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Movie Rewind

Looking Back: Dancer in the Dark (2000)

The experience of seeing Lar Von Triers’ “Dancer in the Dark” on the big screen was so overwhelming, it left me numb and drained in my seat. I took my friend Jenn with me to see it, on a let’s-go-catch-a-movie whim. The experience left us both stunned. For some reason, we were both drawn to Von Triers’ deconstructive, knowingly post-modernist …

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Looking Back: Munich (2005)

Steven Spielberg has a habit of making two films back-to-back, with a commercial, summer-ready work followed by more serious, adult-minded drama. He followed “Jurassic Park” with “Schindler’s List,” “The Lost World” with “Amistad, and “Minority Report” with “Catch Me If You Can.” His 2005 blockbuster, “War of the Worlds,” one of the most successful films to date, was followed up …

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Looking Back: State of Grace (1990)

Why wasn’t “State of Grace” recognized immediately for its value as one of the finest mobster films ever made? I blame the studio. Coming out at the end of 1990, Phil Joanou’s drama had two giant obstacles to face: the competition and Orion Pictures, it’s distributor. To address the latter and to give them the break they deserve, Orion was …

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Looking Back: The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

I’ve never encountered a movie flopping with a louder, more surprising thud than Brian De Palma’s “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990). Film buffs can usually detect these things coming, as the months leading up to release can often give red flags, leaked word of mouth or tell-tale trailers that the film in question is a turkey. With “Bonfire,” its …

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Looking Back: Dominion- Prequel to The Exorcist (2005)

One of the best stories about Hollywood filmmaking has to be the making of the oddly titled “Dominion- Prequel to The Exorcist.” Cobbled together from various stories, interviews, news reports and Tinseltown, the tale, as I understand it, goes like this: the Morgan Creek company had planned to produce a prequel to William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist.” From a financial and …

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Looking Back: Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Bruce Joel Rubin’s screenplay for “Jacob’s Ladder” was famous for being one of the most beloved but unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Big name directors and actors were lured to the project, then abandoned it, believing what Ruben created was brilliant but would never translate to the big screen. Rubin’s story, of a man named Jacob Singer who is haunted by …

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Looking Back: Red Eye (2005)

The last great film by director Wes Craven was “Red Eye,” his oddly Hitchcockian two-hander from 2005, set mostly on an airplane. Rachel McAdams stars as Lisa, a workaholic whose flight is cancelled and must stall at the airport and await a red eye alternative. She meets a handsome stranger, played by Cillian Murphy, who identifies himself as “Jack Rippner.” …

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Looking Back: Coyote Ugly (2000)

I hate “Coyote Ugly.” That’s not a good place to start for a movie review but I thought I’d come clean and go from there. Rehashing the story just makes me angry but here it is: Violet (played by Piper Perabo) leaves her home to pursue her dream of becoming a country singer in…Nashville, Tennesee? Nope. Hollywood, California? Uh-ugh. Houston, …

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Looking Back: Cursed (2005)

The two most intriguing horror genre films of 2005 were Paul Schrader’s “Dominion- Prequel to The Exorcist” and Wes Craven’s “Cursed,” both of which had scandalously troubled productions and seemed in danger of never being released. I’ll explore “Dominion” in a later Looking Back but want to give “Cursed” the evaluation it deserves. Few films have been through the post-production …

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Looking Back: Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

There’s no resisting the curiosity of when a comedic actor collaborates with a serious director. Unlikely but potent, even essential team-ups like Robin Williams and Peter Weir, Adam Sandler and Paul Thomas Anderson, Jim Carrey and Milos Foreman, and Steve Martin and David Mamet come to mind. The potentially tasty combo of Eddie Murphy and horror maverick Wes Craven nearly …

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