Diamond in the Rough [2019] (Movie Review)

Diamond in the Rough (2019) - IMDb

Plot Summary

With both her parents struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues, a young teenager is struggling in her faith. At one point, she finds herself homeless, but her spiritually strong grandmother is able to help her. In time, several lives converge together in a way that only God could orchestrate.

Production Quality (.5 point)

For a number of reasons, this production is quite low-quality. One area of concern is the camera work, which includes tight shots. While video quality is acceptable and the soundtrack interesting, audio quality is generally inconsistent, revealing obvious background sounds and overdubs. Also, lighting is terrible in the cheap sets and locations. Further, the editing is quite choppy. Thus, with only a small amount of potential, only a meager score can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Because the scenes of this plot are all over the place, it’s hard to know what timeline is being shown to the viewer. One event happens after another, contributing to a vaguely meandering storyline that lacks focus and direction. Average dialogue and conversations that are full of Christian platitudes do nothing to deepen otherwise shallow characters. Random asides waste time and generally make no sense, and several mindless sequences and montages accomplish nothing. In general, there are too many useless and dead-end subplots, and there are some narrative continuity errors that are caused by the confusing time jumps and mixed timelines. Eventually, the film ends with a very abrupt conclusion that lacks warning. Thus, with no potential, this section cannot receive any points.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Half of the cast members are acceptable in their performances while the other half is not. Some actors and actresses are overly dramatic, unnaturally forcing their lines. Certain scenes come off as overly staged. However, there is enough positive in this area of the screenplay to justify an average rating.

Conclusion

There might have been some good intentions in the creation of this movie, but the experience is too isolating for the audience. It’s unclear what the writers wanted to convey, so any otherwise interesting message was lost in translation. Perhaps, if this creative team is given another chance, they can do better.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

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

Blessed & Cursed (Movie Review)

Watch Blessed and Cursed | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Deitrick Haddon dreamed of becoming a gospel singer, but family duties complicated his desire to do so. Some people in his home church didn’t trust Deitrick because of his checkered past. However, Deitrick insists that he has changed and is on a mission to prove what God has done in his life.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, this production is mostly good, including fine camera work and acceptable sets, locations, and props. However, there are some slight audio concerns, such as background sounds, obvious overdubs, and general inconsistency. In some situations, there are wild action shots and shaky camera work. There are also a few noticeable continuity errors. Further, editing is quite terrible as some scenes cut off prematurely while other scenes are pasted together without effective transitions. In the end, due to the mixed-bag nature of this production, an average score is warranted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Blessed & Cursed offers a realistic look at internal church problems and long-term ministry corruption. Nonetheless, the narrative presentation is a disaster, including dizzying montages that waste time and various disconnected scenes. Although good points are raised about people being in church leadership for too long, characters are generally one-dimensional. Despite somewhat interesting dialogue, the writers push legalistic worldviews that emphasize odd views of women, music, and relationships. In general, the plot doesn’t have any substantial focus or flow, thus preventing it from living up to its fullest potential. Hence, only a small rating is awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the acting of Blessed & Cursed is average or better. Despite some moments of drama and sensationalism, certain cast members are better than others. At times, line delivery is a bit forced. Nonetheless, there is enough positive in this section to justify an above-average score.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the writers of this film had good intentions, but the presentation is poor. Additionally, the prevailing worldview in the story is not much different than that of the characters who are portrayed as antagonistic. Thus, though there are standout portions of this screenplay, it’s overall underwhelming and forgetful.

Final Rating: 4 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

Buying Time [2019] (Movie Review)

Buying Time (2019) | Full Movie | Jake Head | Drew Garrett | Nathan Bell -  YouTube

Plot Summary

In the future, when Christianity is outlawed in America, a father tells his son the story of how the father was saved by Jesus Christ. However, the son does not buy any of it until things become more personal. Will the son turn to the faith before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1 point)

In this unwarranted sequel to Lay It Down, made nearly two decades after the original, the production isn’t much better than the first. This includes loud and overdriven audio, annoying sound effects, disorienting special effects, dizzying camera work, and terrible lighting. Additionally, video quality is inconsistent, and there are some tight shots throughout. Though sets, locations, and props are cheap, editing is actually fine. Also, in an ironic twist, the portions that are copied over from Lay It Down have fine production quality, which is the main contributing factor to this section’s score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Oddly, this narrative is centered around a rehashing of the main plot points that were found in Lay It Down, making it the film more of an advertisement than an actual sequel. Acting as a cheap commentary for Lay It Down, this story does little else than go over the main points of the older screenplay. At some points, it seems like the writers were trying to be purposely weird and creepy, attempting to conceal a deep secret until the end by simply wasting time. As such, the conversations go in circles, and mindless dialogue kicks the proverbial can down the road, thus creating blank characters. The antagonists are the most evil bad guys ever, and the circumstances therein are generally unrealistic. The movies arrives at the main point way too late, and while the conclusion is somewhat interesting, it’s just not enough to save this narrative from itself. Therefore, zero points are awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 points)

Much like the production section, the acting portions that are copied over from Lay It Down are actually acceptance. However, these are the only positives that keep the acting of Buying Time from being dismal. In this sequel, there is much yelling and screaming. Many performances are trying too hard to be dramatic, sensational, and generally over-the-top. Therefore, this rounds out an overall mediocre element of the film.

Conclusion

Strangely enough, Buying Time is rated higher than Lay It Down mainly because the portions of the first screenplay that are inserted into the sequel showcase the better aspects of Lay It Down. Thus, in a weird twist, the predecessor falsely props up the successor. All this aside, there’s really no reason why anyone should watch either of these films. Both are a waste of time and money.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Lay It Down [2001] (Movie Review)

Amazon.com: Lay It Down - DVD : Sean McEwen, Nathan Bell, Jake Head,  Alandra T. Ortis, Lisa Cash, Rick Loya, Michael Gier, Bill Atwood, Austin  Ellingson, Nick Valenzuela, Robert Lyon Rasner, Alana

Plot Summary

Ben and Pete have always been close as brothers, and they used to have a hobby of illegal street racing together. However, when one of them comes to the Lord, a rift develops between them. Will they reconcile before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

Between very cheesy special effects, quick cuts, and disorienting transitions, this viewing experience is a chore. To add insult to injury, lighting is inconsistent, and the generic soundtrack is sometimes too loud. However, audio quality is otherwise fine, and camera work and video quality are acceptable except for wild zooms, blurry flashbacks, and randomly shaky scenes. Thus, with a small amount of potential, only a tiny score can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This film is full of in-your-face message-pushing via dialogue that’s full of platitudes and sloganeering. The Christian characters are very perfect while non-Christian characters are very bad. The writers seemed to contrive circumstances that were designed to scare people into being saved, and they chose to portray an instant conversation-to-persecution cycle. Following his conversion, the protagonist becomes the most perfect Christian ever, and other Christian characters are Bible-verse-bots that don’t react with normal human emotions. What’s more, lots of time is wasted on seemingly endless racing sequences. In the end, there is really no potential in this section, thus earning zero points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Some of the acting in Lay It Down is fine while other parts include acting that is trying too hard. Certain performances come off as robotic due to mechanical emotions and line delivery. There are also some annoying bouts of yelling and screaming that seem unnecessary. Overall, with some good and more bad, a sub-par score is warranted here.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators of this screenplay had a conversion agenda. They took a moderately interesting story idea and ruined it with propaganda-level messaging. Additionally, production and acting problems dragged the movie down further. Thus, Lay It Down is a relic of an era of Christian entertainment that we hope to move past.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Godsend [2021] (Movie Review)

Godsend (2021) - IMDb

Plot Summary

One day, a man wakes up under a bridge with no recollection of how he even got there. Thus, with no identification or memory of his former life, the man becomes instantly homeless. Mistreated by the system, the man has no one to turn to but God. Will the man ever regain what he lost?

Production Quality (.5 point)

This production has many pitfalls in it, such as terrible editing that sometimes cuts off scenes, causes obvious continuity errors, and creates poor transitions. Also, audio is overdriven, and there is a generic soundtrack that, at times, covers up over audio, possibly by design. Despite okay video quality, camera work is wild, including weird camera angles and tight shots. Special effects are cheap, and sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited. Due to all these concerns, only a small score is warranted in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

In Godsend, the writers actually explore an interesting tale of how someone can suddenly become homeless and therefore be on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination. However, it’s very unrealistic how and why people are rude, and this fact is facilitated by over-the-top “bad” characters that hate the protagonist for no reason at all. Obvious dialogue leaves nothing to chance, and several occurrences are mostly unbelievable and implausible, thus demonstrating a poor understanding of how institutions really work, such as the legal system. Also, a fundamentalist view of Christianity taints the messaging even though there some very interesting concepts to ponder in this narrative. There was a lot of potential to portray the struggles of real people, but the slight possibilities that were inherent to this idea are placed in a poor package. Therefore, because of the unrealized potential, a meager rating is awarded here.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Between extremely forced emotions and out-of-sync line delivery, the acting in this film leaves much to be desired. Many scenes appear to be done in one-take, and performances are generally mechanical. However, a tiny amount of potential in some of the cast members keeps this section from receiving a score of zero.

