phantom

Today in Movie History: October 31

For obvious reasons, few films of note have actually opened on Halloween. Competition from trick-or-treaters, parties and similar celebrations means that theaters are usually empty, with the occasional exception of some quickie horror movie hoping to cash in on the zeitgeist. The two exceptions both fall into the realm of the very, very weird. The first, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, united …

requiem_for_a_dream

Today in Movie History: October 27

There’s a useful term when it comes to Requiem for a Dream: a great movie that you never want to see again. Director Darren Aronofsky set out to create the final cinematic word on drug addiction. The results are so agonizing to watch that even hard-core film nuts need to cowboy up to give it a look. That’s kind of the point. …

theterminator

Today in Movie History: October 26

Mighty oaks often grow from little acorns, and when the slick little sci-fi thriller The Terminator opened one quiet October Friday, no one thought much of it. Its director had helmed only one project before — the less-than-immortal Piranha 2: the Spawning — and the star was that jumped-up Austrian from Conan the Barbarian who looked like his 15 minutes was just about up. The …

halloween-1982-3

Today in Movie History: October 25

Horror films come and horror films go, but there’s only one Halloween: a quickie exploitation grinder that became a masterpiece in the hands of the legendary John Carpenter. It relies on pure technique, as a trio of babysitters are slowly stalked by a masked killer, and though credited with the rise of the slasher genre in the 1980s, none of its followers ever …

butch

Today in Movie History: October 24

The 1960s saw a slow revision of the western as a genre, as the likes of Sergio Leone took it in a different, darker direction and even stalwarts like John Ford found undercurrents more in keeping with the time than their previous work. That came to a head with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid a breezy, almost comedic romp marked by …

jack-reacher-2-never-go-back-poster

Movie Review: Jack Reacher — Never Go Back

Review by Rob Vaux Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh and Patrick Heusinger Directed by: Edward Zwick Running time: 118 minutes Year of release: 2016 You certainly can’t fault Jack Reacher: Never Go Back for a lack of confidence. It’s one of those not-quite-as-good sequels that no one really asked for, a follow-up to the Tom Cruise actioner from …

the-rightstuff

Today in Movie History: October 21

The Right Stuff was billed as a major Oscar contender upon its release, and critics rightfully hailed it as one of the best films of the decade. Its Academy campaign was derailed, however, by the now-absurd premise that it was helping then-senator John Glenn (whom the film depicts) launch a presidential campaign. But its box-office failure and short-handed night at the Oscars …

mrsmith

Today in Movie History: October 19

In light of the political shitstorm currently eating our country alive, the soothing balm of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington can do a lot of good for your blood pressure. Jimmy Stewart is pitch-perfect as a naïve young man appointed to a U.S. Senate seat, who does pitched battle against the systematic corruption trying to mold him to its whim. Of course, …

west-side-story-di-3-1

Today in Movie History: October 18

Musicals don’t come any better than West Side Story, a brilliant re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that freed the genre from the opulent event pictures that had dominated it in the 1950s. Robert Wise kept a steady hand on the tiller during a deeply troubled production — co-director Jerome Robbins suffered a breakdown midway through, though his stunning choreography remains …