Last night, I went to see Logan the Movie at Ronnie's 20 Cine in South County. This was a lower budget (not sure what it actually was though) film from Real Bean Entertainment. It was written by 2 friends of mine, Matt Martin, and Caleb Doyle and produced by Kyle Lawrence. I believe a couple of other also worked on the script. It's hard not to be a bit bias when you know so many folks involved with a film, but for me that just makes me notice their mistakes to a much greater extent.
In all honesty I wasn't expecting much from this film. As much as I appreciate other productions from Real Bean, such as Completing Kaden, the quality has not always been there (that is not meant as a slam as I still watch it and encourage others to buy it regularly). I've learned to have a very low standard for Christian films in general and that way I'm not disappointed.
This time my expectations were blown out of the water. I was truly impressed by almost every facet of this movie.
Normally, in Christian movies I don't support the extra expense of hiring Hollywood actors. From what I've seen they don't really add much to the project overall, but I do think it was the right choice in this instance. Leo Howard, best known as Young Snake Eyes in the new G.I. Joe, does an amazing job as the title character. The flow and interaction between Logan and his older brother, Tyler (played by Patrick Probst), comes across as very genuine. This is essential in a movie that is driven primarily by it's dialogue.
The editing for this film goes through marvelous transitions. I personally only noticed one area where it seemed a bit sudden. Even the set panning added a lot to the film.
As for the videography it has definitely increased in quality. I mean, not one persons face was cut off :). But seriously, the angle changes go across very well and even help to add to the emotion which is so lack in other productions. The director has a tendency to follow the actors feet at times in the film, and while noticeable I like it.
My favorite scene involves a beautiful orchestral piece with some amazing cut away shots. There is also a piece of foreshadowing in this part that I love.
There was one scene that I felt “jumped the shark” a bit and gave away more than the writers really intended. This scene was a bit frustrating and unbelievable but thankfully it does not drag on more than a couple of minutes.
As I mentioned earlier, the movie is very dialogue driven. This means that it can come across as slow at times, but again I felt they pulled it off very well. The soundtrack helps the audience stay with it and the extent of the character development is the true payoff.
My favorite character through this production was young Abigail Isom , who played Allison. Who spunk and wit add not only humor to the film but a poignant truth as well.
The comic relief of the film is definitely the Hoffman parent. The pair come across very well together and do a wonderful job playing off of one another.
The only character I didn't like was Principal Ward. I'm sure the gentleman is a nice guy but it honestly felt like “we really need a black guy so let's put him in this minor role.”
One of the biggest pluses for this movie is that it is not over Christianized. Yes, Real Bean Entertainment is a Christian based production company and there are faith aspects to this film. There is primarily one Christian character, Ben. The tone is there but not overt as to take away from the other aspects of the story. In many Christian films they seem to shove the gospel in and make some great instant change in the character and in truth usually getting the gospel wrong in the process. This film in no way does that, but nor does it ignore faith all together. The balance is quite nice and it is done so in such a way that this film will be of great benefit to public high schools.
That is probably the best audience for this film to reach. I'd love to see it played in a variety of junior high and high schools around the country and would encourage anyone reading this to get in touch with Producer Kyle Lawrence about doing so. I think you can do that via http://www.realbean.com/ or e-mail him at email@example.com
Overall I give the film 8 out of 10 stars. A few minor issues could be changed, but this film was a great blessing. If you've followed any other Real Bean productions you'll notice some fun memories in the background of various scenes.
If you're in the St. Louis area you can view the film at Ronnie's 20 Cine off Lindbergh until Sept. 16. I'm not sure when and where else you'll be able to see it but you can get updates from http://www.realbean.com/loganthemovie/
As important as it is for Christians to take part in public discussions of politics we must equally take place in the realm of the arts. Sadly, most Christian production companies will make one or two projects and due to lack of support will fold. Or those that do make it produce utter garbage without ever striving for excellence. Every now in then though we can find a diamond in the rough and with a little polishing we can see great blessings come out that will point the world to a holy God and a saving Christ.
That is what I believe we are seeing through the efforts of Kyle Lawrence, Matt Martin, and Caleb Doyle. I've known them about three years now and it is good to see them grow not only in talent but in Christ. I don't spend too much time with Kyle at all and only minimal with Caleb and Matt, but the work Christ is continuing on in them is of immense pleasure to my soul.
Follow their work, support their efforts, and watch as we see what God will do with a simple faith and a repentant heart.