CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, Cary Guffey, 1977

Today in Movie History: November 16

Ask anyone what their favorite Steven Spielberg movie is, and few will say Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But ask them what their top five Spielberg films are, and most people would likely find room for it. It’s as strong a film as he’s ever made — an early sign that he could do far more than just scare people …

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Today in Movie History: November 15

The original silent version of The Phantom of the Opera is actually quite a flawed film in many ways. Poor scene direction, shoddy camera placement and the like put a damper on what should have been something incredible. Luckily, that’s not the purpose of the exercise and all those flaws fade to insignificance the moment Lon Cheney’s haunted, terrifying Phantom …

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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Movies for the Resistance: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

(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: November 19

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai hit U.S. theaters in 1956, giving us a chance to see the master’s brilliant Eastern-Western mash-up that influenced everything from The Magnificent Seven to Star Wars to A Bug’s Life. For a more recent example of plucky underdogs facing an overwhelming task, the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released five years …