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Today in Movie History: February 15

Stagecoach is one of those movies whose influence kind of creeps up on you. Not only did it cement a number of Western conventions that later went on to become clichés (Monument Valley settings, cavalry arriving at the last minute, etc.), but it made a star out of John Wayne and turned director John Ford into Hollywood legend. It also featured …

Dolores_Umbridge

Movies for the Resistance: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

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Today in Movie History: February 14

Because nothing says “I love you” more than serial killers who wear their victims’ skin… Before Silence of the Lambs opened, it looked shaky in the extreme. The source material — a bestselling potboiler by Thomas Harris — was terrible, Jodie Foster got the female lead only after fighting like mad for it, and Anthony Hopkins was still largely considered a stage …

das-boot

Today in Movie History: February 10

Our big movie today is Das Boot, Wolfgang Petersen’s incredible WW II epic that not only has us rooting for the Germans, but delivers what is unquestionably the greatest submarine movie of all time.  It opened in the U.S. today in 1982, and if you haven’t seen it yet, get thee to the nearest convenient distribution platform posthaste! Sam Raimi …

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Today in Movie History: February 9

A fairly quiet day for movie releases, marked by a remarkably unremarkable Western. Cimarron, a turgid tale of the Oklahoma land rush and the various soap opera theatrics which followed, opened today in 1931. It’s interesting mainly because it was released before the Hays Code, which means it’s reasonably steamy for its era, and it succeeded in walking off with only …

Taxi Driver

Today in Movie History: February 8

Petrified Forest (1936) A big day for movies starts with the one of the most problematic. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation opened today in 1915, marking a seismic advance in motion pictures as a technical art form while simultaneously pushing a narrative so grotesque it causes one to despair for humanity. Film students are obligated to watch it. Once. …

gandhi

Movies for the Resistance: Gandhi

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

In-The-Mouth-Of-Madness-1994

Today in Movie History: February 3

The later career of John Carpenter was marked by a gradual fall from the form that made him a legend in genre filmmaking. He put that fall on hold for one glorious moment when his last truly great movie — In The Mouth of Madness — opened today in 1995. Sam Neill plays a cynical private investigator hired to find a missing horror …