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: Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

How do movies like “Unaccompanied Minors” happen? If you assemble a cast of solid comic actors in a Christmas-set comedy, wouldn’t there be more comedy gold than coal to mine? Actually, this plays like a junior version of Nora Ephron’s equally baffling yuletide farce, “Mixed Nuts.” The biggest difference between the two is that Ephron’s movie has slightly more laughs …

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Barry’s Movie Review: La La Land

Once upon a time, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola made a musical. Coppola, who became famous worldwide for making “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now,” wrote, directed and financed “One From the Heart,” a lavish musical intended as an ode to classical Hollywood musicals. It had a slight story, splashy musical numbers and dazzling sets. The movie was a gigantic flop that …

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Barry’s Movie Review: Fences

Seeing your favorite movie stars grow up, become old and still remain at the top of their craft is a privilege. My Dad got to see Sean Connery, Jack Lemmon, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and James Garner age gracefully and deliver some of their best work in their golden years. Watching “Fences,” I had the realization that this was happening …

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Looking Back: All I Want For Christmas (1991)

Sometimes a guilty pleasure can wear out its welcome and become an actual source of guilt. This was my relationship with “All I Want For Christmas,” a rotten yuletide comedy that I used to watch every December for many years. Why? Like a lot of sentimental movie goers, the Christmas season makes me want to re-visit films like “A Christmas …

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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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