The American military figures prominently in three films Christian critics are excited about: WWII sailors are the heroes of U-571, present-day Marines display honor in Rules of Engagement, and in the near future an American president gambles with nuclear war in Deterrence.

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U-571, a fictional thriller about American sailors who commandeer a German U-boat to steal a Nazi encryption device, made a splash at the box office this weekend with a $19.5 million haul. The film also earned the ardent support of Movieguide, which praises everything from Matthew McConaughey's "intense and strongly heroic, yet vulnerable, performance" to the movie's "tasteful, but exciting, use of wartime violence." The review also credits the film with "return[ing] a more old-fashioned and ultimately more honorable spirit to the World War II movie." Preview's Paul Bicking and Ed Crumley noted the patriotic spirit as well, which celebrates "the bravery and beyond-the-call accomplishments of young men at war," and the restrained violence, which was "prevalent but not gratuitous." But others feel the submarine genre is too worn. Michael Elliott of Crosswalk.com says the setting "is so familiar that we are not engrossed in the story, merely curious as to how it is being presented." The Dove Foundation elaborates: "U-571 doesn't just freely borrow from other submarine movies, it downright steals from them … [substituting] loudness in place of character development."

Love and Basketball scored with audiences and critics, as the low-budget romance opened with an impressive $8.1 million and strong reviews. The film, which follows a pair of hoops stars' 15-year relationship, was praised by John Evans of Preview for "developing an enjoyable story ...

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