Critic's Choice

Tomm Moore's 'Song of the Sea' at Billy Wilder Theater is awash in Irish myth

When it comes to films that demand to be experienced on the big screen, Irish director Tomm Moore's 2014 "Song of the Sea" is high on the list, and this weekend provides an opportunity to see it both bigger than life and for free.

Playing with no admission charge as part of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's "Family Flicks" series, "Song of the Sea" is a wonder to behold.

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It's a stunning example of hand-drawn animation, and its story of a brother and sister on an adventure is steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend. Its gorgeous watercolor backgrounds so adroitly mix the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world, with a spectacular soundtrack that employs the Irish band Kila adding to the mood of wonder.

"Song of the Sea," UCLA Film & Television Archive, Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 206-8013. 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Movie recommendations from Turan and other reviewers.

April and the Extraordinary World

Ambitious in scale and often gorgeous to look at, this French animated feature is part science fiction cosmos, part alternate reality steampunk universe – and all adventure all the time. (Kenneth Turan) PG.

Brooklyn

Impeccably directed by John Crowley, feelingly adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín's fine novel and blessed with heart-stopping work from star Saoirse Ronan and the rest of the cast, "Brooklyn" is about love and heartache, loneliness and intimacy, what home means and how we achieve it. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.

Embrace of the Serpent

This Oscar-nominated Colombia film is a strikingly photographed black-and-white epic that intertwines a passionate attack on the depredations of invasive capitalism with a potent adventure story. (Kenneth Turan) NR.

Hail, Caesar!
A droll Coen brothers tribute to and spoof of Hollywood past that amuses from beginning to end with its site specific re-creation of the studio system and the movies that made it famous. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.

Krisha
Artfully claustrophobic and anchored by a commanding breakout performance from its 64-year-old female lead, Krisha Fairchild (the director’s aunt), this astonishing debut feature from Trey Edward Shults offers a simultaneously dread-filled and empathetic picture of a damaged soul. (Robert Abele) R.

The Lady in the Van

Maggie Smith stars in this sharp British comedy — written by Alan Bennett, based on his play and directed by Nicholas Hytner. A delicately written, boisterously performed movie about the difficult people who dare us to care about them. (Rebecca Keegan) PG-13.

Midnight Special

A Michael Shannon-starring drama that announces the arrival of Jeff Nichols as a filmmaker in total control of his technique as well as our emotions. A bravura science fiction thriller that explores emotional areas like parenthood and the nature of belief, it's a riveting genre exercise as well as something more. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.

My Golden Days

Arnaud Desplechin's Cannes sensation contains an intoxicatingly realistic portrayal of the intense emotionality, the intertwined joy and pain, of first love. (Kenneth Turan) R.

Spotlight

The saga of how the Boston Globe won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for uncovering sexual abuse by Catholic priests, the film is mightily impressive not only because of the importance of the story it tells but also because of how much effort and skill went into bringing it to the screen. (Kenneth Turan) R.

The Witch

Robert Eggers' impressive debut feature sows suspicion into nearly every frame, so intent on a darkening mood that the stillness of trees at the edge of a wood, or a child's face in demonic thrall, even an ambling goat, carries the same capacity to unnerve. (Robert Abele, Feb. 19) (1:30) R.

Zootopia

Bursting with a rich blend of timely themes, superb voice work, wonderful visuals and laugh-out-loud wit, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest is quite simply a great time at the movies. (Gary Goldstein) PG.

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A version of this article appeared in print on April 08, 2016, in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Awash in `Sea' of Irish myth" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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