THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, Michael Rennie, 1951, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

CREDIT: Everett Collection

Today in Movie History: September 28

The 1950s were a Golden Age for science fiction, and few films in that era attained the resonance — both as entertainment and as a movie with something to say — that The Day The Earth Stood Still did. Robert Wise’s pitch-perfect fable of a man from outer space with a message we’re just not capable of hearing is definitely …

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Today in Movie History: September 27

Forest Whitaker has been a Hollywood staple for 20 years when he finally scored Oscar gold in The Last King of Scotland, for his unforgettable performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The film received criticism for a typically Hollywood tactic of including a white guy to serve as an audience surrogate, but considering the West’s support of the Amin regime — and considering …

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Today in Movie History: September 26

There are good movies, there are bad movies, and then there are movies that achieve immortality through sheer, all-powerful weirdness. They don’t get any weirder than The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the one, true midnight cult classic whose gender-bending, genre-destroying uniqueness has guaranteed it a place in the canon by default. It officially opened today in 1975, but its midnight run began at …

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Today in Movie History: September 25

Like a surprising number of classics, The Princess Bride didn’t do particularly well when first released in theaters. Audiences weren’t sure what to expect from the combination of gentle satire and straight-faced romance, and largely stayed away… only to discover it on video like so many other films of the era. Today, of course, it’s an indispensable part of the canon: one of …

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Today in Movie History: September 24

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg had already scored a geek coup with their marvelous series Spaced, but no one could imagine what they’d follow that up with. Shaun of the Dead, a spot-on satire of the zombie apocalypse, made a fan out of no less a luminary than George A. Romero, as well as turning both men into genre icons almost …

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Today in Movie History: September 21

Based on a real-life botched bank robbery, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon now stands as a landmark of 70s cinema. Its anti-authoritarian tone shines through in every scene — thanks to Al Pacino’s iconic turn as an amateur criminal whose master plan goes straight out the window — and the overall sense of doom was much in keeping with the …

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Today in Movie History: September 20

We’re starting today with The Battle of Algiers, a searing semi-documentary — commissioned by the Algerian government — about their fight for independence from the French. It weighs both sides of the conflict in surprisingly even-handed terms, as well as providing stunning insight into the nature and fallout of insurgent violence to enact political change. It opened in the U.S. today …

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Today in Movie History: September 19

After several weeks of quiet days, we’ve got one filled with four of the greatest movies ever made. I agonized over which one to start with, but went with my heart. L.A. Confidential generated tons of critical buzz, but not much box office when it was first released, and while it scored a couple of Oscars (for Brian Helgeland’s script and …

Fatal-Attaction

Today in Movie History: September 18

You wanna get nuts? Today’s got the hook-up. We’ll start with Fatal Attraction, Adrian Lyne’s lightning rod of gender politics that saw Michael Douglas’s loving family man stalked and threatened by the woman he slept around with (Glenn Close). The film scored not only as a sharp (if slightly overheated) thriller, but for its surprisingly sympathetic approach towards a character …

Emma Stone as "Olive Penderghast" in Screen Gems' EASY A.

Today in Movie History: September 17

Another quiet day in September, marked by one notable coming out party for a very big star. Easy A, a fresh and funny update on The Scarlet Letter, saw Emma Stone’s precocious teen first exploiting and then struggling to escape a nasty rumor spreading like wildfire across her school’s social network. It quickly gained the status of a coming-of-age classic, as …