Conclusion

Once again, the JC Films team wasted an otherwise good idea. Imagine what would have happened if they had refrained from making so many screenplays and instead made one or two good ones. However, as their quantity-over-quality assembly line approach continues, we’ll probably never know what could have been.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

The Man Who Went to Heaven (Movie Review)

Watch The Man Who Went To Heaven | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When David Burrows is fatally shot in the line of duty as a security guard, he is rushed to the hospital but medically dies. However, David comes back from the other side with a wild story to tell. Will anyone believe his experiences in the afterlife?

Production Quality (1 point)

This film contains another sub-pair production due to shaky camera work and inconsistent audio quality that includes loud sound effects and background sounds as well as a stupid free soundtrack. There are also some very tight shots and terrible special effects. Nonetheless, this section is kept from being worse by fine video quality and acceptable sets, props, and locations. Thus, a meager score is awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In a generally off-the-wall storytelling style, this narrative is full of mindless sequences that don’t accomplish anything. The writers managed to squeeze content out of nothing and filled the runtime with total nonsense as the plot jumps all over the place. Thus, it’s very difficult to keep up with the timelines. Dialogue is ridiculous obvious, and the overt message-pushing produces blank characters. There are also too many characters in general. There is no focus or purpose in this story, and there is a bizarre tone that overshadows everything. In the end, with no notable potential, zero points is the appropriate rating for this aspect of the film.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Surprisingly, the acting of The Man Who Went to Heaven is not horrible. However, this doesn’t mean that the performances are any more than generic and average. Line delivery and emotions are okay but not dynamic. Therefore, an average scored is awarded here.

Conclusion

At this point, it’s painfully clear that the JC Films team will continue to pump out random screenplays however they can. It’s commendable to base movies on source material, but the JC Films model just isn’t the way. Thus, there’s nothing further to say here as constructive criticism has no effect on this team’s choices.

Final Rating: 2.5 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

Leading to Revelation (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

It’s almost the end of time, and two families are full of strife. They are facing some serious challenges as the world starts to spin out of control. Will they be able to remember their faith before it’s too late?

Production Quality (0 points)

There is unfortunately nothing positive to note in this section. Audio quality is terrible due to very loud background noises in both indoor and outdoor scenes, and there is basically no soundtrack. Outside scenes are too bright while inside scenes are poorly lit. Camera work and video quality are both inconsistent. The sets, locations, and props are quite cheap. Further, editing is very choppy, which rounds out a sub-par effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In this narrative, the writers present one thing after the next, dumping disconnected subplots upon the audience. This leads to empty characters and unsubstantial dialogue. The plot includes a juvenile view of Christianity, suggesting that people’s problems can be magically fixed. There is overall no purpose to this story, and it’s basically two different films shoved together. As such, there are no unifying themes other than mindlessness and purposelessness. In the end, the conclusion is nonsensical, leaving nothing for the viewers to learn or believe in. This lack of potential produces a zero-point rating for this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Between unconvincing acting and bouts of yelling and screaming, the forceful performances in this movie are basically unbearable. Many cast members recite lines without conviction or realistic emotions. Further, one-take scenes have mistaken lines. Thus, this rounds out a no-potential effort.

Conclusion

It remains incredibly unclear how and why films like Leading to Revelation continue getting made. Screenplays like these accomplish nothing except to further tarnish the reputation of Christian media. There is no purpose to these types of creations, so money needs to stop being spent on them.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

A Horse for Summer (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

The Walsh family is struggling financially because of their overly expensive horse boarding farm. Matters are complicated when a troublemaking cousin is forced to live with them due to her mother’s criminal activity. Together, the must all learn to trust God no matter what and to not take matters into their own hands.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, this film has an average production. Despite fine video quality and acceptable camera work and lighting, the audio quality leaves something to be desired. This is due to loud background sounds and a generic soundtrack. Also, editing is somewhat choppy although sets, locations, and props are good. This mixed bag of elements leads to the run-of-the-mill rating.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This narrative is unfortunately filled with expository dialogue as each scene is overly staged. Every conversation is robotically engineered to spoon-feed the audience and leave nothing to chance. A major component of this is forceful Christian messaging and convenient sermonizing about how going to church will fix all your problems as well as other cheesy platitudes. Some sequences make absolutely no sense, and tons of wasted time drowns out whatever small prospects there are in potentially realistic character backstories. The writers expect the viewers to care about the characters, who could have been good, without properly developing them. In the end, issues are fixed way too easily, and with nothing significantly positive to note here, no points can be awarded in this section.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Most of the time, the acting in A Horse for Summer is quite bad. The performances are very mechanical and lack conviction. Emotions are empty, and line delivery is procedural. Many cast members seem unsure in their acting, but not all of them are unconvincing. There are some moments of good performing, especially from some actors and actresses. Thus, a small score can be given here.

Conclusion

In the end, this screenplay was extremely formulaic in its creation. This idea has been done time and again, and although this movie had some potential to be different, it didn’t live up to this. Thus, A Horse for Summer becomes just another throwaway film that will be forgotten.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

The Committee, Season 1 [2015] (Series Review)

The Committee (TV Series 2015– ) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Park Grove Community Church is in trouble. The executive committee is meeting to determine the future of the church, and the most powerful businessman in the congregation wants to dissolve the church. However, a long-time member wants to save her home church, so she asks a random Christian entertainment star to join the committee and revitalize the church. What ensues is a lot of conflict and healthy dialogue about the purpose of the local church.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of The Committee is acceptable. Video quality and audio quality are fine. However, camera work is plagued with modern sitcom tropes, like mid-shot zooms and shaky perspective camera angles. Sets, locations, and props are a bit limited due to the genre as well, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. Further, editing is also fine, which further contributes to the above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The writers of this narrative raise good points about the local church being out of touch. The dry comedy therein is sometimes funny and other times cheesy. Dialogue and conversations are sometimes interesting, but much of it is overly engineered to cover certain topics and force the characters to talk about the issues in seemingly unnatural ways. As a result, the characters oscillate between being stereotypes and being realistic. There was plenty of potential in this plot, but it would have been better to either construct a more solid premise or avoid forcing so many topics into the course of the conversations. This would have allowed for better character development. In the end, a small rating is warranted here due to the potential within.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting in this season is at least above the mark. Many of the cast members stay within their ranges and avoiding trying too hard. There are some moments where the acting leaves something to be desired, including emotions and line delivery. However, the performances generally improve with time, thus leading to an above-average score.

Continuity Quality (1 point)

It’s hard to understand why the first season of this series needed so many short episodes. Without the short episodes, this wouldn’t be much of a series. Elsewhere in this section, there are some good character arcs although they are a bit forced at times. Each episode is well-organized despite short length, but there just isn’t enough dynamic in this area to justify a higher score.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators behind this series meant well. They explore many relevant topics in their creation that can get audiences to think. However, the method of delivery was not the best. Overall, the series would have benefited from longer, more substantial episodes that included deeper character development via meaningful dialogue and conversations. As it is, this season is like an outline for an idea that needs fleshing out. Perhaps, in the future, this creative team will keep this in mind.

Final Rating: 6 out of 14 points

The Green Grass (Movie Review)

The Green Grass' - A Secret Can Be a Dangerous Thing To Keep - Full, Free  Inspirational Movie - YouTube

Plot Summary

Shawn is a successful businessman, but his family is coming apart at the seams. He doesn’t even know his wife and children anymore, and he doesn’t even know how close he is to losing it all. While Shawn is chasing after the next big thing, will he forfeit his faith and family, or will he come back to God before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1 point)

Between loud background noises, echoes, and overdriven audio, this production leaves much to be desired. There is also barely any soundtrack. Camera work, video quality, and lighting are acceptable, as are the sets, locations, and props. However, at times, there are some tight shots that cut things off, and the editing is very choppy, including awkward cuts, poor transitions, and continuity errors between scenes. As a whole, this production gets worse as it goes, which leads to a low score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

From the beginning, awkward narration is forced upon the viewer. There are also too many characters to focus on such that it’s unclear who the protagonist is. The narrative consists of random scenes about unrelated events, and there are no obvious themes other than a fixation on edgy content. Although realistic, the situations that characters find themselves in could be more tastefully presented. Dialogue is very robotic, and the plot is full of loose ends and tangential ideas that have no organization or purpose. There are too many ridiculously dramatic scenes where everybody shows up to reveal secrets like a soap opera, and constant emotional turmoil wears on the audience. Despite the characters’ imperfections, they need a lot of development. Near the end, all characters suddenly become instantly good for no good reason at all, and problems are easily solved without realistic consequences. As such, the character arcs are extremely steep. Though the Christian message is restrained at first, this quickly devolves into really obvious conversations that spoon-feed lessons to the viewers. Due to all these concerns, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

The acting of The Green Grass is incredibly stilted and wooden. Most of the scenes are overly rehearsed. Emotions are cardboard, and line delivery is mechanical. There are also instances of extreme yelling and screaming. Though some cast members are okay, this isn’t enough to prevent a low score for this section.

