Recent Releases from Pure Flix Entertainment
by Phil Boatwright


Pure Flix Entertainment produces, distributes, acquires and markets Christian and family-friendly film properties. For more information about this company and those behind it, go to www.pureflixentertainment.com.

Here are a few of their most recent releases:

Johnny

Everyone has a special mission – this is the message in the new Pure Flix Entertainment DVD release, Johnny.

FILM SYNOPSIS: When Dr. Drew Cater (Mel Fair) tragically lost his ten-year-old son in a car accident while his wife was driving, he didn’t expect to lose his whole family as well. Since the accident, his wife, Julia (Musetta Vander), has become emotionally absent from Drew and their daughter, Kayla (Aubyn Cole).

Dr. Miller (Lee Majors – yes the old bionic 6 million dollar man himself) refers Johnny (Jerry Phillips), a foster child with leukemia, to Drew. The wheels start to turn and Drew sees a chance to heal his family. He is desperate to bring his family together, plus he feels a genuine caring for the sick boy, so he sets out to adopt his newest patient. Johnny is convinced he has a special mission in life. The mission becomes his new foster family.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Now, here is a film with an objective if ever I saw one. But the objective is to get people to thinking about salvation through Jesus Christ. Hard to top that objective. Though it is message-laden, it’s actually pretty good, with sincere performances and good production values despite its budget restraints.

I viewed this drama with my two nephews, one 12, the other 10. At film’s end, we each agreed that it was a tough one. After all, it deals not just with a dying child, but with the loss of another, which has brought an unrelenting grief (until the final scenes) to a guilt-ridden mother. But I was glad I showed it to the boys. I think kids should see another side of death, not just the iPad game versions with their endless CGI carnage. Handled properly, the subjects of death and eternity can stimulate thoughtful dialogue between family members.

Not rated, I found nothing objectionable. That said, due to its serious scenario, parents should be there to comfort little ones and be able to answer questions about the loss of a loved one. Special features include a commentary track and behind the scenes.

Forgiven

Pure Flix Entertainment presents their answer to Unforgiven with the new straight-to-DVD family-aimed western, Forgiven.

FILM SYNOPSIS: It’s 1887 and Jake Kincaid (Alan Autry, who also directs) has just been released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. His heart is seeking vengeance on those responsible for landing him in jail, but he’s also very interested in finding the gold he was accused of stealing. In his quest, Kincaid finds himself in the small town of Fairplay. Here he meets an independent woman trying to do it all on her own, and a mischievous little girl with a quest of her own – finding something to fill her lonely heart.

Fairplay is where Kincaid learns that love is far more powerful than hate and that redemption is more precious than gold.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It’s cornball, but good cornball. Entertaining, with strong messages of faith mixed in with every cowboy cliché known to oater authors, Forgiven has the prerequisite western violence, with punches thrown and guns pulled – and our hero loves to pull a cork now and then – but the performances are solid and the story interesting. Mr. Autry (any relation to Gene, couldn’t find out), is no John Wayne (but then who is), but he’s sincere and does a credible job.

Main problem: the sound. Cowboys on the wide open range sound like they’re talking in a closet. It’s an amateurish production value and deadly for a movie mostly taking place outdoors. Had that one technical element been more skillfully handled, the whole production would have had a more powerful resonance.

Not rated, it does contain some violence and drinking, but no cowboy cussin’ and the messages are uplifting and spiritually sound.

Run On: A Comedy with Errors

Keeping with their interest in diversity, Pure Flix Entertainment gives DVD viewers a comedy, headed by three Christian comedian/actors: David A. R. White (In the Blink of An Eye, The Moment After), Tommy Blaze (Rumplestiltskin, Friends), and Brad Stine (Apostles of Comedy).

The tree funny men share a stage and tell of their own prodigal journeys. Though each story is from a unique experience, they weave seamlessly together to form the oldest human story of all, the futility of trying to “run” from God.

PREVIEW REVIEW: More edgy than other stand-up concerts, the three comics work in tandem to bring you insights concerning their life experiences and how they came to terms with life, as well as peace with themselves. Entertaining, insightful and inspiriting. And very funny!

Not rated, though somewhat more edgy and containing a few minor expletives, I found nothing objectionable as the three men reveal how you can be witty, droll, and clever without resorting to crudity or obscenity.

Forevermore

The true story concerns Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman to be executed in over 100 years. Focusing on this convicted pick-axe killer and former prostitute, it dramatizes Tucker’s emotional journey as she experienced the depths of despair and finds a personal triumph while on death row. It’s a story about love, forgiveness and redemption.

Though the message is solid (the power of God to change a life), the production’s “church-film” values are sugary to the point of tooth decay. The acting is poor and the story structure, well, there is none. This isn’t so much a movie as a sermon set to soap opera format. The producers would have been wiser to tell Ms. Tucker’s story via a documentary. Somewhere, there’s film of her being interviewed by Larry King. Set that around the memories of those affected by Karla Faye during her stay on death row and the message wouldn’t have been hindered by amateurish filmmaking.

I have refrained from the use of bad jokes to describe sitting through this film as I wouldn’t want to insult the memory of a sister in the Lord. And you never know what or how the Holy Spirit will use one of these low-budgeted church films to affect a life. But I was far more moved by the 1995 Hollywood production Dead Man Walking. Starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, that production was surprisingly open to all sides of the capital punishment debate. In it, the gut-wrenching plight of victims of crime was never overshadowed by the fate of the perpetrator. And while Ms. Sarandon and director Tim Robbins are renowned for their extreme political and social ideals, here they seemed tempered by an openness to every point of view. The audience was never subjected to sermonettes, but rather we saw average people dealing with terror, loss, guilt and forgiveness. Although I hesitate to recommend Dead Man Walking due to the R-rated material, the strong message of the courage and strength of Jesus overrides the movie's brutality. (at least for me). The events of this true story reveal how a heart ruled by patience and faith can "move mountains." Several ending scenes focus on the outcome of a life dedicated to spiritual truths. We see how a hurting and ignorant heart can be changed when we live the greatest command - love.

Not rated, the material in Forevermore is aimed at mature viewers, with a strong message about redemption and faith in Christ. Starring Karen Jazek, Kenny Jazek, Ann Ault, Helen Gibson and Joanie Castillo. Directed by Helen Gibson, the 118-minute film also contains interviews with the actors.

Reconciliation

A provocative story about an estranged father and son struggling to overcome the heartbreaking consequences of their past.

Grant Taylor (Eric Nenninger – Malcolm in the Middle) has been troubled by intense childhood memories ever since his wife, Sara (Chelsey Crisp – CSI:Miami), gave him the exciting news…”You are going to be a dad!” As fatherhood nears, Grant privately wrestles with his embarrassment and anger toward his own father (Jack Maxwell (24, Lost). His memories come to a head when Sara receives a call informing them that Grant’s dad, Jeff, is terminally ill and his last wish is to see his son. With Sara’s encouragement, Grant reluctantly goes to see the man he disowned at his 10th birthday party, when he found out his father was gay. At the hospice, father and son confront the past as they come face to face for the first time in 16 years.

Rated PG for adult subject matter.