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Today in Movie History: March 28

It’s a day of mayhem in movie history, starting with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. After the triumph of Psycho, everyone asked how Hitch was going to top it. He responded by turning back to the writings of Daphne du Maurier, which had already seen him through the likes of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. It became another masterpiece, porting du Maurier’s …

Thief

Today in Movie History: March 27

If gritty crime dramas are your game, Michael Mann is your director. And while I’d cite the likes of Heat, Manhunter and Collateral as unabashed masterpieces, they are preceded by Thief which set the pace for those triumphs to follow. James Caan plays a brilliant jewel thief trying to go straight, enticed into one last score that goes dreadfully wrong. Mann succeeds …

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Today in Movie History: March 24

There’s no question which film rules the roost today. The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic tale of the rise and fall of the Corleone crime family, remains the final word on gangster movies, family dramas and the corrosive power of the American dream. However you approach it, its power cannot be denied, and though the medium continues to produce its masterpieces, nothing …

Once

Today in Movie History: March 23

One of the best romances of recent years had very humble beginnings: shot in 17 days, starring a pair of professional musicians with limited acting experience and intend as a showcase for lead Glen Hansard’s anecdotes about busking, it turned into a massive international success, and scored both Hansard and co-star Marketa Irglova an Academy Award for Best Original Song. …

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Movies for the Resistance: Les Miserables (2012)

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

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Today in Movie History: March 21

It’s a quiet day today, but there’s a little gem worth mentioning, especially for sci-fi fans. Jodorowsky’s Dune is a fascinating documentary covering Chilean filmmaker Alajandro Jodorowsky — one of cinema’s most bizarre and striking visionaries — who attempted to assemble a version of the celebrated Frank Hebert classic Dune several years before David Lynch. It provides a hypnotic look not …

Basic Instinct

Today in Movie History: March 20

Two very different crime movies opened today, starting with the original Pink Panther, an agreeable farce that spawned a similarly agreeable franchise. They existed primarily as a showcase for Peter Sellers’ comedic talents, which is interesting considering that Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau was a secondary character in the original film (and less of a buffoon to boot). But, in typical Sellers …

Breathless-review

Today in Movie History: March 17

You’d think that St. Patrick’s Day would invite a flood of Irish-themed movies into cinemas but no. The Quiet Man opened in August, Michael Collins in September, Darby O’Gill and the Little People in June… even Leprechaun dropped the ball on this one. Instead, we get Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal masterpiece of the French New Wave: incredible, but decidedly not …

memento

Today in Movie History: March 16

Before Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman and joined the ranks of cinema’s elite filmmakers, he stunned us all with Memento, a unique and confident effort that set the stage for things to come. Guy Pearce gave one of the best performances of his career and the film’s deceptively assured “reverse narrative” has never quite been matched. Memento opened today in 2001. The Absent Minded …