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Today in Movie History: March 30

It’s all about the 80s today with a trio of iconic films from that era. No one expected a movie like Beetlejuice to do anything when it first opened. Indeed, the question remains how the darn thing got made in the first place: a second-time director with a truly strange point of view given free rein to pursue his vision, and a star …

Some-Like-It-Hot_Lthumb

Today in Movie History: March 29

It sounds funny saying something like “the last word on guys wearing dresses,” but here we are. Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, often cited as the greatest comedy ever made, opened today in 1959: securing stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis a spot in pop culture immortality, as well as giving Marilyn Monroe the best showcase she ever had. …

BirdsPlaygroundBaja

Today in Movie History: March 28

It’s a day of mayhem in movie history, starting with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. After the triumph of Psycho, everyone asked how Hitch was going to top it. He responded by turning back to the writings of Daphne du Maurier, which had already seen him through the likes of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. It became another masterpiece, porting du Maurier’s …

Thief

Today in Movie History: March 27

If gritty crime dramas are your game, Michael Mann is your director. And while I’d cite the likes of Heat, Manhunter and Collateral as unabashed masterpieces, they are preceded by Thief which set the pace for those triumphs to follow. James Caan plays a brilliant jewel thief trying to go straight, enticed into one last score that goes dreadfully wrong. Mann succeeds …

Woodstock

Today in Movie History: March 26

Concert films don’t get a whole lot of critical respect, though there are a few notable exceptions. One of them is Woodstock, Michael Wadleigh’s sprawling account of the ubiquitous music festival in 1969. Seven editors were employed to distill three days of peace and music into a single three-hour motion picture, including Martin Scorsese and Scorsese’s own long-time editor Thelma Schoonmacher. The film …

Once

Today in Movie History: March 23

One of the best romances of recent years had very humble beginnings: shot in 17 days, starring a pair of professional musicians with limited acting experience, and intend as a showcase for lead Glen Hansard’s anecdotes about busking, it turned into a massive international success, and scored both Hansard and co-star Marketa Irglova an Academy Award for Best Original Song. …

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Today in Movie History: March 21

It’s a quiet day today, but there’s a little gem worth mentioning, especially for sci-fi fans. Jodorowsky’s Dune is a fascinating documentary covering Chilean filmmaker Alajandro Jodorowsky — one of cinema’s most bizarre and striking visionaries — who attempted to assemble a version of the celebrated Frank Hebert classic Dune several years before David Lynch. It provides a hypnotic look not …

Basic Instinct

Today in Movie History: March 20

Two very different crime movies opened today, starting with the original Pink Panther, an agreeable farce that spawned a similarly agreeable franchise. They existed primarily as a showcase for Peter Sellers’ comedic talents, which is interesting considering that Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau was a secondary character in the original film (and less of a buffoon to boot). But, in typical Sellers …

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Today in Movie History: March 19

Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind remains one of the finest pieces of pure science fiction from the past 20 years. It entails a heartbroken man (Jim Carrey), who is told that his ex (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of him systematically erased, and decided to undergo the same process. Smart, wise, and surprisingly creative, it speaks with …