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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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Today in Movie History: April 4

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the face of movies, and no entry stands higher in public estimation than Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It throws Chris Evans’ star-spangled superhero against a dark conspiracy that reaches to the highest halls of power, even engulfing his old pal Bucky (Sebastian Stan), brainwashed into becoming an unstoppable assassin. It opened today in 2014. …

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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. 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 against our …

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Today in Movie History: April 2

We have a couple of entries form the same day in 1982 today. Paul Schrader’s Cat People took on the unenviable task of remaking the 1942 horror classic, and created a more sensual and overtly adult take on the same material. Nastassia Kinski stars as a young woman whose heritage may entail a certain feline quality, along with a creepy brother (Malcolm …

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Today in Movie History: March 30

It’s all about the 80s today with a trio of iconic films from that era. No one expected a movie like Beetlejuice to do anything when it first opened. Indeed, the question remains how the darn thing got made in the first place: a second-time director with a truly strange point of view given free rein to pursue his vision, and a star …

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Today in Movie History: March 29

It sounds funny saying something like “the last word on guys wearing dresses,” but here we are. Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, often cited as the greatest comedy ever made, opened today in 1959: securing stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis a spot in pop culture immortality, as well as giving Marilyn Monroe the best showcase she ever had. …

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Today in Movie History: March 28

It’s a day of mayhem in movie history, starting with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. After the triumph of Psycho, everyone asked how Hitch was going to top it. He responded by turning back to the writings of Daphne du Maurier, which had already seen him through the likes of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. It became another masterpiece, porting du Maurier’s …

Thief

Today in Movie History: March 27

If gritty crime dramas are your game, Michael Mann is your director. And while I’d cite the likes of Heat, Manhunter and Collateral as unabashed masterpieces, they are preceded by Thief which set the pace for those triumphs to follow. James Caan plays a brilliant jewel thief trying to go straight, enticed into one last score that goes dreadfully wrong. Mann succeeds …

Woodstock

Today in Movie History: March 26

Concert films don’t get a whole lot of critical respect, though there are a few notable exceptions. One of them is Woodstock, Michael Wadleigh’s sprawling account of the ubiquitous music festival in 1969. Seven editors were employed to distill three days of peace and music into a single three-hour motion picture, including Martin Scorsese and Scorsese’s own long-time editor Thelma Schoonmacher. The film …