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The Wind That Shakes the Barley (10/10): Cillian Murphy and Pádraic Delaney give stirring performances as conflicted brothers in director Ken Loach’s brilliant, realistic depiction of the Irish fight for Independence from Britain circa 1920-22 and the resultant strife between the original fighters after the Anglo-Irish Treaty ended the conflict in 1921. Although there’s a lot of talk, there’s plenty of action as this film doesn’t shrink from showing the brutality of the British against the relatively defenseless Irish, as well as the brutality, both physical and psychological, required of revolutionaries. Even though it is 2:04 long, I didn’t look at my watch once. In theatres and video on demand to cable subscribers on IFC In Theatres.

Beyond The Gates (10/10): Filmed at the actual locations, Director Michael Caton-Jones tells the shameful but true story of the massacre at the Ecole Technique Officiele in April, 1994 in Rwanda where the U.N. soldiers abandoned 2,500 Tsutsis to bloodthirsty, machete-laden Hutus. With a spellbinding script by David Wolstencroft, this is a film that inspires disgust for the cowardly U.N., whose attitude is summarized by a line by a British TV reporter, “When I was in Bosnia... I cried every day when I saw a dead woman in the street;...over here they're just...dead Africans....".” Instead of brutalizing your intelligence on some major studio flummery like the latest Will Ferrell idiocy, do yourself a favor and see this brilliant, low-budget independent masterpiece instead, which educates as well as entertains.

The Shooter (7/10): A slam-bang, nonstop man-on-the-run conspiracy thriller starring the always reliable Mark Wahlberg, based on a novel by Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter. If you can close your eyes and ears to the anti-American political jabs and the overwhelming graphic violence, this is a smashing chase movie, albeit one burdened with a reprehensible moral that justifies individuals wreaking vengeance without regard for legal process.

Black Snake Moan (7/10): An ill-advised title and misguided publicity make this look like a gothic horror story, instead of the feel good love story it is, with a basis in the blues, highlighted by a fine performance by Samuel L. Jackson and an exceptional performance by Christina Ricci.

Hoax (5/10): If the story of Clifford Irving’s phony 1971 autobiography of Howard Hughes is so compelling, why did it have to be mutated with so many fictional additions? This is a wonderful example of how the egos of a writer and director ruined a terrific tale. It would take more than Richard Gere (in a disappointing turn) to make this almost 2-hour long phantasmagoria into the movie it could have been. Opens April 6.

Zodiac (3/10): I went into this film thinking it was going to be a procedural masterpiece, à la “All The President’s Men” (1976). Instead, saddled with a marked lack of dramatic tension and a script that is not only too long, talky, and convoluted, it makes constant references to people who only appear onscreen a few times. When it finally came plodding down to the ending, after two hours forty minutes, the guy they finger as the killer barely appeared in the film at all. And after all that you still don’t know for sure whodunit.

Color Me Kubrick (A True…ish Story)(3/10): OK, John Malkovich can act gay and wear outlandish costumes while “interpreting “ Alan Conway, a mythomaniac who fooled lots of people claiming to be Stanley Kubrick while trying to pick up gay men. Even at 86 minutes it was too much.

Read full reviews at www.tonymedley.com.