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Today in Movie History: June 29

In these charged times, an ethical media is more important than ever. The key word there being “ethical,” which is where the problems arise. Billy Wilder knew the score long before Fox News and supermarket tabloids. Ace in the Hole, the caustic story of just what one newspaper man will do to sell some papers, hit theaters today in 1951, …

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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 40 years ago 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 …

Wall-E

Today in Movie History: June 27

Here’s the weird thing about greatness: sometimes, it sneaks up on you even when you know it’s coming. We all knew that Pixar’s WALL*E was going to be brilliant, but THIS brilliant? Like the-best-thing-Pixar-ever-did brillaint? Pixar. PIXAR. And yeah, this scrappy little guy is willing to put up a fight for the #1 spot on that august list. How good was …

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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 …

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Today in Movie History: June 25

It’s another banner day, and we’re going to start with one of those wild 80s weekends where multiple future classics opened on the same day. Nobody knew that back in 1982 when Ridley Scott released Blade Runner unto the world. It suffered from a troubled production which saw Scott battling with both the studio and star Harrison Ford (to say nothing …

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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 …

Jaws (1975)
Roy Scheider
Credit: Universal Pictures/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Today in Movie History: June 20

In 1974, Universal Pictures handed the adaptation of a dreadful little potboiler to an untested director with just a couple of films under his belt. The production was plagued by accidents, delays and cost overruns. The script was a mess, the cast cantankerous, and the main selling point depended on special effects that just didn’t work. It looked for all …

G-228  Max (Russell Crowe) enjoys the company of his supposed long-lost cousin Christie Roberts (Abbie Cornish) in A GOOD YEAR.

Today in Movie History: June 19

People have called The Music Man an ode to small town Americana, which is ironic since the movie — and the stage musical on which it was based — clearly hates small towns with every fiber of its being. Nevertheless, it’s a terrific musical, full of just enough snark to keep the sugar coating from getting too sweet and featuring a …

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Today in Movie History: June 18

There aren’t a whole lot of great Part 3s out there — the third movie tends to be the point where the wheels come off the franchise in question — but of those that earn mention, Toy Story 3 has earned a place among them. Pixar’s banner property finds an entirely new dilemma for its cast of sentient playthings, as Andy …