Kindness Matters (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Hudson doesn’t want to do anything except hang around his house and go to work.  His nosy mother is worried about him, which is why she keeps trying to set him up with blind dates.  However, Hudson’s world changes one day when he finds a dog near his trash can and decides to take it in.  Moreover, his world changes again when the dog runs away from their camping trip and finds a new home with a single father and his son, who struggles with a speech impediment.  Perhaps this dog will bring them all together in a really sappy way.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

One thing you can say for Faith House Pictures (now re-branded as Inspiriter Pictures for no particular reason, even though they kept that same pixie-dust splash logo) is that they don’t give up.  Also, their production quality has slightly increased over the years, with the exception of Before All Others.  Still, they have figured out a way to mass produce sappy inspirational films that at least seem passable on the surface of production.  This is evidenced by good video quality and camera work.  They still use the same old sets, props, and locations we’ve seen before, such as the desert from Desert Redemption and the houses from So Help Us God and A Time For Heaven.  Also, they make themselves known with a typically cheesy and carefree stock soundtrack that was either cheap or free from some website.  At times, the audio is a bit too quiet, but the editing is basically face-value and fine.  Overall, Faith House is proving that if you stick with something long enough, you might get better at it.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Another defining quality of a Faith House film is a safe and predictable inspirational plot that is extremely sappy and is based on coincidences.  This time around, we get another rendition of the Black Beauty-style pass-the-narrating-animal-around plot.  This worn-out plot device is accompanied by the expected blank and vanilla characters that are written in Faith House scripts.  There is also a strawman ‘bad’ character, and each character has a special brand of quirky yet flat dialogue that makes things just interesting enough to keep watching, if only to see what they might say next.  However, the entire film basically boils down to being a collection of empty scenes that have just enough sappy inspirational themes (coupled with a totally pandering title) to make it a click-bait film that is ready to be added to your Amazon Prime suggested list if you frequent Christian films on this streaming service.  The Christian message is clearly fake,  but it is just enough to get you to watch, which makes this film’s only purpose to pander to a desperate inspirational audience.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Julie Van Lith, Suzanne McGown Brown, and Bill Wetherill are certainly committed to the Faith House cause.  Julie alone has appeared in every Faith House film.  Re-using cast members is another budget-conserving tactic of this company, but retaining good actors and actresses is the ideal.  Still, Faith House and company do just enough to make the acting seem realistic for their audience, even if a majority of the performances are extremely dry, flat, and boring.  Emotional and line delivery seem like they’re phoned in, and there are basically no extras in this film, but it’s not all bad.  Once again, Faith House does the bare minimum to stay relevant.

Conclusion

You can’t fault Faith House’s marketing model: they are running circles around other Christian film makers and their ‘lucrative’ distribution deals that run their ideas into the ground and conceal them in the closed world of Christian film festivals.  After watching every Faith House film to date, we are convinced that they are trolling Christian audiences, but they have proven their point: if you want to get your movie out there, put it directly to Amazon Prime Video.  No exclusive distribution deals, no film festivals, not even review screeners–put it straight to the audience you want to reach and spoon-feed them the message they want to hear.  Doing this is a marketing genius, and our analytics team has confirmed its success as Faith House reviews are among our most viewed posts.  This is not a coincidence, and this is an important message to aspiring film makers: for your first film, you won’t make much money, and it’s likely that Amazon won’t help you turn large profits, but it’s worth it to get your content out there at the beginning so that people know who you are.  Granted you have a good story to tell in the first place, you can grow from there.  Amazon may be Buy-N-Large, but they’re a platform that better Christian film makers can use to gain a voice in an increasingly crowded market.  Marketing matters.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

 

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A Time for Heaven (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Ronald Mitchell lays dying in his own bed as his organs are shutting down, so home healthcare nurse Julie is called upon to make him comfortable as he passes into the next life.  However, she doesn’t just want to make her patients comfortable—she wants to leave a lasting difference on their lives.  Ron is all alone, so Julie sets out to find his long-lost children, whom he gave up for adoption.  Little does she know that the search will lead her to surprising results.

