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Today in Movie History: January 19

We start off today with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who appeared in one of their very best collaborations, Woman of the Year on this date in 1942. Director George Stevens knew how to bring their incomparable comic chemistry to life, and though this was only their first movie together, it proved to be the spark that lit the flame. They …

wolfman

Today in Movie History: December 12

The topper today is a classic from the Golden Age of Universal Horror: The Wolf Man, George Waggner’s quintessential werewolf story featuring Lon Chaney, Jr. as a good man attacked by something out of legend and transformed into a creature of the night. Bela Lugosi and Ralph Bellamy tag along for the ride, and the results are one of the …

departed

Today in Movie History: October 6

We’ve got a couple of Oscar winners today. We’ll start with the one that nabbed the big prize: The Departed, a solid gangster epic about loyalty and betrayal based on an equally good Asian film called Infernal Affairs. In any other year, it would have been notable, but not Best Picture material. However, since it was directed by Martin Scorsese, …

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Today in Movie History: September 12

Academics tend to cite Rules of the Game as Jean Renoir’s indisputable masterpiece, but I much prefer La Grande Illusion, his tale of French soldiers plotting an escape from a German POW camp during the First World War. The strange fluidity of their bonds gives their relationship real heft, and Renoir’s observations about class and prejudice are sharp, sad and always true …

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Today in Movie History: July 14

I’m going to start with the X-Men, less because of what their debut onscreen adventure achieves in and of itself than what it heralded for the future of movies. Marvel Comics adaptations had been mired in direct-to-video mediocrity for decades, and while Wesley Snipes’ Blade was the first of their heroes to achieve mainstream movie success, he was more of an …

Chinatown ending

Today in Movie History: June 21

I tend to disapprove of nihilism in the movies, since it usually comes across as smug posturing from arrogant directors who have no real experience with true human darkness. That doesn’t apply to Roman Polanski, a man who has gazed into the abyss from both sides and knows its secrets the way few of us ever could. Nowhere is that better on display than Chinatown, …

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Today in Movie History: June 17

Today starts with Fanny and Alexander, Ingmar Bergman’s swan song about a young brother and sister who have to deal with their monstrous stepfather and in the process blur the distinction between fantasy and reality. It’s as powerful as any of the master’s films and netted Bergman his third and final Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. It opened in the …

Matt Damon in a scene from the motion picture The Bourne Ultimatum. --- DATE TAKEN: rec'd 07/07  By Jasin Boland   Universal Studios        HO      - handout   ORG XMIT: ZX61392

Today in Movie History: June 14

When talking about underrated franchises, the Jason Bourne films might be at the top of the list. They don’t have the profile of James Bond or the MCU, but with a fifth entry on the way, they established a reasonably high standard of quality that belies their airport paperback originals. Credit for that goes both to directors like Doug Liman …

Shining

Today in Movie History: May 23

Given its status as one of the most beloved horror movies of all time, it’s hard to believe that critics were none too fond of The Shining when it was originally released. Indeed, Stephen King himself was never happy with it — adapted from one of his most personal works — and even responded with a newer made-for-television version that was much more faithful …

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Easy Rider: The Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

Review by: Robert Trate Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Luke Askew, Phil Spector Director: Dennis Hopper Original Year of Release: 1969 Rated: R Spine: #545 Run Time: 95 minutes Many people discovered Easy Rider in college. Members of the Baby Boomer generation, that is. It was a counter culture movie to all the Beach Blanket Bingo films of …