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Today in Movie History: September 23

Though well-received critically, The Shawshank Redemption failed to generate much heat at the box office, and was swamped at the Oscars by the competing behemoths of Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump. Hourly screenings on TNT changed all of that and today, it’s considered one of the greatest movies of the 1990s… as well as cementing director Frank Darabont’s reputation as …

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Today in Movie History: September 22

I go back and forth on Seven, David Fincher’s stunning neo-noir that remains a favorite for dark-minded cinephiles of all stripes. Twenty years on, I can’t quite shake the notion that it’s all just a handsomely paced gimmick, but there’s no denying how tightly it can grip you once you start watching. It also deserves credit for following its scenario to …

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Today in Movie History: September 21

Based on a real-life botched bank robbery, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon now stands as a landmark of 70s cinema. Its anti-authoritarian tone shines through in every scene, thanks to Al Pacino’s iconic turn as an amateur criminal whose master plan goes straight out the window, and the overall sense of doom was much in keeping with the time. Special …

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Today in Movie History: September 20

It’s a day for cinematic eccentrics to come out and play. Terry Gilliam is a unique filmmaker whose best movies are treasures of filmmaking. When they don’t work, of course, they go straight off the rails, but few people would deny that The Fisher King ranks among the high points. It works in part because the story stays grounded in …

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Today in Movie History: September 19

After several weeks of quiet days, we’ve got one filled to the brim with goodies: four of the greatest movies ever made. I agonized over which one to start with, but went with my heart. L.A. Confidential generated tons of critical buzz, but not much box office when it was first released, and while it scored a couple of Oscars (for …

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Movie Review: Bridget Jones’s Baby

Review by Rob Vaux Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Solemani, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones and Emma Thompson Directed by: Sharon MaGuire Running time: 122 Minutes Year of release: 2016 Hollywood has always thrived as a purveyor of comfort food, and comfort food can come in a surprising number of flavors. So the prospect of a …

mommie-dearest

Today in Movie History: September 16

I’ll be honest with you: sometimes the bad ones are much more fun to talk about than the good ones. Case in point: Mommie Dearest, the Joan Crawford “biopic” based on the tell-all book from her abused daughter who dished about what a horrible monster the woman was behind the scenes. The movie endures as a camp classic, notable mainly …

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Today in Movie History: September 15

Cameron Crowe has had his ups and downs as a filmmaker, but Almost Famous remains his most personal and heartfelt. Based loosely on his experiences as a (very young) rock journalist in the 70s, it follows a precocious teenager (Patrick Fugit) who finds himself in the inner circle of a successful band on the road. It’s sweet, funny and very …

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Today in Movie History: September 14

I’m going to go with the classy ones first today, though my pulpy little heart desperately years in another direction. But David Cronenberg scored a quietly amazing coup with Eastern Promises, a film that combines his creepy atmosphere, fascination with bio-mechanical fusion and a capacity for brutal violence into one of the best films he’s ever made. The power of his …

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Today in Movie History: September 13

After the immortal Seven Samurai, the Akira Kurosawa movie that most influenced western filmmakers is probably Yojimbo: the story of a scruffy, amoral ronin (Toshiro Mifune, natch) who wanders into a town beset by rival gangs, and solves the problem by methodically pitting them against each other. Kurosawa was inspired by the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest, and his work served as the basis …