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Today in Movie History: July 22

And behold, the worst shall be first, and all the base and discarded of the cinematic universe will draw sustenance from its example. We’re talking about Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space, justly celebrated as the worst movie ever made. Creaky sets, terrible acting, a plot that has to be seen to be believed, and the final onscreen appearance …

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Today in Movie History: July 15

With apologies to The Boy Who Lived, I think Officer McClane is taking the pole position on this one. The original Die Hard initially looked like a huge disaster. Star Bruce Willis was mainly known for light comedy and his attempt to segue into action hero mode smacked of the worst kind of hubris. As it turns out, it represented …

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Today in Movie History: July 8

It’s a quiet Friday for film releases, topped only by  Lew Lander’s The Raven, which arose at the height of Universal’s horror cycle. It was the second pairing of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi after 1934’s The Black Cat, and at the time was considered almost too gruesome for audiences. Lugosi plays a doctor fixated on Edgar Allan Poe, to the point of keeping …

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Movie Review: The Phenom

Review by Rob Vaux Starring: Johnny Simmons, Ethan Hawke, Paul Giamatti, Alison Elliot, and Yul Vazquez Written and Directed by Noal Buschel Running time: 88 Minutes Year of release: 2016 Most sports movies look for meaning in the sport itself. The smart ones examine the men and women who play them, and what drives them to compete the way they do. The Phenom …

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Today in Movie History: July 1

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who adore Big Trouble in Little China, and deluded, misguided souls who make me sad. John Carpenter’s semi-satirical wuxia mash-up tanked upon its initial release, but found a new audience (as so many 80s films did) on home video. It is currently hailed as one of the cornerstones of Western civilization, thanks to a cunning …

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Today in Movie History: June 17

Today starts with Fanny and Alexander, Ingmar Bergman’s swan song about a young brother and sister who have to deal with their monstrous stepfather and in the process blur the distinction between fantasy and reality. It’s as powerful as any of the master’s films and netted Bergman his third and final Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. It opened in the …

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Today in Movie History: June 10

Though heralded as a game-changer at the time, Jan de Bont’s Speed has since been hobbled by the director’s overall lack of quality output and overtaken by superhero movies as the action flavor of choice. It remains breakneck popcorn entertainment, however, and though hardly the most plausible scenario, it holds up to multiple screenings remarkably well. It also made Sandra …

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Today in Movie History: June 3

As Billy Wilder comedies go, The Seven Year Itch never packed the punch of, say, Some Like It Hot or The Apartment. It’s amusing enough, but the Hays Code pulled the teeth from the Broadway play on which it was based, about a married man tempted by… well shit, by Marilyn Freaking Monroe. That leaves it minor Wilder at best, save for that …

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Today in Movie History: May 27

These days, with every potential blockbuster hoping to suck up all the air in the room, you never open big films right on top of each other. But it used to happen all the time. And in this case, it was a grand fluke, since nobody expected Star Wars to do anything when it debuted on May 25, 1977. But …