End of the Trail [2019] (Movie Review)

End of the Trail | 2019 Movie | Drama | HD | Full Movie | English - YouTube

Plot Summary

When their father dies, three brothers are tasked with taking his ashes to their dad’s favorite place in the California wilderness. However, because each son knew their father at different stages in his checkered life, they all have different perspectives of him. As a result, each brother lives completely different lives. However, they will have to learn how to overcome their differences in order to face the future together.

Production Quality (.5 point)

End of the Trail has a surprisingly bad production for 2019. This includes poor lighting, odd camera angles, shaky camera work, and off-putting zooms. The video is a bit blurry at times, and while the audio is mostly acceptance, the soundtrack seems out of place and too loud. There are also some echoes, background noises, and extremely obvious overdubs. Flashbacks tend to have a weird quality to them. What’s more, the editing is incredibly choppy, sometimes cutting off scenes for no reason. Odd occasions of slow motion sometimes disrupt the viewing experience, and despite some very small improvements as the production does on, it’s just not enough to warrant a higher score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

From the very start, End of the Trail is guided by heavy-handed narration that comes and goes at will. It attempts to tie scenes together that seem randomly thrown together without continuity between them and out of place in the big picture. Besides being mostly boring and aimless, mindless conversations and unnecessary language produce empty characters, including strawmen depictions of non-Christians. Also, ‘bad’ characters have incredibly steep arcs and unrealistic conversions just for the sake of it. Despite this narrative’s tiny amount of potential, exploring broken family systems through intriguing flashbacks, it’s overshadowed by terrible storytelling. The plot finally crashes into a forced conclusion that lacks believable buildup and tries to claim unearned victories. In the end, this is just another one of those forgettable experiences.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Even with vanilla acting, this section is surprisingly the film’s best aspect. With nothing particularly special or horrible, the acting earns an average score. Through emotions are forced at times, there are enough good elements to justify this rating, yet it doesn’t help the movie’s overall abysmal performance.

Conclusion

As we’ve said over and over again, 2019 is not the time for such low-quality offerings. That year was particularly bloated with new screenplays, and a vast majority of them were extremely unnecessary. All they did was further contribute to the already-negative view of Christian entertainment. Hopefully, in the coming days, future creators can reverse this tide.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

Adrenaline [2015] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Joseph Jenkins is a hotshot drag race car driver, but when he is suddenly crippled in a wreck, he feels like his life is over.  As he sulks in a hospital room, he doesn’t want to see anyone, but his roommate pulls him out of his shell and gives him a new purpose in life.  Then Joseph suddenly reconnects with an old friend of his father, whom he never knew.  Joseph soon finds a new lease on life and a chance at redemption, but will he be able to make his newfound faith his own?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Adrenaline is overall a mixed bag, including the production.  Video quality is fine, but camera work is too shaky, including a lot of odd camera angles.  Lighting is poor at first, but it improves as it goes.  Audio quality is fine, but the soundtrack is sometimes too loud.  However, sets, locations, and props are very professional.  Yet Adrenaline commits a common error of indie films—imperfect editing.  Cuts and transitions are very confusing and even sometimes spastic, thus making for a lot of choppy editing.  In the end, this is a good production effort, but some kinks still need to be worked out of it.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Unfortunately, though it has some good messages, Adrenaline is a formulaic sports redemption plot with a predictable sequence.  The characters are somewhat stereotypical, though attempts are made to develop them.  However, it would be better to see them deeper because they are intriguing characters.  This can be done by making the dialogue more creative and complex.  Elsewhere, there are too many (unfortunately expected) sports and training montages, as well as a lot of wasted time.  It’s too bad because it feels like this plot has a lot of potential that it doesn’t reach.  Perhaps things will improve next time.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Even as a slightly amateur cast (except for John Schneider), the acting isn’t really that bad.  Even John Schneider is better than he has been in the past.  The cast members embrace their characters well.  The only issue to point out is some overdone emotions, but that’s easily fixed.  This shows great hope for the future.

Conclusion

With some experience working under the Kendricks, this creative team did pick up on a thing or two that they will likely be able to use to get even better in the future.  First movie mistakes can easily be forgiven, so it will be interesting to see what they have planned next.  With some better production funding and a more creative plot, as well as a continuously good cast, this team will be going places.

 

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points