When We Last Spoke (Movie Review)

When We Last Spoke" Official movie sizzler! - YouTube

Plot Summary

Evangeline and Juliet, once they were abandoned by their mother after their father was drafted into the Vietnam War, were raised by their grandparents in a small Texas town. However, the sisters always wondered when they would see their mother again even as she sent them gifts and letters. As time went on, the two sisters grew apart due to various circumstances and family secrets. Now that they’re adults, will they be able to reconcile their differences to help their family?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

It’s no surprise that a well-funded film like When We Last Spoke has high production qualities. Video, camera work, and audio all meet industry standards. The sets, locations, and props demonstrate attention to historical detail, which is important for a period drama. The soundtrack is mostly average but fits the time period. The only flaw to note here is the somewhat choppy editing, but this seems to be a consequence of the plot. Therefore, a high score is warranted for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Despite having source material, When We Last Spoke has one of most bizarre story presentations of recently released works. The past and present narratives are often blurred as the writers push one thing after another on the audience. As a stream-of-consciousness plot, it feels like a collection of disconnected and completely mindless scenes, most of which lack clear direction or purpose. There’s an unusual amount of unnecessarily edgy content that’s explained away in strange manners, and whatever Christian message was supposed to be portrayed is extremely vague. In attempts to create so-called twists, the viewer is purposely led in one direction only to be taken in another, thus making them feel extremely forced and shoehorned. In what’s supposed to be a character-based story, dialogue and conversations are basically meaningless, doing nothing to adequately develop the characters but instead wasting the audience’s time. Because of various problems and no real potential, this area can’t be given any points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

There are some moments of good acting in When We Last Spoke, and some cast members are better than others. However, there are some instances of uneven line delivery and generally unsure performances. Elsewhere, obnoxious and shocking emotional outbursts mar certain scenes. Despite a dose of positive, this section is overall below average.

Conclusion

This film is just another well-funded and heavily publicized creation that’s gone down the tubes. At this point, Christian audiences are growing tired of being told that screenplays are good only to be disappointed by them. There’s little patience left, and the number of consistent viewers is ever-shrinking. Just because you have money and recognizable cast members doesn’t mean your movie is automatically good. The funding for When We Last Spoke could have been used to bring an actually transformative book to the big screen, but instead, we just have a waste of time.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

The Reliant (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

When the American dollar literally collapses overnight, a family is attacked by desperadoes and is forced to take their gun supply and survival gear into the woods behind their house in order to fend for themselves in the elements. However, the men who gunned their father down are still in pursuit (for some reason), which forces the family to either band together or tear each other apart as they try to defend themselves and survive in the brave new world of looting and living off the land. What will become of them all?

Production Quality (1.5 points)

It’s clear that the money that was donated by people (so that they could be listed as executive producers on the credits) was mostly well-used and not only spent on guns and weaponry. Video quality and audio quality are good, and since the film is mostly filmed in the outdoors, this definitely helps things. The soundtrack is also passable. However, much of the camera work is shaky and dizzy in the name of being action-oriented. Also, most of the indoor scenes are unnecessarily dark and poorly lit. Further, the editing is extremely choppy, which makes things hard to follow, but there are likely other factors to this problem, such as the plot.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

From the get-go, the story makes zero sense. There’s no reason why the world would immediately descend into chaos basically in one day due to the sudden collapse of the dollar. How did it happen? What led to this extreme result and knee-jerk looting? This idea is too big and expansive to focus ninety percent of the plot on a collection of characters wandering around in the woods with guns. Did we mention that this movie is OBSESSED with guns? It holds nothing back in being outright propaganda that’s desperate to both create further political divide and garner the attention of powerful lobbying organizations. These concerns aside, there are tons of characters in The Reliant, and while flashbacks are used throughout, it’s not enough to make up for other problems, such as awkward conversations about vague things that are occurring in the world outside the forest, shoehorned Christian concepts, cheesy survival concepts, and outright fundamentalist messaging. Much like Unplanned, there was much fake outrage about The Reliant‘s so-called undeserved MPAA rating, but once again, the rating was actually justified due to the high amount of needless violence without proper balance. Regardless of this, the characters of The Reliant have extremely steep arcs and lack proper motivation for their actions as things just randomly happen one after another, and the plot lacks clear direction or purpose other than to shove certain worldviews down viewers’ throats. Hence, this section’s negative rating is given due to propaganda and due to total pointlessness.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Throughout nearly every scene, the cast members of The Reliant are coached to exhibit extreme emotions, including a lot of yelling and screaming. Though there is some potential despite these annoyances, dramatic and tense scenes are totally butchered either with awkward line delivery, off-beat emotional delivery, or general uncomfortability with the given roles. In the end, there is little good to highlight in this movie.

Conclusion

After the screener was provided for this film, one of the creators strongly requested that they be given the chance to “approve” this review before it was publicly posted. Surprisingly, this was the first and only request we’ve ever received for this to happen. Moreover, it further shows the amount of control that’s surrounding this movie and reflects the mentality behind its creation. Films like The Reliant have a clear agenda to push on their audiences and purposely make themselves lightning rods for controversy with the hopes of garnering attention from certain groups. There were no attempts in this movie to craft a meaningful plot based on accessible characters, so even if the creative team had the best message in the world, it’s still not correctly packaged. In the end, there are just too many issues here to discern any amount of potential there might have been in this half-baked idea.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

The Reliant (October 2019)

Coming to theaters October 24, 2019 from Fervent House Media

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Writer(s): Patrick Johnston

Director(s): Paul Munger

Producer(s): Patrick Johnston, Elizabeth Johnston, Paul Munger, Brian Bosworth, Kevin Sorbo, Eric Jellison, Tim Schmidt, Doug Yeary, Betty Yeary

Starring: Kevin Sorbo, Eric Roberts, Brian Bosworth, Mollee Gray, Jenn Gotzon, Julia Denton, Kevin Wayne, Ian Lauer, Blake Burt, Josh Murray, Kiera Strauss, Brian Friday, Marisa Hampton, Tyler Sanders, David Benham, Jason Benham, Tim Schmidt, Nicole C. Mullen, Rusty Thomas, Nico Zahniser, Jesse Boone, Jonathan Bocinsky

Plot Synopsis: When the dollar collapses, widespread rioting and looting ensues, and five children tragically lose their parents in the chaos. Armed with a couple of their father’s weapons, they are able to survive in a stretch of woods on the outskirts of their burning town. Facing starvation and threats from encroaching gangs, they begin to doubt God’s love. Will God answer their prayers, or must their faith remain blind to facts?