Champion (2017) [movie review]

champion movie review

Champion (2017) Review

Champion (2017) starts out as a race-car movie but after 30 minutes transitions to a forgiveness movie. Or, rather, a top 10 list teaching us how to forgive and why it’s so important.

Did I stir up a little drama for you? I hope so, because it’s worth the watch. In Champion, you meet Sean Weathers, the cocky know-it-all who’s at the top of his game, Gracie “Junebug” Weathers, his nine-almost-10-year-old daughter who steals every scene she’s in, Jack Reed, the big-city-business-guy looking to reconnect with his estranged son, and Ray Reed, the up-and-coming race-car driver (and estranged son).

Both families seem to be—on the surface—in good shape until an accident during a race changes everything. Sending everyone into chaos, families are broken, lives fall apart, and just when it seems like they’re on the brink of losing everything…forgiveness steps in.

champion screenshot

Sean and Jack are encouraged to work together fixing up lakeside cabin. They discover a top 10 list Ray wrote and decide to complete each item—the final task being “learn to forgive.”

The big idea in Champion is “forgiveness doesn’t erase your past, but it does help to rewrite your future.” Forgiveness isn’t easy, in fact, it was searched for and lost several times throughout the story. And the truth is, the characters had every right to hold back forgiving. The film explores the ideas of grudges, pride, humility, challenging yourself, letting go, breaking/keeping promises, and being brave.

Champion is a touching story with only a moderate amount of preachiness. I enjoyed the story (once the car racing part was over) and loved the top 10 list. That spoke to me. I always knew top 10 lists would save the world.

Champion hits theatres May 19, 2017.


Champion (2017) Synopsis

Race-car driver Sean Weathers was at the top of his game…beautiful daughter, top sponsors, the best crew money could buy and an ego that trumped them all. Just weeks before ending the best season of his life, he was in control—or so he thought. When a grudge series with another racer turns personal, the ego and arrogance that propelled him to the top causes a tragedy that sends his life spinning.

Jack Reed was successful as a businessman, but he struggled as a father. Just when they were reconnecting, he got the news his only son Ray was dead. Through his grief Jack discovers the truth that Ray had wanted to share with him, that the road to understanding and peace would have to begin with forgiveness.

Andrew Cheney (BEYOND THE MASK) stars with Gary Graham (Star Trek “Renegades”, ALL THE RIGHT MOVES) and Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS, MOM’S NIGHT OUT). Directed by Judd Brannon (WAR ROOM), the film is produced by Brannon Pictures.

Priceless Movie Review: Blu-Ray + DVD Release February 14

Priceless Movie Review

Priceless Movie Review

When I saw the Priceless movie come up in my review queue I wondered what an inspirational film “shining a light into the dark world of human trafficking” would reveal. I mean, how do you do that?

Dubbed a romantic drama, Priceless follows James Stevens (Grammy-award winning singer Joel Smallbone from For King and Country) on a red-eye delivery with a mysterious package. Sketchy. Stevens is troubled, complicated, and in over his head. He realises this once he hears crying coming from the back of his delivery truck. What are those girls doing back there? Now what does he do?

As Stevens bonds with his delivery he’s faced with an impossible choice: deliver the girls to their destination (where they’re expecting to work as domestics to pay off their father’s debt) or…or what? So he drops them off.

The problem is, in his heart he knows what’s going on and compassion compels him to do something. This is where things get gritty. Stevens, with the help of a new friend, dives in headfirst trying to save the girls. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but he is driven—to the point of risking relationships with his family.

There aren’t any surprises in this indie drama but it does pose important questions we might find easier to ignore.

  • What does love look like?
  • What is my responsibility when I see injustice?
  • What’s a life worth?
  • How far would I go to do what I believe is right?

Answer these questions and you may find yourself in James Stevens’ shoes. Because the truth is, it’s not somebody else’s job to fix the world’s problems, it’s your job and it’s my job. It’s our job to stand up for those with no voice. If you’re a Christian, you may find some motivation from 1 John 3:17. “If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” Or how about Proverbs 25:26, “A good person who gives in to a bad person is a muddied spring, a polluted well.”

So, do I agree with Stevens’ methods to bring about change? In truth I feel conflicted, he used violence and I found it troubling. But was there another way? I don’t know. And if faced with the same situation, would I be brave enough to stand against oppression and do what I know in my heart is right? I hope so.