Conclusion

There’s really no point in making a film like The Green Grass. Between poor production quality, a plot with no potential, and low-quality acting, there was really no reason for this screenplay to be made. The only hope is that movies like this are no longer made in the future.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Megan heard that a group of grumpy men regularly came into the cafe where she worked. These men always complained that the good old days were better, so Megan decided to befriend them and soon found herself believing their stories about the good old days. Together, they all talk about the good old days and wonder what might happen in the future.

Production Quality (.5 point)

Despite acceptable video quality, camera work and lighting are very inconsistent. Sets, locations, and props are okay, but the soundtrack is very loud. However, the soundtrack doesn’t cover up the annoying background noises or cheesy sound effects. There is also basically no editing in the film, which leads to long sequences of blank nothingness and unnecessary fadeouts. Thus, with only a tiny amount of positive, this section receives a small score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club is based on a very simple and short idea that’s dragged on for too long. Narration lazily strings scenes together without giving the narrative focus or purpose. Because of this, there is no connection with the audience, and the forced Christian message and worldview that the good old days were better is annoying. Further, the characters in this plot are empty due to vanilla dialogue and conversations. With no potential to speak of, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Between stilted and robotic acting, unsure line delivery, and uneven emotions, the acting of this screenplay leaves much to be desired. While some cast members are better than others, the negative outweighs the positive. Thus, a less-than-average score is warranted in this section.

Conclusion

It’s unclear what creators of movies like The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club are going for. Perhaps worldview-pushing is the motivation. However, viewers aren’t going to be open to a philosophy when the film presentation is so bad. A creation of this low quality isn’t going to make any difference at all, besides the fact that many audiences don’t care about this type of messaging.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Power Play [1994] (Movie Review)

Powerplay | Pure Flix

Plot Summary

Robbie Steele is an overconfident attorney who believes that she can singlehandedly save the city of Vancouver by keeping their struggling hockey team from skipping town. To do this, Robbie just needs to convince Cody Harris, an estranged but previously popular hockey player, to sign with her home team. However, talking Cody into doing this proves to be a more difficult feat that Robbie expected, especially since Cody has recently become a Christian.

Production Quality (.5 point)

As a 1990s production, Power Play has plenty of holes in it. Despite acceptable camera and audio work, video quality is burry, and the soundtrack is loud and antiquated. There are also cheesy sound effects and wild camera work in the action scenes. Sets, locations, and props are okay, but there are many disorienting flashes and transitions throughout the film, making for an annoying experience. Further, editing is incredibly choppy, sometimes prematurely cutting off scenes. In general, the production gets worse as it goes, which leaves only a tiny score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Although this narrative has an interesting premise, it’s hard to get to know the characters due to the breakneck pace of the plot. Additionally, the premise is very trumped-up as writers go out of their way to make certain events happen that they want to occur. The Christian characters are too perfect, and while the flawed characters have potential, they are swept along by the rapid story progression, which short-circuits potential development. It’s a shame that some of these characters were wasted in this way, but there’s unfortunately no way to justify awarding points for this aspect of the screenplay.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Though the acting in Power Play is fairly unsure, this section is actually the strongest of the whole movie. Despite instances of cast members of trying too hard and scenes that feel like one-takes, the performances are not all bad. Some line delivery and emotions are acceptable, which is enough to warrant an average score.

Conclusion

Traditionally, the Worldwide Pictures team was committed to quality in their films. However, Power Play is an exception. Without a quality production and engaging storyline, there is little for a viewer to be interested in. However, the Christian entertainment industry is hopefully moving past this older era of screenplays.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Geronimo [1990] (Movie Review)

Geronimo (1990) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Jeremy is a bad kid who can’t stay out of trouble. However, he likes a random Christian girl, so Jeremy decides to become a Christian summer camp counselor so that he can spend more time with this girl. Nonetheless, Jeremy ends up having to spend more time watching “troubled” kids who have been forced to come to the camp. As a result, Jeremy has to learn about the Christian faith to help them.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, this older style production is acceptable. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are pretty good. Sets, locations, and props are acceptable. The biggest pitfalls relate to editing as this aspect is extremely choppy. Thus, this section receive a score just above average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

From almost the very beginning of this narrative, heavy-handed narration leaves nothing to chance, which ultimately short-circuits character development. Before they change in extreme and unrealistic ways without proper justification, the characters are either totally blank people or racial stereotypes due to uninspiring dialogue. A lot of the characters don’t have normal human reactions to events. Many of the scenes seem unfinished and abrupt, and at times, it’s hard to understand what’s happening. The plot jumps all over the place, stringing together a random collection of disconnected moments that are overly scripted. There is no continuity or focus, and there is generally no potential in this section, which is why no points are warranted.

Acting Quality (0 points)

On top off all the other issues in this film, robotic acting joins the fray. The cast members deliver stilted lines and exhibit emotions without any feeling whatsoever. Many of the performances are incredibly awkward, and there are a number of sequences of yelling and screaming that are completely unnecessary. Therefore, with no potential in this area, zero points are awarded.

Conclusion

The “fixing troubled kids at a Christian camp” concept is a bit overwrought. Also, assuming that all “street kids” are of a certain race is fairly questionable at best. Essentially, Geronimo is an example of a era gone by that hopefully Christian entertainment has fully moved on from.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Pass the Light (Movie Review)

Review: 'Pass the Light' could use a less-shiny lead actor - Los Angeles  Times

Plot Summary

Steve is tired of the divisive nature of politics, especially since a local election is heating up as a representative is trying to use the Christian faith to divide group of people from each other. Thus, Steve decides that it’s time to do something at school, in the community, in the political world, and at home. To do this, Steve launches a massive campaign to remind everybody of what the Christian faith is really about.

Production Quality (2 points)

It’s clear that the creators of this film focused on professional production quality. This fact is evident in the video quality and camera work. Sets, locations, and props are well-constructed and well-utilized. The only drawbacks include uneven audio quality and inconsistent editing. Nonetheless, this section deserves an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The writers had several good ideas and agendas in creating this screenplay. They raised excellent points about legalism in Christina culture, but the writers bit off way more than they could chew by trying to cover too many concepts at once. As such, there are many random subplots that generate too many characters for the audience to keep up with. Sometimes, it’s hard for the viewer to keep up with the stream-of-consciousness storytelling style, and time is filled with lots of empty montages that could have been replaced with real character development. As they are, the characters are a mixed bag. The protagonist is basically perfect and able to fix everything. The antagonists are a bit extreme, and a majority of the characters are difficult to connect with due to the crowding-out nature of the narrative. For the most part, the political premise is quite unrealistic although the politician characters are okay. In the end, an overwhelming amount of issues are easily fixed in magical fashions, which stunts the potential of this plot. Nonetheless, there were plenty of good discussions about the problems in modern Christianity, which warrants a small score.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

For the most part, the acting in Pass the Light is professional. Most cast members put forth commendable efforts, including good line delivery and emotions. However, there are a few small moments of some actors and actresses trying too hard and generally putting forth over-the-top performances. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to prevent a high rating in this section.

Conclusion

It’s evident to many that there are problems within established American Christianity. However, taking all of the issues on in one movie is not the right way to get your message across. Additionally, crafting an unrelatable protagonist will alienate most audiences. In the end, Pass the Light was based on a number of good ideas that crowded each other out and didn’t really help solve any of the concerns that the writers raised.

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

Amish Grace (Movie Review)

Watch Amish Grace | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When a mentally ill man tries to exact revenge on a local Amish school for the death of his daughter, the Amish community is rocked with grief. However, as the religious leadership instructs the faithful to forgive, one mother cannot let it go. Thus, she has to come to grips with what it truly means to follow God and do what He says.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

With professional funding behind it, Amish Grace sports a great production with very few errors within it. Video quality, audio quality, and camera are all on par with industry standards. Sets, locations, and props are all well-constructed and well-utilized. There are no lighting or special effects concerns. The only small problems to note relate to editing, but these are not enough to prevent a high score from being awarded to this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

It was great that the writers used real-life source material to explore extremely difficult topics in this narrative. As such, some characters are very relatable as they struggle with hard concepts. However, some characters come off as too perfect and angelic, and there are overall too many characters to keep up with. Because of this fact, there is no clear protagonist, and many of the subplots are unfinished or disjointed. It’s unfortunate that a story based on true events lacked focus and organized purpose. Nonetheless, certain sequences of dialogue and some conversations are intriguing even if they fail to effectively move the narrative forward. Sometimes, it feels like the characters are trapped in what the story wants them to do, such as when there are pertinent points raised about the various inconsistencies of legalism in certain religious lifestyles and when these legitimate concerns are never explored again. In the end, this film was not long enough to do justice to the true accounts, and it’s possible that a miniseries format would have been more appropriate. Despite this, however, this aspect of the screenplay does deserve a modest rating for authenticity.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The acting is the strongest element of Amish Grace. There are virtually no errors with the emotions or line delivery. It’s clear that the cast members were professionally coached, which leads to a perfect score for this section.