 

Production Quality (1 point)

As usual for Faith House’s newer productions, there are a few good production elements, but not enough.  Video quality is fine, as is audio quality, yet there is some randomly shaky camera work, and the soundtrack is Faith House’s usual silliness.  Sets, locations, and props are okay, but they are very limited and cheap.  Lighting is also sometimes an issue.  Furthermore, the editing is poor, including lagging scenes and awkward fade-outs.  Basically, at the rate that Faith House puts out these dumb movies, there’s no way they can be quality.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

It never fails that the Faith House team can come with a childish, silly story that’s based on a flimsy premise and unrealistic occurrences.  Do they even research the situations they want to portray in film before making them?  Their stories are based too much on coincidences and leaps in logic, not to mention the fact that the characters therein are ridiculous.  Faith House also writes the strangest dialogue, and all of these goofy elements are present in A Time for Heaven.  There is no sense of reality in the pursuit of forcing a childish conclusion with a cheap Christian message.  Basically, much like Before All Others and their other wonders, A Time for Heaven is another pointless film that never needed to be made.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Constantly casting Mitch Etter and Julie Van Lith in your films is not a good idea if you want to have a good cast.  Not only is this cast very small, but it’s not really any good.  Every cast member just does their own thing with no much direction.  There are quite a few obvious line errors and emotions are laughable.  In the end, this is once again a newer film that had no reason to be released.

Conclusion

Though we know that outfits like The Asylum are purposely creating parody films, it’s very difficult to know if companies like Faith House, Stronger Foundation, Tender Shoot, etc., are actually serious.  Films like this one are funny for all the wrong reasons and only further serve to continually muddy the waters of the Christian film market.  Whoever is funding these nonsense films needs to seriously stop and demand some quality.

 

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

 

So Help Us God [2015] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Eddy gets laid off from Fazzle Glue, whom he has worked for over twenty years, his self-parody gothic daughter decides that the only logical thing to do is to take Grandpa Will to the magical tree where he used to go with Eddy’s mother so Grandpa Will can bury her ashes under it.  Yeah, he carries her ashes around in an urn all the time.  So they decide to take Eddy’s wife, who somehow has Parkinson’s disease, and both annoying daughters along for an RV trip into the middle of nowhere.  And the youngest daughter brought her pet goat along, naturally.  Come along for a goofy ride you’ll never forget!

 

Production Quality (1 point)

Surprisingly, So Help Us God is an improvement from past Faith House productions, but that’s not really saying much.  At least video quality is clear and camera work is somewhat improved.  Audio quality is still a problem, however, and this film has the goofiest soundtrack ever.  Sets and locations are on the rise, if you count having a few buildings besides the RV.  Also, the flashbacks have an unusually different quality about them for some reason.  But as usual for Faith House, there is no editing present—all content is included, which isn’t much to begin with.  In the end, this is Faith House’s best production to date, which really shows how much of a mess they are.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Similarly, this is the most complex plot Faith House has to offer, but once again, this is not saying much, as it still makes no sense.  The entirety of the plot can be found in the trailer.  Most of the comedy is very corny and forced, and thus, it falls flat.  This story is funny for all the wrong reasons.  The premise and the characters therein are highly eccentric, seemingly on purpose.  It wastes tons of time on silly asides and typical activities of daily living, not to mention long and confusing flashbacks that only convolute things.  Finally, everything is easily and juvenilely fixed in the end, leaving the audience feeling like they just wasted their time.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Besides some typical Faith House cast members, we see a few additions in So Help Us God, even though they are all overall wacky and self-parody.  Though they can sometimes be funny and entertaining, there is too much shouting and mumbling.  Emotions seem childish.  Basically, another standard Faith House acting job.

