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Movie Rewind

Looking Back: The Invasion (2007)

It’s unfortunate that so many films are the victim of studio-tinkering, producer’s notes, creative indecision and alterations mandated by poor test screenings before their release. Some of these examples are atrocious, like “Suicide Squad” (which, strangely enough, managed to become a blockbuster in spite of its wall-to-wall wretchedness). Then there’s “The Dark Tower,” the would-be franchise starter, summer of ’17 …

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Looking Back: Solaris (2002)

I first encountered Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” when I was in college. A film periodical informed me of “the Russian ‘2001’” and my local library had one of those bulky, two-videocassette holding boxes that required commitment and not a casual watch. The 1972 film, which is based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem, is set in the near future and is …

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Looking Back: North Shore (1987)

I recently took an unofficial poll and asked my surfer buddies what their favorite surfing movie is. Before they answered, I would quickly add, “-not a documentary, but the best fictional movie ever made about the sport.” Suddenly, they’d get really quiet, think for a moment, then quickly say, “North Shore.” That was the most frequent answer I’d hear. Sure, …

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Looking Back: Encino Man (1992)

Here’s an odd and fairly useless piece of movie trivia I’ve been lugging around for 25 years: Regis Philbin and Kathy Lee Gifford turned down the chance to play the parents in “Encino Man.” Please, don’t hold in your collective ooh and aahs as you read this! During one of their morning show banter-fests, Philbin and Gifford recalled how they …

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Looking Back: Insomnia (2002)

Christopher Nolan’s 2002 remake of the 1999 Swedish masterpiece “Insomnia” marked his first big budget studio film. It also put in plain view the themes and cinematic panache that would mark all of his work. While “Insomnia” (which came after Nolan’s intriguing, little seen “Following” and his delicious puzzle, “Memento”) is a police procedural thriller, it presents the Nolan trademark …

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Looking Back: Freejack (1992)

The question plaguing Alex Furlong throughout “Freejack” is, who transported me to the future and wants to steal my body for personal use? The real question any rational moviegoer will have while watching “Freejack” is, what in the world are Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger and Sir Anthony Hopkins doing in the same movie? In the opening scenes of “Freejack,” we …

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Looking Back: Spider-Man (2002)

Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” was a game changer for comic book movies, as its staggering success, high caliber as an adaptation and overt (but never obnoxious) efforts at world building and franchise set-ups established the model Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” would maintain six years later. If Richard Donner’s “Superman- The Movie,” Tim Burton’s “Batman” and Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” were colossal hits …

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Looking Back: Benji The Hunted (1987)

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people talk in silly animal voices while visiting a zoo. Apparently, it’s not enough to gaze at the magnificence of a gorilla in its habitat or watch a lion clean itself just a few feet away. Some people think its entirely necessary and possibly funny to provide the animal’s inner monolog. “He’s …

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Looking Back: Summer School (1987)

I recall a Colorado drive-in movie theater that once had both Paramount’s “Summer School” and “Back to the Beach” on the same bill. That might have been the greatest drive-in movie double feature, ever. While I won’t defend the Carl Reiner directed “Summer School” as a great American comedy, especially in comparison to the wonderful, under-looked “Back to the Beach” …

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Looking Back: Class Act (1992)

The term “rapper-turned-actor” has seen some highs but too many lows. The problem is infusing a talent from the music world into a film role worthy of their talents. Ice-T, Eminem and Queen Latifah are among the few who broke through and found roles that complimented their abilities. On the other hand, “Class Act” showcases how even an enjoyable, talented …

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