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Today in Movie History: July 13

Today marks the release of The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the high points of the Roger Moore James Bond era that found him flashing his playboy spy routine to increasingly ridiculous ends. The villain’s a bit of a snoozer, and while Barbara Bach looks great in a slinky dress, she’s still too passive to make the strong impression required from the …

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Ð PART 2

Today in Movie History: July 11

It’s hard to overestimate the impact that Harry Potter had on movie culture: we’d never seen a level of quality established and maintained for a single franchise of that length before. (Even James Bond had to deal with a couple of stinkers in the same period of time.) Without The Boy Who Lived — and more importantly, without the reliably …

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Today in Movie History: July 10

The key to dystopian science fiction is to make their bleak future plausible, which is why stories like 1984 resonate even after the precise future date they utilize has come and gone. John Carpenter pulled off a similar trick with Escape from New York, turning Manhattan Island into a walled maximum security prison controlled by a future police state. When Air Force …

PotC

Today in Movie History: July 9

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise became a victim of its own success, making it easy to forget what a revelation Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was when he first capered onto movie screens. Combined with Gore Verbinski’s acrobatic direction, what started out as a decidedly dodgy prospect somehow became the go-to movie for modern swashbuckling. (And if we’re totally honest, a great …

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Today in Movie History: July 6

  Film noir may be American cinema’s greatest contribution to the canon, and they don’t come any noir-ier than Double Indemnity: Billy Wilder’s masterpeice of greed, deceit and murder. Wilder fled the rise of the Nazis to come to Hollywood, and the darkness seeping out of Europe can be felt in the story of an insurance agent (Fred MacMurray) scheming with an ambitious …

BttF

Today in Movie History: July 3

The first few days of July are traditionally set for big blockbusters hoping to cash in on the long holiday weekend. Blockbusters rarely stand the test of time, of course, but there are always exceptions. The biggest for this day is Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis’s iconic time-travel movie that has since become a classic of 80s popcorn cinema. It’s …

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Today in Movie History: July 2

Summer is known for its bombast, and few are more bombastic than Independence Day, Roland Emmerich’s gloriously goofy update of old 50s alien invasion movies. It also owes a debt to Irwin Allen’s all-star disaster flicks from the 1970s, with a large cast running to and fro in the midst of all the mayhem. It’s utterly ridiculous from start to finish, …