Michael Spurlock is a former salesman turned pastor whose first assignment is to close a smalltown church that has a meagre congregation of just 12 people, and sell the land that it sits on. While most folk have come to accept the state of the All Saints Episcopal Church, Michael knows that it can't continue without more public interest. And it's not as if they're not trying to encourage more worshippers to join them - in fact, a large group of refugees from Burma have arrived and they have nothing to their name except hope and their faith. Michael decides that he will do everything in his power to keep the church open for the sake of these people, and before long he has a religious revelation. Having heard God finally answer his prayers, he embarks on the difficult project of turning the land into a farm. It would bring in enough profit to save the church from closure and even provide employment for the refugees. On the other hand, Michael is risking everything he has in the world for something that may never be successful, but he knows he can turn it all around if he believes in God - and himself - enough.
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U-571 takes the Das Boot path, starring a dozen of the sweatiest men in Hollywood (the makeup department working overtime on this one), all led by everyone's favorite naked bongo player, Matthew McConaughey. Loosely based on real events, U-571 involves a WWII mission to capture a German Enigma encryption device from a sinking German submarine adrift in the middle of the Atlantic. Skipper Bill Paxton and his 2nd in charge McConaughey hop to the task, dressing up their wreck of a sub to look just like a German U-boat. One guy on the crew speaks German, so there shouldn't be a problem in posing as a rescue ship, right?
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Cal (Crudup) is a Manhattan architect with a wife and 3-year old son who, for a largely unexplained reason, is discontent. His interior landscape is entirely his own, as he revels in the brooding inner drive that propels him to abandon his family and set out on the road. To help convey the mental anguish he's experiencing, the film employs hallucinatory images, flashbacks, time phase cuts, and other borrowings from films like the successful Memento, though without the consistency or effectiveness of that fine work.
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An unremarkably routine superhero movie based on the cult-favorite comic book about a satanically-costumed blind vigilante, "Daredevil" plays like a C-grade grad project for a night school course called Superhero Filmmaking 101.
Faithful to his inspiration -- the era of "Daredevil" issues written by "Batman" revitalizer Frank Miller and comic-crazy film director Kevin Smith -- in several important details, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson's one stroke of true genius comes in the pulses of fluid, misty, ghostly imagery he uses to depict the sightless crime fighter's enhanced ability to "see" through sound waves and smells.
But most of the picture apes its action style -- and many whole fight scenes -- from last year's "Spider-Man." It has the same ineffectual opening voice-over, the same unconvincingly CGI-assisted rooftop leaping and building-swinging (Daredevil uses a grappling-hook-modified walking cane instead of spider-webbing) and its hero has the same slow-mo back-flip method of dodging weapons thrown by villains.
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