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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 that 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 …

Taxi Driver

Today in Movie History: February 8

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. Everyone else can …

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Movies for the Resistance: Sherlock Holmes (2009)

(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: February 6

Henry Selick is best known as the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and we won’t dispute that film’s status as a beloved classic. But his adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is easily in the same league, and has aged just as well. It tells the story of a young girl (Dakota Fanning) who wishes her parents were more interesting… and in true ironic-twist fashion …

bodysnatchers 1956 review

Today in Movie History: February 5

Let’s cut to the chase: the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers opened today in 1956, bringing Cold War paranoia straight into small-town America. Its alien invaders — who duplicate our human forms while removing the pesky humanity from our souls — served as the inspiration for the zombie apocalypse genre to follow, and while it remains a product of the …

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Today in Movie History: February 1

In and of itself, John Huston’s The Misfits, which opened today in 1961, is a solid but second-tier effort from the great director, dealing with the lives of fading cowboys in the Nevada desert. It’s better known as the last onscreen appearance of two cinematic legends: Clark Gable, who died just a few days after shooting completed, and Marilyn Monroe, who died …