The God Cafe (Movie Review)

Amazon.com: the God café: Steve Brown, Joe Herrera, Jorge Diaz, Clint  Patterson

Plot Summary

When a worship pastor is facing a crisis in his marriage and his career, he feels like he’s at the end of his rope. The minister wonders if his faith is even real, which is why he’s suddenly visited by mysterious men who claim to be from history. They show the pastor what the true meaning of Christmas is, but the minister will have to decide for himself.

Production Quality (.5 point)

Starting off with odd lighting and tinted filtering, the production quality of The God Cafe is quite low. Cheap special effects and overlays clutter the viewing experience despite acceptable video quality. Sub-par audio is accompanied by a generic soundtrack. Limited sets, locations, and props are supplemented by embarrassing fake backgrounds, and some odd camera angles further contribute to this section’s problems. Additionally, the editing is marred by sudden and abrupt flashes and transitions, which disorients the audience. In the end, only a very meager score can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Despite the fact that this plot is centered around the inherent problems with celebrity worship pastors (a pertinent discussion that needs to be had), it’s unclear why certain apostles from church history have to visit the protagonist to clear things up. What’s more, the story is frequently interrupted with random, out-of-context songs just because it’s a Christmas musical, I guess. Dialogue is basically a general regurgitation of Bible reading, making the story a long informational diatribe. As such, character development is thrown out the window in favor of a constant stream of facts and references to offscreen content. In the end, besides being a an alternate redux of The Perfect Gift, The God Cafe accomplishes next to nothing, which is the reasoning for zero points in this section.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Between forceful line delivery and manufactured emotions, this section is overall subpar. It seems the cast members are trying to be too interesting, which just comes off as annoying. As a whole, the performances are too theatrical, but there are some bright spots that keep the acting from being a total loss. The amount of positive is enough to warrant a point in this area.

Conclusion

Films like The God Cafe don’t even begin with a sound plot structure, just a vague idea that could be interesting. This isn’t sufficient for a Christian movie, so it’s long past time for collaboration to be the norm in the field. No one can make a movie on their own, and everyone has different talents to bring to the table. If God wants you to make a screenplay, He’ll supply the team and the resources that you need, so you don’t have to try to force more films to happen that will likely fail.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Seven Letters: Ephesus (Movie Review)

Watch Seven Letters: Ephesus | Prime Video

Plot Summary

David is a widower who has had a good life, but he feels like something’s missing. He follows God but feels distant from the Lord. Thus, he sets out to discover what’s wrong, and what he finds surprises him.

Production Quality (.5 point)

Seven Letters: Ephesus bears all the typical hallmarks of a low-quality production. Poor audio, sub-par video, inconsistent lighting, and tight camera angles are all evidence of this. Sets, locations, and props are cheap, not representing what they’re supposed to portray. At times, weird sepia tones and other filtering problems overtake the viewing experience. Special effects and flashes are also annoying to the audience, and the soundtrack sounds like a free trial. However, despite these obvious problems, there are some okay moments that keep this section from being zero. Nonetheless, it’s too little too late.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Although it’s obvious that the creators wanted to make this the first installment of a series, it’s hard to understand the actual purpose of Seven Letters: Ephesus. Besides major agenda-pushing, the plot is very simplistic and empty. Dialogue is very staged and designed solely to force a point on the viewer. As such, characters only present issues rather than actual people. In the pursuit of spoon-feeding messages to the audience, the problems that are introduced in the narrative are often rapidly fixed in unrealistic ways. Magical solutions present themselves just when the writers need them to, which makes the premise even more inaccessible. In the end, with no transformative themes, clear focus, or believable characters, this storyline has no potential and thus receives no points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Even though it’s sub-par, the acting is actually the strongest aspect of this film. Nonetheless, much of the line delivery is too pronounced and enunciated. Emotions also come off as overly practiced rather than natural. However, there are plenty of good moments, just not enough to raise this score any higher.

Conclusion

When setting out to make a movie series, the pilot has to actually be interesting enough to make people want to see more. Trying to shove beliefs down viewers’ throats is never the way to do this. Hopefully, however, we’re now in the era where screenplays like this one are no longer commonplace.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

A Christian Carol (Movie Review)

Image result for a christian carol movie stan severance

Plot Summary

Carol is a businesswoman in pursuit of high-level success, and she totally hates Christmas and religion in general. She wishes no one would ever celebrate the holiday, but one night, she’s visited by three angels who aim to change her mind about the season. Will she see the error of her ways before it’s too late???

Production Quality (-2 points)

It’s very difficult to express how bad this production actually is as it commits some very unforced errors. For one, the lighting is either very dark, much too bright, or soft and distracting. Shaky camera work is consistently present, and audio quality is quite poor, which is evidenced by background sounds, echoes, cheesy sound effects, obvious overdubs, and a cheap soundtrack. It goes without saying that other special effects are horrible, including awful CGI that tries to cover up the fact that the budget wasn’t adequate enough to support historical settings. In a similar vein, the sets, props, and locations are very low quality as things don’t portray what they’re supposed to portray. Further, the editing is bad, which rounds out a negatively rated production that seemed to go out of its way to demonstrate ineptitude.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

From the get-go, the story is hampered with childish narration and tripped up with the worst strawman characters that don’t exist in a Timothy Chey movie. The narrative’s entire premise is based on a first-world problems message of contrived religious persecution at Christmastime, including an unrealistic portrayal of people being forced to work on Christmas Day. Dialogue and conversations are very unsubstantial and don’t do enough to prevent this section from going in the red due to its hard-to-believe outlook on reality. The plot is typically constructed according to the original Christmas Carol storyline, which isn’t bad in and off itself. However, creativity and authenticity are greatly lacking in A Christian Carol. Further, the end of the film randomly pivots to Rapture fear-mongering that doesn’t fit with the rest of the tale. In summary, a lack of real-world portrayals derails this idea before it ever gets off the ground.

Acting Quality (0 points)

To round out an embarrassing effort, the acting is mostly forceful with a lot of overly practiced and unnatural lines. Emotions cannot be felt, and cast members are not adequately coached. Though they didn’t have much to work with, they don’t assume the characters very well, and there’s unfortunately nothing positive to note here, which is why it warrants zero points.

Conclusion

It’s admirable to want to make a small church film, but something that’s this low quality does not need to be released to the public. Budgets can be tight, but does that really mean you need to force a movie to happen? There are so many things that go into making a good film, and making another awful one is not only crowding the market but further hurting the reputation of Christian entertainment. Please make sure God actually wants you make the movie you want to make…sometimes, it requires waiting for the right time to come.

Final Rating: -3 out of 10 points