Where Was God? [2014] (Movie Review)

Where Was God (2014) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Pastor Thompkins has a secret, but his life becomes even more complicated when a desperate man decides to hold him hostage in the pastor’s own home. During their standoff, the man asks Thompkins pressing questions about the problem of pain and life’s true purpose. Will either man come out of the situation alive?

Production Quality (1 point)

With such a low budget, it’s unclear why this production was put forth just for it to contain cheap sets and props, lack actual locations, and have inconsistent lighting throughout. As it’s basically people hanging around in a house, the camera work and video quality are fine, yet it all feels very cut-rate. The soundtrack is very generic, and all audio is quite hit-and-miss, including silly sound effects. There’s also no editing to speak of, which rounds out an overall poor effort that undermines this film’s existence.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As a heavy character-based plot, Where Was God? needed some serious help in the narrative department for it to even have a chance, but with only wooden characters to speak of due to overly constructed, obvious dialogue, there’s really no hope for this movie. The entire premise, full of unrealistic circumstances, feels very contrived, and the storyline is an overused waste of time because it seeks to drag things out as long as possible. Dead time also fills gaps where substantial content could have gone. Instead of a real plot containing believable dialogue, the audience is only left with silly gender stereotypes and a strange endings that both instantly fixes all the problems and almost negates the entire situation at the same time. Due to all of these factors, no points can be awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

In nearly every facet of Where Was God?, the acting is extremely awkward, including wooden emotions and incredibly forced line delivery. The drama is also manufactured, and the cast is so small that even the smallest errors are very noticeable. Unfortunately, there’s just nothing positive to say about this category, which rounds out an overall basement-level offering.

Conclusion

What else is there to say? Where Was God? is just another in a long line of embarrassing Christian projects that will fade from memory as time goes on. There’s next to nothing that justifies its existence and no reason for it to be made. The only thing that can be gleaned from it is how not to produce Christian entertainment, but there are already too many examples of that.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

The Playbook [2015] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

The Thomas family is successful and seems to get along on the surface.  However, they struggle with as many issues as anyone does.  They are involved in their community, including local sports, and are well-liked, but when tragedy strikes one of their own, they all find themselves struggling with forgiving those closest to them.  Will they ever be able to reconcile and find healing?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Although The Playbook is a somewhat rookie production, it is mostly good and is at least average.  Video quality is fine, but some of the camera work is shaky, especially in the sports action shots.  Lighting is sometimes inconsistent, but sets, locations, and props are all above board.  Finally, as usual for films of this caliber, the editing is lacking the necessary push.  Yet in the end, this is a respectable production is something to build off of.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Though the idea behind this plot is interesting and has potential, the story gets too lost in melodrama at times.  There is too much wallowing in self-pity and anger without any real plot focus or meaningful redemptive elements.  Rather than developing the characters so we can appreciate their struggles, this film spends a lot of time on sports montages, musical montages, and other useless sequences that really put a drag on the viewing experience.  Stuff just happens but nothing holds the attention or is enough to sustain a full story because the characters are under-developed due to poor dialogue.  The Christian message is also a little bit too vague.  In the end, it’s likely that this creative team meant well—they just need some help with their execution.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Though this cast is ‘amateur’, they do a decent job without any real errors early on the film.  Yet their performances tend to digress in the middle due to extreme emotions and poor drama acting.  However, by the end, they have righted the ship again.  Despite the errors, this is a good model for amateur casting.

Conclusion

Tragedy plots are notoriously difficult to pull off without stepping into common pitfalls.  The same goes for sports plots.  When combined together, there are all kinds of issues that can come up.  Yet despite the rocky road plot, this movie isn’t all that bad, even though it may not have mass appeal.  It shows raw talent and could be a stepping stone for future work.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of this creative team.

 

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

 

Closer to God: Jessica’s Journey (Movie Review)

Grandpa’s angry

Plot Summary

Jessica is struggling in her battle with cancer while her mother struggles to hold it all together emotionally and financially.  The last thing her Jessica’s mother expects is for her father—Jessica’s grandfather—to show up at their house unannounced in the midst of it all.  Her mother has no choice but to let Jessica’s grandfather watch over her daughter while she is at work.  Through it all, will they be able to mend their broken family ties even in the midst of the battle with cancer?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Closer to God is another one of those productions that has good effort behind it but not enough funding or creativity to sustain it.  As is usual for these types of productions, video quality and camera work are fine.  Audio quality is good, but there is virtually no soundtrack.  Sets and locations are quite cheap and limited to a few houses and vehicles.  Another common element for this sort of production is blasé editing, which is also true for Closer to God.  There are a lot of lagging scenes and confusing transitions.  Overall, this is an average production that could have been more.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

While based on true events, Jessica’s Journey follows the predictable progression of a simplistic disease plot.  It is less dramatic than this type of story usually is, but it is instead filled with a lot of activities of daily living and meaningless sequences.  The characters are somewhat flat and one-dimensional due to uncreative and non-starter dialogue.  Perhaps the most identifiable element of this film is the creepy grandpa character depicted above.  A majority of the story is him wandering around the house spouting unusual dialogue.  While there is a vague recollection of meaning in the ending of this film, the rest of it is simply too much for it to matter.  We are unsure what was trying to be insinuated by the grandfather character, who dominates most of the movie, but perhaps they had no control over this actor…

Acting Quality (1 point)

It seems like the grandfather actor has been set loose on this set with no real direction except to use annoying and overly-enunciated line delivery.  He overshadows the other cast members, some of which are fine.  However, casting Ben Davies as a character older than he is simply does not work at all.  Some emotions are overdone throughout this cast, but there is some positive here, yet not enough to compete with creepy grandpa.

Conclusion

Films like this are very safe and marketable, but they have no staying power.  They don’t make the difference they hope to make and they rarely return the money that is wanted.  They are especially bad when they are remembered for weird offbeat characters like the grandfather in this film.  Elements like that are all that is remembered of these types of films because they have no dynamic elements to truly affect the market.  Once again, this is another one to throw on the pile.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points