Godsend [2021] (Movie Review)

Godsend (2021) - IMDb

Plot Summary

One day, a man wakes up under a bridge with no recollection of how he even got there. Thus, with no identification or memory of his former life, the man becomes instantly homeless. Mistreated by the system, the man has no one to turn to but God. Will the man ever regain what he lost?

Production Quality (.5 point)

This production has many pitfalls in it, such as terrible editing that sometimes cuts off scenes, causes obvious continuity errors, and creates poor transitions. Also, audio is overdriven, and there is a generic soundtrack that, at times, covers up over audio, possibly by design. Despite okay video quality, camera work is wild, including weird camera angles and tight shots. Special effects are cheap, and sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited. Due to all these concerns, only a small score is warranted in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

In Godsend, the writers actually explore an interesting tale of how someone can suddenly become homeless and therefore be on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination. However, it’s very unrealistic how and why people are rude, and this fact is facilitated by over-the-top “bad” characters that hate the protagonist for no reason at all. Obvious dialogue leaves nothing to chance, and several occurrences are mostly unbelievable and implausible, thus demonstrating a poor understanding of how institutions really work, such as the legal system. Also, a fundamentalist view of Christianity taints the messaging even though there some very interesting concepts to ponder in this narrative. There was a lot of potential to portray the struggles of real people, but the slight possibilities that were inherent to this idea are placed in a poor package. Therefore, because of the unrealized potential, a meager rating is awarded here.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Between extremely forced emotions and out-of-sync line delivery, the acting in this film leaves much to be desired. Many scenes appear to be done in one-take, and performances are generally mechanical. However, a tiny amount of potential in some of the cast members keeps this section from receiving a score of zero.

Conclusion

Once again, the JC Films team wasted an otherwise good idea. Imagine what would have happened if they had refrained from making so many screenplays and instead made one or two good ones. However, as their quantity-over-quality assembly line approach continues, we’ll probably never know what could have been.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Don’t Give Up [2021] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Amy Samuel is drowning in depression due to everything that’s happened to her in life. She just wants to give up and leave her life behind. However, a set of circumstances prevents her from ending it all. As a result, Amy is forced to face her past in order to pick up the pieces and move on.

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite this production having fine video quality and okay camera work, there are a number of concerns to contend with. For instance, the audio is quite bad, including background echoes and a loud soundtrack. Special effects are very cheap. Also, sets, locations, and props are a bit limited. Further, editing is quite choppy. Thus, these missteps all lead to another below-average production for JC Films.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Although the narrative is based on a true story, Don’t Give Up is a train-wreck of a film. Voiceover bridges time gaps and guides the viewer through the plot in a very heavy-handed manner. Sensationalism crowds out interesting psychological elements that provide the story with a small amount of potential. Some content is unnecessarily edgy, and expository dialogue short-circuits the sliver of potential that the characters had. Implied off-screen content makes for a confusing watch, and too many elements are unexplained as it seems like that the writers expected the audience to read a lot into various things. The time jumps create vacuums of information and a general atmosphere of random ideas being strung together with no clear focus or purpose. The flashbacks are slightly interesting since they make attempts to establish character motives, but the protagonist is fixed way too easily. It’s implied that getting saved will automatically fix clinical depression, and the story has a generally rushed conclusion. Therefore, though there is some potential in this section, only a small score can be awarded.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in this screenplay is average despite the fact that the performances are just average. Some cast members are way too dramatic in their acting, but they are balanced out by other cast members who are more even-keeled. Line deliver is mostly okay throughout the movie although some emotions are forced. While better coaching was definitely in order here, the performances overall improve with time. However, this section’s rating isn’t enough to save the movie from itself.

Conclusion

It’s commendable that Jason Campbell and his team continue to make films that are based on true stories. However, their flooding-the-market approach is still a detriment to Christian entertainment. Other production companies have tried this method in the past but have ultimately failed. At this rate, it’s hard to see how JC Films doesn’t end up with the same fate.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Dispatched [2020] (Movie Review)

Watch Dispatched | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Carl Thomas is an embattled police officer being questioned about his past actions. Thus, Carl relates why he made the choices that he did and how he’s now a different man. Will his interrogators believe his story before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

Unfortunately, the past production transgressions of JC Films have not been atoned for. Dispatched has all the same problems of past films created by this team, such as loud background sounds and echoes, not to mention the generally grainy audio quality. Despite moments of a surprisingly good soundtrack, many aspects of the score don’t always fit the mood of the scenes. Elsewhere, lighting is inconsistent, and camera work is incredibly random, including weird angles. Video quality is acceptable, but editing is quite choppy. Thus, with a tiny amount of potential, this section receives a small score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

One of the main strength areas of Dispatched is its shockingly honest portrayal of the complexity behind police problems. In this endeavor, authentic flashbacks are used to build character motive and personality. However, it all goes downhill from there as convenient and random things happen when the writers need them to occur. Similarly, obvious dialogue steers the plot in the direction that the creators want it to go rather than letting events develop naturally. The interesting exploration of the protagonist’s backstory is overshadowed by the contrived nature of the narrative. Part of this trumped-up premise is the assumption that one spiritual experience will magically make someone the most perfect Christian who ever lived. These steep character arcs are impossible to relate to, and these concerns make for very cheap messaging. Christian platitudes are used in place of meaningful lessons, thus leading to an empty conclusion. Therefore, with only a small dose of potential, this section is awarded a meager rating.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Although the acting of this screenplay leaves much to be desired, it’s still the strongest aspect of the movie. Emotions are forceful, such as cast members trying too hard to be angry. Line delivery often lacks conviction and natural register. However, the acting generally improves with time to the point where an average score is warranted.

