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

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The Griddle House (Movie Review)

Image result for the griddle house movie

Plot Summary

Jack Benson never knew his birth mother, and this fact has always caused his pain. That’s why he takes the opportunity to run when he gets a vehicle for his sixteenth birthday. However, he doesn’t make it very far and ends up stopping at a local diner called The Griddle House. There, he meets an eccentric cast of characters that surprisingly helps him sort through his problems to find hope.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

For the most part, The Griddle House has a respectable production even though it’s mostly limited to a handful of sets. Even still, the props therein are realistic, and video quality is as it should be. At times, however, there is some shaky camera work as well as some odd camera angles. As a whole, the audio quality is on part with standards, even if the soundtrack is slightly generic. Further, the editing is fairly basic without any major concerns or significant positives. Therefore, this production is basically average since it’s neither horrible nor dynamic.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 points)

From the get-go, it’s fairly hard to understand the point of the story behind The Griddle House. While there’s some character potential, the dialogue isn’t enough to keep them from being generic and cardboard, even though it’s almost entirely made up of conversations. The forced comedy doesn’t help matters, especially since it’s very flat and awkward. Many scenes appear to drag on just for the purpose of filling time, and the interactions between the characters seem stiff and forced rather than natural and dynamic. The Griddle House draws a lot of comparisons with The Encounter, except with fewer Messianic characters. In the end, there’s not really that much to this movie’s plot as it’s hard to deduce the actual purpose behind the random conversations that fill the run time and don’t do enough to help us truly know the characters. This is one of those nice-try-but-not-good-enough efforts.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in The Griddle House is fine but not very dynamic. The cast is somewhat vanilla in their performances and safe in their acting. This doesn’t allow many major errors to surface, but it also doesn’t create an environment for standouts. Also, emotions are somewhat awkward throughout, and this section overall comes out as average.

Conclusion

Bearfruit Films typically likes to try different things (i.e. Rumors of Wars), but The Griddle House doesn’t quite meet these standards. It’s almost like there’s some kind of hidden idea in this film that was never fully disclosed or that there were pertinent scenes edited out that would help us understand better. The overall underlying tone is hard to grasp, which makes it difficult to discern the actual purpose. Perhaps future projects from this creative team will yield more lasting results.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

The Good Book [2014] (Movie Review)

The Good Book (2014)

Plot Summary

The Bible is a powerful book that has been changing lives for centuries.  A group of people in a small town individually face struggles and circumstances that lead them searching for fresh help, the Word of God comes to them and helps them understand exactly what they need to do.  Each situation is difference and each struggle is unique, but the same Book shows each one the way to go.  This Good Book can do the same for your life.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As an ambitious silent film, The Good Book boasts many professional elements.  The fundamentals—camera work, video quality, and audio quality—are all excellent.  In a silent film, the soundtrack is key, and this one delivers.  An original instrumental soundtrack is very effective with this type of movie.  Sets and locations are also realistic and down to earth.  The only real problem to point out here is the editing, as it is hard to follow where the movie is going.  But overall, this is a high quality production that shows great potential for the future.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

It’s not easy to integrate unrelated multiple storylines in a way that is engaging and makes sense.  However, The Good Book does this fairly well, even though we would have liked to see a little more plot continuity.  There is always going to be a ceiling for silent plots, as dialogue is absent and can only be implied.  Yet this story is understandable and powerful all the same.  The situations experienced by the characters are realistic and relatable.  The ending of the story is powerful and could almost be a movie in and of itself.  In the end, this is a great effort and shows true talent.  When Sharon Wilharm and her team make a non-silent story, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Silent acting is sometimes better for some cast members (coughcoughJennGotzoncoughcough).  With silent acting, coaching is always needed and thus, the cast members have to work to show emotion, and this usually pays off.   Though silent, what this cast is trying to convey is mostly understandable.  The main caveat here is that it seems like some cast members are trying too hard to express themselves.  But otherwise, this is a good effort.

Conclusion

The Mainstreet Productions team was wise to begin with silent films like this one and ProvidenceThe Good Book has a powerful and undeniable message and is certainly worth a watch.  We believe Wilharm and company are talented and have a lot of offer to Christian film, so it will be exciting to see what they do next.

 

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points

 

 

Full disclosure: We were provided by the creator with a copy of this film in exchange for a fair and honest review