders and grasps for a purpose, but never finds one.  This aimless storyline contains extremely empty cardboard characters that have the worst possible dialogue.  There are also strange psychological elements throughout that make it hard to understand what’s going on most of the time.  While this is a very important message to portray, it is horribly presented, with a ridiculous and strawman portrayal of otherwise serious problems.  This demonstrates a lack of comprehension of reality and tends to talk down to ‘bad people.’  As events progress to extreme lengths, the film only offers quick and unrealistic fixes to problems that the writers clearly do not fully comprehend.  This is a huge disappointment.

Acting Quality (0 points)

This amateurish cast has the most awkward and forced line delivery possible, as well as the most uncomfortable and stiff emotions.  Their performances are robotic and unsure as they seem to be just reading lines.  There are also some annoying sequences of yelling, as well as some terrible makeup.  This finishes off a very cringe-worthy effort that I want to forget really hard.

Conclusion

The Saber deals with some serious stuff, but the way it handles the serious stuff is disingenuous and tone-deaf.  After watching this film, it is very hard to believe that the Cross Wind team has a grasp of the real struggles of real people, besides the fact that they have no quality standards.  This whole movie is a microcosm of what’s wrong with Christian film and what needs to be changed about it.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points