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Today in Movie History: July 7

You know that moment when you look at the column and seriously consider opening it with Species? We’re at that moment now… and we’re resisting. Instead, we’ll start with A Scanner Darkly, Richard Linklater’s rotoscoping animation exercise in pure paranoia that may finally have nailed what Philip K. Dick was talking about in all those stories Hollywood insists on adapting. …

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Today in Movie History: March 31

In a year that promised to be dominated by the hotly anticipated Star Wars prequel, a couple of siblings named Larry and Andy Wachowski slipped in and stole George Lucas’s thunder. Their subsequent career has been, um, less than impressive, but for one shining moment, we believed we were witnessing an amazing new chapter in science fiction filmmaking. The original Matrix opened today in …

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Today in Movie History: March 30

It’s all about the 80s today with a trio of iconic films  from that era. No one expected a movie like Beetlejuice to do anything when it first opened. Indeed, the question remains how the darn thing got made in the first place: a second-time director with a truly strange point of view given free rein to pursue his vision, and a star …

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Today in Movie History: December 7

People were still trying to figure out Tim Burton in the winter of 1990. Having directed an unexpected hit with Beetlejuice and then taken the world by storm with Batman, everyone wondered whether he was for real, or if he was just some quirky hiccup. He responded with Edward Scissorhands, a modern fairy-tale that cemented his distinctive style, evinced a gentle shift away from …

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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 …