Did Kevin Smith's 'Red State' make either list?
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Richard Ayoade has been a familiar presence for fans of British comedy on shows like "The IT Crowd" and "Garth Merenghi's Dark Place," but his debut as a writer/director reveals depths of soul previously unsuspected. The easy comparison to this is "Rushmore," and there's a hint of that up front. As the film unspools, though, there is so much genuine heart and humor that those surface similarities melt away. Craig Roberts plays Oliver Tate, a young man in Wales trying to negotiate the rocky waters of love, not just for himself but also for his parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor), and the film's familiar coming-of-age story manages to feel fresh and funny in Ayoade's capable hands. Heartbreak can be so beautiful done right, and "Submarine" feels expertly made in every way.
- Drew McWeeny