Priceless reminds us that human/sex trafficking is not something that only happens in other countries, but happens in our country and we all have a responsibility to do something.

Priceless is available today on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Amazon and Walmart and available on Digital HD from iTunes.

Priceless Synopsis

Inspired by true events, PRICELESS is a powerful drama/thriller about James Stevens who was, at one time, a good man with a great life—but that was then and this is now. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash—no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, he is compelled to save two beautiful and frightened sisters who are unaware of the danger that awaits them.

Can love, strength, and faith redefine his past and change the course of his future? This unlikely hero risks it all to save these women, confront the forces that oppose him and ultimately discover the life he was meant to live.

From the creative minds behind the two-time Grammy Award-winning band for KING & COUNTRY, PRICELESS stars Joel Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY), Bianca Santos (THE DUFF), Amber Midthunder (“Longmire”) with Jim Parrack (SUICIDE SQUAD, “True Blood”) and David Koechner (ANCHORMAN, “The Goldbergs”). PRICELESS is the first film from the Smallbone Brothers. Ben Smallbone directs from the script by Chris Dowling & Tyler Poelle. The film was produced by Steve Barnett (300). David Smallbone and Luke Smallbone serve as executive producers, and Jacob “Cubbie” Fink is co-producer.

To Joey, With Love [Movie Review]

To Joey With Love

To Joey, With Love is a touching tribute to a woman who impacted many lives through sharing her gifts and being true to herself.

Country music duo Joey and Rory Feek were at the top of their game—critical acclaim, awards, TV exposure, commercial endorsements, European tours, and hundreds of thousands of albums sold around the world…what could be better? How about a baby! This is where we join the happy couple. Just in time for them to take a year off their music careers to focus on what really mattered. Oh yeah, and they filmed it.

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries but none quite like this. It stays true to the synopsis—intimate home movies spanning a two-year period beginning with a beautiful baby, ending with a tragic death, and weaving an unwavering faith in God through it all. It didn’t have the cliffhangers we’re accustomed to these days but it held a quality I couldn’t ignore: authenticity. I was captivated.

Though this isn’t the path that we would’ve chosen to walk down, it is the path that’s been laid before us. So we put our faith in God and our hope in a future we can’t see. We believe that God will give us a great story.

Through the one-and-a-half-hours we’re invited to observe this piece of their story. The highs, the lows, the mundane, and the incredible. It was an honour to be invited.

Pre-orders of To Joey, With Love on DVD and on-demand are available now and digital HD will be available December 9.

To Joey, With Love Synopsis

Husband-and-wife singing duo Joey+Rory wanted more to life…so they chose less. In preparation for the birth of their child, the couple simplified their lives by putting their music career aside and staying at home, planting roots deep in the soil of their small farm, and the community they loved.

They believed God would give them a great story…and He did.

Experience the incredible true story of Joey and Rory Feek in the poignant new film TO JOEY, WITH LOVE. Intimately filmed by the couple over two and a half years, the movie documents the stirring journey of the 2010 Academy of Country Music Top New Vocal Duo.

TO JOEY, WITH LOVE takes moviegoers from the birth of their daughter Indiana, born with Down Syndrome, through Joey’s struggle with and ultimate surrender to cancer—all amidst their never-ending hope in something far greater. God gave Joey+Rory a love story for the ages, one that is sure to inspire hope and faith in all who experience it.

Voiceless Hits Theatres October 7 [Movie Review]

You know how we live these quiet, normal lives and we have things we believe and then something bad happens and we doubt everything?

Or is that just me?

And you know how we make mistakes but we get through them and we’re better people and then something bad happens and we’re thrown right back into our worst-selves and you realize you’re not over anything?

Again…just me?

voiceless

Voiceless brings us to a rough area of Philadelphia where Jesse and Julia move for Jesse’s new job at a church. At first everything seems normal—they go to work, they do their jobs, they live their lives. But then something happens and we learn perhaps Jesse and Julia aren’t doing as well as we thought.

Near the church is a women’s clinic, which performs abortions. Jesse feels compelled to visit and witnesses a protester outside the building. He watches the crowd yell insults and abuse at the protester and something changes inside Jesse. He visits the clinic more and more and finds himself in confrontations with clinic staff, pregnant teens, and passersby. The church doesn’t approve of Jesse’s apparent political swing. His wife can’t understand what has got into him. Jesse faces opposition on all sides yet continues visiting the clinic.

