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Barry Wurst II

Barry Wurst II
Barry Wurst II is a senior editor & film critic at MAUIWatch. He wrote film reviews for a local Maui publication and taught film classes at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (UCCS). Wurst also co-hosted podcasts for Screengeeks.com and has been published in Bright Lights Film Journal and in other film-related websites. He is currently featured in the new MAUIWatch Podcast- The NERDWatch.

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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Swingin’ Tiki Time Returns

It’s back. Following an enthusiastic turn out for “Swingin’ Tiki Time with Eric Gilliom” in its initial June incarnation, the event is now in full swing at Sugar Beach Events in Kihei. This unique blend of music, food and nostalgia recreates the feel of classic Hawaiian entertainment that local folks used to have at venues like Trader Vic’s. Gilliom and …

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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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Movie Review: Knock Knock

Horror filmmaker Eli Roth’s “Knock Knock” is a semi-stretch for him and his star, Keanu Reeves. The former Neo and current John Wick plays Evan, a wealthy, happily married family man who, on a dark and stormy night alone, invites two young, attractive women into his home. They need a ride home, their clothes are wet and Evan, a gracious …

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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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