Conclusion

When will the JC Films team ever learn? The last thing that the Christian entertainment field needs is more quantity to full up our streaming services and further turn people off to the genre. Just imagine if the budgets and efforts for each individual film were bundled together into one or two screenplays. Less is always more, so one day, we’ll hopefully see this play out in Christian entertainment.

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

Jack Jonah (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Each family member of Jack Jonah dealt in different ways with the teenager’s untimely death to opioid overdose. Kirk Jonah, his father, launched himself into a non-profit designed to provide anti-drug education to whomever will listen. Both of Jack’s parents believe they can still communicate with the dead boy, and this drives them in their efforts to save other lives from deadly overdoses. However, all of those close to Jack must ultimately come to the point where they trust that good can come out of tragedy.

Production Quality (.5 point)

While the video quality of Jack Jonah is acceptable, the camera work is often quite shaky, and the audio quality is quite poor, including loud background sounds, painfully obvious overdubs, some bouts of over driven audio, and a cheesy never-ending soundtrack that tries to cover up these problems. Additionally, lighting is inconsistent in both the outdoor locations and the indoor sets. Further, the special effects that are used are quite bad, and the editing is marred by abrupt cuts and transitions, which tops off an unacceptable level of production quality that should never be approved in the current entertainment field.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-2.5 points)

There are a myriad of problems with this film’s plot, beginning with its heavy-handed message pushing, which is joined by endless, meandering conversations that are full of forced information-dump dialogue. This causes the characters to be cardboard cutouts who represent issues rather than real people. Also, the choppy story presentation makes the passage of time seem unclear to the viewer, especially since there are many random characters and spider-webbing subplots that only have loose connections with each other. Besides the fact that many of the scenes are blankly vague and hard to understand, the plot becomes more and more bizarre as it progresses due to its weird exploration of other dimensions wherein people who have passed away can come back and talk to those who are still alive. What begins as a typically vanilla story quickly becomes a wacky drug trip into the strange, and it’s laced with an unusual air of mystery that’s not well-explained. Then, the narrative suddenly ends with little to no purpose or clear message to offer to the audience. For all of these reasons, this section receives a negative score, which drags the overall movie below water.

Acting Quality (1 point)

To cap off the other issues in Jack Jonah, its acting leaves much to be desired since most of it is robotic and stilted. Emotions are difficult to believe, and line delivery is mostly vanilla. While some cast members are somewhat average in their performances, others are simply too poor to warrant any higher score than this.

Conclusion

In their race to make as many films as possible in 2019, the JC Films team produced indefensible projects like this one. This is unfortunately yet another example of why quantity over quality is never the way to go in Christian entertainment. Additionally, this may be the only lesson future creators can learn from Jack Jonah: how not to go about it.

Final Rating: -1 out of 10 points

A Child of the King (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Dr. Wesley King and his late wife were called to the jungles of South America to aid the needy and those who were considered to be hopeless. However, after his wife died, Wesley became lonely in his mission. In the states, a woman named Donna began following Wesley’s story via the letters he sent back to his home church. Then, Donna feels called to join Wesley in his overseas mission field, and God brings them together to minister to the least of those in South America.

Production Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, there are virtually no good aspects to this production as the audio quality is poor, including echoes in the background, a random soundtrack that sometimes interrupts lines, and some invasive outside noises. Similarly, the video quality is not quite what it should be, and there is some very poor lighting throughout the cheap sets and locations. Props also leave something to be desired, and the camera work is inconsistent at best. To top things off, the special effects used therein are very bad, and the editing is extremely choppy as some scenes drag on while others awkwardly or abruptly end. In the end, any small positives in this production are outweighed by the very obvious negatives.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

From beginning to end, the storyline of A Child of the King is very hard to follow since it’s filled with blank conversations between characters and lacks an overall focus or purpose. The stiff and awkward dialogue between characters makes it very difficult to relate to them as people, and the main character is basically perfect. The plot essentially meanders around without the viewer being able to easily follow its progression, and it’s really nothing more than an informational video or mock docu-drama about overseas missions. While there may be some good ideas lost in here somewhere, people who can relate these concepts to the real world are needed to bring them to life. Further, the narrative just randomly ends in an unexpected place without any warning or resolution because that would require something to resolve in the first place.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Surprisingly, the acting of A Child of the King is its strongest point even though it’s mostly pedestrian, generic, and boring. There’s neither anything special nor horrible about the cast members’ performances, despite the fact that they have little content to work with. One bright spot is that the cast, for the most part, is culturally accurate with real accents and dialects, which is unexpected based on the remainder of the movie. Nonetheless, this average section isn’t enough to save this failed effort from itself.

Conclusion

An international film should very rarely be made in conjunction with other projects due to the time and financial freedom it requires. However, 2019 was an indicator of how committed the JC Films team was to producing as much content as they possibly could. The result of this is even more low quality Christian films to crowd out the market. Hopefully, however, the tides are still turning since Christian audiences want and deserve better than half-baked ideas.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points