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Looking Back: Friday the 13th Part VI- Jason Lives (1986)

You have to have a sense of humor to see a film called “Friday the 13th Part VI- Jason Lives.” It also helps to have a sense of humor to make a movie like this. Thankfully, both the film’s writer/director, Tom McLoughlin and the film’s studio, Paramount Pictures, clearly find something very funny about Jason Voorhees. Not funny enough to …

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Looking Back: Dead Again (1991)

The first time I saw Kenneth Branagh was in “Dead Again” and, for a while, I believed that he and his co-star (and then wife) Emma Thompson were Americans. This was due to my missing Branagh’s breakthrough hit, “Henry V” and initially being unfamiliar with Branagh’s accomplished work on stage. Later on, particularly during my college years as a Theater …

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Looking Back: Hannibal (2001)

I get asked a lot if I ever change my mind about movies. Is there a movie that you once loved or hated but now have a different opinion about? For the most part, the answer is no. My opinions usually remain stubbornly intact. Movies I’ve liked have later become movies that I now love. Yet, I have no drastic, …

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Looking Back: Psycho III (1986)

Norman Bates is hardly a sympathetic character but the greatest achievement of “Psycho III” is that Anthony Perkins makes us care greatly about him. Despite the fact that Bates has mentally regressed,  murdered his aunt/mother impersonator and randomly kills anyone who upsets him, Perkins allows us to see the man struggling to ascend beyond his doomed state of mind. Perhaps …

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Looking Back: The People Under The Stairs (1991)

Every time I visit my brother Marty in Los Angeles, he always treats me to a tour of movie locations. He once took me to the homes featured in “Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm St.” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the diners and buildings featured in “L.A. Confidential,” the bank where the climactic robbery of “Heat” took place and even …

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Looking Back: Donnie Darko (2001)

The word visionary is defined as “a person with original ideas about the future will or could be like.” The first time I saw Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko,” I could only describe it as a visionary work. Kelly’s film absorbs the horror, sci-fi, teen high comedy and social satire genres and emerges as a work that won’t fit comfortably into …

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Looking Back: When A Stranger Calls (2006)

Here is a clever, if somewhat disrespectful, way to shape a movie remake. Instead of re-doing the entire movie, how about simply remaking the one scene that worked and stretching it out for 90 minutes? Fred Walton’s 1979 hit, “When A Stranger Calls” starred Carol Kane as a babysitter plagued by threatening phone calls during a babysitting gig. Her gradual, …

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Looking Back: Popcorn (1991)

I once attended a retrospective screening of the original “Friday the 13th” where the audience was sprayed with “blood” and a man in a hockey mask would stalk the aisles every thirty minutes. It was a midnight showing at the legendary Mayan Theater in Denver and no one seemed to mind that they were being lightly spritzed with water containing …

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Looking Back: The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Some films are deemed controversial, as a casual way of declaring them difficult for mass audience consumption (like Ken Russell’s “Whore”). Sometimes the term is used to drum up business for a movie that has little chance of breaking out (like Jennifer Lynch’s “Boxing Helena”). Then there are the films that question and deconstruct matters of faith and explore difficult …

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Looking Back: Hoosiers (1986)

” Hoosiers,” David Anspaugh’s acclaimed 1986 debut as a film director, is a sacred film to its fan base. What I find surprising is that those who love the movie aren’t just basketball fans or even devotees of its star, Gene Hackman. I’ve encountered “Hoosiers” fans who see the film as not merely a sterling example of the sports drama …

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