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Today in Movie History: December 15

Man, there are some big movies  released today. We’re going to start with the grim one: one of the most important movies of all time, a chilling testament to the Holocaust, and demonstrative artistic validation for one of the greatest directors ever. Schindler’s List opened today in 1993. Above and beyond its merits as cinema, its success led to the …

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Today in Movie History: December 14

It was a good day for epics, starting with Edward Zwick’s classic Civil War tale Glory, which (among other things) gave Denzel Washington his first Oscar. You like your epics big, loud and featuring Charlton Heston? December 14 also saw the release of Anthony Mann’s minor classic El Cid back in 1961. 1984 saw three notable science fiction movies released… well okay, two …

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Today in Movie History: December 13

In the spirit of the season, we’re going to start with a light one: Clue, one of those comedies that nobody understood when it was first released, but has since gone on to become a classic. Based on the evergreen board game, it initially baffled critics and audiences with its vaudeville-style script and a gimmick that allowed for different endings depending …

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Today in Movie History: December 12

The topper today is a classic from the Golden Age of Universal Horror: The Wolf Man, George Waggner’s quintessential werewolf story featuring Lon Chaney, Jr. as a good man attacked by something out of legend and transformed into a creature of the night. Bela Lugosi and Ralph Bellamy tag along for the ride, and the results are one of the …

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Today in Movie History: December 9

We mentioned Ang Lee yesterday, which marked the release of one of the best films he ever made. Today has another one: Brokeback Mountain, a watershed in the presentation of gays onscreen, but more impressively a flawless adaptation of an 11-page short story that might not be filmable in the hands of anyone else. Lee makes a habit out of walking on water …

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Today in Movie History: December 8

We’re going to start with Ang Lee, the only non-white to win more than one Best Director Oscar and whose vision continues to expand with every film he makes. Among his very best is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a love letter to the wuxia films of his youth that manages to elevate the genre to masterpiece status. A sumptuous adventure, a tragic …

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Today in Movie History: December 7

People were still trying to figure out Tim Burton in the winter of 1990. Having directed an unexpected hit with Beetlejuice and then taken the world by storm with Batman, everyone wondered whether he was for real, or if he was just some quirky hiccup. He responded with Edward Scissorhands, a modern fairy-tale that cemented his distinctive style, evinced a gentle shift away from …

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Today in Movie History: December 6

It was a reasonably good day for science fiction today, starting with Rene Laloux’s Fantastic Planet, a strange, surreal and quite wonderful foray into pure imagination. It depicts a distant world where humans are hunted or kept as pets by a race of advanced giants, and what happens when one little guy decides to disrupt the status quo. It remains a …

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Today in Movie History: December 5

Eddie Murphy was already a face to watch after his dynamic presence on Saturday Night Live and a pair of films (48 HRS and Trading Places) that partnered him with more established stars. Then came Beverly Hills Cop, putting Murphy front and center in the spotlight for the first time and turning into a monster hit in the process. It’s absolute …