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Today in Movie History: November 12

We’re starting today with Jane Campion’s The Piano, which gave Holly Hunter the role of a lifetime and launched the career of a very young Anna Paquin. All three women won Oscars for their work here… and it goes without saying that we need more filmmakers like Jane out there! The Piano opened 25 years ago today in 1993. And in keeping with …

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, …

ET

Today in Movie History: June 11

Today was a big day for Mr. Spielberg, with opening dates for two of his acknowledged classics. We’ll start with E.T., the story of a lonely little boy (Henry Thomas) who befriends a stranded alien in the woods behind his home. It touched a chord in audiences when it first opened and now stands as perhaps the most “Spielbergian” of the …

Kong

Today in Movie History: March 2

You want big movies? They don’t get any bigger than the original King Kong which set a giant stop-motion monkey loose in the jungles of our imagination and hasn’t left since. A pair of “meh” remakes — one helmed by Peter Jackson, no less — aptly demonstrates that some things just can’t be duplicated. It opened at Radio City Music …

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Today in Movie History: February 3

The later career of John Carpenter was marked by a gradual fall from the form that made him a legend in genre filmmaking. He put that fall on hold for one glorious moment when his last truly great movie — In The Mouth of Madness — opened today in 1995. Sam Neill plays a cynical private investigator hired to find a missing horror …