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Today in Movie History: August 28

With the screenplays for Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back under his belt, Lawrence Kasdan was ready to try his hand at directing. His freshman effort proved to be a stunner: Body Heat, a super-steamy update of the classic Double Indemnity, in which a sleazy Florida lawyer (William Hurt) falls for a routinely naked woman (Kathleen Turner) who needs help …

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Today in Movie History: August 25

There are movies that merit discussion, exposition, analysis and explanation. Then there are movies that are so tightly woven into our cultural DNA that no further word is necessary. And while it found its audience on those famed CBS broadcasts year in and year out, this was the day its magic officially began. The one and only Wizard of Oz opened today …

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Today in Movie History: August 24

It’s a reasonably quiet day, so we’ll start with a reasonably quiet film: Brief Encounter, David Lean’s affecting romance about a married woman (Ceia Johnson) who meets a handsome stranger on the train and considers having an affair with him. It helped cement Lean’s reputation and opened the door to one of the most fruitful careers in the history of …

The Big Sleep

Today in Movie History: August 23

No contest as to what we’re starting with today: The Big Sleep Howard Hawks’ adaptation of the famed Raymond Chandler novel, now widely regarded as one of the greatest detective movies ever made. Its status as a staple of film noir hides a few too many twists — who the hell did kill that chauffeur? — but with Humphrey Bogart …

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Movies for the Resistance: The Matrix

(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: August 21

Look, I don’t get Dirty Dancing. I just don’t. I’ve looked at it maybe three times in the course of my life, and while Patrick Swayze can, in fact, lay it down, the rest of the movie just doesn’t speak to me. It does, however, speak to a LOT of people out there, helping to make it a beloved 80s cult …

Brian

Today in Movie History: August 17

Everything’s turning up Jesus today… though not quite in the way you might expect. We’ll start with Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, the legendary comedy troupe’s follow-up to Holy Grail that ignited the expected firestorm of controversy among those least able to appreciate what it was trying to say. It remains brilliant, of course, and while time has blunted the …

Usual

Today in Movie History: August 16

Film lovers often talk about the joy of being surprised: walking into a movie expecting nothing more than a couple of hours’ worth of entertainment, and delighted to discover a masterpiece in its place. So it was with The Usual Suspects, a seemingly by-the-numbers crime thriller than morphed into something extraordinary. Two Oscars later (one for Kevin Spacey and one for …