Sidewalk Singer (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Kris Kivi lost everything when his family was taken in a drunk driving wreck.  Then he lost everything again when he makes a bad investment that leaves him homeless.  But while he is not liked for his homeless status, he decides to continue doing what he does best—singing.  He performs gospel songs on the side of the road for money and food.  But then he is faced with the ultimate test and he will have to decide what he will do.

 

Production Quality (1 point)

It’s clear that Sidewalk Singer has quite a limited budget.  Though video quality and camera work are fine, audio quality is a bit inconsistent at times.  The original soundtrack is unfortunately fairly annoying.  Sets, locations, and props are understandably limited.  Also, editing is quite bad as it is choppy and hard to follow.  These sorts of productions are difficult since they are so low-budget, but it seems like it would have been prudent to either wait for a bigger budget or just make a short film with what they had.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This is a very low-energy plot, which even more begs the need for it to be a short film.  The story is very boring and drab, mostly because it is a character-driven plot that contains dry and empty characters.  This is due to very uninspiring and vanilla dialogue and due to the fact that there is barely enough content here to sustain a feature-length film.  As it is, this story is very vague and hard to understand; it’s a never-ending slow full of wasted time and lacking a central purpose and point.  It’s very difficult to justify this as a full-length movie.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Though there are some good spots here, the cast is mostly overly practiced in their line delivery and unnatural in their emotional delivery.  However, the cast members probably mean well in what they do.  Yet they would have likely benefitted from acting coaching in order to deepen their performances.

Conclusion

The unfortunate thing about films like this is that, no matter if the creators meant well or not, there is basically no impact from a film like this.  It is too forgettable and too bland to be of interest, which really calls into question its necessity.  It is better to make a less-expensive short film to practice your movie making skills rather than to continually clutter the market with thrift store fodder.  Please learn this lesson in the future if you are an aspiring film maker.

 

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

 

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The Song [2014] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Jedidiah King has long lived in the shadow of his father David King, famous country music star.  His dad’s agents are pressuring him to make a name for himself by being his own artist instead of trying to replicate his father’s glory days.  Jed doesn’t know where he is going to receive his inspiration until one day, while scoping out a new gig in a small town, he meets a girl who changes his entire outlook on life.  She inspires him to sing for her and to write music for her, thus giving him a new direction in life.  After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Jed’s music for his new wife suddenly lands him with unexpected popularity with the public.  His new agent convinces him to use his new identity to make a name for himself in the entertainment industry, and all seems well at first.  But as Jed is asked to make compromise after compromise in exchange for more popularity, he finds his world crashing down around him.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

For a first time church production, The Song has high production quality.  The camera work is great and the sets are well-constructed.  The movie has an overall real-life feel.  There are a lot of artistic and musical overlays that give the movie a character of its own.  It seems directed and produced well, except where editing is concerned.  Some scenes seems unnecessary and the movie has several additional endings that make it drag on.  Otherwise, there is nothing wrong in this category.

Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)

The Song deals with some very difficult yet realistic topics.  The plot is a mixed bag due to this and due to the fact that it is problematic to transpose a Biblical story on top of a modern day setting.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this concept, some elements of it come off as cheesy, such as the character names.  But still, it is a noble effort.  As previously mentioned, the issues portrayed in the plot are not completely family-friendly.  While the issues explored do not need to be ignored, as is a common Christian custom, Box Office Revolution feels that they should have been presented in a more palatable manner.  A lot of time is spent on depravity, which is to be expected when depicting an allegory on King Solomon.  Still, it is done in a pretty good manner.  Yet BOR feels that potential was left on the proverbial playing field.

Acting Quality (2 points)

The acting is pretty good, considering this is a basically ‘amateur’ cast.  Sometimes they did not have much to work with, but some of the lines and delivery seem forced.  Still, Alan Powell and Ali Faulkner are great in their roles.  In the end, The Song shows that ‘professional’ actors are not always needed.

Conclusion

The Song is a difficult movie to contend with for multiple reasons.  Fame and popularity are corrupting, and Christians do not need to be ignorant of these real issues.  However, dwelling on depravity too much reduces a potentially redemptive movie to average Hollywood garbage.  The Song walks the line between redemptive and hopeless, and BOR is uncertain which side it falls on in the end.  However, the message is important and may reach audiences outside of the church effectively.  In short, this is a great movie for a beginning crew, and we expect greater things from them in the future.

 

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points