midnightrun

Today in Movie History: July 20

We’ll start today with Midnight Run, a personal favorite about a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter (Robert De Niro) tasked with bringing a mob accountant (Charles Grodin) across country before being nicked by the feds, the Mafia or De Niro’s sleazy rival. The madcap chase is expertly delivered by director Martin Brest, who mined the comic chemistry of his two leads to make the film one of the best buddy comedies of all time. It opened 30 years ago today in 1988.

Today also saw the release of The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s celebrated Dark Knight trilogy. Though rightfully viewed as the weakest of the three, it was hobbled by the untimely death of Heath Ledger four years earlier, and yet it still comes through with a number of wonderful conceits. (Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is perhaps the best incarnation of the character in a very crowded field of contenders.) It opened today in 2012.

We’ll close with a decidedly different comic book adaptations: Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World, the story of two alienated teenage girls and their surreal journey through 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 is played by Scarlett Johansson), and a sterling example of indie cinema at its prime. It opened today in 2001.

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