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Today in Movie History: April 12

On the list of great directors whom the Academy shafted, Alfred Hitchcock is pretty high. The only film of his that won Best Picture was  Rebecca, a solid though hardly groundbreaking slice of Gothic based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Hitch didn’t even win Best Director that year — it went to John Ford for The Grapes of Wrath — and …

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Movies for the Resistance: The Dead Zone

(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 …

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Today in Movie History: April 11

There’s good musicals, there’s great musicals… and then there’s Singin’ in the Rain. Stanley Donan’s ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the hilarity that ensues when a silent movie studio makes the transition to sound stands as a testament to everything the genre should be. Gene Kelly received co-director credit for choreographing the dance scenes — topped by the …

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Today in Movie History: April 10

1981 was a banner year for science fiction, fantasy and horror movies… perhaps moreso even than 1982, which is usually gited as the high water mark for genre cinema. Two of that year’s bumper crop were released today. First up, Excalibur: John Boorman’s ambitious attempt to cover the entire Arthur legend from conception to death. Its reach exceeds its grasp more …

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Today in Movie History: April 7

We have a very diverse quartet to recognize today, starting with the earliest. Abel Gance’s passion project Napoleon, covering the early years of the French leader’s life, became one of the most innovative efforts of the silent era: pioneering numerous techniques such as multi-camera set-ups and multi-screen projection (making it one of the first truly widescreen movies) that influenced countless …

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Today in Movie History: April 6

In all honesty, we prefer John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, to the original Thing from Another World. It sticks more closely to the short story that inspired them both and finds an existential terror that the first film can’t match. (Seriously: best horror movie of all time.) That said, the original — directed by Christian Nyby with a clear assist (at the …

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Movies for the Resistance: Star Wars Double Feature

(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 …

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Today in Movie History: April 3

Some movies tower so high that simply to mention them is to take the breath away. So it its with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Almost 50 years on — with countless screenings, analyses, critical evaluations, and drug-induced hallucinations in the interim — we’re still pondering the imponderables of Stanley Kubrick’s monumental achievement. An unanswerable mystery and an all-encompassing revelation; a warning …