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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.

Theater Review: The Game’s Afoot

The first big reveal in “The Game’s Afoot” happens in the opening minutes, which is the only reason I’ll spoil it. Kristi Scott’s energetic, often uproarious production of Ken Ludwig’s comedy/thriller begins with a play-within-a-play. We meet some of the ensemble cast, who are playing a climactic scene from a Sherlock Holmes/Prof. Moriarity caper. The acting is outsized and appealingly …

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Looking Back: Mars Attacks! (1996)

Tim Burton’s 1996 sci-fi send-up, “Mars Attacks!,” offered me a humbling example of the sometimes extreme difference between initial audience reaction and overall response to a film. In this case, Burton’s unapologetically weird throwback to 50’s B-movies, presented with a knockout cast and state of the art effects. It was one of the big curiosity items of 1996, as it …

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Looking Back: The Last Boy Scout (1991)

When Bruce Willis played Joe Hallenback, the fallen hero of Tony Scott’s “The Last Boy Scout,” his image was already as tarnished and beaten down as the character. Willis had survived the summer of 1991, in which “Hudson Hawk,” his treasure pet project, had become a high profile flop and a pinata for movie critics. Suddenly, the star of “Die …

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Barry’s Movie Review: Trolls

The plot of the “Trolls” movie is a blend of puns and old hat storytelling, with a rotten message at its center. In a land where giant, revolting creatures named Bergens lurk nearby, there’s a tree full of small, adorable trolls. Whereas the Bergens are glum and hungry, the trolls are constantly singing, happy and full of inner sparkle. With …

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Looking Back: Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

The journey of Bill and Ted as a movie franchise was such a surprise that even its studio didn’t quite know what to do with the sequel. The original “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” was shot largely in 1987 with modest expectations at best and belatedly released two years later. The comedy, a time traveling goof about two dimwitted teens …

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Looking Back: The Evening Star (1996)

Some sequels need defending and, from the day it opened, “The Evening Star” has always been one of them. Ostensibly “Terms of Endearment II,” this came a decade and three years later and no longer stars Debra Winger, whose Emma died at the end of the first film. The focus of the follow up film (and the Larry McMurtry novel …

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Theater Review: Mary Poppins

Revisiting “Mary Poppins” is like putting on a pair of warm slippers. To my shame, I’ve never read P.L. Travers original novel but the 1964 Disney film version was a constant presence in my childhood. My father used to project film reels of scenes from the landmark Julie Andrews/ Dick Van Dyke musical in our living room. He also revealed …

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Looking Back: Dutch (1991)

There’s always been an edge to the works of John Hughes and to a surprising degree. Most remember the Chicago-based screenwriter as the author of definitively 80’s teen comedy romances. He’s the man who gave us “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Weird Science,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Some Kind of Wonderful,” to name a few of …

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Looking Back: Novocaine (2001)

Steve Martin’s remarkable career needs no introduction but is a toy chest of wonders to behold. His achievements includes being a magician at Disneyland, becoming one of the most original stand up comedians of his generation, a celebrated art collector, bona fide movie star and celebrated author and playwright. I should also, for the sake of being thorough, mention he …

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Looking Back: Exit Wounds (2001)

Prior to becoming a beloved reality TV star, real life deputy and former 1990’s mega-movie star, Steven Seagal was once a man in need of a giant comeback. Seagal, with his pony tail, dark attire, whispery voice and intense presence, had a fairy tale career trajectory that would be too far-fetched for most films. After all, only in the movies …

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