Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
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- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
If you’ve read any of my reviews on faith based movies you know that I’m extremely critical of them. I say this every time as a disclaimer, but I am VERY leery of most faith based dramas due to the fact that I’m so close to the subject matter. As a believe I wince at what I like to call the “Christian curse” in these films. There are three categories that I lump them into. The first is the “well meaning but horribly done” scenario. Usually there is an excellent message within the film, but well meaning messages can only get so far if the production values are horrific, and the actors are the stuttering parishioners who took two classes in theater back in college 15 years ago. As a result the message gets lost in a painfully written, painfully directed movie that everyone shuns. The second is what I call the “baseball bat” style of christian film. This is where they have decent production values, but they hammer the message into you so heavily that by the end of the movie you’re yelling at the screen “I got it! I got it!”, and you end up turning away everyone but the proverbial choir that they’re preaching to. The third is the unicorn category. A film that’s done well, with solid acting, good writing and production values that actually create a smooth looking film that’s palatable for general audiences. This is one of the FEW times I’m happy to put one of those faith based films into that “unicorn” category.
Feeling like a bit of a miracle itself, All Saints tells the story of the real life All Saints Episcopal church down in Smyrna Tennessee. Real life paper salesman turned pastor, Michael Spurlock (My Big Fat Greek Restaurant’s John Corbett) is using his salesman abilities to shut down the All Saints church in Smyrna. The church has a whopping 12 members, and an $850,000 mortgage that they are super late in paying. His goal as the new pastor is to ease the minimal congregation into the idea of shutting down the church, and move them over to the next town’s service. However, when he actually gets there and sees the people first hand, Michael has a change of heart. He sees the good there, but the his higher ups in the Episcopal church aren’t exactly keen on keeping a church open that is not making its ends met.
Believing that God has called him to this church and called him to keep it open, Michael gets the brilliant idea of letting the newfound Karen refugees (Burmese relatives) help him open up a farm on the church property. With the profits from the farm they can keep the place open, AND he can use it as a ministry tool to help bring in new members of the community. Well, things don’t exactly go as planned. Instead of the massive miraculous situation where God comes in and saves the day, Michael and his flock face one obstacle after another. Even though they seem to get out of them in the nick of time, there is this sense of immense failure hanging over the head of the church. Even Michael begins to question whether or not he actually heard God calling him to do this, or whether he was inserting his own thoughts into the equation. A fear that may end up dooming the project as more and more realities that the naive preacher keep stacking up every day.
All Saints is refreshing and honest in the way it handles spiritual conflicts. One of the most poignant and realistic situations is with people questioning if Michael is hearing God’s will (even Michael himself), or whether it is his own savior complex. It’s never handled snidely or crudely, but honestly as the people involved are trying to discern Gods will, and are trying to wrestle with the constant fear of whether they are hearing it, or just projecting their own wants and desires. Something every believer has to contend with and struggle with in their own walk. Michael is relatable and sincere, and you see his many flaws in the way that he navigates the path, as well as the true desire to follow God’s will, making him one of the better representations of a Christian in modern film making. There are a few slow parts, but the 109 minute film actually is pretty smooth sailing and aside from a couple of poorly written lines, quite well crafted for the genre.
Rated PG for thematic elements
• "Act of Faith"
• "All Saints: The Cast & Community"
• "All Saints: On Location in Tennessee"
• "All Saints: Ye Win and the Karen"
• "The Pastors of All Saints"
All Saints probably won’t be up there with the highest echelons of religious films, but it IS a well crafted film that really works without devolving into the ever present need to roll around in the mud with copious amounts of melodrama, like so many others of its ilk. It’s well acted, well paced, and gets its message across without beating you over the head with it. I thoroughly enjoyed watching All Saints and it functions as a good family drama for those of you who enjoy uplifting, faith based, stories. Sony’s Blu-ray is competently done, with some moderate extras, allowing yours truly to give it a single thumbs up.
Starring: John Corbett, Barry Corbin, Cara Buono
Directed by: Steve Gomer
Written by: Steve Gomer
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA, Spanish, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Polish, French DD 5.1
Runtime: 109 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 12th, 2017
Recommendation: Decent Watch