bullitt-burnout

Today in Movie History: October 17

For a supposedly quiet month, October is chock full of terrific movies. We’ll start with Bullitt, a movie that’s less a classic in and of itself than a classic car chase with a movie wrapped around it. The rest of the film is boilerplate cops-and-robbers stuff, but when Steve McQueen gets behind the wheel of that Mustang, something magic happens. Bullitt opened …

pulpfiction

Today in Movie History: October 14

The word “game changer” gets thrown around a lot with flavor-of-the-month movies that tend to fade with time. But the phrase has rarely applied more aptly than it has to Pulp Fiction, which cemented the rise of indie cinema in the 1990s, altered the face of crime drama forever, and permanently put Quentin Tarantino on the map. It’s perfection incarnate, and …

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Bread and Circuses? Why Movies Like Rogue One Make a Difference

The latest Rogue One trailer has arrived, with all the pomp and circumstance one would expect. With the rest of reality going completely bananas, it comes amid questions we wouldn’t have considered just a few months ago. Specifically, how can we watch the Rebel Alliance fight the Empire when the real world is scarier than ever? Why should we put …

harvey

Today in Movie History: October 13

It’s a really big day today, starting with the banner release of two bona fide classics on the same day. The sentimental favorite is Harvey, based on a smash play that gave Jimmy Stewart one of his most beloved roles. There’s something about him credibly holding the screen with an invisible six-foot rabbit that may or may not exist that speaks …

tohaveandhavenot_01

Today in Movie History: October 11

Howard Hawks and Humphrey Bogart made beautiful music together, but with To Have and Have Not, the director had to make room for a third wheel. Lauren Bacall, the love of Bogart’s life, appeared with him for the first of four onscreen pairings, and the result was electric.  Bacall’s line, “you know how to whistle, don’t you?” is the stuff of movie …

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Today in Movie History: October 10

David Lynch understands outsiders as few other filmmakers, and nowhere did he place us more heartbreakingly in their shoes than with The Elephant Man. John Hurt earned an Oscar nomination for his turn as John Merrick, the disfigured circus performer who escaped his brutal lot to find a life of dignity and acceptance in Victorian England. It opened today in 1980, and …

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Today in Movie History: October 7

On the surface, Spartacus is second-tier Stanley Kubrick at best. The legendary director was brought in at the behest of co-producer/star Kirk Douglas after Anthony Mann was fired a week into shooting. Kubrick got the job done, but the film features few of his signature flourishes, and remains solid Hollywood product more than the work of a celebrated auteur. Its …

departed

Today in Movie History: October 6

We’ve got a couple of Oscar winners today. We’ll start with the one that nabbed the big prize: The Departed, a solid gangster epic about loyalty and betrayal based on an equally good Asian film called Infernal Affairs. In any other year, it would have been notable, but not Best Picture material. However, since it was directed by Martin Scorsese, …

the-ten-commandments

Today in Movie History: October 5

You’d think they’d release a movie like The Ten Commandments closer to Passover, when it might be more pertinent. But back in the 1950s, release dates worked differently, and films often had months or even years to play in theaters before moving on (and frankly, with the exception of network television, there was nowhere else to move on to). Hence, …