incredibles

Today in Movie History: November 5

We’re starting today with a pair of very different superhero movies. The obvious candidate for the pole position is The Incredibles, Brad Bird’s marvelous riff on the Fantastic Four that posits a super-powered family trying to blend into suburban life after costumed heroes are declared illegal. It’s typically brilliant work from Bird and helped Pixar set the standard for animation …

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Today in Movie History: September 25

Like a surprising number of classics, The Princess Bride didn’t do particularly well when first released in theaters. Audiences weren’t sure what to expect from the combination of gentle satire and straight-faced romance, and largely stayed away… only to discover it on video like so many other films of the era. Today, of course, it’s an indispensable part of the canon: one of …

apocalypse now

Today in Movie History: August 15

Disaster or masterpiece? That distinction can hinge on the razor’s edge sometimes, especially when an ambitious, talented and possibly crazy filmmaker is involved. Case in point: Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s effort to encapsulate the war in Vietnam as seen through a variation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The shoot was infamous for its delays, debacles and outright danger, …

the-sixth-sense-1

Today in Movie History: August 6

Today marked a trio of notable films — well, okay, two notable films and one amusing outlier — all released the same year. The one everyone was talking about at the time was The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan’s calling card about a terrified little boy (Haley Joel Osmond) who can see ghosts and a troubled therapist (Bruce Willis) who resolves …

Thief

Today in Movie History: March 27

If gritty crime dramas are your game, Michael Mann is your director. And while I’d cite the likes of Heat, Manhunter and Collateral as unabashed masterpieces, they are preceded by Thief which set the pace for those triumphs to follow. James Caan plays a brilliant jewel thief trying to go straight, enticed into one last score that goes dreadfully wrong. Mann succeeds …

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Today in Movie History: December 15

Man, there are some big movies  released today. We’re going to start with the grim one: one of the most important movies of all time, a chilling testament to the Holocaust, and demonstrative artistic validation for one of the greatest directors ever. Schindler’s List opened today in 1993. Above and beyond its merits as cinema, its success led to the …