Through the film you witness the struggle of a man who thought he had dealt with his past but must face it again. You see a man wrestle with his faith, violent tendencies, demons from his past, and unresolved trauma. You see a couple forced to face their issues, buried deep down. Through Voiceless you are taken on a journey where you learn to follow your gut even if it’s dangerous, stand up for what you believe even if no one stands with you, and to tell the truth even when you’re scared.

On the surface this is a faith-based movie with a pro-life slant but I think if you look deeper it is a movie challenging you to confront the things you’d rather avoid, to let yourself feel and hurt, and to be brave no matter what.

This film made me think and I’m glad for it. It was ambitious and tried to accomplish many layers of plot and character development, which left me a bit confused, but overall I appreciated the journey. Voiceless is not a stereotypical faith-based pro-life rah rah experience. It goes deeper, it shows you life happens to everyone (even Christians), and we all have skeletons in our closets.

The sooner we realize we’re just like everyone else, the sooner we can accept others as they are and start helping people.

Voiceless Synopsis

Jesse Dean is a recently discharged soldier who had a rough upbringing, but because of his wife, found God and now is totally devoted to his faith.

He and wife move to Philadelphia so he can take a new job as an outreach leader at an old church whose membership has been declining. As everything is going well and as he starts connecting to the community, he discovers there’s an abortion clinic directly across the street from the church.

He goes to the pastor and to several others in the church and tries to get their help to no avail. One day something tragic and personal happens to him while he’s going about his everyday routine. He comes to the point that he begins to take action himself. He gets involved but the more involved he gets, the more resistance he gets from those in church and community. His wife, who thinks his actions will get him fired or land him in jail, also comes against him.

Finally, it comes down to him having to make a choice: is he going to take the easy way out and back off, which is what everyone wants him to do, or will he face a major confrontation which will require him to put everything on the line…not just his job, but his freedom and marriage as well.

This film encourages people to stand up for what they know is right, particularly as it pertains to taking God’s truths into society to address social issues. It addresses the spirit of retreat as it pertains to engaging the culture that has developed within the Church.

Wildflower DVD Release [Review and Giveaway]

Wildflower the Movie Review

WILDFLOWER is a psychological thriller offering a message of HOPE for victims of trauma.

Catch your attention? Well, the pitch caught mine. How can a psychological thriller offer hope? I must know! What is this Wildflower about?

Chloe and Josh Wildflower

Meet Chloe, a university art student suffering from blackouts, nightmares (her nightmares will give me nightmares), and general terror. Under pressure she’s losing track of what’s real and what’s imagined.

Meet Josh, a quiet guy with lots beneath the surface. Back from a traumatic mission’s trip abroad he’s not looking for help—he feels like God let him down.

Wildflower DVD cover

Chloe and Josh are thrown together for this dark and twisted mystery as they work to expose the memories Chloe has repressed for more than 12 years. Did she witness something terrible, or is it all in her head?

As their search for answers climaxes they’ll face unexpected danger and in order to succeed they’ll have to do something they’d both rather avoid: trust each other.

Wildflower is an intense study on faith, trust, truth, scars, and seeing below the surface.

It releases today (April 5, 2016) on DVD and I have a giveaway copy! Follow the instructions below and you’re entered to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wildflower is available on DVD and digital HD.

Wildflower Synopsis

Creatively gifted, college student Chloe Moray finds solace from a difficult childhood in her extraordinary art. But when an alarming dream begins to recur nightly, Chloe starts to believe that it might be a suppressed memory and that she may have witnessed a terrible crime as a little girl. Her search for peace takes her on a journey that forces Chloe to confront her past traumas and leads her to cross paths with Josh, a young man dealing with his own painful loss. Together they find in each other someone they can trust as they seek to unlock a cold-case mystery from years before. But with the authorities blocking the way, Chloe’s new-found hope is challenged in this powerful story of faith, triumph and healing.

If you’ve ever struggled in the aftermath of a difficult situation; if you’ve ever wondered if someone (anyone) will listen to you; if you’ve ever wished there was a safe place you could go, WILDFLOWER is a powerful reminder that hope can be found even in your darkest moments.

Wildflower stars Nathalia Ramos (House of Anubis), Cody Longo (Not Today), Shari Rigby (October Baby), Benjamin Ashbrook (World’s Greenest Cities), and Kevin McCorkle (Cold Case). Writer and director Nicholas DiBella also wrote and directed King’s Faith.

Thanks to Icon Media Group for this opportunity.