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"The Shift" Faith-Based Sci-fi Opens on the Red Carpet with Emotional Q&A

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As the film opens in theaters tonight, Director Brock Heasley, Producer Ken Carpenter (Surprised by Oxford), and actors Kristoffer Polaha (Jurassic World Dominion) and Neal McDonough (Minority Report) go through some emotional Q&A after the debut screening in LA, and it is heartwarming to see. Truly, they ought to celebrate their victory in this beautiful film.

Everyone seems emotional and appreciative that this very personal story has been produced and now screening in theaters. As they say, “Making movies is like watching miracles happen,” there is an appropriate sort of awe that occurs when you find that, despite all the mistakes made the get us here, getting to screen a completed film, a good film, can actually feel utterly humbling because you know it had nothing to do with your own actual charisma or skill-level. Many who don’t make films don’t know or understand this feeling. Even many filmmakers don’t understand it. But if you’ve made a film, you will often get a strange feeling that occurs when you realize that things either came together or came apart in the making of your film that was completely out of your control. How you relate to that is often what differentiates a humble person from a narcissist. The narcissist literally isn’t even aware that it had nothing to do with them. They are simply an observer of a thing of beauty coming together, or deconstructing.

This is the phenomena I saw here as I watched this red carpet debut of The Shift. Humble people realizing that this was an act of God.

But how is the film really doing in the market, so far? Well, let’s take a look.

First we have the final trailer which was released today. It has some new small little additions including some info given about the story, which comes from it being a retelling of the Biblical book of Job. And there is some additional little details you’ll see if you look for them, including a Christmas theme to this particular trailer.

The box office aggregators have no data yet, and won't even make predictions, but I'm hoping it will open at number 3 or 4 in a domestic box office open. give a favorable review here, as well as MovieGuide here.

Regardless of the reviews I saw at Rotten Tomatoes, which will often be weighted against Angel films, because of their history of their fight with Hollywood, especially after The Sound of Freedom, you can take each negative review with a grain of salt. As a result, when I go to RT, what I expect to see is the messaging that Hollywood is paying to send out to the public, but I do not expect it to be a realistic or objective view of how good or bad a film really is. We did a story on this here, and it compiles some of the famous stories out there about how “biased” and “compromised” RT has become.

But how can we get a more accurate view of how good this film is? I refer to fellow-Christians who are also reviewers, when I am looking at seeing a faith-based film. This is a growing community, and since losing some great people like Kevin McCreary of Say Goodnight Kevin-fame to the DW, we need more and more Christian reviewers to take up the call to learn to be a disciplined and principled reviewer of media.

I’ve been enjoying “The Collision” lately for his well ordered analysis (and nice studio setup) and I also appreciate Jesus Flicks’ analysis (but he could stand to take some pointers from The Collision on setup). There is also Holden Hardman (of Pop Culture Christian) and Stoned Gremlin (aka The Cinema Snob) who used to do collabs with Say Goodnight Kevin and JackieCooper (who has an older audience). There is also many who will sometimes do faith-based reviews on the side, but I don’t know if they are committed to this community, nor can I sometimes tell if they are Christians.

Holden Hardman

Stoned Gremlin Productions

So, there are many other faith-based film reviewers, but as I said, it is growing, and not quite “there” yet. WE need to support this community more, so I will be trying to work together with more of these reviewers to build up their channels.

People like Christian Toto are the gold-standard in faith-based film reviews but without finding much support for this work he actually put a pause on faith-based reviews two years ago. In the last six months or so he has returned however, so we hope he will continue to serve the Christian community faithfully to lead us in this growing community to engaging in a professional and skillful manner.

There are many people on the periphery who are highly skilled however, they don’t seem to want to jump in with both feet. Reviewers like Sarah Hargett and Marian Jacobs could make serious waves if they committed more fully towards putting out robust review content. But these days, robust content can mean a lot. You don’t need to do a Siskel & Ebert deep dive exactly. Just look at some influencers like MellVerse who do more “reacts” content than the traditional reviews.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t a critic or shouldn’t be counted among professional reviewers, either. It just means that you have to find your own way to relate to films, and have fun with it.

Frankly, I enjoy these kinds of reviewers just as much as the films themselves, these days, and often it means that I will enjoy watching someone lampoon a film, and then not even see the film. No need.

But I think that there is a distinct purpose to the commentary and reviewer community that adds, not subtracts from, the more mainstream pop culture entertainment industry. Sure, it’s not going to impress everybody, but that’s not why you do it.

Anyway, what I’m seeing is that following these more trustworthy sources on these kinds of “outside-of-Hollywood” films, this film looks like a great upgrade to faith-based films industry. Even to the point that these kinds of films may be chasing that elusive monicker of “art” as opposed to just a sub-genre that has as it’s only purpose to make money. This monicker reminds us that Angel’s motto “to amplify light” is not just about giving us a message, but is also about providing the viewer with beauty to behold.

Beauty in itself has value.

So, tonight, I will be testing my theory, and will be watching with hopes to report back on how well this film goes down this important and necessary next path to improving the faith-based and conservative film communities. If anything, we should be allowing our Christian artists to make the best art in the world, not the most trite and pitiable.

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