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Today in Movie History: June 23

A brutally full day in movie history always seems to be followed by a nearly empty one. Fortunately, today’s single entry — while a deeply flawed film in many ways — also ranks as one of the most fascinating in history. Tim Burton’s Batman arrived in an era when superhero films began and ended with Christopher Reeve, and initially, no one …

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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 …

TYFS

Movies for the Resistance: Thank You for Smoking

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

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 16

We’ll give Grease the nod for the pole position. It is the word after all, and while the film’s subtext remains troubling — basically saying that in order to get the man of your dreams, you have to change everything you are — it’s hard to stop the toes from tapping once those songs get going. And say what you will …

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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 …

Spartacus

Movies for the Resistance: Spartacus

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …