Ghost-World

Today in Movie History: July 20

We’ll start today with one of the most unusual comic book adaptations ever: Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World, the story of two alienated teenage girls and their almost surreal journey throught the wasteland of suburbia following their high school graduation. It’s a reminder that comic books can be about more than pretty people in tights (though YES, one of the girls …

Fredo

Movies for the Resistance: The Godfather Part II

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

big-lebowski-joint

Today in Movie History: March 6

There are good movies, there are great movies, and then there are movies that have become indispensable parts of the pop culture language. We didn’t think The Big Lebowski would join them, at least initially. It felt like a goofy one-off from the Coen Brothers: blowing off steam after the triumph of Fargo. Turns out, their shaggy-dog take on Raymond Chandler mysteries …

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. …

schindlers_list_5_neeson

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 …

rb

Today in Movie History: November 14

We’re back after a couple of days off to process the murder-suicide pact my nation signed last Tuesday. We’ll start 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 …

pulpfiction

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 …

la-confidential

Today in Movie History: September 19

After several weeks of quiet days, we’ve got one filled to the brim with goodies: 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 …

Seven-Years-itch-subway

Today in Movie History: June 3

As Billy Wilder comedies go, The Seven Year Itch never packed the punch of, say, Some Like It Hot or The Apartment. It’s amusing enough, but the Hays Code pulled the teeth from the Broadway play on which it was based, about a married man tempted by… well shit, by Marilyn Freaking Monroe. That leaves it minor Wilder at best, save for that …

Bram-Stoker-s-Dracula-bram-stokers-dracula-8380654-1024-576

Today in Movie History: November 13

It was a busy day for movie openings.  Claude Rains terrorized the English countryside in The Invisible Man (1933); Robert Mitchum faced down Kirk Douglas in the noir classic Out of the Past (1947); Steven Spielberg launched his career with Duel (1971); Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated how to completely butcher a Stephen King novel in The Running Man; Martin Scorsese delivered …