Wings of the Wind (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Rose Cornell aspired to be a pilot in the 1940s, which was unheard of for a woman at the time.  However, due to her father’s insistence, and a set of tragic circumstances, she was unable to fulfill her dream.  As one tragedy after another impacts her life, Rose struggles with her faith and whether or not God actually cares about what happens to her and her family.  Will she be able to come to grips with the truth before it’s too late?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

KICKS Flicks always demonstrates some measure of commitment to production quality, yet Wings of the Wind is an improvement over past low quality efforts, such as Sybil Ludington and The Light of Freedom.  They always show definition dedication to historical authenticity in their films, especially when it comes to authentic set, locations, and especially props.  These are all well-constructed and thought out.  Video quality is also mostly good, except for some odd blurry flashback sequences.  Lighting is also fine except for some scenes where there is not enough.  Audio quality is stable throughout, even if the soundtrack is underwhelming.  Finally, the editing is relatively poor as the story is presented in a confusing fashion.  But overall, this production demonstrates continual improvement, which is all we can really ask.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, this plot is extremely hard to follow as it lacks clear direction and purpose.  It depicts a vague historical story that is very difficult to put your finger on for some reason.  There is definitely not enough dialogue, which leaves the characters flat.  There are also a lot of tangential subplots that have no real resolution or explanation.  However, there is still too much wasted time and there are too many pointless sequences that lack substantial content.  Overall, while it’s likely this story meant well, it is so poorly presented that it is impossible to understand fully.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

KICKS Flicks always saves themselves from total irrelevancy by committing to historical authenticity, especially when it comes to the costuming.  When it comes to acting, however, they are lacking.  While there are plenty of good moments with this cast, there are one too many scenes of over-acting and yelling, which demonstrate overly dramatic emotions.  Yet line delivery is mostly on point throughout.  Overall, Wings of the Wind is another mixed bag.

Conclusion

KICKS Flicks is showing improvement, which is one of the main things we want to see from film makers.  They also continually build their own brand to help themselves stand out in the sea of mindless and mediocre independent Christian films.  If they continue on their upward progression, then they will find themselves on top eventually.  Yet in order to do this, they seriously need to retain better plot writing and acting coaching.  But it seems like they want to get better and likely will in the future.

 

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

 

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Sybil Ludington: The Female Paul Revere (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

During the Colonial era, when the Colonists were restless and ready to be out from under the thumb of the British, Sybil Ludington, along with her family and friends, worked secretly for the independence of the Colonies from the British.  Though it wasn’t always easy and they faced plenty of opposition, in the end, they believe it was worth it to achieve freedom.  Even though she is an unsung hero, the work of Sybil Ludington still affects America today.

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

Sybil Ludington is clearly a first-time effort with poor funding.  What funding they did receive it seems was spent on the historically accurate props.  Otherwise, the rest of the production falls by the wayside.  Video quality is poor and camera work is quite shaky.  Lighting is terrible in most scenes and the sets and locations are severely limited.  Audio quality is also fairly unprofessional and below standard.  Furthermore, as usual for a fledgling independent film, editing is almost nonexistent.  In the end, though Kicks Flicks usually means well, money was clearly a problem here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Much like its successor, The Light of Freedom, Sybil Ludington highlights an important and intriguing historical story that would be easier to understand if it was presented better.  However, as it is, this film has an extremely boring presentation that plays out like a homeschooler’s play more than a movie.  What’s more is the dialogue is archaic and cumbersome in attempts to be historically authentic or something.  Thus, the characters cannot be related to and it’s impossible to even be interested in this story because of the way it’s laid out.  It’s a shame because this is probably a good story that’s worth telling in some other fashion, like one with more money behind it.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Like other sections, good costuming that reflects the historical period well is the only thing that saves this part from being zero points.  Otherwise, this acting job is somewhat unpleasant, including terrible line delivery and painfully forced emotions.  There is far too much yelling and not enough believability.  Even if you don’t have enough money to fund your production, you can still at least try to have a professional acting performance.

Conclusion

Historical fiction is a tricky and ambitious genre to take on early in one’s film making days.  Though the Burns family has had success in this area, it’s certainly not for everyone.  But even the best of film makers sometimes has a meager beginning, so perhaps we haven’t even seen the best that Kicks Flicks can do.  Maybe things will look up for them in the near future.

 

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

 

The Light of Freedom (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

In 1861, the rumblings of the Civil War were just beginning and the work of the Underground Railroad was in full swing.  Christians from the Union bravely joined the slavery abolition movement and saved runaway slaves from their evil masters.  Both the Confederacy and the Union armies pressed their male citizens into military service.  A group of friends and families is followed as they make brave and heroic decisions that forever alter the course of American history.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Though this is an obviously amateurish production, a lot of time and money was spent on making sure that the sets, locations, and props of this film were historically realistic.  They succeeded in this goal, but it was at the expense of other production elements.  Camera work is fine, especially in the action scenes, but video quality is blurry at times.  Audio quality is fine, but the soundtrack is a bit generic.  Furthermore, there is a lot of wasted time and one too many dead scenes, which reflects poor editing, even though there is a lot of content to use here.  Nevertheless, this is at least an average production that spends time making certain elements good; it is at the very least a starting point for greater things in the future.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Though this is a period of history that is very much under-explored in Christian film and though there is a lot of potentially interesting content in The Light of Freedom, this film is a collection of random disjointed stories that have no real correlation or driving focus.  Care is given to historical accuracy, but with this comes archaic Shakespearean dialogue that the viewers cannot relate to.  Most scenes are full of information dumps that do not allow the content to develop naturally.  All of the subplots and characters presented need further development so that we can get to know them better and truly understand how we can relate to what is happening.  The purpose of these stories, aside from the historical content, is quite vague, even though there are plenty of opportunities for overarching themes here.  The sheer amount of scenes that contain characters sitting around and talking about trite ideas is frustrating because this time could be given instead to truly character-building, focused, and meaningful content.  In short, while we can see a lot of potential in this story, it’s disappointing that it does not follow through.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Though this is a largely amateur cast, they are mostly fine.  They are sometimes too theatrical, but costuming is at least authentic.  There is a need among this cast for more realistic emotions, but they are at least trying, which is the best we can ask for in this situation.

Conclusion

The Light of Freedom desperately needs a remake, or at least another Civil War film like it.  This is an important period in American history for many reasons, one being that it was a time when Christians made a true difference in the culture.  Thus, we absolutely need more Christian films about this era.  It is certainly hard to be historically authentic on a limited budget, but this creative team pulls it off well.  Now if they can just improve other elements, such as characters and plot, they will be well on their way to greatness.

 

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points