Conclusion

This title is highly apropos as we conclude our Faith House binge.  Faith House certainly needs help from a divine source if they are going to continue to roll out silly and nonsensical films.  For that matter, the whole of Christian entertainment needs divine intervention if these are things that are being made and are being marketed as accessible Christian film.  What are non-Christians and sensible Christians supposed to think of this childishness?  There is such a thing as a good comedy, and there’s also unfortunately such a thing as an unintentional comedy.  Unfortunately, So Help Us God is more of the latter.  But at least we’re done with Faith House…for now…

 

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

 

A Box of Faith (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Dior’s father is framed and arrested for something he did not do, she has no choice but to abandon the motel room they were living in so that she can hide from the social worker who wants to help her.  Because otherwise, this movie wouldn’t have a plot.  As Dior walks from one park bench to another and one street to another, her social worker does crossword puzzles and randomly drives around hoping to find her.  Dior must live in a storage unit during all of this and wait for the plot to come to an end so everything can be fixed.  The question is not will things for resolved, but will you stick around for them to be resolved?

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

The one thing we can say for this half-baked production is that it has clear video quality.  Otherwise, there are no positive aspects.  Camera work is very shaky and lighting is very inconsistent.  Audio quality is very poor, including loud outside sounds and an annoying soundtrack.  Sets and locations are very limited, as usual for Faith House.  Once again, there is no editing present as every possible amount of content is squeezed out of this non-film.  Essentially, A Box of Faith is another lame excuse for a production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

With barely any plot content to work with whatsoever and a completely aimless story, what is anyone supposed to learn from this.  Due to the silly dialogue and a shallow and trumped-up premise, it’s very hard for the audience to connect with the struggles of the characters.  They just wander around the whole time and do absolutely nothing of note.  With so few characters, we should know a lot more about them as they stand around and talk, but we don’t.  The plot overall is too trite and unserious and there is thus no real justification for its creation.  The Faith House team needs to take a serious look at the content they are spitting out.  Constantly generating half-wit ideas just for the sake of creating more movies is a blight on Christian film.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

While there is some good here, A Box of Faith provides yet another empty and robotic cast.  We’re sure these people mean well, but they have absolutely no coaching.  Just stiffly sitting there or standing there saying lines doesn’t cut it.  There is no emotion exhibited at all.  But this is just another day at Faith House.

Conclusion

Complex story ideas are hard to come by, but extremely limited yet forced plots like this one should be a thing of the past.  There is very little potential and\or purpose to movies like A Box of Faith.  Faith House movies are a total embarrassment to Christian film, and we hope the day comes that movies like it are no longer so common place.

 

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

 

A Calling of Courage (Movie Review)

Fauston’s brain machine

Plot Summary

Sergeant Major Kurt Roberts is called home from his duty when his teenage daughter, Zoey, is in a car accident that leaves her in a coma.  Since her prognosis is unknown, Zoey is allowed to go back home to stay until she comes out of her coma.  Under the care of her parents and an in-home nurse, Zoey lays in a coma for months.  Then her nurse decides to bring in an old friend to experiment with his new brain machine that can communicate with people who are in comas.  What could go wrong?

 

Production Quality (0 points)

It’s unbelievable that so-called productions like this are even funded.  Even so, what did they spend the money on, because there is no quality whatsoever here.  Camera work is very shaky, video quality is underwhelming, and lighting is poor in most scenes.  The sets are limited to basically one house and some outside scenes.  Audio quality is also inconsistent and the soundtrack is generic.  There is no editing as pretty much all of their empty ideas are included.  Essentially, this is not a production that needed any funding, especially since they wasted it.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

What is happening here?  The story starts as a half-baked idea about a girl laying around in a coma and three other characters caring about what happens to her and then suddenly transforms into an off-the-wall sci-fi concept, complete with Fauston’s special brain machine that can communicate with someone who’s in a coma.  Before this point, hardly anything happens and there is a lot of off-screen content.  The medical premise is strange and has a lot of plot holes.  Despite the fact that there are basically five characters in this plot, they are extremely empty and wooden.  Dialogue does nothing to develop them, even though they sit around talking all the time.  Basically, besides being bizarre and childish in an attempt to be creative, A Calling of Courage was barely justified as a plot as there is really no content to speak of here.  Thus, there is no point in any of this.