Conclusion

There was so much that could have been done in this movie. The true story is extremely compelling and poignant, but the potentially powerful message is not effectively communicated in Amish Grace. Nonetheless, there are still meaningful elements in this film, so it’s likely worthy your time. We just wonder what could have been.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Gimme Shelter [2013] (Movie Review)

Gimme Shelter,' movie review - New York Daily News

Plot Summary

Agnes Bailey, who goes by Apple, was raised in a terrible environment. Thus, after Apple finds out that she’s pregnant, she decides to make a run for it away from her drug-addicted mother. Apple tries to find her long-lost father, who lives in an affluent area. However, Apple will have to wrestle with the demons of her past before she can find true rest.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, this production is a mixed bag. There is some shaky camera work and inconsistent lighting. However, video quality is fine, and the audio is mostly acceptable. The soundtrack is intriguing even if there are background sounds at times. As a while, sets, locations, and props are realistic, and editing is acceptable. All production elements do improve with time, so this section does enough to receive an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Gimme Shelter is an authentic look at real struggles that is sometimes a bit too raw. There are one too many instances of course language and edgy content, and the first half of the narrative meanders before finding a footing. It’s good that the writers refrained from an overly preachy Christian message, but more redemptive themes would have been preferred. Nonetheless, the characters and dialogue are still very believable even if some sequences are wasted and unnecessarily drawn-out. More meaningful flashbacks could have fleshed out the plot and helped it avoid so much telling. As it is, the stream-of-consciousness storytelling style sometimes works and sometimes does not. The narrative needs a more central focus and stronger themes, but the realistic look at life is refreshing. Thus, an average score is warranted for this section.

Acting Quality (3 points)

Despite previous shortcomings, the acting is the strongest point of Gimme Shelter. The performances therein are very solid with no discernable errors. Emotions and line delivery are on point. This rounds out an overall above-average film.

Conclusion

At the time, Gimme Shelter stood apart from other quasi-Christian screenplays that were being released in the 2010s. This movie was almost too authentic and shocking, and there are quite a few rough edges in Gimme Shelter. Nonetheless, perhaps the most significant element that held this film back from being all that it could have been was its lack of plot focus and organization. The writers relied too heavily on the gritty aspects and forgot the keep the audience engaged with the characters. Thus, this creation serves as a warning for future projects of this caliber.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Into His Arms (Movie Review)

Into His Arms (1999) | Full Movie | Marcia Welch-Kahler | Joel King |  Travis Opdyke | Marc Linn - YouTube

Plot Summary

When a little girl goes missing, the community is shaken. Her parents are beside themselves as they demand for the police to do something. Many authorities are dismissing the disappearance as a simple accident, but one detective isn’t convinced. He won’t stop until he finds out the truth.

Production Quality (0 points)

With very poor audio quality, inconsistent video, and bad lighting, this production is mostly a disaster. Scenes are too bright in the outdoors and too dark in the indoors. Backgrounds sounds are annoying, as is shaky camera work. Sets, locations, and props are extremely cheap, giving the film the feel of a cheap reality show. Weird flashes and special effects disorient the audience, and editing is extremely random. Needless to say, this production has no potential, which is why no points are awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Between very obvious messaging and incredibly unsubstantial dialogue, watching this screenplay is a real drag. There are tons of scenes without conversations and useless montages that waste time. Many side characters do nothing to advance the narrative, and the viewer isn’t drawn into the suspense. Despite the tragic circumstances of the plot, the audience feels nothing due to the totally blank and empty characters. Otherwise good themes are lost in the most boring possible portrayal of a crime drama that’s full of characters staring into space. Then, to top everything off, a wild climax sequence concludes the story by disrupting the overall tone of the movie with an over-the-top ending. Hence, another score of zero is warranted.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Between extremely sappy and unbelievable emotions and overly practiced line delivery, the acting of Into His Arms leaves much to be desired. Many cast members are very over-the-top in their performances, including a lot of fake happiness. Thus, due to lack of potential in this section, no points can be awarded.

Conclusion

In the end, older creations like this film had an uphill battle to fight due to low production potential. There was also a lack of adequate understanding when it came to effective acting. However, this doesn’t diminish the fact that screenplays like Into His Arms are just bad in every way. They have no impact on the audience and only serve as a relic of days that were darker for Christian entertainment. Hopefully, we can move past these times.

Final Rating: 0 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

To the Ends of the Earth [2018] (Movie Review)

Watch To The Ends of the Earth | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When the Apostle Paul went to Philippi, this was the first time that the gospel of Jesus Christ had reached the continent of Europe. However, Paul faced much opposition and many trials in his mission to follow the Lord’s calling. Nonetheless, his obedience changed countless generations to come.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Although video quality is fine and the soundtrack is culturally sensitive, dizzying camera work and confusing special effects hold the production back from being what it could have been. Sets, locations, and props are great, but sound effects are poor. Further, editing is inconsistent, which goes with the overall theme of this production being a mixed bag. Thus, an average scored is granted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

While it’s commendable that the writers of this narrative focused on one short aspect of Paul’s ministry, the apostle himself is too perfect of a character, which means that it’s hard to relate to him as a person. Also, demonic elements are too sensational as too much time is spent on dark spirituality. Elsewhere, the story presentation is confusing since it makes the progression of events very unclear. Most of the characters are inaccessible and hard to connect with due to procedural dialogue. Unfortunately, although this plot could have been interesting, it doesn’t offer any potential because attention is given to all the wrong things.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Though the casting is sometimes culturally authentic, this is not always the case. Nonetheless, the actors and actresses make some good attempts at accents. Sometimes, the acting is believable while other times, the performances are too theatrical and stoic. Emotions and line delivery can be a bit uneven at times. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good in this section, which leads to a sub-par score.

Conclusion

Period pieces about well-known Bible characters are very difficult to effectively execute. There are many moving parts and small details that are easy to get wrong. As a whole, it seems like that the creators of To the Ends of the Earth had the right motives but not always the correct philosophy. Unfortunately, there are just too many pitfalls in this screenplay that kept it in the basement of Christian entertainment.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

The Appointment [1991] (Movie Review)

The Appointment (Spanish) (1991) | Full Movie | Karen Jo Briere | Art Oden  | Leslie Basham - YouTube

Plot Summary

Liz is a journalist who just hates God with a passion. Her entire job consists of writing anti-God articles in the paper. Liz is clearly bent on evil, so she doesn’t believe a strange message that she hears from a mysterious messenger who claims to be from the Lord. The message is that Liz will die at a specific time on a specific day, which was why she needed to get saved. Liz laughs this off, but as the day gets closer, she becomes more and more uncertain of what she believes. Will be turn to Christianity before it’s too late???

Production Quality (0 points)

As a 1990s production, The Appointment is just bad, even for the time period. Video quality is cheap, lighting is inconsistent, and camera work is random, including silly mid-shot zooms. Audio quality is disrupted by weird sound effects, noticeable background sounds, and an overpowering, in-your-face soundtrack. Further, very abrupt cuts and transitions sometimes completely cut off scenes in abrupt and shocking ways. Needless to say, no points can be awarded in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

In the most propaganda-level fashion, the Christiano team made sure to craft one of the most offensive portrayals of Christians and non-Christians known to Christian entertainment. The “bad” characters are downright evil pariahs who are bent on destroying Christianity. Many other characters are generic and vanilla due to blank dialogue, but almost every conversation is used to push agendas, preach at people, and force ideas down the viewers’ throats. Some scenes are very short and punctuated. In general, the writers seemed to have a really bizarre obsession with the main character dying, which further contributes to a portrayal of Christianity that will repulse people. In the end, due to offensive elements, this aspect of the film must receive negative points.

Acting Quality (0 points)

The performances in The Appointment are either generic or overplayed. Some cast members are trying too hard to be interesting, which sometimes comes off as overly theatrical. Forced line delivery and emotions don’t help matters. Further, cheap costuming caps off a section that lacks any substantial potential.

Conclusion

As we’ve said time and time again, trying to scare people into being saved is one of the worst things that a Christian can do. This is not the objective of our faith, yet some Christian creators seem to think that it is. Though older than other movies, The Appointment still tarnishes the reputation of Christian entertainment. The one hope is that we are now past these dark days.

Final Rating: -1 out of 10 points

Secrets in the Fall (Movie Review)

Secrets in the Fall- Official Extended Trailer - YouTube

Plot Summary

After being stuck in school for a snowbound night, a group of teenagers became friends for life. Now, they’re working together as counselors at a Christian camp. However, not everything goes smoothly as some campers don’t want to be there for various reasons. Will they all be able to wok together to make the week memorable?

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Beginning with a cheap found-footage feel, this production doesn’t live up to professional standards. Background noises and shaky camera work don’t help matters. While video quality, sets, locations, and props are okay, there’s not much soundtrack to speak of. Editing also contains concerns, including lagging scenes, awkward fadeouts, and weird sped-up portions of the film that confuse the audience. Despite some slight production improvement with time, this section can’t receive any more than an average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

From the get-go, the narrative is filled with convenient exposition that shoves information into the viewers’ faces. When this finally stops, the dialogue is somewhat acceptable yet could use some work. Although this screenplay is a sequel, characters are one-dimensional due to lots of blank scenes that accomplish nothing. Additionally, the high number of characters crowds out the runtime, causing many subplots to get lost in the shuffle and characters to get neglected. As a result of wasted time, character arcs are too steep as shortcuts are taken to force lessons upon the audience. Though there are some good attempts at making the “bad” characters neutral by giving them reasons for their actions, which is the tiny shred of potential in this story that keeps it from receiving no points, there is still not much focus or purpose in this narrative. Characters undergo very self-aware growth without experiencing circumstances that would promote these behaviors, which is unrealistic. In the end, the Every New Day creative team often tries to craft character-based plots but continue to lack key elements that are needed or success.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting of Secrets in the Fall is mostly generic due to there being nothing special or terrible. Line delivery and emotions are standard. Thus, with no positive or negative standouts, this section receives an average score.

