Cloud Ten Pictures Presents...
by Phil Boatwright

The folks who produced the Left Behind series now offer three new DVDs.  For more information, direct purchases, church screening licenses, etc., go to: and .

Smugglers Ransom.

FILM SYNOPSIS:  In this action drama, Anthony Tyler Quinn (Melrose Place, Boy Meets World) plays Bill Donley, a cold-hearted government assassin.  It is 1985 and a Cold War is raging between East and West – a war waged not with military might but with politics and secret agents.  While attempting to smuggle Bibles into Romania, Carmen (Marina Resa) is captured by communist forces.  The Soviets demand an exchange of her young life for her nuclear physicist father – a Cuban defector.  The U.S. government cannot let this happen and sends in Donley as the lone agent to rescue her.  Donley soon discovers that the passionately faithful Carmen is as much a challenge as her captors.

PREVIEW REVIEW:  This is an unusual film, first because it’s too short for its story (under 50 minutes), and second because it combines the violent world of James Bond-like espionage with a filmed gospel track.  Of the three films listed here, it was my least favorite.  Due to its brief length, the sudden conversion of our license-to-kill hero seemed contrived.  And since the actress playing the determined young Bible sneaker had to relay such a concentrated message in such a short time, her witness seemed more like bullheaded my-way-or-no-way shrillness than Christ-like determination.

That said, the story reminds us that no matter what our sin, God will not turn His back if we seek His forgiveness.  Even murder?  Hey, he changed the heart of Saul on the road to Damascus, didn’t He?  Hopefully that biblical telling and this representation will remind us Christians that we should never hastily dismiss someone because we sense he or she may be unsaveable.

Caution; this film contains depictions of shootings and murder.  Special features include Voice of the Martyrs documentaries, a making-of featurette and the directory’s diary.

The Genius Club

FILM SYNOPSIS:  Seven geniuses, with IQs over 200, are plucked from their lives on Christmas Eve in order to solve the world's problems in one night.  This cat-and-mouse intellectual battle concerns the group of brainiacs vs. a mad man about to detonate a nuclear bomb in Washington, D.C.  The password to the bomb is three words.  Kind of The Breakfast Club Meets Saw, if they fail, they don’t stay in detention, but the world blows up.

PREVIEW REVIEW:  It starts out slowly and is hampered by actors who appear to have less of an IQ rating than their characters, but by the third act, The Genius Club becomes an armchair gripper.  It’s kind of a Christian version of 12 Angry Men, with a sequestered group coming to terms with their own prejudices and weaknesses while having to address an issue bigger than their own.

Stephen Baldwin, brother of Alec, is a born-again Believer in real life and has been forthright in his Christian walk.  Of his three acting siblings, Stephen has been known for lesser roles.  But he is no less an actor.  Being a Christian in the field of acting is not an easy one.  I suspect he’s had to turn down some material and perhaps not been considered for others simply because of his declaration of faith.  That happens.  You might want to say a prayer of provision and guidance for Mr. Baldwin as he seeks to witness to audiences and his own family.

Stephen Baldwin, Tom Sizemore, Tricia Helfer. Written & directed by Tim Chey.  Thriller.  119 min.  Rated PG.  Bonus features included a director’s commentary and a behind-the-scenes look at the production.

Saving God

FILM SYNOPSIS:  Being released in October, it is an involving story about a convicted murderer who has accepted Christ in prison and then returns as a pastor to save the neighborhood where he came from.  It stars renowned actor and Believer Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible 1-3), Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives) and Dean McDermott (Open Range).

PREVIEW REVIEW: I once saw Ving Rhames win a Golden Globe.  That same year, Jack Lemmon was nominated in the same category.  Mr. Rhames invited Mr. Lemmon on stage where he promptly gave over his award.  Mr. Lemmon was astonished by the generosity, as you can imagine.  Well, I’ve liked the big guy ever since.  So to discover Mr. Rhames starring in a film containing spiritually uplifting messages is a real find.  He brings an authority to the role and you can see his light shine through.  It’s a nice job.

Like the two other films listed here, Saving God is a film suitable for church groups.  Indeed, its core audience would be the Faithful.  That said, these three projects are entertaining enough to bring unsaved friends to.  You’ll be blessed by the message, and spiritual seeds may be sown in the hearts of your friends.  Hey, couldn’t hurt.

Cloud Ten Pictures was founded in 1996 by brothers Peter and Paul Lalonde. The company is the market leader in the production and marketing of faith-based films.  Its 2000 release of Left Behind: The Movie was the top-selling independent video of that year.  Cloud Ten has produced and distributed 10 successful feature films and several well-received documentaries.