Acting Quality (0 points)

With basically five to seven cast members, one of which lays in a bed a majority of the film, there is not much to work with here.  The cast members are robotic and empty in their line delivery and in their emotions.  We can’t relate to them as real people.  Also, there is an odd portrayal of military service members.  In short, like the rest of this horrific mess, the acting has nothing to offer.

Conclusion

As we will see this week, the theme of Faith House Pictures is having the bare minimum resources required to slap together a half-baked movie just for the sake of making it.  Their model seems to be to acquire the funds necessary to have basically one set, less than ten cast members, and the cheapest possible production equipment, and combine this with a tiny plot idea that includes some eccentric element(s).  There is no justification for Faith House Pictures to exist, and yet they do.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

 

My Refuge [2013] (Movie Review)

Yeah, this picture pretty much explains this movie

Plot Summary

A whole bunch of Americans were minding their own business when BOOOOM!  New York City blew up in an atomic holocaust!  The lives of who knows how many random people are all impacted in various ways as they watch their televisions and listen to their blaring radios in the midst of having other conversations and posting stuff online (and dusting).  Through split screens, you can see multiple subplots happening at once to save time!  Will all these virtually unknowable characters be able to find the meaning in life after the off-screen explosion threatens to destroy their very lives (and Israel)?

 

Production Quality (-3 points)

What. In. The. World. Did. We. Just. Watch.  Seriously, there is nothing since Final: The Rapture or Saving Christmas that is remotely comparable to the disaster that is My Refuge.  There are so many things going on at once in this movie that I have no idea where to start and I doubt I’ll be able to cover it all.  Besides the fact that it looks like it was made on Windows Movie Maker and recorded a flip phone camera, what’s with all the split screens?!?  Why do we need multiple views of the same scene at once?  We can’t handle watching three subplots all play out at the same time, combined with the loud, clunky soundtrack and news reports!  We can’t hear what people are saying when a news report is blaring in the background.  Also, the cuts and transitions of this film rival that of Mercy Rule.  Sets and locations are severely limited to people’s houses and cars.  In the end, there is too much bad here to fit into one review, but the bottom line is that this disaster should have never been made.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

Why are we expected to keep up with so many characters?  At minimum, there are the characters we have identified: a newscaster trying to come to grips with the nuclear event (radiation levels are very high), a generic family whose father went to New York City for business and was never heard from again (we’re not sure if the family is ever seen again either), a young couple who is expecting their first child, a woman who works at a nondescript office who wants to spend more time with her daughter and more time writing, a retired police officer with a troubled past who wants to marry a single mother, a random family who wants to build a shelter and who takes in the father’s daughter from a previous marriage since her mother is incompetent (this daughter has lots of social media posts), a couple having marriage trouble (she dusts all the time and they have no real connection to the nuclear blast), a random guy who tries to OD on meds (again, no real connection to nuclear holocaust), two old lady neighbors who discuss the nuclear blast, a random pastor and some church people, and probably several others we missed.  There are some loose connections between all of these, but there is absolutely no way to follow what is even happening.  Continuity is in the negative range and dialogue is schizophrenic.  There is literally nothing to be learned from this train wreck and it should have never even been made, not in someone’s wildest dreams.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

Need we go on?  The acting is as horrible as the rest of this movie.  Random outbursts, screaming, mumbled lines, forced emotions, general insanity—what else is there to say?  If I were a part of this chaos, I would be embarrassed and do everything I could to keep it off of my resume.

Conclusion

When your budget is limited to $50,000, it’s never a good idea to try to portray a massive nuclear holocaust, since it mostly has to happen off-screen.  Nobody wants to see a film with at least twelve subplots that is shot in people’s houses with the cheapest equipment possible and with the most annoying soundtrack possible and that is edited by a schizophrenic.  There’s no winning here and no possible hope for improvement.  Basically, if you want to see how bad this one is, you have to see it for yourself.

 

Final Rating: -9 out of 10 points