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Today in Movie History: March 21

It’s a quiet day today, but there’s a little gem worth mentioning, especially for sci-fi fans. Jodorowsky’s Dune is a fascinating documentary covering Chilean filmmaker Alajandro Jodorowsky — one of cinema’s most bizarre and striking visionaries — who attempted to assemble a version of the celebrated Frank Hebert classic Dune several years before David Lynch. It provides a hypnotic look not …

Basic Instinct

Today in Movie History: March 20

Two very different crime movies opened today, starting with the original Pink Panther, an agreeable farce that spawned a similarly agreeable franchise. They existed primarily as a showcase for Peter Sellers’ comedic talents, which is interesting considering that Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau was a secondary character in the original film (and less of a buffoon to boot). But, in typical Sellers …

ESotSM

Today in Movie History: March 19

Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind remains one of the finest pieces of pure science fiction from the past 20 years. It entails a heartbroken man (Jim Carrey), who is told that his ex (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of him systematically erased, and decided to undergo the same process. Smart, wise, and surprisingly creative, it speaks with …

memento

Today in Movie History: March 16

Before Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman and joined the ranks of cinema’s elite filmmakers, he stunned us all with Memento, a unique and confident effort that set the stage for things to come. Guy Pearce gave one of the best performances of his career, and the film’s deceptively assured “reverse narrative” has never quite been matched. Memento opened today in 2001. The Absent Minded …

4 Weddings

Today in Movie History: March 9

We’ll start with the bomb: one of the most undeserved financial disasters in recent years. Created by an indifferent marketing campaign that didn’t know what the hell to do with it and undone by a budget that needed the right kind of promotion to recoup, John Carter initially sank like a stone at the box office but has since undergone a …

the-birdcage

Today in Movie History: March 8

It was easy to overlook The Birdcage when it was released. Based on the French film La Cage aux Folles, it did well at the box office, but felt at the time like more Robin Williams slapstick: soaking up Hollywood’s newfound tolerance for homosexuals and repeating trite observations about tolerance and understanding. In retrospect, however, it looks like a comedic masterpiece. The jokes hold water …

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Today in Movie History: March 7

Forget the horrible sequels and worse television spin-offs. The original Highlander earned its spurs as a batshit crazy, wildly original genre exercise that created a significant cult following, and remains one of the more unique products of 1980s cinema. It opened today in 1986. In an attempt to update classic film noir tropes for the 1970s, Robert Altman created one …

big-lebowski-joint

Today in Movie History: March 6

There are good movies, there are great movies, and then there are movies that have become indispensable parts of the pop culture language. We didn’t think The Big Lebowski would join them, at least initially. It felt like a goofy one-off from the Coen Brothers: blowing off steam after the triumph of Fargo. Turns out, their shaggy-dog take on Raymond Chandler mysteries …