Lolita

Today in Movie History: June 13

Stanley Kubrick still hadn’t quite established himself as, you know, Stanley Kubrick, when he tackled the supposedly unfilmable Lolita from a screenplay by Nabokov himself. The results were imperfect at best, but demonstrated a filmmaker willing to work on the high wire without a net, and set the stage for the breathtaking string of masterpieces that followed. Lolita was released …

Indy

Today in Movie History: June 12

It’s a big day for movie releases today, but there’s no doubt which one leads the list. Action and adventure have been a part of the movies since the Lumiere brothers sent audiences diving for cover with the approach of a moving train. We’ve seen some amazing entries in the genre over the ensuing 120 years, but none of them …

Lady from Shanghai

Today in Movie History: June 9

Orson Welles’ filmmaking career wasn’t always a pretty one, mostly fueled by a desperate need to fund his own projects and leading to some very intriguing results. Few are most fascinating than The Lady from Shanghai, his 1948 noir thriller in which he co-starred along with his soon-to-be-ex-wife Rita Hayworth. Their deteriorating cat-and-mouse relationship — augmented by the obsessive jealousy of studio head …

ghostbusters

Today in Movie History: June 8

We’ve been getting our 80s on recently, and today is a red letter date for that. We’ll start with the earliest: Trading Places, John Landis’s Wall Street retake on The Prince and the Pauper, remains a doggedly entertaining comedy provided you can accept that its heroes emerge triumphant via insider trading. Buoyed by Dan Aykroyd’s fantastic blue-blood buffoon and Eddie …

Goonies

Today in Movie History: June 7

Goonies. We hear tell they never say die, and while rose-colored glasses may help its reputation far more than a sober look at it today, it’s hard to argue with a cult classic after 30+ years of unadulterated love. For Gen-Xers, it’s a touchstone of our era. For everyone else, it’s a ripe slice of 80s cinema at its 80s-est. …

Cagney

Today in Movie History: June 6

“Once a song and dance man, always a song and dance man,” James Cagney famously remarked. That could explain why an actor renowned for playing gangsters earned his only Oscar for… well, just read the quote. Yankee Doodle Dandy, a heavily bowdlerized biography of songwriter George M. Cohan, arrived as a bracing bit of Old Glory for a nation that …

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Movies for the Resistance: Captain America — The Winter Soldier

(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 …

truman_primary

Today in Movie History: June 5

Peter Weir’s career constitutes one of the more fascinating in modern films, and he was never better than with The Truman Show, a eerily prescient look at life in the digital era. it features Jim Carrey as a man who has unknowingly lived his entire life as the subject of his television show, complete with parents, friends, co-workers and romantic interests …

5.0.2

Today in Movie History: June 2

Only one film on the docket today, at least for now. (I suspect that next year a certain star-spangled Amazon might make a prominent appearance.) For now, we’ve got Dead Poets Society, Gen-X’s answer to Goodbye Mr. Chips that used utterly conventional ways to talk about defying convention. Frankly, the film shouldn’t work, but guided by the sure direction of Peter Weir and …

Moulin-Rouge1_610_407shar_s_c1

Today in Movie History: June 1

Though it didn’t foster a full-bore revival of the Hollywood musical, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! succeeded in updating the baggy old genre for an entirely new generation. Luhrmann’s trademark attention span deficit and the expert addition of modern pop songs into the mix turned an exercise in empty style into a beloved modern classic, and while I struggle with the film’s abrupt …