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Today in Movie History: July 19

We’ll start with the junkies. Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s celebrated adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s equally celebrated novel, helped cement the careers not only of Boyle but of many of his cast, including Ewan McGregor (never better), Robert Carlyle and Kelly MacDonald. It also showed a side of Scotland rarely seen in the movies, and has become — along with Requiem for …

Joker

Today in Movie History: July 18

Mid-July is blockbuster time — usually when the last of the heavy hitters shows up to crush the box office before giving way to the earthier guilty pleasures of August. A pair of great sequels mark the day, notably The Dark Knight: Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to his already impressive Batman Begins. In then ensuing decade, it’s become the stuff of …

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Today in Movie History: July 17

The premise was ridiculous. The specifics sounded dumber than a bag of rocks. And that title? What were they thinking?! So it looked thirty years ago right up until the moment Peter Weller’s cybernetic crime-stopper marched on screen to keep the streets of old Detriot safe. RoboCop delivered (among other things) a brilliant sci-fi actioner, a savage satire of 80s culture, a viable comic-book …

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Today in Movie History: July 13

Today marks the release of The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the high points of the Roger Moore James Bond era that found him flashing his playboy spy routine to increasingly ridiculous ends. The villain’s a bit of a snoozer, and while Barbara Bach looks great in a slinky dress, she’s still too passive to make the strong impression required from the …

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Ð PART 2

Today in Movie History: July 11

It’s hard to overestimate the impact that Harry Potter had on movie culture: we’d never seen a level of quality established and maintained for a single franchise of that length before. (Even James Bond had to deal with a couple of stinkers in the same period of time.) Without The Boy Who Lived — and more importantly, without the reliably …

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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 …

PotC

Today in Movie History: July 9

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise became a victim of its own success, making it easy to forget what a revelation Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was when he first capered onto movie screens. Combined with Gore Verbinski’s acrobatic direction, what started out as a decidedly dodgy prospect somehow became the go-to movie for modern swashbuckling. (And if we’re totally honest, a great …

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Today in Movie History: July 6

  Film noir may be American cinema’s greatest contribution to the canon, and they don’t come any noir-ier than Double Indemnity: Billy Wilder’s masterpeice of greed, deceit and murder. Wilder fled the rise of the Nazis to come to Hollywood, and the darkness seeping out of Europe can be felt in the story of an insurance agent (Fred MacMurray) scheming with an ambitious …