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Today in Movie History: October 19

In light of the political shitstorm currently eating our country alive, the soothing balm of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington can do a lot of good for your blood pressure. Jimmy Stewart is pitch-perfect as a naïve young man appointed to a U.S. Senate seat, who does pitched battle against the systematic corruption trying to mold him to its whim. Of course, …

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Today in Movie History: October 18

Musicals don’t come any better than West Side Story, a brilliant re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that freed the genre from the opulent event pictures that had dominated it in the 1950s. Robert Wise kept a steady hand on the tiller during a deeply troubled production — co-director Jerome Robbins suffered a breakdown midway through, though his stunning choreography remains …

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Today in Movie History: October 17

For a supposedly quiet month, October is chock full of terrific movies. We’ll start with Bullitt, a movie that’s less a classic in and of itself than a classic car chase with a movie wrapped around it. The rest of the film is boilerplate cops-and-robbers stuff, but when Steve McQueen gets behind the wheel of that Mustang, something magic happens. Bullitt opened …

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Today in Movie History: October 16

Clive Barker has certainly made his mark on the horror field, and while his cinematic endeavors have been hit-and-miss, Candyman ranks among his very best. It concerns an ambitious grad student (Virginia Madsen) who pursues urban legends about a hook-handed murderer into Chicago’s infamous Cabrini Green housing project. Barker produced the film, based on one of his short stories, and director Bernard …

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Today in Movie History: October 15

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have emerged as two of the premiere satirists of the 21st Century, with a legacy that goes well beyond South Park. One of their greatest creations was Team America: World Police, perhaps the final word on the George W. Bush administration as interpreted through a cast of Thunderbirds-Are-Go-style marionettes. It neatly skewers everything that wanders into its sights …

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Today in Movie History: October 11

Howard Hawks and Humphrey Bogart made beautiful music together, but with To Have and Have Not, the director had to make room for a third wheel. Lauren Bacall, the love of Bogart’s life, appeared with him for the first of four onscreen pairings, and the result was electric.  Bacall’s line, “you know how to whistle, don’t you?” is the stuff of movie …

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Movie Review: Bad Times at the El Royale

Review by Rob Vaux Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Arivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman and Chris Hemsworth Directed by: Drew Goddard Running time: 141 Minutes Year of release: 2018   Film noir is a very stylistic genre, and a filmmaker who isn’t careful can get too caught up in the style. Bad Times at the El Royale flirts madly with …

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Today in Movie History: October 10

David Lynch understands outsiders as few other filmmakers, and nowhere did he place us more heartbreakingly in their shoes than with The Elephant Man. John Hurt earned an Oscar nomination for his turn as John Merrick, the disfigured circus performer who escaped his brutal lot to find a life of dignity and acceptance in Victorian England. It opened today in 1980, and …

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Today in Movie History: October 9

The French Connection is justly celebrated for one of the most dynamic car chases of all time, though it wins no points for public endangerment: it was reportedly created simply by setting cameras up along uncleared streets in NYC, then telling star Gene Hackman to floor it. Nevertheless, it’s a harrowing, incredible sequence befitting the down-and-dirty police procedural that surrounds …