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Today in Movie History: June 15

It’s a big day today, and we’ll start with the most recent. Amid all the hubbub over 2008’s The Dark Knight, it’s easy to forget just what an amazing job its predecessor, Batman Begins, did after Tim Burton’s singular-but-flawed vision and the depressing crassness of the Joel Schumacher Batman films. Bat-fans were hungry for the kind of lean, grounded tale that Christopher Nolan …

Matt Damon in a scene from the motion picture The Bourne Ultimatum. --- DATE TAKEN: rec'd 07/07  By Jasin Boland   Universal Studios        HO      - handout   ORG XMIT: ZX61392

Today in Movie History: June 14

When talking about underrated franchises, the Jason Bourne films might be at the top of the list. They don’t have the profile of James Bond or the MCU, but with five movies in the can, they established a reasonably high standard of quality that belies their airport paperback originals. Credit for that goes both to directors like Doug Liman and …

Lolita

Today in Movie History: June 13

Stanley Kubrick still hadn’t quite established himself as, you know, Stanley Kubrick, when he tackled the supposedly unfilmable Lolita from a screenplay by Nabokov himself. The results were imperfect at best, but demonstrated a filmmaker willing to work on the high wire without a net, and set the stage for the breathtaking string of masterpieces that followed. Lolita was released …

Indy

Today in Movie History: June 12

It’s a big day for movie releases today, but there’s no doubt which one leads the list. Action and adventure have been a part of the movies since the Lumiere brothers sent audiences diving for cover with the approach of a moving train. We’ve seen some amazing entries in the genre over the ensuing 120 years, but none of them …

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Today in Movie History: June 11

Today was a big day for Mr. Spielberg, with opening dates for two of his acknowledged classics. We’ll start with E.T., the story of a lonely little boy (Henry Thomas) who befriends a stranded alien in the woods behind his home. It touched a chord in audiences when it first opened and now stands as perhaps the most “Spielbergian” of the …

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Today in Movie History: June 8

We’ve been getting our 80s on recently, and today is a red letter date for that. We’ll start with the earliest: Trading Places, John Landis’s Wall Street retake on The Prince and the Pauper, remains a doggedly entertaining comedy provided you can accept that its heroes emerge triumphant via insider trading. Buoyed by Dan Aykroyd’s fantastic blue-blood buffoon and Eddie …

Goonies

Today in Movie History: June 7

Goonies. We hear tell they never say die, and while rose-colored glasses may help its reputation far more than a sober look at it today, it’s hard to argue with a cult classic after 30+ years of unadulterated love. For Gen-Xers, it’s a touchstone of our era. For everyone else, it’s a ripe slice of 80s cinema at its 80s-est. …

Cagney

Today in Movie History: June 6

“Once a song and dance man, always a song and dance man,” James Cagney famously remarked. That could explain why an actor renowned for playing gangsters earned his only Oscar for… well, just read the quote. Yankee Doodle Dandy, a heavily bowdlerized biography of songwriter George M. Cohan, arrived as a bracing bit of Old Glory for a nation that …

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Today in Movie History: June 5

Peter Weir’s career constitutes one of the more fascinating in modern films, and he was never better than with The Truman Show, a eerily prescient look at life in the digital era. it features Jim Carrey as a man who has unknowingly lived his entire life as the subject of his television show, complete with parents, friends, co-workers and romantic interests …

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Today in Movie History: June 4

Two future classics opened on the exact same day today in 1982: a period when you literally could open giant movies on the same weekend and expect them both to thrive. We’ll start with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, widely regarded as the high point of the entire Star Trek phenomenon. After the underwhelming response to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, …