Conclusion

Secrets in the Snow had a good amount of potential, but this follow-up seems forced and unnecessary. Sequels should build upon what was previously accomplished, but this movie takes a step backward. It seems like that the Goodwins have noble intentions with their creations, but they have taken a quantity over quality approach. Perhaps it’s time for them to take a step back and focus on producing fewer screenplays that contain more meaning.

Final Rating: 3.5 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

Future Tense [1990] (Movie Review)

Future Tense (1990) | Full Movie | Fred Carpenter | A.J. Merrill | Leigh  Lombardi | John Shannon - YouTube

Plot Summary

After a college student becomes a Christian while away from his family, he tries to encourage them to convert to his newfound faith. When they refuse, he decides to record a tape of what would happen to them if the Rapture came before they were saved. Coincidentally enough, after the student sends the tape to his family, the Rapture actually does happen! What will they do now???

Production Quality (.5 point)

As a 1990s production, Future Tense leaves much to be desired. The weird grainy and shady tint to the video disrupts the viewing experience, as do weird special effects. The soundtrack is loud and annoying, and other aspects of audio are unbalanced. The camera work, sets, locations, props, and editing are the only acceptable elements that prevent his section from receiving no points. Needless to day, this is a very low-quality production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Between heavy-handed messaging and lots of off-screen content that we only hear about, this narrative barely counts as storytelling. With hardly any actual dialogue to speak of, the characters are blank cardboard cutouts. The out-of-order plot style is poorly presented, which confuses the audience. Other aspects are generally boring as many scenes waste time. Also, the entire narrative is perfectly spoon-fed to the audience and magically constructed to fit a very narrow worldview. Further, the vague ending makes no sense and leaves the viewer wondering what just happened. In the end, this section receives a score of zero due to lack of potential.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Although the acting in this film is robotic and overly practiced, it’s actually the strongest aspect of the screenplay. This fact is mainly due to the fact that the lead actor posts the best performance. Elsewhere, however, there’s too much yelling and screaming. There’s not much else good to note here, which rounds out an underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Apocalyptic movies about the Rapture were all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, the idea of trying to “scare” people into being saved is fairly morbid. I doubt creations like Future Tense made any significant impact, and such projects definitely have no influence in the more modern era. Once again, films like this one only serve as examples of how not to do it.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Don’t Give Up [2021] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Amy Samuel is drowning in depression due to everything that’s happened to her in life. She just wants to give up and leave her life behind. However, a set of circumstances prevents her from ending it all. As a result, Amy is forced to face her past in order to pick up the pieces and move on.

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite this production having fine video quality and okay camera work, there are a number of concerns to contend with. For instance, the audio is quite bad, including background echoes and a loud soundtrack. Special effects are very cheap. Also, sets, locations, and props are a bit limited. Further, editing is quite choppy. Thus, these missteps all lead to another below-average production for JC Films.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Although the narrative is based on a true story, Don’t Give Up is a train-wreck of a film. Voiceover bridges time gaps and guides the viewer through the plot in a very heavy-handed manner. Sensationalism crowds out interesting psychological elements that provide the story with a small amount of potential. Some content is unnecessarily edgy, and expository dialogue short-circuits the sliver of potential that the characters had. Implied off-screen content makes for a confusing watch, and too many elements are unexplained as it seems like that the writers expected the audience to read a lot into various things. The time jumps create vacuums of information and a general atmosphere of random ideas being strung together with no clear focus or purpose. The flashbacks are slightly interesting since they make attempts to establish character motives, but the protagonist is fixed way too easily. It’s implied that getting saved will automatically fix clinical depression, and the story has a generally rushed conclusion. Therefore, though there is some potential in this section, only a small score can be awarded.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in this screenplay is average despite the fact that the performances are just average. Some cast members are way too dramatic in their acting, but they are balanced out by other cast members who are more even-keeled. Line deliver is mostly okay throughout the movie although some emotions are forced. While better coaching was definitely in order here, the performances overall improve with time. However, this section’s rating isn’t enough to save the movie from itself.

Conclusion

It’s commendable that Jason Campbell and his team continue to make films that are based on true stories. However, their flooding-the-market approach is still a detriment to Christian entertainment. Other production companies have tried this method in the past but have ultimately failed. At this rate, it’s hard to see how JC Films doesn’t end up with the same fate.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Real Stories with Christ, Season 1 (Series Review)

Watch Real Stories With Christ | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Pastor Joe wants to be a good pastor, but church stuff is hard. The devil is always trying to throw him off, and it seems like every day, Joe experiences a modern-day version of a well-known Bible story. Will he and his wife be able to withstand the tests and trials of life???

Production Quality (1 point)

The group at Strong Foundation Films consistently produces low-quality productions, and this miniseries is no exception. Despite okay video quality, camera work is inconsistent throughout. Audio quality is poor, including loud background sounds and a generic soundtrack. While outside lighting is acceptable, indoor lighting is not, and the sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited. Further, editing is choppy, and although there is slight improvement with time in all production aspects, only a meager score can be awarded here because of all the concerns.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Like many other narratives produced by this creative team, the plot of Real Stories with Christ is very hard to follow. Presenting one thing after the next without much actual dialogue, the writers choose to have things randomly happen without good reasons. There is also a fixation on the dramatic and sensational, especially an unnecessary obsession with dark spiritual warfare as basically every episode has a long and drawn-out exorcism sequence. With these ridiculous wastes of time, the story lacks central focus, clear purpose, and consistent themes. Long conversations accomplish nothing and produce blank characters. Events only occur because the writers want them to happen, and problems are unrealistically fixed very quickly. Full of Christian platitudes, cheesy messaging, juvenile worldviews, and patriarchal attitudes, this section cannot receive any points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Per usual for Strong Foundation, the acting in Real Stories is predictably bad. Josiah David Warren dominates the screen time with his typically awkward and cringey performances. Many cast members are trying too hard, and some exhibit uneven lines and emotions that don’t appropriately fit the moment. Injury acting is laughably bad, and the biblical components of the acting include low-quality costuming and inaccurate cultural portrayals. However, there is at least some good acting in this series, such as the performances posted by Amber Shana Williams. Hence, a small score can be awarded here.

Continuity Quality (1 point)

It’s very confusing and unclear as to how this series relates to Who Am I? because Amber Shana Williams plays a different character in that movie than she does in Real Stories. This creates continuity problems, but there are other concerns in this section, such as a lack of character arcs. Though some subplots are followed between episodes, these narratives are formulaic and predictable. Also, some characters disappear between episodes with no good explanations. Thus, this rounds out an underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

This series is basically the culmination of all the other failed projects that have been produced by the Strong Foundation team. Real Stories includes all the predictable elements from this group and offers very little to redeem itself. As they continue to taint Christian entertainment with this offerings, there’s little advice to offer the Strong Foundation creators. They will obviously continue to do what they do without changing.

Final Rating: 3 out of 14 points

30 Day Promise (Movie Review)

30 Day Promise (2017) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Heather Winslow’s life has gone from bad to worse. In a short amount of time, she receives news that her husband wants to divorce and that she has cancer. However, she convinces her husband to wait 30 days to see what happens. During this time, Heather must have faith that God is still in control.

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite fine video quality, this film contains on overall cheap production. Audio quality is very inconsistent, including background noises and hard-to-hear lines. Camera work is mostly acceptable except for some moments of shaky cam. Sets, locations, and props are fairly limited, and the screenplay is full of disorienting montages and the use of split screens. Editing is poor, but there is a tiny bit of improvement as time goes on. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to warrant any more than a low score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Due to stock and vanilla dialogue, the characters of this narrative are simply pawns in whatever scheme that the writers want to use them in. Bland conversations do nothing to aid character growth, and the creators give no real reasons for why the characters do what they do. Expository dialogue takes the place of scenes that show the audience what’s happening, and mentions of off-screen content are annoying. Events just happen randomly throughout the plot, and the viewing experience is confused by unnecessarily large time jumps. Lacking regard for realistic divorce proceedings and medical facts, the writers elect to advocate for unusual methods of getting a married couple to love each other again, demonstrating how little they understand about real relationships. In the end, with no potential in this aspect of the movie, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

The acting is actually the strongest aspect of 30 Day Promise. Although the performances are generic, they are neither horrible nor dynamic. In some scenes, it feels like the cast members are awkwardly standing around and reciting lines. However, some actors and actresses are better than others. The finished product is enough to justify an average score.

