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Today in Movie History: December 11

“You can’t handle the truth!” Okay, maybe you can. Rob Reiner’s rip-roaring military courtroom drama A Few Good Men hit theaters 25 years ago today in 1992. The same day, the Muppets delivered their version of A Christmas Carol, with Michael Caine playing Scrooge. Besides the film itself (which is good holiday fun), it marked the first movie appearance of Kermit the Frog since …

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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 watched him direct an unexpected hit with Beetlejuice and then taken the world by storm with Batman, everyone wondered whether he was for real or 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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Movies for the Resistance: Gladiator

(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 the inexplicable, …

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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 …

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Today in Movie History: December 4

Grumble… grumble… On Golden Pond… snarky comment… turgid Oscar bait… accolades it didn’t earn… dated more badly than bell bottoms…  FINE, I’LL LEAD WITH IT. It opened today in 1981. Frankly, I would have rather started with Young Sherlock Holmes, a handsome bit of 80s popcorn from Barry Levinson detailing the early adventures of the ubiquitous detective (well played by …