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Today in Movie History: April 21

We go all silent movie on your ass today, starting with Buster Keaton’s masterpiece Sherlock Jr. It’s a slight story of a lonely projectionist fighting haplessly for the girl he loves: filled with Keaton’s jaw-dropping stunt work, but also the innovative use of the film within a film as a narrative device (Keaton’s character falls asleep and reimagines his dilemma on the screen …

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Today in Movie History: April 20

Star Wars may have changed the face of movies in 1977, but the year’s other most notable film had plenty of staying power as well. Annie Hall, the pinnacle of Woody Allen’s nebbish shtick, ended up scooping Star Wars at the Oscars, and today remains one of the most beloved comedies ever made. Speaking of great comedies, Edgar Wright scored a monster hit with Shaun …

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Today in Movie History: April 19

Two big films and three smaller-but-notable ones today. We start with La Dolce Vita, Frederico Fellini’s ode to Rome, the jet set, and sexy girls splashing around in fountains. It took the world by storm when it was initially released, and for my money remains Fellini’s best film. It was released in the United States today in 1961. For a …

Citizen-Kane

Movies for the Resistance: Citizen Kane

(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 …

Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend

Today in Movie History: April 18

Legend is one of those movies that the Hollywood machine just chewed up and spat out. The initial release was a disaster, critically and commercially, and the film was written off for years. But the release of Ridley Scott’s director’s cut — including the return of the original Jerry Goldsmith score — saw its fortunes improve immensely. These days, it enjoys well-deserved status …

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Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious

Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron and Kurt Russell Directed by: F. Gary Gray Running time: 136 minutes Rating: PG-13 Year of release: 2017   In my review of the last Fast and the Furious movie, I opined that the franchise had little left to do but pop Vin Diesel …

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Today in Movie History: April 14

We’re noting the opposite ends of the romantic spectrum today, starting with Say Anything… , Cameron Crowe’s near-perfect ode to high school love and the need to be yourself. John Cusack and Ione Skye make a couple for the ages and — stalker snickering notwithstanding — the sight of Cusack holding that boombox over his head is an iconic part of movie …

12 angry men

Today in Movie History: April 13

Despite a career spanning decades and a list of films that any director would envy, Sidney Lumet never quite got the respect he deserved. His very first movie still ranks among his best: a near-perfect adaptation of the celebrated stage play 12 Angry Men. Henry Fonda stars as an unnamed juror standing alone against a seemingly guaranteed guilty verdict… and his slow, …

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Today in Movie History: April 12

On the list of great directors whom the Academy shafted, Alfred Hitchcock is pretty high. The only film of his that won Best Picture was  Rebecca, a solid though hardly groundbreaking slice of Gothic based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Hitch didn’t even win Best Director that year — it went to John Ford for The Grapes of Wrath — and …

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Movies for the Resistance: The Dead Zone

(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 …