Conclusion

It’s possible that the creators of film meant well. However, it’s hard to tell based on their portrayal of Christian relationships. 30 Day Promise is essentially a half-finished idea that needed a lot more fleshing out before it was released to the public. In the end, there’s really nothing memorable about this creation, relegating it to the stockpile of forgotten Christian entertainment.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

A Father’s Legacy {The Old Man and the Pond} (Movie Review)

A Father's Legacy (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

After Nick Wolfe commits a crime out of desperation, he takes refuge in Billy Ford’s house, taking Billy as a hostage. Nick is injured from the fallout of the crime, but Billy isn’t really afraid of the younger man. Together, the two men forge an unlikely friendship as they wrestle their demons and face their dark pasts.

Production Quality (2 points)

Though this production is above-average, it’s still not quite up to modern standards. Most production elements are fine, such as camera work, but there are some odd camera angles. Audio quality, however, is acceptable, and the soundtrack is intriguing. Nonetheless, lighting is inconsistent, and sets, locations, and props are slightly limited. Moreover, editing is fine, and all aspects of the production improve with time. Thus, this score is warranted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

This narrative is mostly a mixed bag. Though the writers sometime push a patriarchal worldview, this concept isn’t fully committed to. Throughout the plot, there is a good use of flashbacks to establish character motive, and most of the dialogue is interesting. However, some conversations are driven by an agenda to imply that older generations were better than younger generations. Doing this wastes opportunities to explore the pros and cons of generational differences. Though there is some character complexity and imperfection, the storyline structure is basically formulaic. Despite some interesting themes, there is a need for more consistency and explanation. Perhaps one of the worst elements is the climax scene that makes no sense and tries to go too big without effective buildup. Then, the narrative meanders around before it ends on an awkward note. Therefore, due to small potential but lots of confusion, only a small rating can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the acting in A Father’s Legacy is above-average. Line delivery is very professional, but the few performances that there are are quite dramatic and dour. With such a small cast, the main actors shoulder the whole burden, and neither of them demonstrates much range of emotion. However, the acting does get better as the film progresses, thus leading to this score.

Conclusion

This screenplay contained intriguing psychological elements that needed more fleshing out, and as a whole, the movie was a collection of wasted potential. With mainstream cast members, unsure messaging, and attempts to be authentic, A Father’s Legacy feels like a cash grab. However, this attempt to collect from Christian audiences is very underwhelming. The writers could have tried a bit harder to make this one interesting. In reality, this film is likely to go over viewers’ heads. There was something that could have been done here, but it’s basically a misfire.

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points

Coffee with God (Movie Review)

Coffee With God' Breaks the Mold, Brings an Uplifting Message to TV|  National Catholic Register

Plot Summary

Apparently, Jack has a special connection with God wherein they have coffee together and God makes sarcastic comments about stuff. God also gives Jack random missions to do things, such as going to heal people. However, one day, Jack gets a basically impossible assignment or something, and things happen.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, Coffee with God has an average production with only a few assorted errors. Video quality and camera work are acceptable, but audio quality leaves something to be desired. Some portions of the soundtrack are quite loud, and lighting is fairly inconsistent. Sets, locations, and props are mostly cheap and inadequate. Editing is okay, but the mixed-bag nature of this section can only lead to an average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

The writers of this film espouse an extremely bizarre view of God that includes irreverent sarcasm and general weirdness. The characters seem to go out of their way to be odd and use purposely crude humor. A strange theology undercuts the narrative, and the plot itself is full of wasted time and pointless scenes. Dialogue does nothing to build characters, and many conversations fill time by going in circles without accomplishing anything. With no clear purpose or themes, this story meanders around until it’s mercifully over, having no impact on the audience except an annoying one. Thus, due to the strange worldview, this aspect of the screenplay receives a negative rating.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Despite the other concerns in this movie, the acting is mostly average. Not all the performances are bad, but some are a bit over-the-top. Other cast members are bland. There’s not enough positive or negative in this section to warrant anything but an average score.

Conclusion

It’s extremely unclear why this film was even made. What’s to gain from such a strange view of God and miracles? What is the audience for this screenplay? It’s too cheaply made to be a cash grab. It’s too isolating for much of Christian entertainment. In the end, there’s literally no point to Coffee for God except to serve as yet another example of how not to do it.

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

Power of the Air (Movie Review)

Power of the Air (2018) | Full Movie | Nicholas X. Parsons | Patty Duke | A  Dave Christiano Film - YouTube

Plot Summary

David Williams just wants to live a regular life, but one day, after being convicted by the message of an African missionary, David and his wife decide to stop watching secular movies due to their objectionable content. David is ostracized at work for this decision, but he feels strongly that he needs to do more to reach others for the Gospel. He wants to air a radio ad, but the city’s largest radio station is standing in his way. Will they be able to air the ad on every radio station???

Production Quality (2.5 points)

The Christiano team has come a long way since the old days of their films. Power of the Air has a very professional production with only a few errors. Video quality, audio quality, and camera work are all compliant with industry standards. Sets, locations, and props are also good. The only concerns in this section relate to editing, which leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, this isn’t enough to prevent a very high score from being awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Full of information-dump dialogue and expository conversations that are designed to push messages, this narrative is lacking in depth. Empty characters are simply pawns of the plot, which is full of generic Christian propaganda. The philosophy of the writers is very closed-minded and tone-deaf when it comes to real life. Administering heavy doses of legalism, the creators exchange actually story for an outdated view of society, implying that basically all media is evil. The only thing that keeps the screenplay running on fumes is a ridiculous ongoing conflict about when to air a radio commercial, and this experience is full of absurdly forced drama, trying to make the viewers actually care about this stupid first-world problem. In the end, with no potential to be had, this aspect of the movie can’t receive any points.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Throughout Power of the Air, the acting is acceptable without much good or bad to point out. Most performances are fairly pedestrian. Emotional and line delivery are passable. However, there’s simply not enough dynamic to warrant a higher than average score for this section.

Conclusion

Via this film, the Christiano team raises valid points about how American Christians unnecessarily consume too much objectionable entertainment. However, the very existence of Power of the Air only furthers the problem because it demonstrates why many Christians seek entertainment outside Christian circles: Christian entertainment, as a whole, is just bad. Power of the Air is no exception to this general rule. Why should Christians want to watch a screenplay like this? What’s the point? Until Christian creators learn why people watch what they watch, we’ll just keep having the same problems.

Final Rating: 4 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

Forgiven [2016] (Movie Review)

Watch Forgiven | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When a desperate criminal takes a pastor and his two daughter hostage within the church after a Wednesday night service, the police are forced to take drastic measures to keep the victims safe. However, the criminal is mostly confused and unsure of what he wants to do. Thus, the pastor and his daughters do what they can to help him. Will the situation be resolved before it’s too late?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Besides a few exceptions, Kevan Otto’s more recent productions have contained higher levels of quality than his previous efforts. There’s a continuation of this trend in Forgiven. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all professional. Sets, locations, and props are standard. There are only a few minor editing issues, but this fact doesn’t prevent this section from receiving a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

This film is based on an interesting suspense idea although the hostage situation is half-hearted at best. Additionally, the characters are one-dimensional, including a criminal who doesn’t really seem to be committed to anything and generally lacks deeper motivations for his behaviors. Stock and unsubstantial dialogue do nothing to improve the blank characters even though this character-based plot desperately needed real conversations to keep it going. Too many empty scenes fill time rather than create meaningful arcs. It felt like that the writers just wanted to skip to the end instead of make the audience want to watch the build-up. Many sequences are very boring and preachy, espousing a cheap Christian message about going to church to act right. Though the conclusion is slightly interesting, it’s difficult for the view to make it there, and it’s hard to understand why the basically perfect and unrelatable protagonist even wanted to help the criminal character. Very narrative-heavy and character-light, this story needed a lot more fleshing out to truly enhance the potential within. Thus, only a meager rating is warranted here.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting in Forgiven is pretty good. For the most part, emotions are realistic, and line delivery is acceptable. Some performances are better than others, and some cast members are more believable than others. Due to the small cast, errors are more noticeable, which is why this section only receives an above-average score.

Conclusion

At this point, it seems like that Kevan Otto and his team know how to craft a pedestrian, acceptable-on-paper screenplay. However, to truly succeed, they will need to go further than this. Otto has proven that he can improve production quality over time, so it’s time for him to employ better writing talent to create more engaging narratives with more accessible characters. Otherwise, average ratings will be the norm.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

The Furance [2019] (Movie Review)

Coming Soon: Darrell Roodt's Award Nominated Film, 'The Furnace' (2019) -  PopHorror

Plot Summary

Mary and Matt are recently married, and for their honeymoon, they want to complete The Furnace together, which is the most treacherous race in Africa. However, Matt’s untimely death delays these plans and sends Mary into a tailspin. Injured from the car accident that took her husband’s life, Mary feels like giving up until she meets a man who inspires her to fight. Then, Mary finds her second wind and decides to compete in The Furnace to prove that she can move on.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of The Furnace is acceptable, including good video quality and an intriguing soundtrack. Other audio elements are also fine, but the visual special effects are quite poor. There are also some instances of shaky camera work for dramatic effect that become disorienting. However, sets, locations, and props are very professional. To round things out, the editing is fairly choppy, but some of this could be due to narrative presentation problems. Therefore, taking all this into account, this production section receives an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

The plot of The Furnace is all over the map and is mostly disorienting to the audience. The writers were clearly trying very hard to be mysterious and artistic in their story presentation, but this approach causes many scenes to go way over the viewers’ heads. Very abstract and ethereal at times, the narrative is difficult to follow as it jumps all over the place, full of coincidences and convenient turns that suit the creators’ means. Certain portions are rushed through with montages and time jumps, thus short-circuiting character development. It’s impossible to relate to the people in this plot due to the breakneck speed of the film. Expository dialogue fills in that gaps that are left by the time jumps, and many conversations are unsubstantial. Some parts feels like a dream sequence and carry a very odd tone that’s impossible to quantify. Despite some very interesting concepts that are not fully explored, there are realism errors in this screenplay, such as medical problems that are solved too easily and other lapses in logic. There’s actually a very good theme at the end of the movie, but not many audience members will make it that car. The writers tried to create big, pivotal moments, but these fall flat due to empty characters and lack of proper setup. Thus, only a meager rating can be offered here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Unfortunately, all throughout The Furnace, there are many instances of over-acting. Emotions are often too dramatic and overdriven to the point of being offensive. However, line delivery is mostly acceptable, and all performances improve as the film goes on. Some cast members are better than others. Hence, an average score is awarded for this section.

