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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: Congo (1995)

The thing about “Congo” that is so odd and hard to ignore is how little the movie takes itself seriously. Here was the first Michael Crichton adaptation to follow “Jurassic Park,” based on another of his meticulously researched, science-based bestselling novels and it was opening up in the summer of 1995. The stakes seemed really high: it was reported in …

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Looking Back: Tales From The Darkside: The Movie (1990)

That creepy theme music was enough to scare me. I’d turn the station before the opening introduction of “Tales From The Darkside” would play in full. There was something about that four-note theme, juxtaposed over idyllic, countryside imagery and the narration, recited by what sounded like the world’s scariest geriatric. The narrator would open every episode with: “Man lives in …

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Looking Back: Wonder Boys (2000)

The last time I saw “Wonder Boys,” it was three years ago, at a point when its characters were all very real figures in my life. While working on my Master’s degree, I had to write an extensive analysis on the film, comparing it to Michael Chabon’s source novel. At the time, I was also working as a film lecturer …

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Movie Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

The thing that made me angriest about “Fifty Shades of Grey” is that, for the first 45 minutes, I kind of liked it. The opening scene is so well acted, the tone surprisingly light and its sense of humor both consistent and intentional, I thought it could work. Dakota Johnson is both a stunner and an endearing dweeb as Anastasia …

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Looking Back: Elizabethtown (2005)

The opening scenes of “Elizabethtown” are about an idealistic young man dealing with a catastrophic business failure, a lavish bomb that hurts his credibility and standing amongst his peers. In the movie, Orlando Bloom plays the character in question, the creator of a hyped and poorly received shoe that results in a nearly 1 billion dollar loss. In real life, …

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Looking Back: The Russia House (1990)

The elusive issue of movie star chemistry always comes up whenever two attractive, charismatic film actors are paired together. In some cases, it’s more important to ask just how electric the sexual chemistry is between the two above-the-title headliners than whether the film itself properly contains them. There are prime examples of when the films are as smokin’ hot and …

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Movie Review: The Better Angels

I was only three years old when Alfred Hitchcock died but I recall my Dad saying, regretfully, he’d never see a new film from the great director again. While I never got to see “Rear Window” or “Psycho” the first time they opened, I did grow up in an age where the term “Hitchcockian” grew as a moniker. It seemed …

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Looking Back: House Party (1990)

Celebrating 25 years since the release of “House Party” is enough for me to crank up my Tony Toni Tone CD’s, bust out my dusty but still-got-it “Running Man” moves and watch Kid N’ Play videos on YouTube for an hour. I’m not kidding. I love “House Party.” Here’s a movie that came out when I was 13 years old …

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Looking Back: The Basketball Diaries (1995)

A funny thing happened after James Cameron’s “Titanic” became a worldwide blockbuster and pop-culture behemoth. Around the spring of 1998, when the movie (which opened in November of ’97) was still the # 1 movie in America and the world was in full Titanic Mania, Leonardo DiCaprio’s body of work began to take on a whole new life. His starring …

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Review: Next to Normal

The exciting thing about watching the David C. Johnston-directed “Next to Normal” is the realization it brought me in the establishing minutes: this is something we truly haven’t seen before. We meet the Goodman family over breakfast, where Dan (played by Kepa Cabanilla-Aricayos) and his wife, Diana (played by Alison Aldcroft) are playfully, openly discussing their sex life. Their kids, …

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