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Today in Movie History: May 16

We start out the week on the highway…. to the danger zone! Top Gun, Tony’s Scott’s over-the-top ode to Reagan-era military worship and hunky guys with oily pecs exploded onto screens today in 1986. I still can’t quite take the movie seriously, and I’m not prepared to called it “good,” but we’ll never see anything like the extraordinary flight scenes …

Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend

Today in Movie History: April 18

Legend is one of those movies that the Hollywood machine just chewed up and spat out. The initial release was a disaster, critically and commercially, and the film was written off for years. But the release of Ridley Scott’s director’s cut — including the return of the original Jerry Goldsmith score — saw its fortunes improve immensely. These days, it enjoys well-deserved status …

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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 16

It’s another big day for movies and we’ll start with one of the very biggest: Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean’s breathtaking epic about the Englishman who rallied a nation to his side during World War I, then tried to give them their independence in exchange. You could call it the greatest movie ever made and not be immediately disputed. It …

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Today in Movie History: December 13

In the spirit of the season, we’re going to start with a light one: Clue, one of those comedies that nobody understood when it was first released, but has since gone on to become a classic. Based on the evergreen board game, it initially baffled critics and audiences with its vaudeville-style script and a gimmick that allowed for different endings depending …

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Movie Review: Jack Reacher — Never Go Back

Review by Rob Vaux Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh and Patrick Heusinger Directed by: Edward Zwick Running time: 118 minutes Year of release: 2016 You certainly can’t fault Jack Reacher: Never Go Back for a lack of confidence. It’s one of those not-quite-as-good sequels that no one really asked for, a follow-up to the Tom Cruise actioner from …

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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: August 5

For countless millions of couples, From Here to Eternity represented the epitome of passion and romance. Many of them also found out the hard way that making out on the beach while the tide comes in is a lot less sexy than it looks. The movie opened today in 1953. Exactly thirty years later, we were treated to an interesting, dark and surprisingly complex teen …

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Today in Movie History: June 21

I tend to disapprove of nihilism in the movies, since it usually comes across as smug posturing from arrogant directors who have no real experience with true human darkness. That doesn’t apply to Roman Polanski, a man who has gazed into the abyss from both sides and knows its secrets the way few of us ever could. Nowhere is that better on display than Chinatown, …

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Today in Movie History: December 11

“You can’t handle the truth!” Okay, maybe you can. Rob Reiner’s rip-roaring military courtroom drama A Few Good Men hit theaters today in 1992. The same day, the Muppets delivered their version of A Christmas Carol, with Michael Caine playing Scrooge. Besides the film itself (which is good holiday fun), it marked the first movie appearance of Kermit the Frog since his creator Jim …