Shining

Today in Movie History: May 23

Given its status as one of the most beloved horror movies of all time, it’s hard to believe that critics were none too fond of The Shining when it was originally released. Indeed, Stephen King himself always expressed dissatisfaction with it — adapted from one of his most personal works — and even responded with a newer made-for-television version that was much more faithful to …

600px-Rambo2_2011

Today in Movie History: May 22

The summer season traditionally kicked off on Memorial Day weekend, with the pre-planned 600-lb. gorilla du jour grabbing the pole position every year. Unfortunately, that meant a lot of high-end sequels of dubious quality landing in late May: notable more  for failing to meet expectations than advancing whatever the franchise in question was. Yet all of them remain interesting… as cinematic …

Kiss Me Deadly

Today in Movie History: May 18

We continue our slight pause in the release of summer blockbusters to bring you this fine slice of film noir. Kiss Me Deadly, the film that introduced the world to Mickey Spillane’s private eye/thug Mike Hammer, also inspired (among other things) the briefcase gag in Pulp Fiction (seriously guys, don’t open it), and marked the film debut of erstwhile Nurse Diesel Cloris Leachman. The film …

in-a-lonely-place-still

Today in Movie History: May 17

One of the great films noir of all time — Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place — opened today in 1950. Featuring a brilliant performance from Humphrey Bogart’s as a potentially murderous screenwriter and noir staple Gloria Grahame as the woman who may have inadvertently helped him get away with it, it holds a punch that most modern thrillers would envy. The other big release …

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Today in Movie History: May 16

We start out the week on the highway…. to the danger zone! Top Gun, Tony’s Scott’s over-the-top ode to Reagan-era military worship and hunky guys with oily pecs exploded onto screens today in 1986. I still can’t quite take the movie seriously, and I’m not prepared to called it “good,” but we’ll never see anything like the extraordinary flight scenes …

m-fritz-lang

Today in Movie History: May 11

Dark and gloomy films rule the roost today, with one bright ray of sunshine from Robert Redford. We’ll start with the masterpiece: Fritz Lang’s M, a chilling study in crime, compulsion and human evil that made a star out of Peter Lorre… whose unsettling performance as a child killer captured and tried by the criminal underworld launched an entire career of playing …

python-and-the-holy-grail

Today in Movie History: May 10

Two brilliant comedic troupes hit high points today. We’ll start with the boys in Britain who, with a successful TV show behind them and absolutely zero money to back them up, put together a comic take on the Knights of the Round Table that we’re pretty sure you’re familiar with. Monty Python and the Holy Grail opened today in 1975. …

vertigo2

Today in Movie History: May 9

Alfred Hitchcock had his share of classics, and I confess that there are one or two I prefer to this one. But when talk comes around to the greatest movies of all time, Vertigo is usually a prime contender. Jimmy Stewart’s performance may stand as a career best, and Hitchcock’s incursion into forbidden and frankly terrifying corners of the human psyche …

drno-01

Today in Movie History: May 8

“Bond. James Bond.” From the dawn of civilization until the end of time, no human being will be one-tenth as cool as Sean Connery was at that moment. From three little words came the franchise to end all franchises, with no signs of slowing down. 007’s immortal debut, Dr. No, hit U.S. screens today in 1963. A few years later, another …