Conclusion

Many screenwriters mean well but lack proper execution in their offerings. However, in the case of The Furnace, it’s very unclear what the creators actually wanted to convey. The production, story, and acting are all over the map, making for a confusing viewing experience. In the end, this screenplay is an example of why proper planning is vital to the success of a movie.

Final Rating: 4 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

Dispatched [2020] (Movie Review)

Watch Dispatched | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Carl Thomas is an embattled police officer being questioned about his past actions. Thus, Carl relates why he made the choices that he did and how he’s now a different man. Will his interrogators believe his story before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

Unfortunately, the past production transgressions of JC Films have not been atoned for. Dispatched has all the same problems of past films created by this team, such as loud background sounds and echoes, not to mention the generally grainy audio quality. Despite moments of a surprisingly good soundtrack, many aspects of the score don’t always fit the mood of the scenes. Elsewhere, lighting is inconsistent, and camera work is incredibly random, including weird angles. Video quality is acceptable, but editing is quite choppy. Thus, with a tiny amount of potential, this section receives a small score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

One of the main strength areas of Dispatched is its shockingly honest portrayal of the complexity behind police problems. In this endeavor, authentic flashbacks are used to build character motive and personality. However, it all goes downhill from there as convenient and random things happen when the writers need them to occur. Similarly, obvious dialogue steers the plot in the direction that the creators want it to go rather than letting events develop naturally. The interesting exploration of the protagonist’s backstory is overshadowed by the contrived nature of the narrative. Part of this trumped-up premise is the assumption that one spiritual experience will magically make someone the most perfect Christian who ever lived. These steep character arcs are impossible to relate to, and these concerns make for very cheap messaging. Christian platitudes are used in place of meaningful lessons, thus leading to an empty conclusion. Therefore, with only a small dose of potential, this section is awarded a meager rating.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Although the acting of this screenplay leaves much to be desired, it’s still the strongest aspect of the movie. Emotions are forceful, such as cast members trying too hard to be angry. Line delivery often lacks conviction and natural register. However, the acting generally improves with time to the point where an average score is warranted.

Conclusion

When will the JC Films team ever learn? The last thing that the Christian entertainment field needs is more quantity to full up our streaming services and further turn people off to the genre. Just imagine if the budgets and efforts for each individual film were bundled together into one or two screenplays. Less is always more, so one day, we’ll hopefully see this play out in Christian entertainment.

Final Rating: 2.5 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 Perfect Race (Movie Review)

Watch The Perfect Race | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Courtney Smith-Donnelly is still teaching high school track-and-field, but when she gets the opportunity to fill in for a college track-and-field coach, which also involves coaching a former student, Courtney jumps at the chance. Much like her past experiences, Courtney faces heat for teaching basically conventional running techniques. Nobody thinks that Courtney knows what she’s doing although her advice is common-sense. Will they ever be able to run the perfect race?

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of The Perfect Race is acceptable. This includes good video quality, standard camera work, and passable audio quality. The soundtrack is generic, but sets, locations, and props are realistic and professional. Lighting is on par with industry standards. The biggest drawback in this section is the very choppy editing that makes for a confusing viewing experience. Nonetheless, the production is still above-average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Throughout this plot, many of the scenes are quite short and end prematurely, making for rushed conversations. It doesn’t help that much of the dialogue is full of boring and procedural information, thus leading to blank and empty characters. As meaningless scenes speed by one after another, the audience is subjected to proprietary sports content that involves characters who no one cares about due to lack of development. Much like the predecessor of The Perfect Race, Remember the Goal, this sequel film ridiculously shoe-horns Christian messaging into the sports elements, using empty platitudes to do so. Although the middle of this narrative explores some surprisingly interesting themes pertaining to self-esteem in relationships and Christians not liking death, it’s too little too late. These topics were not properly set up, and it doesn’t help that most of the Christian characters are basically perfect people who can fix everything really easily. In the end, there’s hardly any difference between The Perfect Race and Remember the Goal as both screenplays involve the same character being unrealistically persecuted for using basic cross-country running strategies that pretty much any sports professional would agree with. Because of these concerns, no points are awarded in this section.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Unfortunately, The Perfect Race continues the long-term Christiano tradition of poor acting. The line delivery is too quick, and emotions are quite robotic. Throughout the movie, it feels like that the cast members are simply going through the motions without conviction behind their performances. However, the acting is not all bad as the work of some actors and actresses is acceptable. Thus, a small score is merited here.

Conclusion

It’s very hard to believe that the Christiano team squeezed two full films out of this extremely limited and boring idea. There’s very little difference between The Perfect Race and Remember the Goal except that the sequel has a bit more potential. Nonetheless, this screenplay is still a relic leftover from the old era of Christian entertainment that we are hopefully transitioning away from.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Faith.Hope.Love. [2021] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When six college students are invited to a mysterious getaway in the snowy mountains of Utah, they have no idea what’s in store for them. What begins as a retreat of self-discovery quickly becomes a life-changing experience that many of them will not soon forget. How will they apply the changes that they have experienced to their everyday lives?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Faith.Hope.Love. has a good production with very few errors. One of these mistakes is the existence of background sounds. The set is fairly limited but well-utilized. As a whole, the production gets better with time, including high-quality video and camera work. The editing is acceptable, which rounds out a section that warrants a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

At the beginning of this story, the premise seems very trumped-up. The conversations are awkward and stiff, sometimes cutting off without warning. In the first half of the narrative, the dialogue feels very strained, forced, and unnatural. Many things are said without actually developing the characters, and there’s a tendency for the writers to be fixated on edgy and provocative content. However, the plot tends to get better as it goes as the characters improve due to more natural conversations. The second half of the film presents real people rather than characters representing social issues, but the initial presentation may discourage viewers from proceeding. The backstories of the characters become very strong if you wait long enough, even if the dialogue sometimes steers the screenplay in the direction that the writers want it to go, including some slight elements of propaganda. This is a testament to how strong characters can make up for other shortcomings. The conclusion is bit rushed, and the twist ending isn’t all that shocking. Thus, one point is awarded here.

Acting Quality (3 points)

For the most part, the acting is likely the strongest area of Faith.Hope.Love. Despite lacking a dynamic quality in the first half of the movie, this aspect of the film improves with time. The performances grow stronger by the second half, including believable line delivery and emotions. Thus, this rounds out an overall encouraging effort.

Conclusion

This creative team has demonstrated plenty of potential for the future, so it will be interesting to see what they produce next. With tighter storytelling and better messaging, they have nowhere to go but up. Hopefully, screenplays like this one represent a new positive trend in the Christian entertainment industry.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Cries of the Unborn (Movie Review)

Watch Cries of the Unborn | Prime Video

Plot Summary

In a sequel to The Life Zone, which nobody cared to remember, much less watch a sequel about, the horrific nonsense of the first installment is rehashed as a completely new cast of characters decides the fate of the perpetrators from the first film. These new characters form a jury who’s tasked with determining the innocence or guilt of the alleged criminals. In order for this movie to have a “plot,” one juror inexplicably thinks that the evil corporation that imprisoned three pregnant women is somehow innocent of all transgressions. She spends the entire screenplay trying to convince others, including the audience, of this fact. What ensues is a slow descent into madness that will leave you wondering how this garbage gets made.

Production Quality (-3 points)

Much like this film’s awful predecessor, Cries of the Unborn has an extremely cheap production that’s negatively impacted by other elements. Lighting and audio are quite poor, and the soundtrack is creepy. Sets, locations, and props are extremely limited. There really isn’t any editing present, and any aspects of the production that aren’t bad are washed away by all the other problems that are in this screenplay.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

How is it even possible that there was enough money to make two of these terrible movies? To self-indulge in their first creation, the writers use Cries of the Unborn to provide a bizarre commentary on The Life Zone. Doing this requires the narrative to lead the audience in one direction, only to pull out a double fake twist at the end. As a result, the plot is completely mind-bending and out-of-this-world insane, essentially presenting a demented defense of the events that took place in The Life Zone. There are so many rehashed scenes from the first film that Cries of the Unborn feels like a sick director’s commentary on The Life Zone where the creators are speaking through the characters to lecture you on why you shouldn’t hate their utter madness. Contrived dialogue and trumped-up situations force propaganda down the viewers’ throats, including a very twisted obsession with eternal punishment for certain sins that the writers deem ‘worse’ than others. In the end, the awful nature of this section drags the entire creation down to the lowest level.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

On the whole, the acting in Cries of the Unborn is uninspiring. However, this section is overwhelmed by the sheer nonsense that overtakes the entire screenplay. When a central idea is this bad, it infects every section of the movie, causing an overall negative rating.

