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Today in Movie History: July 31

It’s big day for the 80s, topped by 30th anniversary parties for a pair of era staples. We’ll start with The Lost Boys, Joel Schumacher’s teen vampire romp that became an indispensable shared experience for Generation X. I’ll be honest: it’s not great, especially when compared to Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliant Near Dark which came out the same year. But Schumacher did find a dangerous vibe …

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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: July 13

Today marks the 40th anniversary of The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the high points of the Roger Moore James Bond era that found him flashing his playboy spy routine to increasingly ridiculous ends. The villain’s a bit of a snoozer, and while Barbara Bach looks great in a slinky dress, she’s still too passive to make the strong impression required …

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Today in Movie History: June 29

We’ll start with The King and I, one of the greatest musicals ever made and the object of eternal gratitude from us bald men for whom Yul Brynner is just the gift that keeps on giving. It opened today in 1956. In case anyone believes that the media was every anything but a gang of scoop-grubbing weasels, Billy Wilder will …

An evil goblin king, played by David Bowie, pictured  here, a talking door knocker, fairies and a colony of goblins will join producer/director Brian Henson and members of the Jim Henson Creature Shop at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesÕ 20th anniversary screening and onstage discussion of ÒLabyrinthÓ (1986) on Thursday, July 20, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Today in Movie History: June 27

I was going to start this column with the second movie on the list — and if I had to choose, I’d say it was the better film — but I want to pay brief tribute to David Bowie, whose loss is still so acutely felt. Labyrinth began life as just another box office bomb that found its audience on video, and …

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Today in Movie History: June 26

We’re going all 80s today, starting with Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick’s take on the Vietnam War that turned out to be his penultimate effort as a filmmaker. It’s a harsh, brutal and stereotypically cold effort from the master, and most people agree that the first half — covering the dehumanizing boot camp experience of a group of Marines on Parris …

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Today in Movie History: May 24

It’s blockbuster season, so I’ll start with the biggest. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — widely regarded as the best of the series after the original — benefited from the genius pairing of Harrison Ford’s redoubtable archaeologist with Sean Connery as his fussy, disapproving father. It opened today in 1989. Slightly further down the sequel list, we find Back to …

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Today in Movie History: May 8

“Bond. James Bond.” From the dawn of civilization until the end of time, no human being will be one-tenth as cool as Sean Connery was at that moment. From three little words came the franchise to end all franchises: 55 years old and with no signs of slowing down. 007’s immortal debut, Dr. No, hit U.S. screens today in 1962. A few …

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Today in Movie History: December 20

It’s the season for Christmas movies and one of the move beloved of all time hit theaters today. It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra’s surprisingly dark story about a town held together by one man, and what happens when that man starts to doubt himself, opened today in 1946: giving returning G.I.s and a nation weary of war a chance …

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Today in Movie History: December 19

It’s another big day for notable movies: December gets very crowded with event films in an effort to either rake in the box office while the kids are on break or make a play for an Oscar nod or two. One notable movie managed to do both. The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring was Peter Jackson’s opening …