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Today in Movie History: August 14

No one quite knew what to think when South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp unleashed District 9 on the world a few years ago. It turned out to be one of the best science fiction films in recent memo: a story of alien refugees who arrive in Johannesburg and who are treated about like you’d expect considering humanity’s significant ethical shortcomings. It appears set up for the long haul, and in lead Sharlto Copeley found one of the most exciting and interesting actors working today. It opened on this date in 2009.

On a much cheerier note, director Alan Parker scored a sentimental favorite with The Commitments, the story of a struggling Irish soul band that might have the magic to do great things if only they can get their shit together. As a testament to the difficulties of creative collaboration and the challenges of following a dream, it’s marvelous: balancing the sadness of lost opportunities with the joys of expressing yourself as you were truly meant to. It opened today in the United States in 1991.

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