wonka2

Today in Movie History: June 30

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may have taken more liberties with the beloved source novel than the Tim Burton effort a few years ago, but it found the spirit much more readily… mostly because it treats Willy Wonka as mysterious and more than a little scary instead of one of Burton’s patented misunderstood misfits. There’s a reason why this one …

thekingandi

Today in Movie History: June 29

We’ll start with The King and I, one of the greatest musicals ever made and the object of eternal gratitude from us bald men for whom Yul Brynner is just the gift that keeps on giving. It opened today in 1956. In case anyone believes that the media was every anything but a gang of scoop-grubbing weasels, Billy Wilder will …

heaven-can-wait-2

Today in Movie History: June 28

We’ll start today with Heaven Can Wait, proof that Warren Beatty’s directing career was more than just hubris, and one of several movies that defy the normal face-clawing awfulness of body switching comedies.  It opened today in 1978. Then there’s Pale Rider, Clint Eastwood’s effort to revive the moribund Western genre years after Heaven’s Gate upposedly killed it for good. It didn’t …

An evil goblin king, played by David Bowie, pictured  here, a talking door knocker, fairies and a colony of goblins will join producer/director Brian Henson and members of the Jim Henson Creature Shop at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesÕ 20th anniversary screening and onstage discussion of ÒLabyrinthÓ (1986) on Thursday, July 20, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Today in Movie History: June 27

I was going to start this column with the second movie on the list — and if I had to choose, I’d say it was the better film — but I want to pay brief tribute to David Bowie, whose loss is still so acutely felt. Labyrinth began life as just another box office bomb that found its audience on video, and …

hartman_fullmetaljacket

Today in Movie History: June 26

We’re going all 80s today, starting with Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick’s take on the Vietnam War that turned out to be his penultimate effort as a filmmaker. It’s a harsh, brutal and stereotypically cold effort from the master, and most people agree that the first half — covering the dehumanizing boot camp experience of a group of Marines on Parris …

08_batman_1989

Today in Movie History: June 23

A brutally full day in movie history always seems to be followed by a nearly empty one. Fortunately, today’s single entry — while a deeply flawed film in many ways — also ranks as one of the most fascinating in history. Tim Burton’s Batman arrived in an era when superhero films began and ended with Christopher Reeve, and initially, no one …

muppet_1.2_758_426_81_s_c1

Today in Movie History: June 22

It’s a close call for the top spot today — there’s some big ones — but we’re going to go with Kermit and the gang making their feature film debut with  The Muppet Movie. The irreplaceable Jim Henson turned directing duties over to James Frawley, but the former’s fingerprints are all over it, bolstered by brilliant songs from Paul Williams …

Chinatown ending

Today in Movie History: June 21

I tend to disapprove of nihilism in the movies, since it usually comes across as smug posturing from arrogant directors who have no real experience with true human darkness. That doesn’t apply to Roman Polanski, a man who has gazed into the abyss from both sides and knows its secrets the way few of us ever will. Nowhere is that better showcased than with Chinatown, his …

TYFS

Movies for the Resistance: Thank You for Smoking

(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 …