Monday, October 6, 2014

Movie Review: "Left Behind" (2014)

Movie"Left Behind"
Director: Vic Armstrong
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
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Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson) flies home for her father Rayford's (Nicholas Cage) birthday, only to find out that he has been called into work. Rayford is a pilot and must fly to England on short notice. He may also be having an affair with a flight attendant named Hattie (Nicky Whelan). This leaves Chloe with her devoutly religious mother Irene (Leah Thompson), who Chloe butts heads with over her mom's religious evangelism. After an argument with her mom, Chloe takes her little brother Raymie (Major Dodson) to the mall. It seems like a normal day when suddenly millions of people just vanish, including Ramie and Irene, causing mass chaos. It's up to those left behind to figure out what happened. 

We are going to attempt to review this film as delicately as possible without coming off as huge, heathenish jerks. It's impossible to deny that this is a faith-based movie, so it will come up, but my point is, as petulant atheists, I'm sure we could pick this movie apart, but our goal is not to hurt or offend, ever. What we believe might not necessarily be what you believe, and that's just fine with us. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We know many people personally who believe in God, and it is not our goal as movie reviewers to try and change your belief system. We would never push our beliefs on to anyone, and in turn, we expect the same respect. We will be discussing the religious aspects of this film, so we just figured we'd put this out there before beginning.

All of this being said, this movie is simply atrocious. To say that it is formulaic is also being too generous. There is a reason it has such low scores across the internet because it is one of the worst movies we have seen in quite a while. Nicolas Cage's time as an actor, though once storied and vast, if you can call it that, is now just a joke. And he knows it. To say Cage is phoning it in would give him way more credit than he deserved. It's almost as if filmmakers specifically made it a point to meticulously avoid making him look insane, and they did this with cheap cutaways and a really bad hair cape. I'd rather be stuck to a chair a la "A Clockwork Orange" and forced to watch all of Nicolas Cage's freak-out scenes on a loop repeated to infinity then be forced to watch this movie again. Even thinking about now it makes me angry. When Chad Michael Murray is the best actor in your film, you know you are in trouble. Jordin Sparks, girl, stick to singing. In fact, the acting is heinous all around. The dialogue is shabby, delivered in a forced fashion, and makes no connection to us whatsoever.

If the filmmakers were really going to go all in and do a spectacular Biblical end of days film, which we would love to see happen some day, we would prefer to see a movie that heavily focused on the story of Revelations and the four horseman of the apocalypse, as well as famine, pestilence, etc. It would be a much better film visually with the inclusion of these apocalyptic elements. Instead, what we are given is a cheesy, low budget film that focused on the possibility of a plane crash and tons of overt reference to religion and faith without anything other than an assumption that what they were experiencing was the rapture. Plus, we have seen better CGI in movies from the 1970's. The CGI here looked like a computer game that was buried and forgotten and unearthed only to be laughed at in 2014. It's just so, so bad.

It's really nothing more than religious fear mongering at its worst. Movies like "The Passion of the Christ" seek to show how and what Jesus sacrificed for our sins instead of trying to scare people into believing in their religion, which is all this movie does. Is the idea of the rapture scary? Sure, but if you're a believer out of fear, you might be believing for the wrong reasons. Again, this is just our opinion, so please don't take it personally. The worst part of this movie, however, is how clear it is that certain people just won't be making it into the rapture.
1) OBVIOUSLY atheists and non-believers, as referenced by Chloe and Buck, who constantly badmouth god and down-talk those who believe.
2) the adulterers, as referenced by Rayford the pilot and Hattie the stewardess who are having an (implied) affair. Plus, they like U2.
3) a gambler, who just happens to also be a little person and is quite angry and bitter with everything the whole freakin' movie. Plus, he's obviously racist against Muslims.
4) the devout Muslim, who made the foolish mistake of following the wrong religion, though he believes in the same god. He also has the one good line in the whole movie.
5) the scientist, who is convinced that Area-51 is a thing and that a 6-second plane ride is just around the corner.
6) the drug addict, who does heroin in the bathroom of the airplane, only to be the first person who mentions the rapture and is the first person who overtly prays in the entire film.
7) the rich man, because he covets riches and rich people don't go to heaven.
8) the backsliding preacher, who has fallen away from his faith and does a really poor fake-cry.
9) Jordin Sparks = disobedient wife/perhaps because she's a bad actress???????????
If this is all true, see ya later, it's been nice knowing you.

At worst, this is a poorly acted disaster film shrouded in religious rhetoric. The only thing "biblical" about this movie is how badly it sucks. At best, well, there is no best. There's no way this movie will be overlooked at the Razzie awards this year.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 3.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 2%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE (LITERALLY!!!)!!!!!!

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