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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 …

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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 …

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Today in Movie History: May 19

Is there a single phrase in cinema more magical than “Star Wars prequels?” Okay, okay, stop screaming. We get it: disappointing. We’re not going to excuse the considerable shortcomings of George Lucas’s less-than-immortal return to that galaxy far, far away — and I think we can all agree that the franchise is in better hands these days. But though they’re definitely …

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Today in Movie History: May 16

We start out the week on the highway…. to the danger zone! Top Gun, Tony’s Scott’s over-the-top ode to Reagan-era military worship and hunky guys with oily pecs exploded onto screens today in 1986. I still can’t quite take the movie seriously, and I’m not prepared to called it “good,” but we’ll never see anything like the extraordinary flight scenes …