Conclusion

Additionally, this film receives a negative x-factor point for being offensive and for pushing toxic propaganda on the audience. It’s rare that film creators fail so hard that they produce two screenplays that each receive the lowest score possible from our ratings system. This is a feat that has never been previously recorded in our experience with the field of Christian entertainment. It goes without saying that both The Life Zone and Cries of the Unborn are among the worst movies ever created, and the views espoused by these films have no place among Christianity. If the pro-life movement is to ever be effective, it must dispense with poison like these two creations and actually care about every person like Jesus does.

Final Rating: -10 out of 10 points

The Life Zone (Movie Review)

The Life Zone' Review | From the Mind of Victor Lovecraft Anderson

Plot Summary

Three pregnant women, who each intended to have abortions, are kidnapped by a powerful and creepy corporation that’s bent on forcing its pro-life agenda onto people. This unethical company intends to hold the three women captive until they deliver their unborn children. While they wait, the women are forced to explore their pasts and understand what led them to their choices. With a premise as bad as this, you can’t even imagine how strange things get.

Production Quality (-3 points)

The Life Zone is truly a creation to behold for all the wrong reasons, starting with its extremely cheap production. Poor lighting and bad audio quality make for an obnoxious experience. The soundtrack is creepy, and the sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited. Editing is choppy, and while some small aspects of the production are slightly acceptable, this section is overall negatively impacted by other elements of the film.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

Words can hardly explain how awful this screenplay is. It’s hard to believe that this plot is so honest about the radical extremist wing of the pro-life movement. The Life Zone could be a dark parody if it weren’t so propaganda-heavy and full of bizarre sequences. Tossing all conventional movie procedures aside, such as meaningful dialogue and developed characters, The Life Zone elects to take a very demented turn down some of the less-traveled alleyways of Christian culture that many don’t dare to discuss. Instead of beating around the bush, this story fully embraces a warped view of the life issue to the point that the writers are unashamedly pro-baby and anti-mother rather than being an advocate for all life, born and unborn. Dominated with extraneous documentary content that attempts to brainwash the audience, this narrative is basically a slow descent into madness. Once The Life Zone reaches its climax, which is a very sick twist ending, it becomes clear what the creators’ agenda was: demonize everyone who’s ever had an abortion. Supporting the kidnapping of pregnant women so that they can be forced to deliver their babies is a very demented idea that has absolutely no place in Christian entertainment, which is why the negative ratings fill up this review.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

Much like the other aspects of this film, the acting is quite bad. Emotions are very strained while lines are forced and unnatural. Many cast members over-act and try way too hard to be convincing. Similar to the production, this section is negatively effected by the other horrible elements of the screenplay, which gives another negative score here.

Conclusion

Additionally, The Life Zone receives a negative x-factor point for being offensive propaganda that pushes a toxic agenda. There is literally zero justification for making a movie like this. If the pro-life movement is to defend the philosophies of this film, these activists are further gone than expected. This screenplay is the epitome of why the pro-life movement in America has not been fully successful over the past few decades. All that can be learned here is how not to do it, but such a movie can also prompt us to examine the purpose of our activism to see if we actually care about all people or just some.

Final Rating: -10 out of 10 points

Timbertown (Movie Review)

Timbertown (2019) | Trailer | Eleanor Brown | Cory Kays | Adam Dufour -  YouTube

Plot Summary

There’s a murder mystery among the people of Timbertown, but most are too busy to care. However, when a logger accidentally discovers the body, an ambitious Natural Resources officer takes it upon himself to solve the case. Doing such leads him to unexpected places, and each character must determine how they will find purpose in a life that is sometimes meaningless.

Production Quality (2 points)

Timbertown has an acceptable production as a whole since it lacks glaring errors. Despite some inconsistent camera work, video quality and audio quality are on par with industry standards. The soundtrack is intriguing, and sets, props, and locations are authentic. Lighting is good, but there’s some lagging editing due to the nature of the story. Thus, in the end, an above-average rating is awarded to this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

In the beginning, Timbertown is quite boring and doesn’t accomplish very much, especially since a lot of the complicated dialogue doesn’t effectively build characters. In the first half of the plot, it’s hard to understand the point as it’s based on a vague idea that isn’t fully fleshed out. After wasting some time, the narrative suddenly changes into an anthology as if it’s a series. This element of the film is interesting because it lets the audience see the same scenes from other characters’ perspectives, thus fleshing them out and bringing more clarity to the situations. However, despite this creative aspect, the story is still a partial idea that lacks deep enough characters to carry the plot when the viewer is confused. In the final third of the movie, there’s actually a really good montage that lets the audience know the entire purpose of the screenplay, even if it’s a little too late. Working backwards to get to this point was commendable, but it left the viewer uninterested in the stakes, which begs the need for a better hook. The characters have tons of potential to be gray rather than black-and-white, so they just needed more development to fully achieve the goals that the writers had. Thus, with a good amount of prospect that wasn’t completely fleshed out, this aspect of the film receives one point.

Acting Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the acting in Timbertown is either average or slightly better. Some cast members are better and worse than others. As a while, line delivery and emotions are believable and on-point. The positive aspects, combined with the fact that some elements could be better, leads to a slightly above-average score for this section.

Conclusion

The core concept of this film would have worked much better as a series that involved more content and collaboration. Nonetheless, the creative team behind this movie has massive potential for the future as they could expand the long-neglected genre of suspense mystery in Christian entertainment. We need more faith-based mysterious that are actually engaging and unpredictable. Perhaps these creators can do this in the future.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

The Girl Who Believes in Miracles (Movie Review)

Sneak Peek of New Film Starring Kevin Sorbo and Mira Sorvino 'The Girl Who  Believes in Miracles' | CBN.com

Plot Summary

Sara Hopkins is just a regular perfect little girl who not many people take seriously. However, when she begins praying for miracles and when the miracles actually happen, others begin to take notice. Everywhere she goes, Sara can’t help but encounter a situation where she prays for a miracle that later occurs. Nonetheless, these experiences take a toll on Sara as she suddenly begins dying of an undisclosed medical condition. The only hope for her survival is for her grandfather to concoct a slightly illegal scheme to spring Sara from the hospital and, against all odds, take her to a magical lake. Can they do this questionable act before it’s too late???

Production Quality (2 points)

As a well-funded project, The Girl Who Believes in Miracles has a professional production. This is shown by good video quality and camera work. The audio quality is fine but could be better due to blank portions that lack music and a boring, generic soundtrack. Sets, locations, and props are on par, and lighting is acceptable throughout. However, there are some terrible special effects and choppy editing, but there’s enough positive here to warrant an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

This film is essentially a series of disconnected scenes that present one thing after the next, strung together with plenty of expository dialogue. As one miracle after another are spoon-fed to the audience, there’s no way to feel any emotions about what’s happening because the characters are so blank. This nonchalant presentation of important events short-circuits payoffs and prevents the viewers from understanding who the characters are. A matter-of-fact and clinical approach to this topic was a very bad idea as life-changing occurrences are treated as boring or uneventful. Besides this, the dialogue is incredibly underwhelming and empty. Conversations accomplish very little outside of information dumps, and most of the Christian characters are basically perfect. Offscreen content is skipped over for no reason other than the fact that there’s too many new characters to introduce before the absurd conclusion. After aa number of extremely convenient turns and coincidences that suit the writers’ means, the plot escalates into utter madness for the final act. One of the few enduring themes of the narrative is a fixation on a magical lake, so the ridiculous ending sequence of this movie involves all the characters, who you’re expected to care about for no reason, engineering a basically illegal and very dishonest scheme to kidnap a dying girl from a hospital so that she can go to said magic lake. This madness only works due to luck and caps off a story that gets worse as it goes, which is why this section receives negative points.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Despite the obvious flaws of the screenplay, The Girl Who Believes in Miracles actually has good acting without any glaring errors. However, some performances are a bit too dramatic and overwrought, extending beyond the scope of the cast members’ skill sets. There’s also some slight inconsistency with emotional delivery, but line delivery is on-point. Thus, an above-average score is justified here.

Conclusion

After the success of “miracle” films like Heaven is for Real and Miracles from Heaven, it’s inevitable that other creators will try to capitalize. However, The Girl Who Believes in Miracles comes to such an outlandish conclusion that many audiences will feel isolated. In the end, an obvious cash grab like this movie really should not be supported because its funding could have been better served on other projects. Before producing more click-bait like this screenplay, creative teams needs to consider what their intentions are and how their work will leave a lasting impact beyond the opening weekend at theaters.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points