5496_1

Today in Movie History: January 17

Children of the 80s doubtless remember the California Raisins, an advertising phenom created by the Claymation artists at the late Will Vinton’s studios. The same studio produced a rather marvelous animated feature shortly thereafter: The Adventures of Mark Twain, a fantastical collection of the celebrated author’s short stories loosely wrapped around the premise of Twain himself (along with his most …

90527267

Today in Movie History: January 16

January movies usually consist of either Christmas hits playing out their run, Oscar contenders going wide, or embarrassing monster movies the studios are hoping to quietly dump. Every now and then, however, one of those last types steps up and surprises you. Case in point: Fallen, a nifty little supernatural thriller that sends Denzel Washington’s cop on the trail of a killer with …

Film_190w_ThroneOfBlood_original

Today in Movie History: January 15

Riddle me this, Caped Crusader: how do you produce the greatest Shakespeare adaptation of all time without using a single line of Shakespeare? You give it to Akira Kurosawa, that’s how. Throne of Blood — his magnificent, peerless, stunningly powerful samurai version of Macbeth — opened in Japan this day in 1957. The great Toshiro Mifune turned in one of numerous …

Shadowlands-1

Today in Movie History: January 14

Roger Corman didn’t have big-budget hubris on his side, and we respect his earnest efforts (as well as those of director Daniel Haller) to adapt the notoriously unadaptable work of H.P. Lovecraft. But their version of The Dunwich Horror — reimagined through the psychedelic transcendentalism of the late 1960s — is a hot mess. At least it’s an interesting hot mess, …

840dd1af-9109-4fcc-9412-f1c8f5c2ec89

Today in Movie History: December 18

Let’s cut to the chase: The Two Towers hit theaters today in 2002. Among its copious assets is a sterling performance from Andy Serkis as Gollum, which ushered in an entirely new way of portraying fantasy figures onscreen. It also constituted an impressive piece of filmmaking in and of itself, and while it really is simply the middle third of a …