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  • The Guard 2011

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Feb, 2015

    My friend Gareth Higgins grew up in Ireland, then came to America and wrote a book called Cinematic States about how traveling to all 50 states and determining which American movies best reveal the character of each state in the union. I found the book very rewarding.

    So I asked him: "Gareth, you've published this insightful perspective on the movies that best reveal America. I'm curious — I've seen a lot of movies about Ireland. Many of them have been…

  • Song of the Sea 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 27 Feb, 2015 1

    If you're ever up for a triple feature, I've got a good one for you: John Sayles' The Secret of Roan Inish, Jim Sheridan's Into the West, and Tomm Moore's Song of the Sea. All three depict stories of Irish families that merge with strange, sad Irish myths to achieve something revelatory and beautiful.

    Moore's first animated feature, The Secret of Kells, was my favorite film released in the U.S. in 2010, and I'd put it up in my top…

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  • Selma 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 07 Jan, 2015 5

    Thank God Almighty.

    Director Ava Duvernay had a monumental task before her, making a high-profile motion picture focused on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, with a cast of famous names. What’s more, the closer the film has come to release, the more the headlines have shown us just how much we need a Great Film about Dr. King’s vision.

    Even great directors would probably have disappointed us. Think of Spielberg’s Lincoln: Hey, I loved it, but I acknowledge that it…

  • The World's End 2013

    ★★★★ Rewatched 29 Aug, 2013 1

    I'm not the first person to say it, but it's true — this film, like the two before it, is designed to be seen a second time, when viewers will realize just how every fleeting moment either foretells upcoming events, sets up elaborate jokes, or reveals a punchline for a joke yet to be told. It's the fastest-moving, most confidently scripted and edited film I've seen this year. And the action scenes are dizzyingly joyous. When was the last time…