Extortion Movie Review

Extortion Movie Review

Extortion Movie Review

It’s the worst-case scenario. You’re on holiday and you become stranded on a deserted island. Just when you’re desperate a rescuer comes. But then the person you think will save you ends up holding your family for ransom. This is what happens in Extortion.

What would you do?

How much is your family’s life worth?

This is the question asked of Kevin Riley (Eion Bailey) when he’s at his most desperate—or so he thinks. After two days of being stranded he’s dehydrated, exhausted, and starving. And to make matters worse, his wife and son are barely conscious. As his rescuer demands a reward for saving them, the situation escalates and Riley discovers how desperate things can become.

It’s a race against time to save his family in a foreign place with no one on his side. As I watched the situation go from bad to worse (and a solution unfold by the end) I reflected on how easy a picturesque vacation can take a bad turn. There is much we take for granted when travelling. Should we allow fear to hold us back? Of course not, but it’s a good reminder to take precautions and make wise decisions.

Extortion is an emotional, nail-biting 109 minutes. It is well acted, well produced, and I even believed the story line and the reasons behind Riley’s actions. As I reflect on the movie it’s difficult to say I enjoyed it because it was so intense, but it does make me wonder what I would do in the same situation. Would I put everything on the line to save my family? What wouldn’t I do?

Extortion is available on VOD/Digital/DVD across all platforms through Lionsgate.


Extortion Synopsis

An American family vacationing in the Caribbean find themselves stranded on a deserted island without food or water. They are discovered by a cold-blooded fisherman who demands a ransom for their lives. A gruesome turn of events leaves the father in a terrifying high seas race to save his wife and son, and punish those behind the cruel extortion plot.

Lionsgate’s “Extortion,” a new action-thriller in the vein of “Taken” and “Captain Phillips,” stars Oscar Nominee Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips,” upcoming “Blade Runner 2”), Eion Bailey (“Ray Donovan”, “Once Upon a Time”), Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon series, 2012”), Joy Lenz (“One Tree Hill”, “Agents of Shield”), and Tim Griffin (“Central Intelligence,” “American Sniper”).

Enter to Win The Resurrection of Gavin Stone Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital HD!

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The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone Review

If you’ve seen inspirational movies before, you’ve seen this plot: Bad boy gets in trouble. Bad boy gets community service. Bad boy meets good girl. Good girl inspires bad boy. Bad boy has transformation. Everybody’s happy.

While The Resurrection of Gavin Stone follows this basic plot line, it manages to take viewers on a journey of surprise, delight, and entertainment along the way.

The film was both funny and cute, although I’m partial to lead Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) so I don’t take much convincing.

Dalton plays Gavin Stone, an actor whose destructive lifestyle has forced him into community service in his hometown, a place he’d rather leave in the dust.

Tasked with janitorial duty, Stone negotiates his involvement with the Easter play—starring as Jesus—as a way to complete his community service instead. There’s just one hitch. Stone must be a professing Christian to take part.

How to be a Christian

From Googling “How to be a Christian,” Stone learns two tips: 1) Go to church and 2) Wear the costume. Watching Stone muddle his way through fitting into the classic Christian stereotype is hilarious, if not a bit revealing. Though at first he treats playing a Christian like any other role, the relationships Stone develops through the church teach him a lot about love, truth, and forgiveness. In the end he experiences a transformation where his old life stops making sense and he begins to understand what the Christian message really means. Stone is even able to face his past and reconcile with his father.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is a heartfelt look at the power of the Gospel to transform even the most unlikely person. It’s a study in contrast, temptation, and hope.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD!

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone synopsis

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is an inspirational comedy rated PG about faith and forgiveness. Gavin Stone, a washed-up former child star is forced to do community service at a local mega-church and pretends to be Christian so he can land the part of Jesus in their annual Passion Play only to discover that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.


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Review originally published January 2017

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.