Grace of the Father (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

When a family’s mother dies, the father decides to move with his kids back to his wife’s birthplace. Tired of being under the thumb of a ruthless land owner, they want to have a farm of their own like the mother always wanted. However, the adopted son doesn’t want to live their new life and promptly leaves when he’s old enough. Will he come to his senses and return to the family who loves him?

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite acceptable camera work and video quality, the lighting in this production is inconsistent, including some dark indoor scenes and weird soft light in random places. Audio quality is all over the place due to poor microphones, background echoes, loud background sounds, and a generic soundtrack. Special effects are very cheap, and production elements, such as sets, locations, and props, don’t adequately portray what they’re supposed to represent. Nonetheless, some slight production improvement in the film’s second half is enough to earn a point for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Although the characters in Grace of the Father are slightly realistic at times, they mostly tend to be stereotypical due to obvious dialogue and circular conversations. The perfect Christians have unrealistic responses to tragedies and seem unaffected by a key family death, choosing to rely on mindless platitudes and exhibit random emotional outbursts that don’t fit the contexts. Elsewhere, it’s difficult to know what to focus on as the random subplots are simply strung together, causing the narrative the aimless wander in purposelessness. Valuable time is wasted on musical montages that accomplish nothing, and the story meanders all over the place without giving the audience a reason to be interested in it. However, in the final fourth of the plot, a slightly interesting twist is revealed that could have been interesting. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to redeem the other pointlessness in the movie, and many viewers will never make it far enough to see the ending. Thus, only a small score can be granted here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

For the most part, the acting in this film is passable even though the emotions tend to be flat and unrealistic. There’s nothing particularly dynamic or awful about these performances. However, they trend negative as the movie progresses. Therefore, only a point can be warranted here.

Conclusion

Lazarus Filmworks consistently puts out screenplays but has never been able to hit the average mark. They seem to mean well in what they do, but there’s always too many things holding them back from better ratings. Grace of the Father is no exception to this tendency, and there’s simply no more room in Christin entertainment for subpar efforts. In the future, creative teams like this one need to reassess their current direction and see where God wants them to go in the future. Collaboration is likely the best option for most creators.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

No Place in This World (Movie Review)

No Place in This World Movie Trailer | FlixHouse.com - YouTube

Plot Summary

Two girls are stuck in a bad home situation, and bullies at school only make matters worse. However, tragedy strikes when school officials and those close to the girls fail to act in time. Will the community be able to come together and prevent future crises?

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Although this production has fine video quality, the audio leaves much to be desired. Background sounds and cheap sound special effects are annoying, and the soundtrack sometimes overpowers other sounds. Camera work is okay at times, but there are also some tight shots and odd camera angles. Sets, locations, and props are not quite up to par. Further, the editing contains a lot of quick cuts and transitions. Nonetheless, there is some slight improvement throughout the film’s sequence, which is enough to warrant an average rating for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

Despite a choppy introduction sequence and initial dialogue that pushes issues rather than developing characters, there’s a surprising amount of potential in this plot. At first, many of the characters seem to only represent social concerns rather than people even though most of the highlighted problems are definitely realistic and worthwhile to look at in movie form. However, the conversations between characters do improve as the narrative proceeds, and the family issues that are presented are unfortunately believable and could exist anywhere. Connecting these negative elements to school struggles was a very good aspect of this storyline despite the fact that it’s a very sobering exploration of everyday pain that many experience. It’s also a hard look at the problem of evil and the church’s response to this concept. In the end, the plot has a very meaningful conclusion even if it’s quite sad. In conjunction with the first half being improved, it would have been better for this narrative to end on a better note of hope and redemption. As it is, many audiences will be isolated by the ending, and this blunts any impact the story would have otherwise had.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Despite a bit too much screaming, most of the cast members are okay in this screenplay. Child acting is not bad, and emotions outside of the yelling are acceptable. Some line delivery is a bit quick while other parts are fine. Overall, these factors contribute to an average score for this section, which rounds out a respectable effort.

Conclusion

No Place in This World is another film in need of a remake or adaptation. It’s an example of all we ask entertainment creators to do: put your best foot forward and see what God does. Though there were some definite areas in need to improvement, it’s clear that the team behind this movie were really trying to make something quality, so it will be interesting to see what they do next.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Finding Normal (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

While driving to her destination wedding location in the Hamptons, Dr. Lisa Leland has an unfortunate run-in with the local law enforcement of Normal, Louisiana.  Due to her new speeding ticket and unpaid parking tickets, a local judge decides to give Lisa a choice between community service or jail time.  Lisa chooses community service and finds herself as the new town doctor.  While begrudgingly performing her duties, Lisa clashes with the town lawyer, who is in the middle of a heated legal battle.  Finally forced to slow down in her fast-paced life, Lisa realizes there is more to her existence than just making money.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

The production quality of Finding Normal is better than usual, but it is still only average.  The camera work is passable, as are the video and sound qualities.  The sets and locations are limited and seem cheap.  The editing is all right, but there is not really much to work with.  Overall, Normal is a step above other PureFlix movies that contain glaring errors, probably since it was made for TV, but it is still not as good as it should be, knowing how much funding PureFlix has available to them.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

The plot content is really where this movie takes a nosedive.  For starters, it is a typical small town hostage plot in which a big city character gets stuck in a small town with every cliché imaginable: little to no cell phone coverage, a local judge with an agenda, a police officer that pulls over newcomers, a small church with typical church events, a predictable town event, and even fishing.  Besides this, the storyline is trumped up and inaccurate—local jurisdictions cannot enforce parking tickets in other states.  It is a stretch to believe that being a doctor could count as community service.  In other news, an unrealistic religious freedom case is inserted into the film, along with some save the farm plot elements.  In the wake of this nonsense, the characters are empty and the dialogue is painful.  The ending makes little to no sense—the whole movie seems like it was forced to happen.  Unfortunately, there is nothing good to say here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

The acting is not as bad as it could be, but it is also not as good as it could be.  Candace Cameron Bure is average at best.  The surrounding cast tries too hard to have a ‘small-town feel’.  Overall, there is nothing dynamic enough here to warrant any more points.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that this type of movie has been done before, too many times.  There is nothing new about a big city character getting stuck in a backwards small town and being forced to slow down their fast-paced life.  When these types of movies are being pitched, creators need to be challenged to change it up and do something that hasn’t been done before, even something slightly different.  Christian films are already too replete with mediocre nonsense and we certainly do not need anymore.  We implore Christian film distributors everywhere to use the funding they have to make one truly dynamic movie, one that can change cultures, not five more that will be forgotten in a few years.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points