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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 …

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Today in Movie History: June 23

A brutally full day in movie history always seems to be followed by a nearly empty one. Fortunately, today’s single entry — while a deeply flawed film in many ways — also ranks as one of the most fascinating in history. Tim Burton’s Batman arrived in an era when superhero films began and ended with Christopher Reeve, and initially, no one …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …