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Movie Rewind

Looking Back: Prancer (1989)

Here’s a Christmas-themed family film that won’t make you gag on syrupy, cutesy gobs of sugar coated whimsy. In fact, director John Hancock’s film has a grit and honesty highly unusual for a movie about one of Santa’s lost reindeer. Set in a small farming town, a plucky young girl named Jessica (Rebecca Harrell Tickell) discovers an injured reindeer and …

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Looking Back: Fred Savage Double Feature! Little Monsters (1989) and The Wizard (1989)

On Television, Fred Savage was an American Everyman, standing in for every awkward school kid who tripped over themselves the first time they fell in love, didn’t connect with their father or tried and failed to be “cool.” In “The Wonder Years,” Savage made this struggle a once a weeknight event, as his natural, blindingly charismatic and effortlessly authentic and …

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Looking Back: Miracle on 34th St. (1994)

Let’s just get it out of the way: the 1994 remake of “Miracle on 34th St.” isn’t as good as the original. There was never a question of whether a new version of the 1947 holiday classic could match or surpass what came before it. Those determined to dismiss the second cinematic telling of the Valentine Davies story likely aren’t …

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Looking Back: Back to the Future Part II (1989)

How big a deal was it when “Back to the Future Part II” opened on Maui 25 years ago? The Lahaina Cinemas, which housed the local premiere, ran this notice in their show times section: “Auditorium #1 is being readied for the opening of Back to the Future 2, Coming on November 22nd.” Whoa. Of course, being a young boy, …

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Looking Back: Brainscan (1994)

I really had no plans to write about “Brainscan,” the CD-ROM (remember those?) themed thriller from twenty years back. My dear friend Lisa asked me if I’d write about it and she’s a hard person to say no to. I normally don’t take requests when I write a column, though the film in question came out in one of the …

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Looking Back: The ‘Burbs (1989)

A couple of years ago, I took my dog on a walk and caught one of my neighbors digging a hole in their back yard. I wouldn’t have thought much of it, except it was 11 o’clock at night and he was shoveling fiercely. My leashed dog was pulling me back to my house (even she seemed weirded out) and …

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Looking Back: The Last Starfighter (1984)

It’s both a relief and a real surprise that no one has gotten around to remaking “The Last Starfighter.” The premise invites itself to a reboot rather easily and still holds its Geek Cred appeal as much today as it did in 1984. Who wouldn’t want to see a movie about a teenage gamer, living in a trailer park, whose …

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Looking Back: The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

All you need to know about “The Chronicles of Riddick” can be found in a brief but tasty section of Dame Judi Dench’s wonderful book, “And Furthermore.” Following chapters on how Ms. Dench rocked the theater and film world, we come to an odd passage of when she was wooed by an admirer, who came backstage to one of her …

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Looking Back: Stargate (1994)

The endearing quality of the films made by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin is that they so clearly love movies and want their audience to bask in the possibilities of cinema. Emmerich, the director, and Devlin, his producing partner, got their start crafting cheap but good looking B-movies before hitting it big. Their breakthrough into the mainstream was “Universal Soldier,” …

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