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Today in Movie History: July 10

The key to dystopian science fiction is to make their bleak future plausible, which is why stories like 1984 resonate even after the precise future date they utilize has come and gone. John Carpenter pulled off a similar trick with Escape from New York, turning Manhattan Island into a walled maximum security prison controlled by a future police state. When Air Force …

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Today in Movie History: July 7

You know that moment when you look at the column and seriously consider opening it with Species? We’re at that moment now… and we’re resisting. Instead, we’ll start with A Scanner Darkly, Richard Linklater’s rotoscoping animation exercise in pure paranoia that may finally have nailed what Philip K. Dick was talking about in all those stories Hollywood insists on adapting. …

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Today in Movie History: July 6

Forrest Gump. Forrest Motherfucking Gump. Forrest Crime Against Cinema Gump. Forrest “I’m going to deny the very definitions of human existence as well as snatching the Best Picture Oscar from both Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption to the thunderous applause of a deluded public” Gump. Have you sat down and watched it lately? Actually looked at the unholy fucking thing? …

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Movies for the Resistance: X-Men — Days of Future Past

(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: July 3

The first few days of July are traditionally set for big blockbusters hoping to cash in on the long holiday weekend. Blockbusters rarely stand the test of time, of course, but there are always exceptions. The biggest for this day is Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis’s iconic time-travel movie that has since become a classic of 80s popcorn cinema. It’s …

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Today in Movie History: June 30

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may have taken more liberties with the beloved source novel than the Tim Burton effort a few years ago, but it found the spirit much more readily… mostly because it treats Willy Wonka as mysterious and more than a little scary instead of one of Burton’s patented misunderstood misfits. There’s a reason why this one …

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Today in Movie History: June 29

We’ll start with The King and I, one of the greatest musicals ever made and the object of eternal gratitude from us bald men for whom Yul Brynner is just the gift that keeps on giving. It opened today in 1956. In case anyone believes that the media was every anything but a gang of scoop-grubbing weasels, Billy Wilder will …

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Today in Movie History: June 28

We’ll start today with Heaven Can Wait, proof that Warren Beatty’s directing career was more than just hubris, and one of several movies that defy the normal face-clawing awfulness of body switching comedies.  It opened today in 1978. Then there’s Pale Rider, Clint Eastwood’s effort to revive the moribund Western genre years after Heaven’s Gate upposedly killed it for good. It didn’t …