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Today in Movie History: January 15

Riddle me this, Caped Crusader: how do you produce the greatest Shakespeare adaptation of all time without using a single line of Shakespeare? You give it to Akira Kurosawa, that’s how. Throne of Blood — his magnificent, peerless, stunningly powerful samurai version of Macbeth — opened in Japan this day in 1957. The great Toshiro Mifune turned in one of numerous …

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Today in Movie History: January 14

Roger Corman didn’t have big-budget hubris on his side, and we respect his earnest efforts (as well as those of director Daniel Haller) to adapt the notoriously unadaptable work of H.P. Lovecraft. But their version of The Dunwich Horror — reimagined through the psychedelic transcendentalism of the late 1960s — is a hot mess. At least it’s an interesting hot mess, …

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Today in Movie History: December 18

Let’s cut to the chase: The Two Towers hit theaters today in 2002. Among its copious assets is a sterling performance from Andy Serkis as Gollum, which ushered in an entirely new way of portraying fantasy figures onscreen. It also constituted an impressive piece of filmmaking in and of itself, and while it really is simply the middle third of a …

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Today in Movie History: December 17

It’s hard to underestimate the influence of Peter Jackson’s Return of the King. It was clear form the two films that preceded it that something extraordinary was afoot. But its staggering critical and box office success helped cement our current franchise-heavy cinematic culture (along with the Harry Potter films), as well as finally validating the fantasy genre as an art form. …

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Today in Movie History: December 14

It was a good day for epics, starting with Edward Zwick’s classic Civil War tale Glory, which (among other things) gave Denzel Washington his first Oscar. You like your epics big, loud and featuring Charlton Heston? December 14 also saw the release of Anthony Mann’s minor classic El Cid back in 1961. 1984 saw three notable science fiction movies released today… well okay, …