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Today in Movie History: September 30

Tim Burton has recovered from his recent (and lengthy) slump with the modestly delightful Miss Peregrine opening today. It’s fitting, then, that today would also mark the anniversary of hands-down his best movie ever. Ed Wood, the affectionate biopic about the worst filmmaker ever made, paints the infamous shlockmeister as an earnest misfit who’s so madly in love with what …

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Today in Movie History: September 29

Though I prefer the 1937 version of A Star is Born, there’s a lot to recommend in the 1954 remake: featuring a comeback turn from Judy Garland as a singer on the rise and James Mason as her fading, alcoholic mentor. Both actors scored Oscar nominations and the film is regarded as one of the seminal musicals of the 1950s. It …

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, Michael Rennie, 1951, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

CREDIT: Everett Collection

Today in Movie History: September 28

The 1950s were a Golden Age for science fiction, and few films in that era attained the resonance — both as entertainment and as a movie with something to say — that The Day The Earth Stood Still did. Robert Wise’s pitch-perfect fable of a man from outer space with a message we’re just not capable of hearing is definitely …

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Today in Movie History: September 27

Forest Whitaker has been a Hollywood staple for 20 years when he finally scored Oscar gold in The Last King of Scotland, for his unforgettable performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The film received criticism for a typically Hollywood tactic of including a white guy to serve as an audience surrogate, but considering the West’s support of the Amin regime — and considering …

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Today in Movie History: September 26

There are good movies, there are bad movies, and then there are movies that achieve immortality through sheer, all-powerful weirdness. They don’t get any weirder than The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the one, true midnight cult classic whose gender-bending, genre-destroying uniqueness has guaranteed it a place in the canon by default. It officially opened today in 1975, but its midnight run began at …

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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 …