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Movie Rewind

Looking Back: Fletch (1985)

There’s always been an edge to Chevy Chase’s style of humor, a contempt that comes out as the retort of a wise ass who’s the smartest guy in the room. We love guys like this, who defuse any situation with a razor sharp quip or a verbal misdirection. Like a human Bugs Bunny, he can’t be taken off guard. Whether …

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Looking Back: The Guardian (1990)

William Friedkin’s 1990 horror film, “The Guardian” is not the movie starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher as heroic members of the Coast Guard. It’s a common mistake, though an odd one, as two films with the same name couldn’t possibly be more dissimilar. The movie I’m thinking about is the one about the man-eating tree, the army of supernatural …

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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: Blind Fury (1990)

There will never be a replacement for Shintaro Katsu, the charismatic leading man of great presence who was best known for playing Zatoichi, the blind samurai swordsman. Neither will there ever be a proper redo or substitute for the original series of Japanese “Zatoichi” films released in the 1960’s and 70’s. Yet, one of the things “Blind Fury,” the American …

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Looking Back: Picture Bride (1995)

“Picture Bride” was the first Hawaiian film to ever play at the Cannes Film Festival. It also played at the Sundance Film Festival and received national distribution through Miramax Films.  That alone should be reason enough to celebrate and recognize Kayo Hatta’s film, which is a small but lovely, vivid depiction of Hawaii in the early 1900’s. It opens with …

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Looking Back Special Edition: The Land Has Eyes (2005)

When a film artist announces their arrival, with a work of cinema created in a place not known for filmmaking, lovers of film tend to take notice. After all, prior to the arrival of George A. Romero, Perry Henzell and Herk Harvey, who knew they made movies in Pittsburgh (“Night of the Living Dead”), Jamaica (“The Harder They Come”) or …

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Looking Back: Constantine (2005)

Before Keanu Reeves was John Wick, he played John Constantine a decade ago, in a vehicle that typically fills comic book fan boys with instantaneous bouts of rage. Not that I blame them. The Hellblazer series, put out by DC Comics, portrays Constantine as a blonde, British smart ass who has the ability to journey back and forth between Earth …

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Looking Back: The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)

There has never been a film like “The Adventures of Mark Twain,” before or since. That alone should be enough reason to seek it out. Will Vinton’s groundbreaking 1985 children’s film is, of this date, the only film made in Claymation, the clay-animated style that made him famous. You’ve seen Vinton’s work. Anyone who remembers the California Raisons, the scary …

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Looking Back: The Island (2005)

I really hate Michael Bay’s movies. They remind me of bad carnival rides, stale Doritoes, a Slip N’ Slide with rocks underneath and other things that look like fun but are brutally punishing. My former film students can vouch that I have vocally expressed my passionate dislike for the Cinema of Bayhem, though I always admit, there is an exception …

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Looking Back: Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins… (1985)

Few movie titles are more ironic than “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins…”, which incorrectly assumed there would be many more films to follow. Truth be told, there should have been more, as this franchise-to-be was unique and had a lot of promise. The ongoing assignments of CURE agent Remo Williams and his sensei, Chiun, the “Master of Sinanju”, had the …

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