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Today in Movie History: November 14

We’ll start today with Raging Bull, a movie which not only marks the high point of Martin Scorsese’s longtime collaboration with Robert De Niro, but pretty much fits with the national mood right now. De Niro won his second Oscar for his portrayal of the indomitable and psychologically damaged Jake La Motta, and when you say an actor of his stature …

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Today in Movie History: October 17

For a supposedly quiet month, October is chock full of terrific movies. We’ll start with Bullitt, a movie that’s less a classic in and of itself than a classic car chase with a movie wrapped around it. The rest of the film is boilerplate cops-and-robbers stuff, but when Steve McQueen gets behind the wheel of that Mustang, something magic happens. Bullitt opened …

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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 19

After several weeks of quiet days, we’ve got one filled with four of the greatest movies ever made. I agonized over which one to start with, but went with my heart. L.A. Confidential generated tons of critical buzz, but not much box office when it was first released, and while it scored a couple of Oscars (for Brian Helgeland’s script and …

Taxi Driver

Today in Movie History: February 8

Petrified Forest (1936) A big day for movies starts with the one of the most problematic. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation opened today in 1915, marking a seismic advance in motion pictures as a technical art form while simultaneously pushing a narrative so grotesque it causes one to despair for humanity. Film students are obligated to watch it. Once. …

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Movie Review: Mifune — The Last Samurai

Review by Rob Vaux Featuring: Toshiro Mifune, Haruo Nakajima, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg Directed by: Steven Okazaki Running time: 80 minutes Year of release: 2015 Anyone familiar with cinema knows Toshiro Mifune, star of almost 200 films who helped introduce the world to Japanese cinema. His onscreen persona is irresistible: often playing energized, rebellious figures in worlds where conformity abounded, and almost daring the camera …

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Today in Movie History: October 14

The word “game changer” gets thrown around a lot with flavor-of-the-month movies that tend to fade with time. But the phrase has rarely applied more aptly than it has to Pulp Fiction, which cemented the rise of indie cinema in the 1990s, altered the face of crime drama forever, and permanently put Quentin Tarantino on the map. It’s perfection incarnate, and …

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Today in Movie History: August 12

Lots of films to cover today, but I’ll start with the most haunting: Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man, a documentrary about a troubled young man who spent every summer in the Alaskan wilderness as a self-proclaimed “protector” of wild grizzly bears… one of whom eventually killed him. It’s vintage Herzog and its dark musings about our self-importance in the face of an …

Director Martin Scorsese arrives at The Royal Premiere of his film Hugo at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London

Movie Birthdays: November 17

Birthday wishes go out to the late Rock Hudson, hunky leading man whose death from complications due to AIDS shocked the world in 1985; actor/producer/director/Burton Penguin Danny DeVito; stuntwoman-turned-actress Zoe Bell; French bombshell Sophie Marceau; Abyss survivor Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; character actor/stapler fetishist Stephen Root; and former Mean Girl Rachel McAdams. Oh yeah, and some guy named Scorsese was born …